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

Just a week away: Quick praise and prayer request for furlough

Thanks for your patience with all of the updates, but it is easier to answer many of your questions via the website. We have received many answers to prayers and we do have a couple of requests. Praises: We had a generous gift given to the girls for their special request. Thank you!

Our passports all arrived. We are officially dual citizens. (Funny, the accent did not come in the envelope, all that money and no Aussie accent.)

Prayer requests:

Van:  A van while we are in Iowa (13 August – 5 November) We have to turn our rental in on arrival from the East Coast.

Funds for our travels across US: Four of us will be on the road from 10-13 August. Funds can be sent to ABWE (for tax benefits) marked 'furlough'.

Traveling mercies: We will be flying from Sydney to LA (15+ hours), laid over for 8 hours and then flying overnight to Baltimore. Pray all of the family will do well in this wild flying experience. We are grateful for some great friends in LA who will be there to greet us on the West Coast. We will be driving to ABWE & churches on the East Coast then traveling across the US to the Heartland, Iowa.

Cultural experience: I have been spending quite a bit of time explaining US geography this month. No one knows where Iowa is, but they know where Radar O'Riley & Capt. James T Kirk grew up. You have got to love pop culture sometimes.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. We look forward to seeing how the Lord will provide for these requests and seeing our friends & family in the US.

The adventure continues… Russ Matthews

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.