The Aussie Connection Newsletter from the Russell’s

G-Day!  

We just want to first of all say thank you for taking the time to read this update and for your ongoing prayers and support for the Ministry here in Melbourne. We are blessed to have you on our team helping us make a difference in the lives of so many here in Australia.

We’ve, as everyone else in the world, had a crazy and uncertain 2020.  For us here in Melbourne it’s been tough because of the amount of restrictions that have been placed on our region.  We have been on Stage 4 Restrictions (only essential businesses are open, such as, food, medical, and petrol) for the last 8 weeks. We’ve had a mandated curfew from 8pm-5am, you cannot go out of a 5 km radius from you home, only one person per family can get groceries, you can only exercise for one hour outdoors and must wear a mask if outside your home. If you’re an essential worker, you have to obtain a permit from your workplace or else risk being stopped by the police at any given check point. If you didn’t have a proper permit or reason to be out, they could fine you thousands of dollars.

The restrictions will remain in place for the next month, only easing slightly.  Victorians are fed up and are pushing back against the Dictator-like restrictions. The lockdown we’ve experienced over the last several months has really done damage not only economically, but also to the mental health of many Victorians.  Depression is running rampant, the suicide rate is at an all-time high, those at risk from domestic violence has dramatically increased and most kids doing online schooling are struggling with lack of motivation. We are keeping our eyes on Jesus, supporting the community and the congregation the best way we can during these difficult and uncertain times.  

Church

Due to the COVID Pandemic, Calvary Chapel Melbourne’s doors have been closed since the end of March. We have not been able to come together physically for the past 6 months, but we do see the core congregants on a weekly basis online with either the Women’s, Men’s, or Youth fellowship. The Ladies meet on Tuesday evening and are going through a life changing and powerful book called “Seeking Him”  by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. The Men’s Fellowship meets on Thursday evenings and is going through the Book of Nehemiah and the Youth Group meets on Wednesday evenings.  They are talking through tough topics that have come up due to recent lockdowns and giving the youth hope through the Word during this time of uncertainty.  Sunday morning messages are online, and we are teaching through the book of Revelation. 

Family

A quick family update:

Both of our sons are currently in High School (School year runs from Feb-mid December). Our oldest, Joshua, is 18 and will be graduating in December.  Part of the curriculum for his Year 12 VCAL Certificate required him to attend trade school one day a week and he has been studying to be an Electrician. Over the last two years, he has been working alongside a licensed Electrician during work placement hours (100 hours per year), learning the electrical trade. Upon graduation, he will immediately become an apprentice and continue trade school once a week. His apprenticeship will last four years and upon completion, he can take the Electrical Test to become a fully licensed Electrician. This trade has high academic and testing standards and prayers for Joshua would be much appreciated. 

Christian, our youngest, is 15 and will be finishing up Year 10.  He has decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and choose a career in trade.  He will be studying to become a Plumber with a Business Degree on the side.  Next year, he will go into the VCAL Program at school which is directed toward a trade career.  

Niki has been able to continue working as a part-time Year 11 VCAL Learning Support Assistant, at Christian’s school and is loving the position. It is a private Christian school; therefore, God has opened many opportunities for her share the gospel and speak truth into the lives of the students. She will be resuming this position in 2021.  She also leads the Women’s, Children’s, and Youth ministries in the church. 

Apart from my role as the Pastor at Calvary Chapel Melbourne, I’m involved in the community by volunteering my time as the Chaplain and President of the Berwick Churches Soccer Club.  I am also working part-time as an under-taker for a good friend of mine. 

Moment of reflection 

The other day, during devotions, I was reflecting on our time here in Melbourne. It hit me hard just how quickly these past 14 years have gone by. It seems like yesterday that we said our goodbyes and got on the plane heading to our new life in Australia. I’ll never forget that Sunday evening at LAX; we all had tears streaming down our faces, lumps in our throats, and the finality of the move as we hugged our loved ones and our Pastor Bill Welsh goodbye.

The adventure of a new chapter and beginning. The rawness of it all. The starting out in a new culture and learning how to do life in another country. Then the journey of pastoring a church that was on life support needing to be revitalized and revived back to life. Wow, what an epic experience all of this has been. We have seen so many amazing ways the Lord has worked in our lives and in the church here. The stories and miracles are so many to tell, but through it all, I can say how good wise, gracious, and sovereign the Lord is.

As a word of encouragement, keep pressing on no matter how difficult things become. Stay close and sensitive to the Lord. Keep your eyes on Jesus and stay in the Word. 

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for wisdom, discernment, guidance, provision, protection, and revival in our church. 
  • Please pray for our family (Andrew, Niki, Joshua, and Christian)
  • Please pray for wisdom and direction as we step out in faith to plant the new bible study on the west side of Melbourne once lockdown is over. 

If you like to contact us, here is my email: ccmelbourne@gmail.com