Creation and The Age of Adaline

We would appreciate your prayers for some of the upcoming events in Sydney:

Russ will be speaking on the purpose of creation at Rouse Hill Bible Church. We will be travelling through Psalm 104, we will look at the majesty of creation, but try to find the purpose of it all.

Pray as we engage on this massive topic of God's creation and its purpose.

Details on rousehillchurch.org

The Forum goes to the Flicks: The Age of Adaline

City Bible Forum will be hosting an engaging evening of film and discussion with some of the industry's commentators. After the film, Ben McEachen (Empire Magazine, Open House) and Renee Brack (Writer and industry professional) will discuss the film and what it says about life and eternity.

Please pray for the evangelistic opportunities from this event.

Details on citybibleforum.org/sydney

Praising the Lord for a wonderful weekend with Dr. Mark Harwood

Why won't they listen? Have you wondered why your witnessing falls flat and people fail to respond? Many comment that science has disproved the Bible and therefore it is not relevant to today's modern world. But what's the answer? Can the majority of scientists really be wrong?Dr Mark Harwood delivered a powerful message 'Going Where the Evidence Leads' on Sunday 22 March.

The conversations about creation were wonderful and challenging for our church family.

Details on rousehillchurch.org

Adjustments of post-furlough

It has been great getting home, but the realities of the life of ministry have set in. There are many different things that we are excited to participate, but now is the time to determine what is the right things for us to put our efforts. Pray that we continue to follow the Lord's direction for all things.

We are grateful for your prayers and support.

The Matthews family


Thank you for a wonderful furlough experience

Goodonya, mates

We are coming into the final week in the US. It has been a busy, but a great experience. The churches have been wonderful and we are grateful for all who were willing to talk with us about the Lord's work in Australia. We hope we were able to see you.  We have tried to get up with as many friends, family and supporters as the time would allow. Please forgive us if we missed seeing you during this trip.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

We will be at Saylorville Church for our final Sunday in Iowa.

Funds for ministry vehicle

As we conclude the US trip, one of the key fundraising components is to replace our current missions vehicle. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle. We would need to raise approximately $20,000 for the vehicle.

We have received funds for the vehicle, but still need more torch our goal. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we would appreciate the support.

Van Donation link: Enter in these details: Matthews ministry vehicle, Account: 0132363

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season. Keep living for the Lord and thank you for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, hope, Joshua and Caroline

Living for Jesus links, the van and debunking the rest myth

It happened again this past Sunday, someone asked the question, "Are you getting some rest during your furlough?"

Our friends in Australia may think we are on an extended holiday. Our friends in the US may think we are just resting up for the next few years in overseas ministry. We just wanted to debunk one of the myths of the missionary lifestyle: Furlough is not a time for rest or holiday.

We came to the US to reconnect with supporters and family, share the needs of the ministry and thank those that support the work in Australia. Rest and relaxation are not the priority for this time in the US. We have enjoyed times with friends and family, but rest is not the primary emphasis for this trip. The misconception is completely understandable, due to the historical application of furlough. We wanted to clarify  that our goal is work hard and finish well as we get closer to going home to Australia.

Just to give you a bit of perspective, here are some of the numbers during the last few months: 12 church presentations (Most Sundays we travel to different churches and the day involves 2-3 presentations), we were involved in 2 missions conferences, 29 dinners (Supporters or sharing about the ministry), 3 youth events, a three week Living for Jesus course, supporters road trips to South Dakota and Kansas City, and a multitude of one-to-one meetings (Thankfully most of these involved coffee!). This is not a point of pride, but a way to communicate that furlough is not meant to be a time for rest.

Our only regret would be not being able to see more people during our time in the US, but our time here is coming to an end. We have been blessed by our time here and we are thankful for your prayers and all who took the time to connect with us. Thank you to the churches, pastors and supporters that have opened their doors to our family. It has been a privilege to share what the Lord is doing in Australia.

Thankfully, furlough was not meant to be a time for rest, but a time to celebrate what the Lord has been doing around the world.

Living for Jesus links

The Living for Jesus course at Ankeny Free Church was a one of the highlights of this trip.

Some were not able to come along on the night. Here are the links to the talks. If you are interested in the worksheets, email me.

Week 1 - Remarkable Integrity: Lives worth questioning, answers worth hearing

Week 2 - An Eye for the Harvest: Workplace as a Mission Field

Week 3 - Speaking of God's Mercy: Talking about Jesus at Work

Thank you to Pastor Colyer and the team at AFC for supporting this course and I pray the Lord uses it to reach more people for Christ.

Funds for ministry vehicle

As we conclude the US trip, one of the key fundraising components is to replace our current missions vehicle. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle. We would need to raise approximately $20,000 for the vehicle.

If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we would appreciate the support.

Van Donation link: Enter in these details: Matthews ministry vehicle, Account: 0132363

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season. Keep living for the Lord and thank you for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, hope, Joshua and Caroline

Matthews Down Under Iowa tour - Cold, home sick, but warm welcomes

We will admit it, we have become a bit soft when it comes to the cold.

It is cold in Iowa. Most mornings have been well below freezing and snow has already arrived. This is a thrill for Caroline, since it is the first time she has experienced snow. But, even she admits going out into the cold has been quite an adjustment and makes us yearn for Sydney. Our time in Iowa and the US here has been great, but the cold is quite an adjustment. Yet, Iowa is still an amazing place to be during this time of year. There is a beauty to the countryside and the people.

We are in the last few weeks of our time with our supporters and family in Iowa. All of the churches have been welcoming  and we have been encouraged by the growth of many of the churches. We have enjoyed many dinners and times of prayer with supporters. These experiences have been humbling and invigorating. People have been receptive and excited about the various ministries at City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church. Thank you to all of the churches and supporters for the warm welcomes in the cold winter months.

Please pray that we would finish our time in Iowa well, enjoy the celebration with friends and family during the Christmas holidays and celebrate with us as we look forward to getting home to serve in Sydney soon. Our schedule is pretty full until our departure for Sydney, but we hope to see more people before we leave.

Living for Jesus

The Living for Jesus course at Ankeny Free Church has been such a blessing. Over the last few weeks we have had a full room of people discussing the workplace as a mission field and how to share their faith with their work colleagues. We finish this coming week. Pray the Lord bless and people take the information on board and God is glorified through the work of Living for Jesus.

The course has been recorded and if anyone would like the notes and links, please contact me in the coming weeks.

Thank you to Pastor Colyer and the team at AFC. I has been a privilege to serve with you this month.

Funds for ministry vehicle

A specific project we are working on is replacing our current ministry vehicle. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we would appreciate the support. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle. We need to raise $20K for this project.

Van Donation link: Enter in these details: Matthews ministry vehicle, Account: 0132363

City Bible Forum : ABWE project

With the ministry in Australia, we are taking the Good News to where people spend most of their time: the workplace. By teaming up with the urban evangelism organisation City Bible Forum, The team is sharing Christ inside businesses and training Christians to reach their unsaved coworkers with the gospel.

You can help us do more. Nearly $10,000 is needed to facilitate the final two 2014 series of The Forum, a bi-weekly public lunchtime discussion that welcomes seekers, questioners, and believers to learn more about the Bible inside their workplace. Your donation will help cover the cost of renting venue space and audio/visual equipment, along with paying for speaker fees and promotional materials.

Will you help us reach more Australians where they live?

If mailing a check: Please make it out to ABWE Foundation and include Urban Ministry-City Bible Forum L1410 in the memo line.

Thank you for all you do for our family and please pray for the opportunities in the US over the next few weeks.

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline


* Just a friendly reminder: We do serve in Sydney and our spelling is based on Australian spelling. Thank you for reminders about our spelling, but we hope you understand that we live in a different country. 


The Big Picture Missions Conference, Living for Jesus & Lord of the Lens

Thank for all who have been praying for our time in the US. We have been all over the US and our schedule has been exceptionally busy, but it has been a great experience with our supporting churches and families. Please pray for recent and upcoming events:

The Big Picture Missions Conference at Saylorville Church

Come along if you can on October 8th-12th with missionaries from all across the world. It’s a great chance for God to expand our vision and burden our hearts for the world around us. Russ will be speaking on Sunday 12 October during the morning services.

This should be a wonderful time with the church family.

Come along if you have the time.

Living for Jesus course

Regardless of what you do for a living, you may ask ‘How do I live as a Christian at work and how would I talk with work colleagues about Jesus?’

The Living for Jesus course is for you …and here is what it is about and how you can be involved.

The course introduces some basic Biblical concepts in being a Christian at work. Encourages people to see the opportunities for service in the workplace. Motivates workers to pray for their colleagues at work.

Living for Jesus consists of three 45 minute studies… 1. Working for God's glory... being godly at work + living lives worth questioning & giving answers worth hearing

2. An eye for the harvest... seeing the workplace as a mission field

3. Speaking of God's mercy... talking about Jesus at work

Audience: Work colleagues, small groups and/ or anyone keen to share their faith at work

Instructor: Russell Matthews

When: First three Thursdays in November:  6, 13 & 20 November

Where: Ankeny Free Church; 118 NW Linden St  www.ankenyfree.org

Time: 7-8:00 pm - Cost: Free to the public

Lord of the Lens: Can we find God in film?  - Video link

Thank you for Saylorville Church team letting me come to talk about God & film

The Bible and film – many people might say these two things would be a contradiction in terms. If this is your fall back position, you are missing the point and missing the impact that film has on our culture. In this visual era, many think they go hand in hand.

Watch the discuss and the intersection of Christianity and cinema.

Some of the topics that we will cover: The story, the line and the opportunity

What this session ‘is not’ 1. Convincing you to watch film 2. A debate if people should go to the cinema

The point of this talk is for those interested in how to engage people with the Gospel through cinema.

Moderator: Russell Matthews from Russelling Reviews & City Bible Forum


Another big question: To all of our statistic loving friends - Comparison of Sydeny to Iowa...a bit of a difference

Since being back many people have asked for us to compare prices with things in Sydney. It usually is based on specific items, but once we start more details come up. Due to the beauty of the internet, here is a table of comparisons. We have supporters and friends who love statistics and cost comparisons.

This is for you! 

Hope this helps with some of the questions about the costs of Sydney. We are thankful for The Lord's provision and this is not a push for more support. It is just a comparison of costs for the benefit of those interested.

Send us any questions or specifics, but I think this covers most of the questions.

Thanks for your prayers and questions,
The Matthews

Sydney v Des Moines Cost of Living comparison 

You would need around 6,960.92A$ (6,484.93$) in Sydney to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 3,300.00$ in Des Moines, IA (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Consumer Prices Including Rent Index.

Consumer Prices in Sydney are 64.10% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Sydney are 96.51% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Rent Prices in Sydney are 182.26% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Restaurant Prices in Sydney are 72.93% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Groceries Prices in Sydney are 40.30% higher than in Des Moines, IA
Local Purchasing Power in Sydney is 24.23% lower than in Des Moines, IA
    Des Moines, IA   Sydney
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 9.00 $     13.97 $
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 30.00 $     74.53 $
Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar 6.00 $     7.92 $
Cappuccino (regular) 3.25 $     3.43 $
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) 1.73 $     2.75 $
Water (0.33 liter bottle) 1.19 $     2.31 $
Milk (regular), (1 liter) 1.12 $     1.36 $
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 2.59 $     3.09 $
Rice (white), (1kg) 3.03 $     2.73 $
Eggs (12) 2.42 $     3.99 $
Local Cheese (1kg) 4.64 $     10.45 $
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 7.14 $     10.06 $
Apples (1kg) 3.96 $     3.85 $
Oranges (1kg) 4.33 $     3.27 $
Tomato (1kg) 2.57 $     4.80 $
Potato (1kg) 2.02 $     2.94 $
Lettuce (1 head) 1.86 $     2.37 $
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 2.06 $     2.32 $
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 10.00 $     15.84 $
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 1.75 $     3.73 $
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 46.00 $     111.79 $
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 5.00 $     3.26 $
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 1.52 $     2.79 $
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 32.50 $     51.24 $
Gasoline (1 liter) 0.87 $     1.41 $
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 21,750.00 $     24,222.10 $
Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment 119.41 $     215.88 $
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 0.12 $     0.94 $
Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 53.33 $     59.51 $
Sports And Leisure
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 39.00 $     77.68 $
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 17.50 $     21.14 $
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 9.00 $     16.77 $
Clothing And Shoes
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 38.75 $     100.22 $
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, ...) 41.00 $     74.45 $
1 Pair of Nike Shoes 85.40 $     135.81 $
1 Pair of Men Leather Shoes 66.50 $     134.54 $
Rent Per Month
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 762.50 $     2,072.02 $
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 612.14 $     1,512.38 $
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 1,235.00 $     4,088.95 $
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 1,062.50 $     2,691.76 $
Buy Apartment Price
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre 1,291.67 $     8,986.01 $
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 1,291.67 $     6,070.83 $
Salaries And Financing
Average Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) 2,955.00 $     4,399.92 $
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly 3.42     5.80

 Details from the website: www.numbeo.com

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