Family info

The new Matthews Down Under site

We have moved to a new site, but we kept the same name.

Check out the new site features and details about the family. We will be working to update the site and the information, but you can find out more about our various ministries and family details here.

One detail we will need to work out is how to set up a mailing list, but we will forward these details to you soon. 

Thanks for your support and prayers.

Russ & Cathy Matthews

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Questions about furlough

“ I just jumped on the train after leaving Circular Quay, the home of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We completed the City Bible Forum today where close to 100 people came to hear from Ian Powell on ‘Jesus - Mad or Majestic? I am the Bread of Life.’ We have a swim carnival this afternoon and we were preparing for an evangelistic weekend away with the City Bible Forum group.” - Russ This was just in one day, how do we begin to communicate all the Lord has brought into our lives in four years? It is a challenge, but a challenge we look forward to sharing with you. We are coming to a church near you. As it gets closer, we have been getting more questions. Here are areas where you can pray or assist us with in the process of furlough.

Will you be doing school? - Cathy and the kids have been asked if they look forward to having a holiday from school for the months we are in the US. We will have a few weeks of travel where the family will not be able to do school work, but once we are in Iowa, school begins again. The kids will work on school through a distance education programme at Australian Christian College.

Do you have a full schedule? - We have been fortunate to coordinate a time to spend with all of our current supporting churches. Also, all of our individual supporters and church families are welcome to come to our Matthews Family BBQ on 27 October @ Saylorville Baptist Church. During our church visits and at the BBQ we will be presenting our ministries and the opportunities of sharing about our Saviour, Jesus Christ, in Australia. We will be in a different church every weekend and our schedule is very full now. I appreciate all who have responded to or have requested assist with different ministry opportunities in the US. We do love sharing about what the Lord is doing in Sydney and in our lives. Our schedule is filling quite quickly.  I would encourage anyone who would like for us to come to any events or groups while we are in the US to email us prior to 15 July.

How are you doing for funds? Based on the projected budget, this furlough will cost approximately $25000. The costs: plane tickets, petrol, a van for travel, prayer cards, rent for housing in the US and maintaining our home in Australia, phone, etc. The airplane tickets and accomodations in Maryland and Iowa are taken care of in the US for furlough, but we could use some assistance with the travel funds. Anyone that is willing to assist us in this area, please contact us at matthewsdownunder@bigpond.com. We can direct you to where to send the funds. Thank you for this assistance.

How are you getting around? We are blessed to have a van for the time we are on the East Coast, but we are still looking for support for a van for our travel from the East Coast to Iowa and for the time we are in Iowa. Does anyone have any contacts or access to a van we could utilise during this time? Please send any information to the email address above.

Thanks for the questions. We look forward to seeing you soon.

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua, & Caroline

Citizenship application

We wanted to update you all with our application process. We have officially applied for citizenship to Australia. We have to take a test and have an interview on 18 March. Please pray that all would go well with this process and that it will be processed prior to our leaving for furlough in July. Answer a few inquiries:

Why would you apply for citizenship?

Great question, one minor benefit is ease of travel and other minor benefits. The key reason would be show our commitment to the people we work with and are reaching for Christ to the ministry of serving in Australia.

Why now and not when you arrived?

We have to wait for four years of residing in Australia to be able to apply. So, it does add a bit of stress onto the year, but it is worth the effort.

You have to take a test?

Yes, it is newly introduced. It is a means of learning some of the history and details of Australia. It is not too hard, but it is a test.

Please pray for the process to go smoothly and we would love to show you our Australian passports when we come back to the US.

The adventure continues...

Russ & Cathy Matthews

Heart check up for Caroline

Caroline had her four year checkup and immunizations a few weeks ago and our doctor noticed a slight heart murmur.  We were aware of this since she was born, but it had never been anything enough to draw concern in the past. Still our doctor wanted it checked, just to put it to rest. We visited a pediatric cardiologist.  She is an incredibly kind and gentle doctor who actually lived and worked in Bethesda, Maryland for several years.  After Caroline's exam she explained that there is a some tissue growing over one end of her aortic valve that shouldn't be there and if it continues to grow it could cause damage due to disrupting the flow of blood.  She decided the next best step is to have a second opinion, this time with another cardiologist that she said, "she'd trust her children with". This is not life threatening, but if it was to progress could become serious. We have that appointment on Tuesday, 9 March.  At this time, Caroline can continue life as normal, but it is something that will have to be followed up. We are thankful for the country we live in and the opportunity to get this checked. We trust the Lord will use this situation for His glory. We will  keep you posted. We would appreciate your prayers for Caroline.

We appreciate your support and prayers,

Russ & Cathy

Thankful in 2009: Action and Waiting

Psalm 130:5-6I 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

It would be hard to summarize this year, the closest we could find was in two words, action and waiting. These are not two words that normally come together, but they define the year. We have highlights and low-lights for the year, but they seem to fall within these categories. There have been many activities going on in Sydney and at church and we are still waiting on the Lord for the response of the people who were involved. This has been a building year for many ministries and it will be exciting to see what the Lord will do with the seeds that have been planted throughout the year. We want to thank you for being part of these events through your financial giving and prayers. We thought that giving a list of praises and continual prayer points would be a good way to round out the year. We will include a list of things to look forward to in 2010.

Action - Highlights & Praises: (Look through our updates in 2009 to get more in depth stories) • Inspiring People – over 1200 in attendance and 150+ involved in follow-up courses • An amazing programme of speakers at City Bible Forum • Russ giving the talk series on Lighten Your Load – Evangelistic series in November out of Matthew 11 • Visit from the Kevin and Jeanie Thomas (Saylorville Baptist) • Life of Jesus courses & Bible Reading Groups in the city • Urban Fight Club – Building year • Nehemiah series at Glorious Hope Baptist • Distance Education programme for the kids through Australian Christian College • Josh playing Australian Rules Football

Waiting - Prayer points: • The salvation of Olivia, Benji, Annie & others who continue to come to the various courses • Finances for city ministry and personal support needs • Health & weariness from this past year for ministry team & family • Decisions for church opportunities & planning for ministries throughout Sydney • Changing roles at City Bible Forum & Glorious Hope Baptist

What is coming in 2010: • Furlough (Appointments set w/ all churches and a supporters dinner in October) • Application for citizenship (February) • Working towards a church plant in the city in 2011 • Exciting programme at City Bible Forum (new speakers, new evangelistic outreaches, new courses) • Growth and planning for Urban Fight Club (Men’s ministry) • Girls getting their drivers license

This does not begin to encapsulate all that has happened this year, but we are amazed at God’s work in this land of Australia. If you would like more details about some of the above items, e-mail us or look through our website and we will get you the answers to your questions about our ministry opportunities. It is a slow, hard work, but we fall in love with the people of Australia and God more and more each day. We will admit that this year has been hardest in missing family and friends in the US, but we are thankful for how the Lord has provided “family” and friends here through the many people we have come to love and serve here. Also, we have grown more in our relationship with God, it has been great to look forward to sharing the message of the Gospel with the anyone who will give it a listen. We have seen the Lord provide in mighty ways this year and we look forward to what He has planned for us in 2010.

We will keep you posted on our movements in the US in 2010. Please pray for our preparations and traveling, it will be hard to be away from home (Australia), but we are looking forward to seeing all of you. Thanks for being part of this year through your giving and prayers, even through the tough economic times. We are grateful for your faithfulness to support the Lord’s work in Australia.

The adventure continues… Russ & Cathy Matthews

Whooping cough - Prayer request

We wanted to send a message of clarification and a prayer request. Caroline was just diagnosed with whooping cough. It is an epidemic in Australia, about 30% of the population has contracted the cough. Some of our friends have contracted the WC and been out of commission for months. Caroline has to be in quarantine for five days. We actually will have to be in contact with the Australian Health Dept. Fortunately she has a very mild strain and the only real symptom is a terrible cough that tears through her whole body when it happens. Otherwise she's her happy little self. Still it means we've all been exposed and we're all on a course of antibiotics and in lockdown mode until those are done. Changed the weekend schedule, but thankfully Caroline is doing well. The weather is unseasonably hot, like a furnace with temps in the 40's (100-105 F) and with no a/c it makes things a bit uncomfortable. So we're sweating it out here in the house.

Some people had heard the news through different contacts. We just wanted to clarify the situation for everyone. So, she is doing well, it was caught early and thank you for your prayers.

The adventure continues... Cathy