Caroline’s Doctor’s appt, School & Panel + series

Caroline’s Doctors Appt

We wanted to update you on Caroline’s doctor’s appt. with the pediatric cardiologist. If you remember last year, Caroline had been diagnosed with a development of tissue on one of the valves of her heart. It causes a slight leakage or murmur in her heart. The specialists at the time stated there was no concern at that time and we would need to come in for an evaluation each year. If there is any growth, she would need to have surgery.

Come to find out this condition only occurs in approx. 2% of people and usually needs surgery. Our cardiologist has had to operate on all of her patients that have this condition in the past.

It has been a year since Caroline was diagnosed with this condition. She has not had any ill effects since the diagnosis. She was a champion at the doctor this week. After looking at her heart, the cardiologist saw no growth in the tissue and did not see the need for surgery at this time. Caroline even said, “I like going to the doctor, ” as we left the office. What a trooper. We will need to go back for another evaluation in 12 months. Thanks for your prayers.

School

A big day for all on Monday, all of the kids start school at the Australian Christian College (Colleges are the schools prior to University in Australia) Yes, our school year starts in January, after summer in Australia. Quite an adjustment from homeschooling for Cathy and the kids. Please be praying they all adjust well to the transition.

Panel + Series

City Bible Forum is changing the format for the Forums for 2011. It is exciting changes, but not without its challenges. We would appreciate your prayers for it. Details about City Bible Forum at www.citybibleforum.org

Format: Each month the Forum would begin with a Talking Point issue. We would have a panel of 3-4 ‘experts’ on the various topics. Then from the panel, the following weeks would be a series answering many of the discussion points from a Biblical perspective.

eg: Imagine series: Panel discussion would utilise the lyrics from the John Lennon song and discuss the idea Imagine there was no religion, God, heaven or hell… Then Al Stewart would do a series for three weeks on the Biblical perspective of these implications based in the New Testament. Our panelists are Dr. John Dickson (biblical historian), Jane Caro (Writer/Athiest) & Dr Tanveer Ahmed (Writer /Clinical Psychiatrist/ Moderate Muslim).

Panel format: Three to four individuals would be willing to discuss their view on the topic. It is not a debate, but an interactive discussion with a moderator and the audience. We would have key people set in the audience who have a specific view on this topic to set in motion the conversation. We are following the model of SBS ‘INSIGHT’ for the format. Time: 1:10-1:50 (Wednesdays and Thursdays) First week of each month.

Panelists: We would like the panel to be a mix of differing view points. We have a mixed audience of approximately 200+ each week. The experts we are contacting are not desiring to recruit for their own cause, but willing to intellectually discuss their view with an audience and others in a panel atmosphere.

Panel and series topics: Imagine no religion, Crossing Over: Is there anything after this life?, Why do we do what we do? Analysing the Human Condition, 2012 and end times: A look at the book of Revelation and others. All will follow with a series based on a biblical perspective of the topic.

We would appreciate your prayers for this format change and that many non-Christians would come to hear the panel and the series.

Thanks for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues…

The Matthews Family

How to reach a community of predominately hurting women? Pamper them!

Our church meets in an economically & spiritually challenged area of Sydney. Most of the women in the area live hard and fearful  lives. To be treated with respect and love is a rare thing in many of the lives of these ladies.  On Saturday 2 May, 2009; Glorious Hope Baptist Church held their third annual Pamper Day for the ladies of the community around our church. Women of all races, faiths, economic and social backgrounds arrived for a day of hand & foot massages, makeovers and haircuts. Also, included in the day were a delightful morning tea, a delicious lunch and a gift bag. A speaker shared her testimony of hope through here family’s journey to coming to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Over 70 women came through the doors on the day and many left changed.

Cathy was overseeing one team of service. She was able to talk and pray with most of the women who came to the day. One of the highlights of the day was having the opportunity to share and pray with two Muslim women who had come for the day. Hope and Rebecca were able to serve child care and with whatever areas needed assistance on the day. Every woman walked out feeling and looking transformed and all were given the opportunity to know the transforming power of the Gospel.

All the ladies of the church came away exhausted, but encouraged by the opportunity to touch and pray with women of our church community in a unique way. Touching many women that this world considers untouchable. They arrived in the morning to bless the people of the community, but at the end of the day, came away blessed indescribably  by the opportunity to be the hands and feet of our Saviour, Jesus.

Yes, it was a good day!

Thanks for your prayers and maybe consider being  part of this incredible ministry in years to come.

We all like sheep have gone astray. Ba Ba Do Ba Ba…

This story feels like I am setting up a joke, but all of the details are true.
After being in Australia for seven months, we have seen the opportunities of church planting. I have been excited to be apart of ‘shepherding’ a flock in the future. Jesus refers to sheep throughout his ministry, in reference to the church. We have applied this to our ministry and then I received a call from Cathy the other day…
Cathy had been talking with Becca up in her room and Becca began to stare out the window. An odd sight walked by the house, a small herd of ten sheep coming down the street. Realise, we live in a suburban neighbourhood on the edge of the city. This would not be a normal experience, even though we are in Australia. They were causing problems with traffic and walking all over the neighbourhood lawns. At one point they were all in a neighbour’s carport. The lady came home, not seeing the sheep until sheep got out of her car. Screamed and jumped back into her car. Josh felt he needed to help out.
 Josh, feeling adventurous, first on his scooter and then on his bicycle, went and rounded up the sheep, with Cathy’s help, got them corralled in our backyard.  Our relatively small backyard. Now what?
Cathy called around to all of the local animal authorities and no one knew what to do with a small herd of sheep. After a bit of investigation, Cathy was able to get up with the ‘Rangers’ here in New South Wales (Our state). Cathy explained the story and without much hesitation the lady said, “We can have someone out in about an hour to pick up the sheep. He is currently out on the M7 (local interstate highway) picking up some cows.”  Hmm… we are in Australia?
As they waited, the kids watched the sheep and Cathy took numerous pictures. Caroline would go up to the window, get excited and hit the window. The sheep would scatter and she would go to the next window, hit it and the sheep would scatter. She had great fun, maybe we need to get our own flock of sheep.
The ‘ranger’ showed up to pick up the sheep, about an hour later. Just think of an older Jim Craig from ‘The Man from Snowy River.’ Great guy. Backed up the truck to the yard and commenced to wrestle each sheep into the truck. The kids watched in amazement as he tackled each sheep and literally threw them into the back of the truck. He encouraged Josh to come out and ‘have a go’ at wrestling the sheep. (Josh left it to the expert.) The excitement around the house was electric.
Then the ‘ranger’ got to the last sheep. He had the sheep cornered in the backyard and the sheep, terrified, jumps into the air straight at the man. Incredibly, he caught the frightened animal in mid air. Wrestled him onto the truck and bid the family a g’day, just another day in the suburbs of Sydney. (Pastors, ever feel like a day in the church?)
Now it may seem like I am leading you astray or that I am pulling the wool over your eyes, but it really happened. We will attach some of the pictures to prove it. (They have been uploaded to our wesite.) I know this makes for an analogy-rich environment for the pulpit. The application for the church is more than a reality. We hope you enjoy the story and you have our permission to use it for illustrations.
Each of us has gone to his own way. Ba Ba Do Ba Ba

Cathy’s Corner

I have been regularly attending Weight Watchers down here and have befriended a lady named Melanie.  She is a sweet single mom with a sad and hurting past.  Please pray that we might grow closer and that I might be able to share the love of Christ with her.

Being from the States always inspires many curious questions from Aussies and sharing that my husband is a church planter and that we homeschool actually opens the door to many other questions and opportunities to share. Otherwise, life continues as we adjust to the higher costs of living in a big city in a far land.  Grocery shopping is always an adventure, but I’m getting better at it.  Each week we discover something else that we won’t have here (like cornbread) but we then discover something new to enjoy here (like lamb chops!).  The weather is still beautiful during the day, but it truly is feeling like fall.

Its interesting how there are so many similarities between the States and AU, but yet its just slightly different.  Fall feels similar but the trees all stay green and shed their bark instead of leaves!  At night it gets very chilly in a house with no heat and we are thankful for the electric blankets we were able to purchase. We have one week of school left before Easter holidays when most Aussies take a big holiday trip.  We have plans instead to take some day trips like the one the children mention in their update!