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.


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

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

Caroline’s Heart Update

Thank you to all our family and friends who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers this past month. We rejoice in telling you we had an excellent doctor’s visit, with a great prognosis for Caroline.

Her actual condition is called sub-aeortic membrane. It is very, very mild at this time and is in no way dangerous or threatening and therefore there is no need to do any procedures any time soon. She will need to have once or twice yearly heart checks to make sure the condition hasn’t worsened. There is no time frame on how quickly this could change, but based on the fact that it has only progressed very slowly in her almost 5 years, we don’t foresee sudden changes occuring. This most likely will need to be dealt with at some point in her life, and the only way to deal with this is through open heart surgery. But the good news is, this is one of the simplest and easiest procedures that is done.

So that sums up today’s doctor’s appointment. Again, we thank you so much for keeping us and especially Caroline in your thoughts and prayers. We will definitely let you know of any future changes or needs in this specific area.

I’ll finish with a beautiful Bible passage that really blessed me:
“For You formed my inward pars; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:13-14

Cathy for all

Heart check up for Caroline

Caroline had her four year checkup and immunizations a few weeks ago and our doctor noticed a slight heart murmur.  We were aware of this since she was born, but it had never been anything enough to draw concern in the past. Still our doctor wanted it checked, just to put it to rest. We visited a pediatric cardiologist.  She is an incredibly kind and gentle doctor who actually lived and worked in Bethesda, Maryland for several years.  After Caroline’s exam she explained that there is a some tissue growing over one end of her aortic valve that shouldn’t be there and if it continues to grow it could cause damage due to disrupting the flow of blood.  She decided the next best step is to have a second opinion, this time with another cardiologist that she said, “she’d trust her children with”. This is not life threatening, but if it was to progress could become serious.

We have that appointment on Tuesday, 9 March.  At this time, Caroline can continue life as normal, but it is something that will have to be followed up. We are thankful for the country we live in and the opportunity to get this checked. We trust the Lord will use this situation for His glory. We will  keep you posted. We would appreciate your prayers for Caroline.

We appreciate your support and prayers,

Russ & Cathy

Whooping cough – Prayer request

We wanted to send a message of clarification and a prayer request. [Read more...]

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

Kid’s Corner

Thanks to all of you who have been sending us e-mails and letters. We will be sending you updates soon. We are going to the Royal Easter Show at the Olympic Park in a couple of weeks. (Kind of like the State Fair.)

Easter is a big holiday here, but Jesus does not seem to be the focus. (Daddy says, we are working on that!) We liked going trekking (hiking) and seeing the Three Sisters. That is a rock formation, about an hour from our house.

cowboys.gifJoshua likes the NRL (National Rugby League) Cowboys and they are winning alot. Daddy likes the Panthers, but they are not as good. (Yet!) We have been making new friends. We miss you all. Keep sending the e-mails, we really like them. We will try to send some pictures soon.