Jonathan Griffiths, his wife Bel and their son Luca live in Austria, where Jonathan is a missionary with TWR. When the TWR office in Austria moved to Cyprus in 2018, Jonathan and his family chose to stay in Austria and Jonathan has continued to work with TWR. We recently interviewed him about his history with TWR and what he and his family are currently up to: How did you get into missions?
‘By accident,’ or at least not with any intention of staying. To graduate from Fanshawe College (London, Ontario) with my radio broadcasting diploma, it was a government requirement to complete a three-month internship with a recognized radio station. I was looking around when I was introduced to Carl Seyffert, the president of TWR Canada at the time. TWR had an internship on a ‘sunny island in the Caribbean.’ SIGN ME UP! So off I went, for the summer of 1992, just to get my requirements out of the way and spend some time on a beach!
In January 1993, TWR Bonaire asked if I would return to help fill in due to staff illness for a short stint. I never said anything to anyone, but people started to ask when I was returning to TWR, and before I knew it, I was fully supported! April found me back on Bonaire with a sense of shock and wonder, as I thought, “What am I doing here?”
I had grown up with the 'myth of missions' stating: to be a missionary, you needed to be a nurse, teacher or pastor with a bible school degree, a myth even affirmed by my parents who were a ‘church planter and nurse’ team in Thailand. But it was during this two-year stint that I saw how I could use my radio broadcasting diploma in missions to encourage, enhance and enable listeners, regardless of my ability to speak their language.
Some 25 years later, the three-month internship hasn’t ended! What are some of the roles you have had with TWR?
I sum up my roles in TWR as “done it all, except finance!”
I’ve been a studio operator, morning host, newsreader, interviewer, program producer, scriptwriter, website and social media developer, media planner, researcher, audience developer and department head. I have helped take down and put up towers, studios and satellite dishes and somewhere along the way repaired cars and buildings.
If I see a need, I tend to jump in, as I don’t like to see something blocking ministry or being told, “we can’t do it because we’ve never done that.”
That’s how I became a website developer, as TWR had never done podcasting or audio streaming on the internet before and didn’t know how to. So off I went to learn.
But the role I love the most is coaching people and seeing them develop into who God wants them to be. For me, it’s about the people, coworkers, listeners and ministry partners, and walking with them through the process of growing and being more effective as a witness of Christ. What are you currently involved in?
Currently, I’m consulting for TWR Women of Hope, TWR’s global women's ministry. We are looking at new content, internal structures and ministry avenues in which to reach the most women around the world for Christ. We are developing two new programs; one is designed to explore hope in today's world and the second is an overview for new believers from a women's perspective. At the same time, we are working to expand awareness of TWR Women of Hope’s content and global ministry through the networks established by TWR Women of Hope teams around the world. Can you give us an update on your family?
Luca is finishing his fourth year of elementary school and will start at a middle school just around the corner from his current school. He struggles in school some, as the pace is a bit too fast for him, but with the middle school system, he will have more time to get the concepts down. Luca still struggles to fight off colds or infections, but he’s had a good year.
Bel’s company has been split in a buyout, with Bel joining the new company by the end of June. This is happening in the middle of their busy season, adding to the stress and uncertainty of an already stressful job. Gratefully, Bel’s shoulder and wrists haven’t flared up after a year of therapy and exercise at work, but she still feels them after a long day at work.
I’m still adjusting to working at home, while Luca is enjoying having someone home after school. The flexibility of working from home means I can chat with teams around the world in different time zones. My migraines have reduced, especially the number and intensity after starting a new monthly medication.
The UK has decided to leave the EU (Brexit) with the next steps meaning I have to apply for Permanent Residency for Austria as a Third Nation Foreigner. This will add unwanted stress and complications with living here, as there are many issues yet to be agreed.
Overall, we are doing well, with many changes coming up this year.
Please pray for Jonathan and his family through the changes they are facing this year. To sign up for Jonathan’s prayer letters or to financially support him, please visit Jonathan’s missionary page
. Are you interested in seeing where God might be leading your life? Learn more about serving with TWR Canada!