Misc-

Support that will take people to The Edge

The team in Sydney is looking forward to an exceptionally busy year in 2017 with our evangelistic endeavours at City Bible Forum. It has been a great year so far, but we have some exciting new projects coming up. We are looking to introduce a new evangelistic outreach called The Edge (Formerly, The Conversation) in May. All of the details are in place for a set of quality events to occur throughout the year, but we need some help.

We will be charging for the events, but we are hoping to gain supplemental support for the talks to keep ticket prices at an accessible level.

I have attached the details below for The Edge to communicate the details of the funds we need to raise for these events and other projects. We need to raise $10000 for these events.

We are grateful for your prayers over the years and we would like to ask you to consider supporting this evangelistic endeavour or to consider presenting this proposal to your local church for potential support?

After reading through the details, if people would like to support the events.

You can support send in their contribution by going to this link:

ABWE and entering RUSSELL W. & CATHY MATTHEWS (0132363)

If you or others choose to send in support, please have them email us. ABWE does not notify us when gifts are received and we would like to ensure the church or person giving are thanked for their additional support.

Thank you for the consideration and please pray for the upcoming evangelistic efforts in Sydney.

Russ & Cathy Matthews

 Details in place: 

1 The Edge: Thinking for a change

2 Venue: Dendy Opera Quays

3 Frequency:  Once a month, One hour (During  school term) May, June, Aug, Sept, Oct, & Nov

5 Times and nights: Straight afterwork; 6:30-7:45pm;  Thursday

6 Formats: Two TEDtalk style talks with Q&A

Two speakers speaking for 15 minutes 

Talk 1 - Contestability (Head) - (Positive apologetic consideration)

Talk 2 -Plausability (Heart) - (Difference faith makes)

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 of 'The 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

 

 

 

Urban Missions Summit - Arrival in Bangkok - Missionaries are weird: Part 2

Tell me a job where someone enjoys going to an area of the world that is completely different, extremely muggy, no one understands you, there is every type of food available and most are not identifiable (and other unique smells), people laugh at you as you attempt to communicate with them and you honestly enjoy it. That, my friend, is the life of an Urban Missionary. I have shown up in Bangkok with many of my friends and colleagues. Protests going on down the street (Not because of us, but because of the politics of the country), every type of food being made out on the street, it is so hot, I cannot stop sweating, we flew all night and got about three hours of sleep and I am having a blast. Do you know why? Yep I am going to say it again, ‘Missionaries are weird.’ We are freaks of the ministry world. We are an odd lot, but I think most of us would be comfortable with this label, because the Lord has given it to us.

I know this job description is not unique to Urban Missions, there are other traveling careers. Other jobs in ministry and outside of ministry that get paid more and see many parts of the world, but the difference is purpose. Do those other job careers get to consider how we can do more for the Lord to reach more people for our Saviour? Probably not. Urban Missionary is a great gig, in a bizarre way.

In one day I have sat with people from India, Thailand, the US, Australia and more. Looking at the cities of Southeast Asia and how we can capitalise on the opportunities the Lord affords us in the city centres. How can we engage people with the Gospel, how we can equip Christians to do the work, how we mobilise Christians to do the work and how we can establish new believers in good churches?

I was talking with a good friend, Kent, today. We were discussing how the ‘tribes and tongues’ come to us in the cities. Chinese, Nepalese, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, English,  and the list goes on.  They are here in Bangkok and in the other city centres.

My question to many of you, have you ever considered Urban Missions? The mission where the mission comes to you.

The Urban Missions Summit begins tomorrow. Pray for direction and wisdom. Pray for support and unity. Pray for creativity and courage. Pray that a room full of missions freaks would wrestle with the issues, disagree, pray, talk about the opportunities some more and come out on the other side with direction for the future. Most importantly, pray the Lord’s will be done.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

Urban Missionary Russ Matthews

Christianity, Belief and Six Steps - Feb 2014 Update from the Matthews

Please be praying for the various events and series at The Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church. What is so Great about Christianity? 

This is the new series at The Forum in Sydney 2014. We were looking to start the year off with the some of the positives of our faith.

Despite appearances, following Jesus has much to commend it. Some have claimed that Christianity has been disproven by science and discredited as a guide to morality. But despite this, and much that is bad in the world, many reasonable people still trust Jesus. Intelligent, educated people still believe what the Bible says. And Christianity has proven it is not just another mindless religion.

Weekly topics:  Compassion, Confidence, Purpose & Peace

What do you think of the image?

Towards Belief

I will be leading this series at two locations in the city at Westpac bank. This ten-episode series follows Australian pastor and host, Karl Faase as he travels the world and interviews over 30 leading authors and speakers about the top "belief blockers" of our time. Contributors include John Lennox, Nicky Gumbel and John Dickson.

Topics: Suffering, The Bible, Supernatural, Religious Violence, Exclusive Faith, Church Abuse, Science & God, Homosexuality, The Church & Towards Belief

Pray for many to come along and participate in the series. Also, Karl will be concluding the series with an evangelistic set of talks in April.

Go to the website and get a preview, it is good material.

 

Six Steps to Sharing Your Faith - A new study at RHBC

We will be going through this series at our church for the first few months of the year. It makes think of the people around you: your family, your workmates, the man at the news agency, your neighbours. Is there a single one of them who doesn't need to be following Jesus?

Six Steps to Talking about Jesus is a short course that goes back to square one, and helps people make a start.

Sessions: 

» the core motivation for reaching out to others;

» how to depend on God in prayer;

» how to invite people to read a book or come to an event;

» how to tell your own story of what God has done for you in Christ;

» how to explain the gospel of Jesus in a simple way.

Pray for fruit from this series and growth of His people and the church.

I have taught this course in the past and is a good motivation for evangelism.

Thank you for your prayers and support,

The Matthews

 

Keep getting our updates on www.matthewsdownunder.com

Written by Russ Matthews for Matthews Down Under ( We do live in Australia, the Australian spelling is correct )

A grumpy day that God used for His glory (A 'Just the other day story' )

I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. (Proverbs 8:17 NLT) I was having one of those days. One of those days where I wish I could roll back over and go to bed.

I did not want to do anything. I was grumpy and it is not a day I want to talk to anyone.

But in my life, that is not an option. I had to get up. So, I got up at 5am, did my devotional, did my workout, had breakfast, kissed my kids and my (exceptionally understanding) wife and then I got on the train into the city.

Usually on the train, I study, I read or I work during the hour long commute.

This day, I stared out the window. Nothing profound to think about. I just did not want to engage with anything or anyone.

I got into the City Bible Forum office, bought a $1 coffee (all I can afford today) and it tasted like a 50 cent coffee. Everything and everyone seemed to irritate me. I put in the earbuds, checked email and got some work done or at least pretended to work.

What was running through my head?

'Am I supposed to be be doing ministry at all? What is God doing to me? I don't want to be here!' (Just being real)

You may not have these days, but the reality is, that is what ran through my head.

I went to City Bible Forum with one of my best friends. How do I know he is a friend? He put up with my incessant whinging (complaining) for the trip to the event.

We set up for the talk. All was going fine. I was able to put on the good game face. (That means faking it!)

What was the talk for the day?

How humility makes a difference by Dr John Dickson.

Great talk. Actually, it was too good. I needed to hear it, but I did not want to hear it.

During this incredible talk came the passage: For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 NLT)

I wanted to crawl under the tables. If you look at the beginning of this update, the update is chock full of 'I's. I started the day thinking about me. The mirror of the passage in Luke was on me. I was gutted. I was at a loss to how to respond.

So, what did I do?

Got out of there. Once we were done tearing down the event, thanking john for the talk, I excused myself and escaped.

I went to get a haircut.

I was a fool.

The lady, Maria from Ireland, cutting my hair started chatting with me. Innocently about the day. I sat there thinking, 'Don't ask the question. Please do not ask the question. Yes, keep talking about your camera. Do not ask the question.'

She asked the question.

'So, what do you do?'

Ugh! I thought to myself, 'Not today, I am not on my game. I am not focused. Honestly, the last thing I wanted to talk about was God.' I know, shame on me, but the it is reality of the moment.

What did I do?

I told her what I do.

My job, my life is to talk to people about Jesus and the Bible. It's what I do.

What happened?

I had one of the most significant conversations with someone about what it is to be a Christian. Comparing other belief systems, personal testimonies and I was able to lay out the Gospel from beginning to end. She did not take any other customers, but was engaged in the conversation. She took my information and thanked me for the time. (I ended up with a very short haircut,  the more we talked, the more she cut. It was worth it.)

Guess what. I was thrilled and interestingly I was still grumpy. Yet, The Lord used me. Despite myself. He was glorified. Maria heard the Good News, even though I was in a jerky mood all day.

In the end,  God gets all the credit. Nothing was of me today and that is how it should be.

You truly are incredible. Thanks Lord, I am a bit less grumpy now.

(As a 'just the other day' story. This is dedicated to a great friend and mentor. He encouraged me to pray for these things. He even put up with the lack of humility in recent correspondence with him. Thanks, mate. You are a blessing and an example of humility.)

Can we make a difference? (Also, The Nemmers arrival!)

We are so excited to have Pat & Marilyn Nemmers with us for the next few weeks. Please pray for this special time with them. Also, they would be able to see and meet the ministires and people we have come to love in Australia.

They will be able to be part of many of the upcoming events. Pat will be speaking at various events and they will be staying with us.

Pray as they come along to City Bible Forum, Rouse Hill Bible Church and experiencing Sydney.

What is happening this month?

Have you ever wondered why October is the tenth month and not the eighth? Possibly.

Does it make a difference? Probably not.

Throughout October City Bible Forum is considering the things that really DO make an impact on our society, positive or otherwise.

Read on to find out more. We hope these events make a positive difference to you and your friends.

The Forum at lunch: Can we make a difference?

What impact do philanthropy and social activism actually have? Can one person make a difference? How has the virtue of humility made a difference?

Please be praying for the lunch forums at 1:05pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and find out...

• 9/10 Oct: The Forum features a panel of influencers: Nic Lochner,Malcolm Wood, Rachel Scott and Edward Santow. They will answer your questions on Can we make a difference?

• 16/17 Oct: International Justice Mission Legal Counsel Amber Hawkes asks How can one person make a difference?

• 23/24 Oct: Best-selling author, historian and TV presenter Dr John Dickson will show us How humility makes the difference in the private and public sphere.

Citywoman Career-Wise Conference

Women - do you want to inspire others to make a positive impact?

On Thursday 10 October, 6:15-9:00pm the Citywoman Career-Wise Conference is all about Positive Power and Influence at Work.

 

At lunch: the points of difference

What is unique about Jesus, his life and teaching?

Following The Forum discussions on making a difference, national City Bible Forum communicators Al Stewart and Ian Powell will explore the points of difference about Jesus that make a powerful and positive difference today.

30 Oct-5 Dec: weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 1:05pm.

Read more...

Christianity: A Short Course for the Curious

Please pray for the upcoming course for people who are curious about Jesus?

A Short Course for the Curious, 5 sessions which uncover the life and teaching of Jesus using eyewitness accounts and original documents.

• No Biblical knowledge is assumed, and all questions are welcome.

• Led by experienced teachers Al Stewart and Ian Powell.

Wednesdays, 6-8pm 16 October to 13 November 

Read more and register ...

The Smith Lecture: 24 October at AGNSW

Prof Patrick Parkinson (Professor of Law at University of Sydney, specialist in family law and child protection) will be delivering this year's Smith Lecture on a timely topic:

Child sexual abuse and the churches: A story of moral failure?

Why did this happen? What assurances can be given that this will not happen again?

This special annual event will be held at Art Gallery of NSW, Thursday 24 October, 6:00-8:15pm. Group discounts apply.

This is an ideal lecture for friends, family and colleagues for whom this issue is a stumbling block to considering the Christian faith. We encourage you to have dinner afterwards with your guests to discuss this sensitive and vital topic.

Thank you for your constant prayers and support.
The adventure continues...
The Matthews family
More details on our Facebook page; Take time to like it!

Missionaries are weird

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

I am going to take you back to one of my weakest moments. I remember sitting at a camp and hearing a missionary speaker. I was distracted. I was distracted by his clothes, his manner and his words.

Then I am horrified by what came next. What I had planned in my heart for this poor man. The infamous questions. The questions that I wanted to ask the poor man during Q&A time. 'How many people have you lead to The Lord?'  ‘How many churches have you planted?’ ‘Share with us the last time you shared your faith.’  They may seem innocent enough, but this was not the case.

Unfortunately these questions were not for his edification or to glorify the Lord, they were to be asked to measure his evangelistic prowess and communication abilities. My purpose was to show him to be a bumbling fool and a poor communicator. An unfortunate judgement, that would come back to haunt me.

Had I taken any consideration for him? Did I ever step back to think that he was having to do reverse translation in his head? Or that he was suffering from the sheer exhaustion of the curse of furlough? Or maybe the last evangelistic conversation, as with most of these conversations, was not one of any significance and maybe he was trying to remember a ‘positive’ one for my benefit?

Shame on me. I did not think of any of those things. I just saw a weird guy who needed to be humiliated. I will admit, I thought it and I am not proud of it, but in my head was the question...

'Are all missionaries weird?'

(Pause for effect...)

Definition: weird (in Australia it is pronounced wid, now that is weird) 1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural. 2. Of a strikingly odd or unusual character; strange. 

As I ponder this question, I know the answer. You might not like it, but the answer to this question is ‘Yes.’ They (we) have to be weird. Before you judge me and start to write a scathing status on Twitter or Facebook, keep reading.

All missionaries are weird. At the time, due to my own short sightedness and sinful nature, I was focused on the external of this man. I did not take the time to meet this bloke, I cannot remember his name, but now I realise I was missing something. Missionaries have to be a bit different, dare I say weird, to even consider doing what they do. Going to a foreign country, sharing a strange message and setting themselves up as counter culture in a new culture, and then do the unthinkable. Fall in love with the country, the culture and the people they are sent to by God. I know, weird.

Fast forward to 2013: Our family is classified as missionaries. We call Australia home, we have lived here close to 8 years and we have become citizens. I do not wear white shirts  and we call ourselves ministry workers, not missionaries. Why? Because otherwise we are thought of as Mormans. I know, weird.

Weird Words: Relating to the original example, I understand why the missionary struggled at the camp. The longer we are in Australia, it is harder to communicate with people from our country of origin. We dress differently, we talk differently (Mate!), we like different food, we communicate the Gospel differently, and do you know why? The explanation is... We live in a different country. I know, weird.

Visitors: We had some Christian friends come and visit. They experienced the ministry, our life, the country, the people that we serve with here and our Australian friends that had become some of our closest friends. As we described the experience of ministry in Australia to our US friends, one word kept coming out, 'Weird.' It was strange, but this caused me to get angry. The word hit me in the face and the reason that term frustrated me was this visitor was in 'my country' and kept calling it weird. The culture, the food, the language and the churches were all apart of this country. Technically he was the odd man out. Based on the definition, he was the the weird one. Yet, even in my frustration, he was right. It was weird from his perspective.

In the near future, we will be weird with an audience: We will be the guy standing in front of a crowd trying to communicate what we do in Australia. Our family will be going to the US for the infamous furlough. A strange position from both sides of the ocean. Americans think we come back for rest and refreshment. Our friends in Australia that think that is is a time for holiday in the US. Yet, it is one of most challenging and exhausting times in ministry.

To give you perspective, try leaving your current career, country and home. All your work, the relationships and career objectives you have been building over the last eight years and travel through a foreign country and raise funds for months. Hoping that all the work and people will be there when you come back. Each week you pack up to travel to a different church every week. Deliver the same message to every church. The expectation is to keep it fresh & make sure there is enough rah-rah! Oh yeah, now you are the one who gets asked those questions. During the Q&A sessions, if you talk too much about the challenges, people think you are depressed. If you talk of too many successes, you are bragging and need a dose of humility.

I will let you in on a little secret, the goal and ultimate desire of missionaries is to get back to the country that is now called home. So, we can recover from furlough. Getting back to the people and country, that we see as where God has directed. Deep in the hearts of missionaries, we want to go home. I know, weird.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

If you have made it to this portion, you might think this is a poor judgement of a people group, a personal lament or a pity party. You would be wrong.

I am a missionary and I am weird. 

Guess what? This is the life the Lord has directed us. We understand it and in a strange way, we enjoy the process. Through all of the challenges, all the travel, all the rejections and humiliations, we come out the other end better for it all. If weird means loving the country the Lord has sent us to serve, loving the work we do, loving the people we serve alongside and loving the God who sent us here. I am good with that.

I know, weird. 

 

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

I think I need a Bible...

At our weekly group at Westpac, we have been going through a four week evangelistic Bible study called Investigating Christianity. Through the course we answer the questions: Who is God? Who is man? Who is Jesus? & How can you be right with God? The team had been quite excited about the number of guests that had come along to the course. Many of the g'enquirers' were engaging in the Bible discussion for the first time. It is always encouraging to see Christians getting excited about evangelism. After completing the course, we began a new series called Authentic Spirituality: How to follow Jesus without being religious.

Stephanie has been coming to both courses, she is an 'enquirer' and very engaged in the discussions on the Bible. At the end of the first session of the second course, she turns to me and says, 'You know, I think I need a Bible. Can you get me one?' The person who had been inviting her to come along was beaming with excitement and trying to contain himself. I said, 'I think I could find you one.' Then Steph commenced to pick up all of our flyers for the upcoming events in the city and said,'I think I would like to get along to these, too.' Her friend said, ' I will go with you.'

This is just one of the many stories of the work in the city. Seeing people interested and engaged in the Bible. people from various backgrounds engaging in the Bible for the first time and some coming to Christ.  It takes time and we have to 'earn the right' to share the Gospel with them. This is done through prayer, diligence & building relationships with people. Please pray for Steph and others who will be coming to the various events this year.

Life, the Universe and Nothing - Krauss and Lane Craig in August

In August City Bible Forum hosts eminent cosmologist and theoretical physicist ProfLawrence Krauss and theologian, philosopher and Christian apologist Dr William Lane Craig.

These two high profile international speakers will discuss the VERY big issues of Life, the Universe and Nothing over three conversations:

7 August - Brisbane: Has science buried God?

13 August - Sydney: Why is there something rather than nothing?

16 August - Melbourne: Is it reasonable to believe in God?

Tickets go on sale very soon. In the meantime, check out the event website and contribute to the conversation on Facebook.

Read the website here ...

Short course for the curious

Led by Ian Powell, this Short Course provides the opportunity to review Jesus' teachings, look at original documents, and ask your own questions about Jesus' claims.

Commencing Wednesday 24 July, the 4-week Short course for the curious meets Wednesday evenings 6:00pm for 6:15-8:00pmat 580 George Street, Sydney.

Read more and register ...

Upcoming Forum: Australia - The happiest place on earth? 31 July /1 August

Australia has taken the top spot on the OECD Better Life Index as the happiest country on earth for the third year running, ahead of 35 other OECD countries. As Australians, this should make us happy. But why are we seeing an increase in the number of Aussies being treated for depression? Why do 1 in 3 of us work over time?

How do you define happiness? Are we happy? What leads to lasting happiness?

Come and bring your questions to The Forum, as panellists Mark McCrindle (social demographer and analyst), Thubten Chockyi and Ross Gittins ask if Australia is indeed the "Happiest Place on Earth".

Read more ...

Conclusion to the  Secret Hollywood Forums

This has been a great series at City Bible Forum for the month of July.

Utilising the interest in film to communicate a Gospel message. Our panellists have been fantastic to work with and we look forward to doing this type of event next year. Please pray for the conclusion on 24 July.

Here is the video link to the latest Forum, Hollywood's greatest villains and why we love them.  I had the privilege of being the moderator that day.

 Rouse Hill Bible ChurchWe are thrilled with the move to our new church Rouse Hill Bible Church. We recently had a young adults event in our home and had a great time getting to know the church family. It is only 10 minutes from our home and we have been able to invite many to the church.

Pray for us as we look to see how we can assist with this young church and work alongside Pastor Ben Kwok and the team. Seeing how we can reach more people for Christ in our area.

Russ will be preaching through Revelation with Pastor Ben this year.

Winning the Cities newsletter available online

Would you like to know what City Bible Forum has been up to nationally?

Our latest National Newsletter is available on the City Bible Forum web site on the Support Us page. In this issue we address what we've been doing to engage city workers with the good news of Jesus in the first half of 2013 in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Read more ...

Thank you for your prayers and support.The adventure continues...Russ, Cathy, Rebecca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

A day in the life? Thought you might like a look...

Saylorville Church requested a 'Day in the Life' from our work in Australia. We shared it with the church recently, but thought you might like a look into some of the things The Lord has going on in Sydney.

Some of it is jus for fun, but I hope this gives you a glimpse into a bit of our lives here!

Enjoy...

Matthews Down Under 2013

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.

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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 www.matthewsdownunder.com 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,

Russ

(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

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.

Cheers, 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 www.abwe.org 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