â€œGlory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!â€ ï»¿ Â Luke 2:14
May this Christmas season bring you joy and celebration through the knowledge of our Saviourâ€™s birth. Â What an incredible year it has been in Sydney. Changes in the ministries and in the country have had their rewards and challenges. We continue to be thankful for the privilege of being here, serving the Lord. Thanks for being a part of this ministry.
- In House Network â€“ â€œI think that this is the purest form of adult mission I have seen. Meeting people where they are daily with the Gospel. What a privilege.â€Â Â â€“ Greg Clarke, accomplished author and speaker
This year has seen many different opportunities of evangelism within the Central Business District of Sydney. I have been given the leadership role in coordinating evangelistic events and training in many of the organisations throughout Sydney. We have had over fifteen events inside companies. I have had many different authors and speakers assist in this ministry. The last two events were in Westpac Bank and Telstra (Largest Telecommunications Company) and had attendances of 89 and 50. The Westpac event had over 2/3 non-Christians attend the forum discussion on â€œWhy I am not an Atheistâ€ given by Greg Clarke. The opportunities to share the gospel are overwhelming and we ask for your prayers in seeing more people come to Christ through these strategic outreaches within organisations throughout the CBD.
- Investigating Christianity â€“ After the event we offer for people to attend a course called Investigating Christianity. I have had the privilege to teach a course at Telstra and Westpac. It is a four week course asking the questions, who is God, who is man, who is Jesus and how to get right with God. The classes are attended by non-Christians who are inquiring about the God of the Bible. After the class two weeks ago, one of the attendees said, â€œI did not have high expectations for this class, but I thought I would have a go. Russ, I was pleasantly surprised, you have begun to change my view on God. Can we keep doing more studies?â€ It is amazing to see people who would not go to church, but are willing to come along and learn about God at work.
- Church planting â€“ We are coming to the end of our two year transition period on the field. Now we can be a direct part of leading a church plant. We have been studying the methods of effective church planting in Australia. We have coordinated an action plan for a future church plant. Â Different people have shown interest in working with us on the church. The opportunities are plentiful for doing a work in Sydney. We just ask for your prayers on the community and core group of people to work with on this new venture. Our goal would be to start in 2008, but we will leave this in Godâ€™s hands and see what His goals are for church plants throughout Sydney.
- Jason and Amalie Parmerlee â€“ What a joy it has been to work with Jason and Amalie this year. They will be leaving in December to go back to Ankeny. Pray for their direction to serve the Lord in the future. We would pray it would be to come back to Australia, but regardless, it has been an honour to call them friends and counterparts. Goodonya, mates!
- Tasmania â€“ (An island state of Australia) Cathy and I celebrated our 40th birthdays and our 15 years of marriage during a long weekend in Tasmania. A school mate from my High School days contacted me this year, inviting us to Tassie. Kevin and Korina Lund welcomed us and helped to enjoy an amazing part of Australia. Beautiful family, beautiful home and eternal friends.
- Serving God â€“ The girls recently went up to the Central Coast for the annual Youth Camp with two other churches. The theme was â€˜Serving Godâ€™ and they came away with new ways to serve Him in 2008. They have made some great friends in Australia and are constantly assisting Cath with so many things at home, especially keeping up with Caroline.
- Scouts â€“ Josh just got back from a trip with his scout troop to the Wombeyan caves. He is working on his different badges. He has also turned into quite the engineer. Legos are a passion for him, but he also seems to be able to fix or re-make many different things. He rebuilt a skateboard for his friendâ€™s birthday this year and it was cool. Â I am not sure where he gets it, but he is talented.
- Caroline in charge- Caroline is all over the place. Non-stop action. Dancing, singing, bossingâ€¦ at two she is a thrill to have around.Â She surprises us daily with new things sheâ€™s learned from colors, shapes, letters, numbers to the names of the flowers in the garden! Â She has a strong personality, but she has no problem sharing the love. Pray for us!
Thank you for your faithful support. We committed last year to only do a financial update twice a year. Please contact us with any questions. I know it is something that is a reality all over the world in overseas ministry.
International Cost Index â€“ Due to the strength of the Australian economy and the weakness of the American dollar we have seen an increase in our support needs. The ICI and the Australian field council determine the increase in our support requirements. Sydney was just ranked internationally, as the fifth most expensive place to live in the world. This is due to lack of building, strength in the dollar and increase in the Australian stock market. We did come to the field over-supported and increases in support from churches in 2007 had our support level at over 100%, but due to steady increase in support needs we are currently under-supported by 9% or $400 per month. Â We are making a request to all who have considered supporting our ministry, but currently do not or anyone who would be willing to increase their monthly support of our ministry. (Based on our number of current supporters, that would be a mere $13 per supporter per month) Thanks for your prayerful consideration of our needed support.
Thank you for your support and prayers. We hope you all have a good Christmas season. we hope to have a new prayer card and images on our website at the beginning of 2008.
The adventure continues…
Russ, Cathy, Rebecca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline