Merry Christmas from a Sunburned Country

Merry Christmas to all 

We are enjoying our new home and the time with new friends. We miss you all and find it hard to be away from family during this time of year, but the Lord has continued to encourage us throughout our time in Australia. Daily we fall in love with this “sunburned country” and the people that the Lord has sent us to reach for Christ.  

It is hot and we are busy with all that this season brings, but our focus continues to be on Him.  

Questions about Australia at Christmas:

1) Do you put up a tree? Yes, artificial. With it being anywhere from 35-40 degrees (C) or 80-100 degrees (F) the real trees do not last long.  

2) Do they sing traditional Christmas carols? Yes, all of the great Christmas songs about Christ’s birth are still sung. It is odd though shopping for shorts and t-shirts in 100 degree heat and hearing “White Christmas” over the PA system.  

3) Is it the biggest Church service of the year? No, that is usually Easter or Mother’s Day. (No kidding!) Christmas is summer holiday and many people are away during Christmas. (Think July weather and what the churches are like in the USA in July.)  

4) What is for Christmas dinner? Seafood, salad and a lot of ice water! Did I say it was hot?  

5) Do people watch football after dinner? No football after dinner. It is Cricket season and the Ashes test is on. Go Baggy green. (You will have to look that one up yourself.) Also, most people do not waste time around the TV. It is summer; they are all at the beach, in the surf!  

Different, yes. But the needs are still great. Pray we are able to bring the incredible message of the Gospel to the people of Australia. Also, pray for all of the people serving overseas for Christ this time of year.  

Thanks for your prayers and support.

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline Matthews  

Happy New Year