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…
Russ

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.

Prayer Points for May

Hello to all of our supporters,

I will be sending along an update about all of the activities from April and May soon. Here are a few prayer points for things for the immediate future:

1. Winning the City Dinner – Vision setting & Fundraising for city ministries
2. Youth Leader – We need a youth leader for our youth group at Glorious Hope Baptist. (Praise: The Youth had a great time at a recent event in the Blue Mountains, KYCK)
3. Preaching opportunities: Inner West Baptist, Youth group in Bankstown and a young adults retreat on the 15 May
4. City Bible Forum Weekend Away: An evangelistic weekend away in the Southern Highlands. We are praying for 50 people to come away on the weekend.
5. Pamper Day: An evangelistic event for the women of o the community around Glorious Hope Baptist
6. Continued growth and salvations at City Bible Forum, Sydney. Al Stewart’s series in Ecclesiastes and Ian Powell’s continuing series in John.
7. Planning and financial preparations for US ministry trip: we need a van during our time in Iowa, a house-sitter for our Australian home and the necessary finances for the travel in the US.

Thanks for all of your faithful support and prayers. We look forward to seeing you soon.

The adventure continues…
Russ & Cathy Matthews

Happy Easter & Citizenship

HAPPY EASTER! To all of our freinds family & supporters. We are grateful for all you do for us in prayer and support. The Matthews would like to wish you all the happiest, safest & healthiest Easter. We hope that beyond the chocolate, eggs and Easter bunnies that you can rejoice with us in our Saviour’s resurrection. He is risen! Happy Easter!

Citizenship: For all who have sent questions on our citizenship application. We did receive the letter of acceptance for dual citizenship in Australia. Quite an exciting day. We will be attending a swearing in ceremony soon and it will all be official. To clarify, we will be dual citizens in Australia and the US.

Sending lots of joy your way during this incredible celebration season,

The adventure continues…
Russ, Cathy, Bec, Hope, Josh & Caroline

A tale of two nights…

We were given a gift to come and housesit at a mate’s house for a summer holiday. We did get some time to relax and rest after a busy year. During that time we had friends stop by for a bbq, a swim and/or coffee throughout the stay. In a matter of two evenings we had the privilege of being part of conversations that challenged and encouraged us. The conversations also were a small glimpse into the spiritual state of Sydney. [Read more...]

Matthews Finances for 2010

We wanted to update you on our current financial needs in 2010. Our updates are focused on our ministry opportunities, we only report the financial details every six months. This decision is to show our focus is on the ministry and not just finances. Yet, we are willing to discuss these details at anytime of the year. [Read more...]

Latest pictures of Matthews family in Sydney

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=355400&id=734085472&l=024af82dd7

Thankful in 2009: Action and Waiting

Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

“All that wait on the Lord, cheerfully stay themselves on him. This redemption is redemption from all sin. Jesus saves people from their sins… All that wait on God for mercy and grace, are sure to have peace.” –M. Henry [Read more...]

Thanks for your prayers

Evangelistic talks – I finished a series of five evangelistic talks in the city. Lighten your Load – The Answer to the Atlas Syndrome – based in Matthew 11:28-30. Each talk grew in attendance throughout the past few weeks. The oragnisers stated that 30-50% of the audience for each talk was from a non-Christian background. Each session had various questions on the issues of rest, the yoke and the burden of the human race. We had over 20 people interesting in Life of Jesus courses or Bible Reading Groups as follow up to the talks. Thank you for your prayers with these events.

Church leadership change- One prayer request was for a potential leadership change at Glorious Hope. Through well managed discussions and prayer, our Youth Pastor will be stepping down from his role in January. We have a new leader starting in the New Year. The youth is excited about the process and what the New Year will bring. Please pray for our current youth pastor and his new journey of ministry and our youth programme in 2010.

Citizenship- Please keep us in your prayers for our application for citizenship to Australia. We will begin the process next month. Also please be in prayer for all the preparations for our furlough in 2010.

We are grateful to you all for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues…

Russ and Cathy Matthews