Ask God and Iowa tour ’14

A new series at The Forum, Sydney

If you had a chance to ask God one question, what would it be?

And would you get an answer? Christians believe God speaks to us through the words of the Bible, which has answers to life’s important questions.

Each week in September, our lunchtime forums will be addressing questions posted on the web site.  You can post your questions there and at the beginning of each week, a question will be chosen and announced on our website and Facebook page.  Our regular speaker, Ian Powell, will present an answer from the Bible, followed by an open Q&A with the audience.

Pray for the events in Sydney in September.

Iowa Tour ’14 

We are settled into wonderful house by Saylorville Church. Thank you to all of the church family for your work on this home and preparing a great place for us to live for the doing months.

We begin our tour of Iowa and our supporting churches. We will be traveling all over Iowa and to some of the surrounding states. We will be presenting to the churches information about Australia, City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church.

If you are interested in coming to hear about the work we are part of in the sunburnt country, email us and tell us where you live. We can share with you dates and the church that is closest to you. We invite anyone to come along and join in the conversation. Come ask your questions.

Thank you for your support and interest in the Lord’s work in Australia.

The adventure continues…

The Matthews

Another big question: To all of our statistic loving friends – Comparison of Sydeny to Iowa…a bit of a difference

Since being back many people have asked for us to compare prices with things in Sydney. It usually is based on specific items, but once we start more details come up. Due to the beauty of the internet, here is a table of comparisons. We have supporters and friends who love statistics and cost comparisons.

This is for you! 

Hope this helps with some of the questions about the costs of Sydney. We are thankful for The Lord’s provision and this is not a push for more support. It is just a comparison of costs for the benefit of those interested.

Send us any questions or specifics, but I think this covers most of the questions.

Thanks for your prayers and questions,
The Matthews

Sydney v Des Moines Cost of Living comparison 

You would need around 6,960.92A$ (6,484.93$) in Sydney to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 3,300.00$ in Des Moines, IA (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Consumer Prices Including Rent Index.

Consumer Prices in Sydney are 64.10% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Sydney are 96.51% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Rent Prices in Sydney are 182.26% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Restaurant Prices in Sydney are 72.93% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Groceries Prices in Sydney are 40.30% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Local Purchasing Power in Sydney is 24.23% lower than in Des Moines, IA
    Des Moines, IA   Sydney
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 9.00 $     13.97 $
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 30.00 $     74.53 $
Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar 6.00 $     7.92 $
Cappuccino (regular) 3.25 $     3.43 $
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) 1.73 $     2.75 $
Water (0.33 liter bottle) 1.19 $     2.31 $
Milk (regular), (1 liter) 1.12 $     1.36 $
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 2.59 $     3.09 $
Rice (white), (1kg) 3.03 $     2.73 $
Eggs (12) 2.42 $     3.99 $
Local Cheese (1kg) 4.64 $     10.45 $
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 7.14 $     10.06 $
Apples (1kg) 3.96 $     3.85 $
Oranges (1kg) 4.33 $     3.27 $
Tomato (1kg) 2.57 $     4.80 $
Potato (1kg) 2.02 $     2.94 $
Lettuce (1 head) 1.86 $     2.37 $
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 2.06 $     2.32 $
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 10.00 $     15.84 $
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 1.75 $     3.73 $
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 46.00 $     111.79 $
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 5.00 $     3.26 $
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 1.52 $     2.79 $
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 32.50 $     51.24 $
Gasoline (1 liter) 0.87 $     1.41 $
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 21,750.00 $     24,222.10 $
Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment 119.41 $     215.88 $
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 0.12 $     0.94 $
Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 53.33 $     59.51 $
Sports And Leisure
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 39.00 $     77.68 $
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 17.50 $     21.14 $
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 9.00 $     16.77 $
Clothing And Shoes
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 38.75 $     100.22 $
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) 41.00 $     74.45 $
1 Pair of Nike Shoes 85.40 $     135.81 $
1 Pair of Men Leather Shoes 66.50 $     134.54 $
Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 762.50 $     2,072.02 $
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 612.14 $     1,512.38 $
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 1,235.00 $     4,088.95 $
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 1,062.50 $     2,691.76 $
Buy Apartment Price
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre 1,291.67 $     8,986.01 $
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 1,291.67 $     6,070.83 $
Salaries And Financing
Average Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) 2,955.00 $     4,399.92 $
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly 3.42     5.80

 Details from the website:

One week in… the questions begin: Concern with water in our toilets

We are excited about the US ministries over the next few months. The jet lag is fading and the motivation to talk about the work in Australia has already begun.

It is one week into our journey and the family has been traveling on the East Coast. We had a chance to talk with our kids about the questions that people ask when they hear we are from Australia. Many questions that we have heard before and some new ones.

We thought it might be a ‘teaching moment’ for all who might be interested. This is not meant to ‘have a go’ at people’s lack of knowledge ofThe Great Southern Land.’ Just to move people along in the process of getting to re-introduce The Matthews family.

The top six questions from this week:

1.  You can do missions work in Sydney? 

90% of the people of Australia live in the cities of Australia. It is one of the most urbanised countries in the world. Also, only 3-5% of the population follow Christ as their Saviour. It is a great opportunity for mission and we choose to do it where the people live. Check out the ministry we work with in Sydney and around Australia. City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church

2. Does the water go the opposite way in your toilets?

Americans fascination with our toilet water is interesting. The answer to ever important international question is yes and no. Water does travel in a different direction in the Southern Hemisphere, but our toilets flush differently. Not circling, but more of a whoosh sensation. So, does the toilet water travel a different direction? Not really. It all travels ‘down’ the drain. 

3. Do you have kangaroos and wombats in your back yard?

Nope, we live in a major metropolitan city.

4. That isn’t ‘American’ English’: Why do you use different words?

 We live in Australia and we use the vernacular from our home country. Can we ask that you not correct us on how we pronounce things? It has only been week, but it is getting a bit tiresome. If you have a question about what we are saying, see it as a way to learn more about another culture, mate.

5. Does it snow in Australia?

We do get snow during the winter in the mountains of Australia. The vast majority of Australia does not get snow. Just a side note, our seasons are opposite from the Northern Hemisphere.

Quick Australian weather reference: January: Hot, Summer; July: Cold, Winter

6. How long will this ‘missions thing’ go and when will you be done?

Unless God changes the plan, we are in Australia to stay. It is our home and unless Jesus returns soon, there is work to be done. Also, studying the Bible, we do not see ‘retirement’ as a Biblical precedence. The work may change over the years, but the location will be the same. Sharing the Gospel in the Sunburnt Country, Australia.

 Thanks for the questions. We pray you consider the intent of this update. We love talking with people about Australia, especially about the ministry work in Sydney. We thought we would answer some of the key questions up front. Please keep the queries coming and we look forward to seeing you in the churches and homes of the US.

Thanks for your support and prayers,

The Matthews




Who are you and why missions? Urban Ministry Strategists + repost of answers to questions

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We are preparing for our US ministry. So, we are going to help all to get some more background on us before showing up at your church.

This is a re-post of a previous update with a few additions. Every year we get questions from various missions classes from around the US. We have had the privilege to share these questions many times over the years with students. Interestingly enough, they are the same questions people ask us at churches. So, here you go, the answers to your questions. Class or church, you are welcome to utilise these answers to your questions about missions.

I will forewarn, my answers will be a bit different than other missionaries, but I hope they encourage and challenge you to think differently about missions.

Description of mission work:

Urban ministry strategists: (this description was approved by the ABWE Australia team) Russ: Bible study leader, marketing, personal evangelism training, public meeting coordinator, In House ( ministries inside corporations) coordinator, and promotions coordinator, church responsibilities, preaching & Bible studies. Cathy: Children’s leader at Bible Study Fellowship, scripture classes in public schools, women’s Bible study and successful management of our missions home.

What were some specific accomplishments in the area described above? Growth of the numbers and spiritual component of the people involved in ministries and church, ( part of the team behind all City Bible Forum events in Sydney (, growth in numerous evangelistic Bible studies throughout Sydney Business District. Please read through many of the events and stories on . You will find many of the events, stories and prayer requests on our monthly updates. If you are not receiving them currently, please sign up for the free RSS feed.


Answers to other questions:

1) Why did you choose missions?
I do not think we choose missions, I think that God chooses to send people to the mission field. Through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God mobilises his people to do his work. The better question is: How did God direct you to missions? Studying the Word, Prayer and direction from Godly men and women. Interestingly enough, this answers the ‘call’ to missions questions, too. The question that needs to be asked to most people: are you even listening to God?

2) What were your first steps in becoming a missionary? 

  1. Pray about it…
  2. Being in the Word constantly
  3. Work: Are you doing the ministry work where you are now? If you are not doing the work that you will be doing on the mission field, where you are living now, then you cannot expect to do it here.
  4. Pray with family and friends
  5. Asking the question : Are you really meant for missions or full time ministry (I have met quite a few people who go to Bible College who are not meant for this work)? Asking God, our pastor and others on this direction.
  6. Pray some more… Praying involves listening. Are you listening?

3) Where did you receive your training for missions?

  1. Evangelism training
  2. Bible Knowledge – Church and Bible College
  3. Interviewing missionaries – Anytime a missionary is in our church or at our school, I would strive to grill them on life in missions
  4. Real Life – Doing work in the real world. I worked for 14 years in retail and sales. Cathy worked as a teacher. We saw people where they were living. We knew how to discuss things with them and how they live.

4) How soon after you graduated from college were you on the field? Bible College: 2 months; University: 14 years

I have a degree in business and a Masters from a Bible College. I went to Bible college after I had been in business for 14 years. So I went to the Australia quite awhile since I went to university, but shortly after I went to Bible College.

5) Do you believe that the courses and life at your college adequately prepared you for your ministry on the field?

Yes and no, we think more of our skills for missions came from real life and learning from people. The Bible school portion was valuable and needed, but not nearly as important as real life.

Honestly, life on campus at a Bible College is not ‘real’, get out and experience the real world. Why? Because that is who needs Jesus.

6) Can you describe some of the gifts God gave you to minister on the field?

  1. Talking
  2. Listening
  3. Teaching
  4. Laughing
  5. Organisation
  6. Our family

I know the question is seeking spiritual gifts, but this is what truly helps us with moving forward with missions.

7) What was (is) the greatest challenge to you while on the mission field?

Other ministry workers & fellow believers who prefer tradition over sharing the Gospel.

8) If you have children, were they involved in the ministry?
They are one of the amazing gifts that the Lord has given us to know others. Having children allows us opportunities to be involved in our neighbourhood, local activities and school to reach out to people around us. They serve in the church in various and valuable capacities

9) Would you be open to having a short-term group on your field of ministry?

a. Yes with reservations, they would have to be a very special person. Someone who would be open to learning how to reach people here in Australia. Not someone who constantly is looking back at their experience in the US. Also, anyone who comes with the attitude that the ‘US is the best place for Christianity’ should not leave the US. Come to the field with a love for people and a desire to reach them for Christ.

b. The people who come should know their Bible, but not relying on their lessons in Bible College to communicate the Gospel.

c. A person who would be willing to come to Australia to serve the Lord, not to push their thoughts of what church should be based on their limited experience in life. (Sorry, kiddo, but anyone who is 18 years old or younger  is limited in life experience)(If that offends you, please choose another field to visit!)

10) If you were to begin your mission career again, would you go to the field as a member of a mission agency or independently?

Mission agency – Even though they have their challenges. There are not too many people who could go to a foreign field on their own and succeed without a team around them. These ‘pioneers’ know who they are and do not need to hear any of these things, because they already think they know the answers. The majority of people (99.9%) would be better suited to go with a mission agency.

11) What tips would you give us as we prepare for global missions?
a. Pray about it…
b. Get a real job first, go work in the real world for a few years and live with, talk with and understand the real world.

c. Get involved in as many evangelistic activities in your church and community as possible. (If you ain’t ‘doing mission’ where you are, why do you think you can ‘do missions’ somewhere else?)

d. Go on a short term trip

e. Be willing to go wherever God wants you to go (That could be the most expensive city in the world, Sydney)

f. Learn a different language

g. Pray about it some more

h. Talk with your pastor… should you even be considering this adventure of missions?

i. Pray about it again!

j. Know there are two categories for missions: Those who should be on the mission field and those who should pray and support missions.

k. Commit… if you are convinced you are going to do this and this is what God wants from you, go in 100%. No one year plan, no two year plan, no four year plan… jump in with both feet!

l. Go to our website or our Facebook page: Matthews Down Under, research us and other missionaries.

We are looking forward to seeing many of you in the coming months. Well, hope all of this helps you to know us better.

Thanks for asking and please feel free to ask me more questions, if you survived these answers.

Sincerely yours,

Russ & Cathy

(Yes, we use Australian spelling, because we are Australian)

Cosmic Chemistry and US ministry

August is Cosmic Chemistry Month at The Forum

Please pray for all of the talks this month

What is the correct equation?

Science – Religion = Reason  or  Science + Christianity = Purpose? 

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” – Albert Einstein

In August, The Forum steps into the laboratory to analyse the history and contributions of science as we celebrate National Science Week around Australia.

We welcome Dr. Lewis Jones (trained in Astrophysics and Theology and is now the Director of The Simeon Network), and our specialist panellists as we experiment with the fusion of Christianity and science.

Also, would you consider assisting the evangelistic event with Professor John Lennox?

Do science and God mix?   Mon Aug 25th, 7pm-9pm

This event is for the skeptically minded, the scientifically curious and the believer who likes to wrestle with questions of science and faith.

Prof John Lennox will address the question “Do science and God mix?”, followed by a discussion with moderator Jane Hutcheon (ABC News 24). Finally, questions from the audience will be answered on stage.

This event has the potential to reach many skeptics and the auditorium will hold 2500. The similar event we had last year with William Lane Craig filled to capacity and half of the audience were from a skeptical and atheistic background.

Would you be keen to assist with this event? Here are the links through ABWE.

Professor John Lennox event Donation LinkEnter these details:  0770103 – Urban Ministry-City Bible Forum, Sub-account 002 – Professor John Lennox

US Ministry

The family is currently in the US working with churches and supporters to know more about the ministry in the Australia. We are looking forward to coming to your church in 2014. Pleas pray for our time in the US.

We will raising funds for the ministry work and our living expenses. A specific project we are working on is replacing our current ministry vehicle. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we appreciate the support. Van Donation link: Enter in these details: Matthews ministry vehicle, Account: 0132363

Thank you for your prayers and support. Please contact us with any questions over the next few months.

The adventure continues…

The Matthews family