Why Australian Citizenship? Top five questions asked in Australia

We became citizens of Australia on Tuesday 29 June, 2010. We will be dual citizens of Australia and the US. Many have asked why we went to the effort. We were permanent residents and did not have to become citizens to do work here in Sydney. It is a valid question, but all it does is open a series of other questions that will lead to the answer of the ‘Why’ of citizenship. So I will leave it to answering some of the top questions asked by people who hear our ‘funny’ accent. We get asked these questions weekly and, yes, they do asked very bluntly.

Question 1: Are you Canadian?
Cathy & I grew up in Maryland & Iowa and we do have a ‘softer accent’ than our friends from other areas of the US, but that is not where the question is based. Most Australians experience this,when asking someone from the North America about their accent. Canadians get quite offended if asked if they are from the US and Americans do not get offended either way. Americans just tend to be louder and verbose in their clarification of their country of origin. So, the safe call for most Australians is to ask ‘Are you from Canada?’

Question 2: What are you doing here?

Ah, the beauty of the accent. We are able to get into a gospel conversation without even having to ask any questions ourselves. We do not call ourselves missionaries here (sounds too Mormon-like), but as ‘ministry workers’ we get to share the reason for living here and the work we do in Sydney. We are able to share the name of Jesus and the work He can have in the lives of the people we come in contact with in the city. What a gift this silly accent provides for us to share the Gospel. God has a plan.

Question 3: Which country do you like more?

A very wise woman gave us advice on how to steer this potentially loaded question out of dangerous waters. The standard and genuine answer to this question would be, “Which do I like more? How do you choose? It is like picking which of our children I love more. I love all of our children equally for their unique qualities and unconditionally.” The same could be said about Australia & the US. We love them both equally.

Question 4: When are you leaving?

Finally, the answer to the question of our citizenship. Depending on how people respond to the first three questions, we could take this question in different ways. Generally, it is in reference that Americans do not immigrate. Americans represent the smallest immigrant population in Australia. Most Aussies are used to their American friends moving back to the US eventually. Our answer can now be, we are citizens. We are ‘all in’ and committed to being here as long as the Lord wants us to be here. If you study James’ epistle, it is foolish to commit beyond the will of God. So, if he wants us here for the rest of our days, we are  committed to being here. Also, it does communicate commitment to our friends in Australia. We love this country and look forward to seeing how the Lord will use us here, even to the end of our days.

Question 5: How do you like our football?

Australia is a sport crazy nation and it has four codes of football. Rugby, Rugby League, Australian Rules Football & Soccer. This question is another potential challenge, depending on the state you are living. First pitfall for most Americans is to rave about NFL. There are pockets of people who like grid iron, but generally the only time people care about NFL is around Super Bowl time. Our response comes from a love for two of the codes, they are more exciting and faster than NFL. We started as Rugby League fans (Rabbitohs are my team – I will tell you that story someday) which is a NSW and Queensland code. Then Josh started playing AFL two years ago and we all have become hooked. So, we cheer for Josh’s team, the Southwest Tigers and for the professional team, the Sydney Swans. Like food, sport is a great way to reach into the hearts of people and see what they are most passionate about, then we can begin to share about the passion in our lives, Jesus Christ. Also, it is great fun to watch the various codes of footy. Go Rabbitohs, So Swans, Go God. Not necessarily in that order.

There are more things to share, but I will leave that to another day.

Hope this answers the questions about our citizenship in Australia & a fun cultural education.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oi,Oi, Oi! (If you do not understand the cheer, ask us about it when we come to a church near you.)

The ‘Aussie’ adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua & Caroline

further questions about furlough

We have had questions a few things for furlough.
*We will be in Iowa from 13 August to 5 November. This is the time we will need a van.
*We have a housesitter while we are away.
*If you want to send money to ABWE for our trip, mark it as ‘furlough’ money.

Thanks for the prayers and questions…

Quick furlough update

Thank you for all of your prayers, things are getting close and final preparations are underway.

Praises: We had a generous gift given to us to pay for a van to travel across from Maryland to Iowa. Thanks!

We will be sworn in as Australian Citizens on 29 June.

Prayer requests:
A van while we are in Iowa (13 August – 5 November)

Australian Passports get processed prior to leaving

Funds for our travels across US.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. We are looking forward to seeing our friends & family in the US.

The adventure continues…
Russ Matthews

Psst…secret request. The girls (Hope & Becca) are trying to raise $350 for plane tickets for them to go and surprise a very special friend in August. They are working hard on this on their own initiative, so don’t tell them I told you! But if anyone would be willing to help them raise the money, I will keep it a secret! If you want to help, send them an e-mail, please not on FACEBOOK! Any amount would help. Don’t tell them I told you! A secret request from a loving dad.

Questions about furlough

“ I just jumped on the train after leaving Circular Quay, the home of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We completed the City Bible Forum today where close to 100 people came to hear from Ian Powell on ‘Jesus – Mad or Majestic? I am the Bread of Life.’ We have a swim carnival this afternoon and we were preparing for an evangelistic weekend away with the City Bible Forum group.” – Russ

This was just in one day, how do we begin to communicate all the Lord has brought into our lives in four years? It is a challenge, but a challenge we look forward to sharing with you. We are coming to a church near you. As it gets closer, we have been getting more questions. Here are areas where you can pray or assist us with in the process of furlough.

Will you be doing school? – Cathy and the kids have been asked if they look forward to having a holiday from school for the months we are in the US. We will have a few weeks of travel where the family will not be able to do school work, but once we are in Iowa, school begins again. The kids will work on school through a distance education programme at Australian Christian College.

Do you have a full schedule? – We have been fortunate to coordinate a time to spend with all of our current supporting churches. Also, all of our individual supporters and church families are welcome to come to our Matthews Family BBQ on 27 October @ Saylorville Baptist Church. During our church visits and at the BBQ we will be presenting our ministries and the opportunities of sharing about our Saviour, Jesus Christ, in Australia. We will be in a different church every weekend and our schedule is very full now. I appreciate all who have responded to or have requested assist with different ministry opportunities in the US. We do love sharing about what the Lord is doing in Sydney and in our lives. Our schedule is filling quite quickly.  I would encourage anyone who would like for us to come to any events or groups while we are in the US to email us prior to 15 July.

How are you doing for funds? Based on the projected budget, this furlough will cost approximately $25000. The costs: plane tickets, petrol, a van for travel, prayer cards, rent for housing in the US and maintaining our home in Australia, phone, etc. The airplane tickets and accomodations in Maryland and Iowa are taken care of in the US for furlough, but we could use some assistance with the travel funds. Anyone that is willing to assist us in this area, please contact us at matthewsdownunder@bigpond.com. We can direct you to where to send the funds. Thank you for this assistance.

How are you getting around? We are blessed to have a van for the time we are on the East Coast, but we are still looking for support for a van for our travel from the East Coast to Iowa and for the time we are in Iowa. Does anyone have any contacts or access to a van we could utilise during this time? Please send any information to the email address above.

Thanks for the questions. We look forward to seeing you soon.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua, & Caroline