Save this for your Missions class… the answers you wanted to know about missions

Acts 1: 7-8

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.”

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.

Here we go:

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. I saw people where they were living. I 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, I think more of my 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. My family

I know you are looking for spiritual gifts, but this is what truly helps me 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. 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!

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

Well, hope all of this helps. Thanks for asking and please feel free to ask me more questions, if you survived these answers.

Sincerely yours,


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

Day 5 update for 2013: Seven years and we look forward to the rest of our days in Australia

It has been seven years since we arrived in Australia. We have had good days and challenging days. Yet, we see this as our home.

I look out my window and see the palm and gumtrees, I hear the Kookaburas and Cockatoos and I see and smell the season as it is transitioning to autumn from summer. We forget that we have a different accent, because we consider ourselves Australian. It is very different than the life in Iowa or Maryland, but it is amazing how the Lord has made this feel, look, smell and sound like home.

The work is hard, but all work for the Gospel will experience hardship. We experience resistance everyday, but there is always an underlying hope. Sometimes, as ministry workers, we go through the thought process of ‘no one understands our difficulties’, then we turn around and realise that the Lord has equipped and designed us to fit into this atmosphere. If anyone understands our difficulties, it is Jesus and that soothes the soul.

We hope that the few people that  read these updates can celebrate with us. Celebrating that the Lord has placed us here for just such a time as this. A time to do His work, in His timing and in His manner. The fruit and results are in His hands. We are here to do His work, as long as He sees fit. We pray that is for the rest of our days and those days will all be for His glory.

Thanks for partnering in prayer and financial support in this journey… this adventure.

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

(This will be the last of the daily updates this month, we will continue the monthly updates throughout 2013)

Prayer and Australian spelling

Thanks to all of our supporters,

Prayers: May is turning out to being a very busy month. Can we ask for your prayers?

Shadow Days Talks @ Westpac, Speaking at various churches, Speaking at Australian Christian College, Pamper Day, decisions on the car and our finances

Spelling: We have had a few questions about the spelling on our website over the years. We find a few mistakes periodically, but the majority that might seem strange would be due to Australian spelling. Living in Australia, going on seven years, our spelling and our computers spelling only utilises Australian spelling. It is different in someways to American spelling, but thankfully it is still English and easy to discern for the reader. Our supporters should desire for us to acclimate to the culture and this is an inevitable change.

A blockade to us effectively communicating the Bible and the Gospel to people in Australia is the over use of American material. Some material is okay, but people want to get their information in a manner that is familiar to them. Naturally we would want to reach the people of this nation and the best way is with the language of the nation. Hope this explains the spelling differences.

Thanks for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

How a car can stretch your faith

Thanks for those who have responded to our last update with prayers and financial support.

One of the requests was  for assistance with a ministry vehicle.  We asked our supporters to consider assisting us with replacing our current ministry vehicle. Our current van is getting to point of needing replacement or minimising its usage. Also, we have been given a 1988 Gold Honda Civic to supplement our travel needs, but it is older and in need of replacement.  We were asking for assistance in replacing these vehicles.

A friend donated the 1988 Honda (Old Goldy) to us. What a generous gift. We did not have to pay much for it over the six months we had it. Today we took it for it to be registered in New South Wales. The mechanic called today to tell that the vehicle is not road worthy. He started listing off the problems and stopped after the cost exceeded $4000.

It is hard to tell teenagers that the car that they were learning to drive in, it will have to go away. Yet, 2011 and 2012 have been years where the Lord has provided mightily for our needs. Many times in a ‘Just in Time’ manner.

So, we have been blessed by the Honda this year and we are sad to see it go. Also, we know the Lord will provide for us, He always does.

Faith does have evidence. It is not a blind faith, but one that is backed by the evidence that God does provide. Most importantly, He is there for us to believe in for salvation through His Son.

R.I.P. Old Goldy!




Joshua’s knee

We would appreciate prayer for Joshua. He had an accident awhile back and now is suffering from damage to the cartilage in his knee. Josh  will need surgery on his knee soon.

We have been to a knee specialist (orthopedic) and had the spectrum of tests run and the mri shows  the cartiledge behind his knee cap on one side is pretty much destroyed and there is some bone poking into the back of his knee cap. Most likely from a fall  at a skate park, but then sports made it worse. He will have to have “keyhole” surgery to fix it and hopefully get cartiledge to regrow or else he will suffer from major arthritis when he is older. We are getting a second opinion just for peace of mind and will keep you up to date on details and all that.

We just need wisdom in who to take him to for surgery, how we are going to pay for it and a quick recovery for him.

Thanks for your prayers and support,

Russ & Cathy

Links to VBS videos

A few years back we did some videos for a VBS. Quality is a bit lacking, but thought if you would like to utilise them you can.

Also, Here are some links we did for VBS in the States a few years back:

Rain in Brisbane, QLD

Just a quick note for all who have been asking about the floods in Queensland, Australia.

The floods are occuring about 10-11 hours north of us. We currently live in Sydney, NSW. We are not effected by the floods directly in Sydney.

The people of Queensland can use your prayers and support right now. At this time, the floods are not impacting our family or churches.

Thanks for all those who are concerned.

Russ Matthews

Happy New Year from rainy Australia

We wanted to wish you all a Happy 2011. It is raining this week in Oz.

We hope to have an update about the coming year this week on key prayer points in ministry.

A taste of things to come…
Panel discussions and new formats at City Bible Forum, Men’s League, New school endeavours, City Bible Forum Afterwork , Nehemiah Series at church & more.

New Newsletter Format:

We will be trying out some new methods of formatting our Matthewsdownunder updates. We will be sharing our current ministries, future events, key readings and links that have impacted us throughout our year.

Getting back into the ‘Stream of Life’

We are finally ‘getting our feet’ after being back in Australia. It has taken more time to get back into all of the key ministries. After three & a half months away, we came to realise it was more of a disruption than we thought it would be, but all is good.

Canoeing on a river

They best way I can describe the post-furlough challenge is canoeing on a river. Canoeing down a river seems to be rite of passage for many in their formative years. I always look back fondly to riding quietly down the river in a canoe with a friend. It can be a good representation of your life’s journey.

Your life is represented by the canoe and you are canoeing on a river. The river is all the activities of your life. In a missionaries life, furlough is pulling the canoe out of the one river and putting it down in another. Going from your normal river to the furlough river. Moving from all that has become normal and moving into familiar but different waters. The furlough river is fast, exhausting work, exciting & a bit choppy, but parallels the river of your ministry life. When furlough is complete, you pull the canoe out and put it back into the river that was your ‘normal’ life. Anyone who has come back to navigating a river will tell you that most things are familiar, but many things will have changed. The current, the scenery and you have to get used to the changes that moving water causes.  What you will remember about the ride will be familiar, but you have to make adjustments for the beginning of the trip that will influence the rest of the journey.

Our family, on return to Australia, is finally getting readjusted to the river that we call normal life. Putting our paddles in, getting used to the currents, realising that things are the same, but many have changed in our time away and looking ahead to an exciting ride in 2011.

Thanks for your continued prayers & support.

The new adventures continue…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua & Caroline

Merry Christmas to all in 2010

Merry Chirstmas to all! Cooler in Sydney than usual for this time of year, but not complaining.

Celebrate the love of our Saviour today.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

Love to all of you this day,
The Matthews

last, last furlough update & then we fly out

We appreciate your patience, but we thought you would want to celebrate with us. We gave our last presentation for furlough today at Saylorville Baptist Church. What a great day & a great way to finish our furlough. We are thankful for our sending church.

Praise for God’s provision

-Spoke at a great youth event – over 100 kids there to hear a message about relationships and the Gospel

-Funds for 1 new laptop computers for city ministry

-Funds for 1 new laptop for family ministry needs

-Funding for church plant in Sydney

Projects to work on & prayer requests:

-Funds last new laptop computer  - Our computers need an upgrade to keep up with the demand of the city ministry (Approx. cost :$800 -1000 per computer)

- Assistance with shipping of 2 donated, rebuilt desk top computers for city ministry ($350/computer – we have a portion of this raised) or if someone would like to purchase them as a donation towards new computer in city ministry.

-Funds for  a new desktop for family needs – Ours are in need of replacing at home

-Funds for a small vehicle to assist in travel needs for future ministry. (ex. Toyota Corrolla) Approx. cost: $15,000

-Direction for new church plant; we have the opportunity for new church plants in 2011

-Flying out of Des Moines on Thursday & health of the family

Thank you for your prayers and support.

If you will not see us at the churches, here is how you can support us monthly, increase your support or with a one time gift.

It is easy as 1-2-3

1. Go to and click on the GIVE tab (It is in the upper right corner in an orange box)
2. Put in our name and the amount & follow the instructions
3. Our account number is 0132363

The adventure continues…
Russ, Cathy, Rebecca, Hope , Joshua & Caroline