Sept 2009 Update

Greetings in Jesus name,

We hope you are having a fantastic and blessed day! This month has been demanding and challenging. We began many new series and are continuing to deal with some serious issues within the church. The Lord is in control and He never ceases to amaze me! It so thrilling to watch Him transform lives!

Two weeks ago
Two weeks ago, I finished teaching though the book of James. As we went through this practical book, some of the major issues that were lingering in the hearts of the body were brought into the light. It was the Lords perfect timing in dealing with these issues. Here is one of the things I spoke on:

What Prayer Is…

Prayer is coming into the presence of God…

Prayer is entering the throne room of the KING of kings and LORD of lords…

Prayer is taking our concerns to the one who cares for me

Prayer is to stand on holy ground…

Prayer is communicating with the creator of the world…(the one spoke this world into existence with a word…mountains, oceans, stars…)

Prayer is a child talking to His Father…

Prayer is bringing our hurts to the father of compassion and the God of all comfort…

Prayer is reaching out to our redeemer…

Prayer is crying out to the rock that is higher than we are…

Prayer is calling out to the only one who can save us…

Prayer is touching the one who loves us with an unfailing & unquenchable love…

Prayer is bringing our questions to the one who has the answers

Prayer is reaching out to the NEVER; tired, confused, afraid or taken by surprise God…

Prayer is connecting our lives with the ALL knowing, ALL present – and ALL powerful KING of kings…

Prayer is coming near to God…

Another point I would like to share with you, is when we are in the midst of our suffering we need to know the following:

God is always in control of our suffering. We may never know the full reasons for all the sufferings we endure, but we know that God will use our suffering for our good and His. God always has a purpose for what He does.

God always has a limit on the amount of suffering He allows for each of us. For instance, Satan could not touch Job’s life. Some saints like Job and Paul obviously have broader shoulders that enable them to suffer more for righteousness sake.

God’s presence will enable us to with stand the pressures of suffering if we turn to Him. If we cast our cares on Him, He will sustain us, but He may not remove our suffering until His perfect will is accomplished. Remember, “The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us”.

I was a blast getting into the basics of practical Christianity. James is such a powerful book because it gets down to the nuts and bolts on how we are to live our lives and what a healthy Christian looks like.

The next series and season, we will be teaching through the book of Ephesians. I know this will be a radical and revisionary study for us and I’m looking forward to sharing with you along the way what we are learning. As a reminder, you can always tune into our podcast either in iTunes or on our web site (

Family Get Away
Three weeks ago, the Lord blessed us with a quick family get away at the Nepean Country Club on the Mornington Peninsula. We had such an amazing week! We were able to just hang out as a family and not worry about anything – no meetings, counseling, phone calls, emails (which when I came back I had 395emails waiting for me). It was one of the most relaxing and restful weeks that I can remember, next to our honeymoon almost ten years ago. It was wonderful to take a breather from the stress and challenges we have had to face over the last couple of months. We are recharged and ready to hit it hard for the next season of ministry.

Niki’s Corner
Women’s Group: It’s been a challenging month! We have had to work through several issues that were causing uneasiness within the group. God is so faithful and we are now back on track. We are going to begin a new study from Beth Moore called “Breaking Free.” I believe with all my heart that the Lord is going to do something amazing with this study! Many of the women in this group have never addressed those wounds that have caused many strongholds in their lives. I can’t wait to see what He is going to do. We have also been blessed with 3 new additions to our group. Praise God!

Purity Series:
Wow! We have had an amazing start to this 6 week series. The girls are so open, and willing to discuss those difficult subjects. They are taking their commitment to stay pure very seriously. It’s just so amazing to work alongside the parents of these 4 beautiful girls. They are so supportive and have been actively doing their studies as well with the girls. I have seen such an amazing growth and unity within the group. Please continue to pray for this series, and that the Lord would give them the strength to live their lives pure and pleasing to Him.

Children’s Ministry:
We are doing a series on sharing our faith with others. We have made it a spy/detective theme. Every week the kids are sent on a secret mission to find out how specific people in the Bible and missionaries from around the world shared their faith with others. The kids are having a blast! My assistant director is a very talented artist and has created some amazing spy props. They just make this series come to life for the kids.

Crazy Weather
Last week during one of our thunder and lighting rain storms, it got so cold that it hailed. Part of our backyard was covered with a thin layer of snow, and the boys were able to make a few snowballs. Talk about some crazy weather!

Prayer Points
We have under 300 days before our visa expire. This next time we are applying for our permanent residency. Prayer for wisdom and provision (it will be close to $5000 for application process).

Pray for the continue protection of the church.

Pray for revival, for harvest, for the Lord to raise up more labors for the harvest.

Pray for wisdom, discernment, vision and focus, guidance, provision.

Pray for the next series and season of ministry as we teach through the book of Ephesians.

Pray for our family (Niki, Joshua, Christian, Andrew)

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and for your faithful support,

Pastor Andrew Russell
Andrew, Niki, Joshua, & Christian

The Aussie Connection December 2008


Can you believe it’s already December? Wow, this year has gone by fast! I think the older and busier you get, the faster time flies by. I don’t know about you but we always look forward to this time of the year. It’s a time to reflect on all that God has done in the past year, a time to celebrate the wonderful birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and a time to look ahead at the incredible and exciting adventures the Lord has for us in the year to come.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the Lord radically and outrageously bless you.

Leadership Insight on Resolving Differences
The past several months have been exciting for me. I’ve been reading and studying heaps of leadership, church planting, and prayer books. Here is one of the insights I’ve learned on resolving differences. Memories, both those that bless and those that bind, can be abused as well as used positively. If church leaders take credit for what God does, they rob Him of glory and become preoccupied with themselves. I

If the leaders criticize former pastors, they build resentment into the congregation. If the leaders bury the painful past and refuse to discuss it, they cut themselves off from God’s blessings for today and tomorrow. On the other hand, if they resolve differences, even among participants in the congregation, it can transform relationships within a church. Those who do not understand forgiveness and the power of praying for past offenders sometimes refuse to face old painful memories.

Wise church leaders walk in the light and are not afraid to embrace the truth. They recognize that the only thing they ever have to admit to is the truth, which is always a liberating friend. Such leaders know that neither they nor their churches are perfect. They claim God’s grace to release them from the bondage of the past. They feel the pain, release it through forgiveness and bless those who curse them. The result is freedom and joy. Peace replaces pain. Wisdom grows from poor judgment. People, even people in their church, have permission to fail or to meet expectations if they are attempting great things for Christ. Love, laughter and a sense of life mark these leaders and churches. Forgiveness prepares the way for tough love. If leaders sweep repeated offences under the rug, they will soon trip over them.

It’s time to see churches, leaders, and the pastors deal with issues that hinder the work of God in their lives. One of the reasons we have not seen revival in the church is because people are afraid to speak or hear the truth. There needs to be true repentance and forgiveness in order for people to walk in the Spirit, and in holiness and humility. My heart breaks for the churches and those individuals who are in such bondage, tied down by legalism, and are simply unhealthy. The choice is theirs if they want to be set free, but so many refuse to take that first step.

The list of these insights continue to grip and inspire me to be the best that I can as a pastor, a shepherd, a leader, a husband, a father, and a disciple of Jesus Christ. (Photo: Boyz time hanging out)

Turbulent Times
If you have ever flown on a plane, then I’m sure you have experienced turbulence. In life, we sometimes experience turbulent times or tough seasons, whether it’s health related, spiritual, or financial difficulty. These are the moments when our trust and faith in the Lord to provide are put to the test.

What we are about to share with you is difficult and humbling at the same time. Our hearts desire is to be completely open and honest with the amazing team that we have behind us. It requires us to lay down our pride and allow the Lord to work independent of how we feel. Over the past several months, our financial support has decreased and we are now starting to feel the effects.

First and foremost, could you please join us in prayer for the Lord’s provision for this ministry? Your prayers are so dear to us and give us the strength to push back against discouragement. If you feel lead by the Lord to support us financially, please send your support through Saving Grace World Missions (see support detail on pg 2)

We serve such an amazing God who tells us not to fear because He is our God and He is always walking beside us. In Isaiah 41, it says that He will give us the strength and help that we need; He will uphold us with His righteous right hand. I don’t know about you, but these words bring such comfort and peace to my heart.

We are so blessed to have each and every one of you on our support team. Your prayers are making a huge difference in the lives and ministry here in Melbourne.

Niki’s Corner
There have been several exciting and fun events that have taken place this past month. The Women’s Ministry pulled together and planned a fun night out to the city for Jennifer Bailey and Belinda Gloss’s birthdays. We had a great time of fellowship, and the Lord used this time to strengthen the relationships and unity within the group. (Photo: Preparing for Thanksgiving)

We also had our first Christmas Program practice at the ministry house. We shared a pizza dinner with the kids and then got down to business with the Christmas Concert practice. Wow, trying to control 14 kids in a small confined space is a bit challenging, nevertheless we survived. The kids did an excellent job! The next set of business was handing out parts for the Christmas Play. The children will be acting out “Just the Way You Are” by Max Lucado. They seemed very excited and were attentive during the practice. All in all I would call the night a success – thanks to all the wonderful and dedicated Children’s Ministry staff. (Photo: Friends over for Thanksgiving)

Our last event for the month of November was Thanksgiving. We were able to share this special holiday with several families from our congregation. Wow, there is a lot of preparation for this feast, especially when you are feeding 20 people. I was able to follow my family’s good old southern recipes, and everything turned out delicious (even our little 8 pound turkeys Lafonda and Bertha). I definitely could not have done this feast alone. Thanks to the help of Jenn, Belinda and my wonderful husband, Thanksgiving turned out amazing and everyone seemed to have a great time

Prayer Points

Please pray for wisdom, health, vision and focus.

Pray for the church here to continue to get spiritually healthy

Pray for the protection over our family and the church.

Pray for provision for our ministry.

Great Quote

People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound.

To stay posted on what we are doing in the church and our services, log on to:

Pray that you have great day.

Blessings to you and until next time,
Pastor Andrew Russell

Andrew, Niki, Joshua, & Christian

August 2008

G’day mates,

I hope you are having a fantastic day! I know over the last week with the sudden shock of the earthquake and the news of Christopher Laurie’s (Pastor Greg Laurie’s son) tragic accident, it can be an emotional and draining time. One thing to keep in mind through it all is that God’s is sovereign and in control. We never know when our time or our loved ones time here on earth is up; therefore, we need to live our lives wholeheartedly for the Lord and be prepared each day as if it were our last.

With that in mind, I do want each and everyone of you to know how much I appreciate your friendship, your prayers, your support, and for your constant love. It is such an honor and privilege to have you on our team (the Aussie Connection) partnering with us. We would not be able to reach the people here in Melbourne, Australia without you. I know that each and every member of our congregation also sends their love and gratitude for supporting and praying for us.

Next Season of Ministry

We are so thankful for the time of rest and refreshment that we were able to receive while on furlough in the states. What a blessing it was to spend time with our family, friends and many of our supporters. It usually takes several weeks to adjust back to full time ministry, but we have hit the ground running and are ready to plow ahead. This last Sunday, we had a phenomenal turn out in church and a fantastic luncheon and fellowship time afterwards.

This seemed like a key moment in the life of the church, we are seeing how God is working in the lives of the people and how they are getting healthier and healthier. We have had a steady growth of new families attending.

In this next season of ministry, we are focusing more on prayer, discipleship, and outreach. We will be strategically implementing each of these essential elements into the church. We have already seen some amazing results over the past several weeks, with these elements being the essential focus.

Recent Conviction

The Lord has been convicting me and has pressed upon my heart the need to spend more time at His feet in prayer. I need to bath my family, the congregation, the churches, the community, and the country in prayer if I want to be used to make an eternal difference in the lives of the people here in Australia.

If we have a need, we pray. If we have a problem, we pray. If we need healing, we pray. Prayer is what will make the difference. If we want to see a harvest of souls, we need to pray. If we want to see revival, we need to pray. It is that simple, yet so hard to do because of time, business, or our willingness.

As followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to make prayer a priority in our lives. Will you commit to pray more this month than you have last month? Will you take the time to pray for your family, for lost souls to come to Christ, for the Lord to bless your church, to intercede for the missionaries, and for your country?

Children’s Ministry

What an exciting month! We had our graduation ceremony for the completion of the Armor of God series, and are half way through our 6 week Missions Curriculum. The kids are going on exciting and fun adventures every week where they get to visit and learn about a variety of different countries, and the missionaries that God used there.

They have been on an African Safari, have visited the jungles of Ecuador and have experienced a glimpse of India. Next week we will be visiting China and exploring the culture, food, language and the persecution that the Christians face there. We are very blessed to have several children’s ministry leaders who speak Chinese and can give an insight into this culture.

It has been such a blessing to be a part of the children’s lives here at Calvary Chapel Melbourne. They are an amazing group of kids that love the Lord with all their hearts. It has been wonderful to see God continue to bless and add to this ministry. It touches my heart to hear the parents say that their kids love coming to church to learn about Jesus.

It has also been an amazing time for the Children’s Ministry leaders. We are now experiencing a new found unity within the team. Everyone has come together and really stepped up to make this missions curriculum the best that we can for the children. I am so proud of all the hard work and dedication the team has put into making this series a life changing and memorable one for the kids. Would you please pray that the Lord would continue to strengthen, bless, and unite the leaders?

Special Thanks

We would also like to say thank you Jim Russell (my pops) for being such a blessing to us. Thank you for bringing the family home, for your love and support, and for your constant prayer and dedication to serving the Lord wherever the need. May the Lord bless and keep you, may his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.

Prayer Request

for wisdom, guidance and vision

for continued finances and prayer support

for health and strength

for God’s anointing in teaching and pastoring

for a fresh poring of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Hope you have great day. Until next time….

Blessings to you and until next time,

Pastor Andrew Russell

Andrew, Niki, Joshua, & Christian

June 2008

The Aussie Connection

A Newsletter – From the Russell Family

Calvary Chapel Melbourne, Australia

June, 2008 Volume 2, Number 11

Greetings Beloved,

I hope you are doing fantastic! We have been in Southern California for several weeks, and have adjusted well to the time change. We’ve had a couple of bouts of sickness, but God is good and we are all on the upswing. No matter how many times you travel, it is always an adventure and journey; from dealing with the airlines, customs, and one of your children getting very nauseous and vomiting several times during the flight. However, it is great to be back in the States, and was a blessing to attend the Senior Pastor’s Conference in Murrieta. We are excited to spend time with family & friends, and as many of our supporters as possible.

I’m still in awe at how quickly these past two years have flown by. It’s exciting to see the momentum and the slow transformation in the church and in the leadership team. What an honor and privilege to be invited to Melbourne to pastor this amazing church. What a tremendous responsibility it is to shepherd and take care of the souls of the people here.

We would like to say thank you so much for your diligent prayer and financial support. We could not be pastoring this church and making a difference in this beautiful country with out you. It is teamwork that gets the job done. The fruit and rewards go to your account because of your faithful support

Latest news on our Visa

We are sill in the process of renewing our visas for another two years.

While we are back in the states, we need to have a new FBI background check completed. God has been so good and faithful! We just received the clearance on the background check. This has taken care of almost everything that we needed to get done on our end. We have to re-file several of the churches paperwork and statues so that we can qualify as a sponsoring church. After all the paperwork is processed, it then becomes another waiting period. Please keep praying for grace and favor with the Immigration Department, and especially for the supervisor (Theresa).

Looking Forward

While we are trying to get some rest and refreshment, we are really looking forward to getting back to start our third year of plowing, planting, watering, caring for, teaching, encouraging, building up, and equipping the people at Calvary Melbourne.

We know it takes time to see the fruit and to see the results, but that is in the Lord’s hands. We are to be faithful to that call He has placed on us to pastor and shepherd the flock of Calvary Melbourne. The vision for this next year is to place a greater emphasis on becoming a prayer and evangelistic saturated church.

Prayer Request

for the renewal of our Visa

for a time of rest and refreshment while visiting in California for the next several weeks (for Niki and the boys, Andrew is back in Australia now)

for wisdom and vision for the next year in Australia

for continued finances and prayer support

Just in case you were wondering and thinking:

Why Men Are Happier Than Women?
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
Wedding dress $5000. Tuxedo rental – $100.
One mood all the time.
A five-day holiday requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness,
If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
You only have to shave your face and neck.
You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife.

No wonder men are happier!

Hope you have great day. Until next time….

Blessings to you and until next time,
Pastor Andrew Russell Andrew, Niki, Joshua, & Christian

May 2008 Update

The Aussie Connection

A Newsletter – From the Russell Family
Calvary Chapel Melbourne, Australia
Volume 2 #10

Greetings Beloved,

I pray that you are having a magnificent day! Isn’t the Lord our God amazing? I stand in awe of His loving-kindness, mercy and grace. We have been so blessed to have spent the last two years of our lives serving here in beautiful Melbourne Australia, and are looking forward to what the Lord has for us in this upcoming year.

We would like to personally thank all of our supporters for their prayers, encouraging words, and faithful support. You have heard us say it many times before, but it’s so true, that we could not accomplish all that God has set before us without the team back home behind us. Thank you so much for partnering in the ministry with us.

School of Ministry (in-depth discipleship)
This has been a positive, productive and important element in developing, equipping, and training our key leadership team. It’s been a blast to talk them through many valuable leadership topics. God has done some amazing things through this time of one-on-one fellowship; we have seen some real breakthroughs and have overcome many hurdles that were standing in the way of their leadership development. I feel that God has used this time to lay the foundation for our future staff here at Calvary Chapel Melbourne.

Visa Update
Here is the latest news! We are still in the renewing process; all of the required paperwork has been turned in and we are now waiting for a response from the Immigration Department. We believe wholeheartedly that the Lord wants us to continue the work He has started here in Melbourne and we have faith that God will provide a way for us to stay in country and complete the work that He has called us to do. We will keep you posted, and as soon as we get word of approval you will be receiving an email of Celebration and Excitement! It will be a huge victory, and all of the glory will be given to our wonderful and mighty Lord. (Photo: Joshua playing soccer)

A recent question: What’s it like to be a pastor?
This is my tenth year of active involvement in church leadership, both as a volunteer and as a staff member. People often ask me, “What is it like to be a pastor?” I have a common answer – “I find ministry extremely fulfilling yet

On the fulfilling side – what an honor and a privilege to be used by God to make a difference in peoples lives; what a joy it is to see people come to Christ and grow in their faith and love for the Lord. It is a wonderful thing to see teams of people working together using their gifts to build God’s

On the challenging side: ministry stretches you to the maximum – it constantly pulls you out of your comfort zone and at times can be very physically, emotionally and spiritually draining. There is a tremendous amount of
responsibility and pressure as a leader, and the problems and challenges you face don’t often have easy solution.

The apostle Paul, one of the great leaders of the church in the first century had a similar perspective on ministry. He saw ministry as a huge privilege and something he was willing to give his life for. He loved the reward of seeing
people come to Christ, churches planted and the gospel impacting communities. However, he also found ministry very challenging (see 2 Cor.4:8-9; 6:3-10; 7:5).

My Top 5 challenges right now are: (1) keeping fresh, (2) not having enough time to accomplish all that I would like to, (3) building emotional sustainability, (4) raising up more leaders, and (5) moving to a higher level of spiritual
effectiveness. There are many more … but we’ll leave it at that for now.

All of us have challenges, no matter who we are or how things look on the outside. Many of you have challenges that make mine look pretty insignificant – a debilitating sickness; a struggling marriage, family conflict or singleness issues; timepressures (balancing a busy career, family and a ministry),
fatigue (you’re tired and run down); financial pressures that are beyond you’re ability to solve in the short term or personal internal issues that you grapple with every day (habits of life that you’re trying to change).

What do you do when facing challenges? Here are a few
things that have helped me along the way …

1. Believe that your challenges have the potential to make you strong.

The very process of facing and dealing with life’s challenges is how we become strong people. You can’t develop ‘strength’ without pressure and without a degree of stress (and sometimes even pain). The hard times can make us

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” [African

How we think about our challenges is vital. The quality of ‘resilience’ is the ability to successfully meet and surmount challenges, obstacles, and problems. This quality is not hereditary and it has nothing to do with your talent or even
your anointing. It has to do with your way of thinking – how you look at and interpret life’s challenges.

Paul tells us that, “God is working all things (this includes challenges!) together for our ultimate benefit because we love God and are called according to his purpose.” I believe that it is essential that each one of us has a clear sense of the call of God for our life and ministry, and then embrace a strong belief in the sovereignty of God and in his goodness.

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” [Mother Teresa]

2. Do what you can to overcome them.
Don’t give in or just come under the challenge. Give your best efforts to face it head on and believe for a solution. Give it your best prayers, your best thinking and your best energy. There’s always something you can do to either completely conquer the challenge or at least minimize its impact.
Sometimes there are tough choices to be made, changes to be embraced and maybe even compromises where we have to choose less than the ideal. Sometimes you need to try a different approach – a different tack. Look at it a different way or do something different about it. Don’t ignore your
challenges and try not to be overwhelmed by them. Refuse to just give up and become a ‘victim’. Determine to be a ‘victor’ no matter how long it takes. Amen
“Call unto me and I will answer thee, show ye great and mighty things” – Jeremiah 33:3

Home leave
We will be coming home for a visit at the end of May! We are so excited and are looking forward to spending as much time as possible with family and friends. We would also like to connect with as many supporters as possible and
answer any questions that you may have about the work that God is doing here down under.

Prayer Points
The renewal of visas – the process to go quickly

A greater passion for the Word of God and for the people of

For the anointing of the Spirit upon our lives and the church

For strength and guidance.

For protection, discernment, and guidance.

For wisdom in making decisions.

Provision in finances – monthly support and for home leave.

Just to let you know
Here is our churches web site.

Blessings to you and until next time,

Pasttor Andrew Russellll
Andrew,, Niikii,, Joshua, & Chriisttiian

March 2008 Update


I pray you are doing great! I don’t know about you, but this month just flew by and I’m now barely finding my way through the dust. These past few months have been amazing; the Lord is working, molding, and shaping us and the church into what He wants us to be. As a family we are doing wonderful. We have become closer than ever before and are spending more quality time together. Niki and I have been stretched in the ministry and in our marriage like never before. During this stretching time we are trusting in the Lord for strength, help, provision, and daily wisdom.

Here’s an example of a stretching moment: this past Sunday our sound system failed and we had to wing service with no PA system. It was great to see the team pull together and make due with what we had.

Do you have a vision and a burden for revival?

As you know from our last newsletter, we are doing a 40 day prayer and fasting campaign. We have two weeks to ago, but man it’s been an awesome experience. I’m sensing the intimacy with the Lord and the desire for prayer, intercession and revival. I would like to share with you some of the questions that have challenged me during this time.

1. Do I have a vision and a burden for revival?

2. Am I convinced that it is the will of God to bring a great spiritual awakening in our nation? And does my prayer life reflect this?

3. If revival for our nation depended on my prayer life, do I believe that God would bring it?

4. Am I waiting on God and letting Him search my heart and motives in relation to revival? Does it matter where God starts to pour out His Spirit? Do I have any preconceived ideas, preferences, and suggestions?

If you’ve joined us for this time of prayer and fasting, I would like to hear what the Lord has placed upon your heart. Please email me your thoughts. If you are interested in the materials, please feel free to email me or go to my web site at:

Words of Encouragement
Each Month I would like to add this section to our newsletter.

Lately this verse has really been ministering to my heart: Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Here is an insight on how it has spoken to us in our marriage.

It’s one of the major plagues that can kill a marriage; weariness, exhaustion, fatigue. We give and give until we have nothing more to give physically, emotionally, or mentally. We’re too tired to talk, let alone listen; too exhausted to make love or even think about it. Have you fallen victim to weariness in you’re your life and in your marriage?

The Word of God talks much about this state of exhaustion and the many factors which can bring it about. Sometimes waiting is the reason for our weariness. The Psalmist said, “I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.” (Psalm 69:3). Constant criticism or harassment by others can also induce weariness; “I am weary with my sighing; every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief; it has become old because of all my adversaries” (Psalm 6:6-7)

Often, mental or emotional weariness is the cause of our physical weariness. We attempt to take on the worries of the world, thus overloading our selves mentally or emotionally.

What’s the answer to this problem? Part of the solution is being aware when your partner is weary. Listen when your partner needs to unload. Maybe you can shoulder some of the load. But the real answer is found in scripture: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matt 11:28-30). By spending time with our Lord in prayer and just resting in His presence, you can discover how He can refresh you. Let Jesus Christ be your source of strength. “Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Heb. 12:3). (photo: On Your Mark Get Set, GO!)

Niki’s section:

Children’s Ministry
It has been an awesome, exciting and exhausting month! I mentioned in our last newsletter that we were going to be starting an 18 week journey through the Armor of God. Well, we just finished up week 4, and it has been the craziest and funnist time I have ever had in Children’s Ministry. Jennifer Bailey and I have had so much fun coming up with out of the box ideas on how to make the scriptures come alive to the children. We have dressed up in army fatigues with whistles, hats, boots – you name it we’ve worn it; created a 3d battle scene board to talk about Satan’s Battle plan against us; we’ve done some crazy obstacle courses, and our latest throwing socks filled with baby powder at our kids chest to make the point that we need to protect our hearts from our enemy. I am very blessed to be able to work along side of someone like Jennifer; who not only loves the Lord and serves Him with all her heart, but dedicates her time and energy to the kids at CCMA. (photo below: I see you, J!)

Easter Sunday March 23rd

Impact (community outreach) March 24th-28th

May – renewal of visas (Lord willing)

June – Pastors Conference and home leave

Insight of the month
I came across a great definition of what an idol is. “An idol is something or someone that takes priority in our life over the Lord Jesus Christ, in either our thinking, time, affection, or loyalty; or it hinders our obedience to God. It involves doing our own things

Verse of the month
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1Cor. 15:58)

Prayer request:
The renewal of visas – the process to go quickly

A greater passion for the Word of God and for the people of Australia.

For the anointing of the Spirit upon our lives and the church

For strength and guidance as we home school Joshua this year

For protection, discernment, and guidance.

For wisdom in making decisions.

Provision in finances – monthly support and for home leave.

Just to let you know

Here is our churches web site:

Here is our “Aussie Connection” web site:

Blessings to you and until next time,

Pastor Andrew Russell
Andrew, Niki, Joshua, and Christian

Contact info: home address

3 Walton Court
Narre Warren,
VIC, 3805 Australia

011-61-3-9796-7771 = home #
011-61-4-3456-2543 = mobile (cell) #

Email address:

Sending Support address:

Saving Grace World Missions
17451 Bastanchury Road, Suite 203
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

(714) 993-4801
Memo line: the Russell’s in Australia

The Aussie Connection

A Newsletter – From the Russell Family

Calvary Chapel Melbourne, Australia

February, 2008 Volume 2, Number 7

Greetings in the Name of the Lord,

I hope all is well and your new year is off to a great start. I pray that with the many goals and aspirations ahead, your eyes are kept on Jesus Christ. Sometimes our days can be so packed full of tasks that we may feel overwhelmed like were drowning in the sea of life. The more we gaze at our situation or circumstance, the more we want to hide or take that walk to a secluded place where there are no worries.

Maybe you can relate. I have found that the crazier life and ministry becomes, the more I need to trust in the Lord. Once I take my eyes off of Him and look at my circumstances, the more overwhelmed, stressed, scared, fearful, anxious and worried I become. When I don’t have the peace of God in my life, I know that I’m in sin and not trusting in the Lord. So God’s peace is the thermostat or barometer in my life.

This is what the Lord has been speaking and teaching me over the last several months.

I need to trust that the Lord will provide for our finances, He will protect us from harms way and from the enemy, He will bless us if we are obeying Him, and He will use us if we are abiding in Him.

40 days of Prayer and Fasting
On Feb 4th we will be starting a 40 days of Prayer and Fasting campaign. Each week we will be fasting and praying over specific things. If you are either interested in the materials, please feel free to email me or go to my web site at :

What’s New in Children’s Ministry?
On February 3rd, we will be starting an eighteen week program on The Armor of God. We have put together an exciting and fun curriculum that covers all of the Children’s Ministry age groups: (Crèche 0-4yrs); Adventure Kids (Kindergarten –grade 4) and the Junior High Group (5-8th grade). We will be introducing, The Armor of God With an Army Boot Camp theme: There will be lots of Sir Yes Sir’s! and Mam Yes Mam’s! We have had such a blast creating this curriculum and are very excited to see how the Lord is going to use His word to touch the hearts and lives of the children here at Calvary Melbourne.

We will also have our first Children’s Ministry training this month. Please be in prayer that the volunteers will come with an open heart and desire to learn, grow and gain insight on how to teach the children more effectively.

What’s Next on the Russell’s Agenda?
We are going to be applying for our Visa extension, so we will have another two more years to serve here. It is amazing how quickly these past two years of gone. Please pray for a quick process.

We are getting close to finalizing our home leave trip in June. I’m hoping to attend the Senior Pastors conference during the first week of June. Then we will try to visit with as many as possible over the next two weeks. The airfare has gone up more than $2000 than last year. So we are trying to do all we can to make it. Please pray for the provision and funds.

Leadership Quote of the month
“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” — Stephen R. Covey

Verse of the month
Mark 6:31 And he said unto them, “Come apart by yourselves into a desert place, and rest a while”

Prayer request:
A greater passion for the Word of God and for the people of Australia.

For the anointing of the Spirit upon our lives and the churc

For strength and guidance as we home school Joshua this year

For protection, discernment, and guidance.

For wisdom in making decisions.

Provision in finances – monthly support and for home leave.

Just to let you know
Here is our churches web site:

Here is our “Aussie Connection” web site that I’m trying to develop:

Blessings to you and until next time,
Pastor Andrew Russell
Andrew, Niki, Joshua, and Christian

Contact info:
3 Walton Court
Narre Warren,
VIC, 3805 Australia

011-61-3-9796-7771 = home #
011-61-4-3456-2543 = mobile (cell) #

Email address:

Sending Support address:
Saving Grace World Missions
17451 Bastanchury Road, Suite 203
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
(714) 993-4801

Memo line: the Russell’s in Australia

January 2008

G’day and Happy New Year,

What was 2007 like for you? Was it an awesome year? Or was it challenging and your just glad its over? We all have different thoughts and experiences, but the one thing I keep coming back to is no matter what circumstance I happen to go through, whether uplifting or difficult, the Lord is sovereign, in control and will remain on the throne.

I believe I grew more in my walk with the Lord this year than all my previous years as a Christian. I recently turned 33 years old and have just discovered heaps of gray hair. The pressure, stress, challenges, and adventure over the past year and a half has been demanding yet I’ve had such a blast.

The past several weeks have been surreal. We had our first outdoor service followed by a baptism, sausage sizzle, and lots of fun games for the kids. The turnout was fantastic, one of the largest we have experienced here at Calvary Melbourne.

The following week we had a wonderful Christmas service that included a poem and singing program by our Children’s Ministry.

Following the service we all came together for a Christmas Party where we had a great time of fellowship and a fabulous sit down lunch. It was exciting to see the amount of people in the fellowship make an effort to attend the party; there were just over 60 people which is close to triple the size of last year.

Niki’s Surprise!

Niki’s mom Pat and I put together a last minute plan to surprise Niki and the boys for Christmas. Pat and her granddaughter Crystal came in on the 20th of December, and boy was everyone surprised! I wish I had a picture that captured the emotion and shock on Niki’s face. It was fantastic! We all had been a bit homesick, and it was just the right time for Pat and Crystal to come for a visit. We had a wonderful Christmas and were so blessed to be with family. It put wind back in the sails for us to press on for another 6months.

The weather is just crazy

We had several cool and rainy days causing flooding in various cities, and then the next 4 days were extremely hot. When I say Hot I mean hot! One of the days reached 109 degrees.

We did a prophecy update on our last service for 2007. For some, this was their first time hearing about end time events and prophecies. It’s always exciting to let people know about our Lord’s return, and to see how everything is lining up just as the scripture has prophesied.

This last week I had such an overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance by not only our congregation here, but from family, friends, and all of our supporters. It is a privilege to represent and to an ambassador for Christ here in Oz. Thank you for always being there for us, you are a huge blessing!

Point to ponder

The other day I was thinking about prayer and what we could do to reach our city. Here are some thoughts that came to mind. To reach our cities, Christ must reach His church. He must convict our hearts of the arrogance and pride, the jealousy and selfish ambition that have clouded our vision. We must be cleansed of these sins so Jesus can unite us against evil.

Along these lines, here is a verse that convicted me the more I meditated on it, “And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it” (Luke 19:41). If Jesus came today and gazed upon His church in its carnality and division, if He probed into our prayerlessness and lack of outreach, would tears flood His eyes over our cities, even as he wept over Jerusalem?

Time and time again He has called us to humble ourselves and to be united; our heartfelt prayers allow Him to heal our land. The lack of blessing in our cities is not God’s fault, nor is it only because of the sins of the world. A number of our national problems are because the church has been caught up in its own agenda and programs. We have disdained Christ’s call to obedience and prayer.

Maybe we are waiting for God to do something to unite us. Perhaps we are waiting for revival before we truly obey Him. We must see that revival follows obedience, not obedience after revival.

Unless there is a buffer of prayer and an aggressive move of God in our city, it will only be a matter of time before it is invaded by the advancing flood of evil. God has placed the responsibility for our cities upon our shoulders. It is time for us to take our responsibility seriously. Let’s make a difference in our churches and cities in 2008. Amen.

Did you know? Interesting statistics about Australia:
There are over 21million people here in Australia, in which a total of six million Australians receive government welfare.

A massive 17 percent of the adult Australian population is functionally illiterate, or unable to read basic medical instructions (according to a UN report 2006).

A 1995 study, Quality in Australian healthcare, indicated as many as 50,000 patients were injured and 18,000 died each year due to medical and hospital errors.

Leadership Quote
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” (Unknown)

Upcoming dates
Feb 3rd starts a new term for the schools and children’s ministry
March 23rd – Easter
Last week of March 24th-28th – our citywide outreach – Impact
June – visit to the States for Pastor’s Conf and family vacation.
July – starts our 3rd year here in Australia. WOW, How fast time as gone!

Prayer request:
Wisdom in making decisions.
Provision in finances.
A greater passion for the Word of God and for the people of Australia.
For the anointing of the Spirit upon our lives and the church
For strength and guidance as we home school Joshua this year
For protection, discernment, and guidance.

Quick poll –
We are trying to streamline our newsletters so we can be more efficient and provide better to service to our supporters.

How would you prefer to receive the newsletter? (Please hit reply for your response)
Word doc
The entire newsletter in email with no attachments
Link to a website – and you look it up on the web
Just to let you know

Here is our churches web site:

Blessings to you and until next time,

Pastor Andrew Russell
Andrew, Niki, Joshua, and Christian

Contact info:
3 Walton Court
Narre Warren,
VIC, 3805 Australia

011-61-3-9796-7771 = home #
011-61-4-3456-2543 = mobile (cell) #
Email address:  ccma@calvarychapel. com

December 2007 Update

We wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Latest News

This past month has been one of the toughest that I have ever had to go through in ministry. The issues that arose within the church were relentless. It has been a refining and pruning process, but at the same time, an exciting journey. During this type of process we not only grow personally but the congregation grows as well.

We encountered many obstacles with Immigration concerning Jennifer Bailey’s visa. It was frustrating dealing with the government on this issue. Her two year religious workers visa was denied, but the Lord is still on the throne and Jennifer will be joining us here shortly in Australia on a different type of visa. We are definitely blessed to have her back.

The Election Result

As you may have heard in the news this past week, we now have a new Prime Minister here in Australia (which is like the President in the U.S.). The Labor Party has taken over the cabinet and is similar to our Democratic Party. The voting system is quite a bit different from the states. In Australia you are required and expected to vote and can get fined over one hundred dollars if you fail to do so. The new government is endorsing same-sex couples, and they will now enjoy many of the same rights as married couples do under these new laws. This allows gay and lesbians to register their relationships. We definitely need prayers concerning the new government and the new policies they will bring.

Men’s Retreat

We just had our second men’s retreat this year. It was an awesome time seeking the Lord together and to examine some lessons on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Along with that I handed out a spiritual inventory for personal evaluations. It was an eye opener for all, and a turning point for many of the men in there walk with the Lord.

Women’s and Children’s Ministry

What’s new in Women’s Ministry! God is doing some wonderful work through this ministry. Over the past month, I feel that the Lord has begun the healing process for many of the women. They are beginning to understand what it means to put the past behind them and run in the freedom that Christ offers. They are growing stronger in God’s Word, and building Christ centered relationships.

We had an exciting end of the year concert for the CRE (Christian Religious Education) Program. Over 300 children attended this Christ centered Christmas concert. It was so amazing and overwhelming to see all of these kids having a wonderful time worshiping the Lord and hearing the real meaning behind Christmas – Christ’s birth. Please be in prayer for next year’s program. Many of the volunteers will not be able to teach next year due to other commitments. Please pray that the Lord would touch the hearts of those in the congregation and help us take hold of this wonderful opportunity to teach the gospel in the schools.

Plans for the next year

We have 6months left on our current visa, and are planning to renew and file for an extension for another 2 years. Please keep this process in your prayers. For the next six months, we will continue to push and focus on training, equipping, raising up and pouring out all that we have into the leaders here. I say that just in case immigration doesn’t allow us to renew our visa. It is an overwhelming thought, but we know that this is the Lord’s Church and He is in control. Our hearts desire is to continue the work here in Australia, but we do need to be prepared just in case we have to transition out.

We would also like to take a home leave for the month of June. The first week is the annual Senior Pastors conference in Murrieta that I would love to be able to attend, and the next two-three weeks would be visiting and vacation time. It’s been over two and half years since we took our last real family vacation which was only four days long. We are trying to save each month and put this money toward buying our tickets. We are almost half way there in funds, but would appreciate if you could keep this up in prayer. If you felt led to contribute financially please send these contributions through Saving Grace World Missions. We are looking forward to spending as much time with family and friends as possible.

Just to let you know

Here is our churches web site:

Thank you for another phenomenal year!

In my devotion in the other day, I was reflecting on when David commissioned Solomon to build the house of the Lord. “The people rejoiced because they had offered – willingly and made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart…..”

I thank God for your willingness to cover us in your prayers and in the financial support. It’s has been a joy to serve the Lord in this ministry with you. Thank you for holding the other end of the rope and for being on our team.

Nov. 2007 Update

G’day Mate,

I hope you are doing great! Here is another wonderful update on what the Lord is doing here down under. We are overwhelmed by the encouraging responses from last month’s newsletter. We are thankful for your encouragement and support. It has not only uplifted our spirits, but also put the wind back in our sails to keep pressing on. It’s so easy to get disheartened, frustrated, and tired when you’re on the frontline getting hit, knocked down and criticized. As a good friend said to me, “Satan is a loser”. Whenever we are going through a difficult circumstance or a time of discouragement, please let’s come together pray and encourage one another. Amen.

Harvest Crusade in Wellington

Last weekend, I was blessed to be able to take another local pastor with me over to the Wellington Harvest crusade in New Zealand. This other pastor is in-charge of a local combined outreach we have planed for next year. I was hoping this experience would help him catch the vision for having a Harvest here in Melbourne, and also to help shape and refine the outreach we are presenting in 08’. I see areas with the current event schedule that need to be refined if it’s going to be productive and reach the people. I was hoping he would see the structure and presentation of the Harvest and have an open mind for Calvary to bring a revival crusade in for three days of the combined outreach. I just received a response from this pastor and he is unwilling to change his agenda, and everything will proceed as planned. (photo: Sunday Morning Service)

The Lords Protection

Over the past several months, we have seen the Lord protect the church from potential division, disaster, and devastation. Without getting into detail, let me just say the Lord has weeded out some potential predators and those who seem to have their own agenda. Praise the Lord for being so faithful, sovereign, good and gracious. Confrontation is difficult, especially when the situation involves asking someone to move on, but it is necessary to protect the flock and the people in the church. It is not up for negotiation. Please keep praying for protection, provision, and wisdom in the church. (photo below: New members in the Youth Group)

Women’s Ministry

We just finished our first book together (Becoming a Women of Purpose), and are about to begin our second (Becoming a Women of Freedom). It is so exciting to see the same women on a consistent basis. God is so good and faithful. The women are beginning to open up and establish friendships and relationships that are based on Christ. Please be in prayer that God would give me the wisdom and strength to come along side and encourage these lovely women. Please pray for victory over depression, anxiety, and past wounds so these women can move forward in their walk with the Lord and be all that God has called them to be. (photo below: My off site office.)

Here are some questions some have been asking (and our answers):

Q: What’s it like living in another country?

A: It is different – culturally –they don’t deal with conflict or issues, and tend to be a lazy society. It is also a real hit a miss with commitment at any level.

Q: Do you miss home (the states)?

A: Yes we do. We have moments and seasons where we would love to be back in the states, but we know that this (here in Melbourne) is where the Lord has called us. We definitely miss family.

Q: Tell me something interesting about Australia?

A. Well, did you know that one in five people have a mental illness? Depression and anxiety are the greatest issues that the people face.

Q: What are some new things happening in your local area?

A: We have a mosque being built just down the road from our church. Please pray for protection and for an opportunity to reach out to the Muslims in our community.

Q: What is the exchange rate for the US dollar?

A: The Exchange rate – Over the past year, the exchange rate has continued to drop. As of now, we have an advantage of just about 8 cents to the dollar. When we first moved here, we had over 30 cents to the dollar. It has definitely become tighter and tighter to live on what support we have coming in from the States. We are looking to build up the support a bit more so it doesn’t become such a struggle to make ends meet. The Lord knows our needs and it’s been awesome to learn to trust in the Lord to provide for everything.

Q: What has the Lord been teaching you lately?

A: to keep my heart and mind focused on Him; to be faithful and persistent in leading and pastoring; to press on no matter how difficult things may seem; and to know that God is sovereign and that God’s work done God’s way will not lack God’s support.

Prayer Points !!!!

The request at this time is:

Pray for health, provision, and wisdom for our family.

Pray that I would be the best pastor and teacher that I can possibly be.

Pray for revival, for an out-pouring of the Spirit of God on this place.

Pray for the Lord to bless and protect the church

Pray for Jennifer Bailey and the visa application process, pray for rest and refreshment, provision, and for the approval of the visa.

We Praise and thank God for your prayers and your support

Words can’t express how thankful we are for your prayers and financial support. Without you praying and supporting, we would not be able to serve here. Thank you for being apart of the team. May the Lord bless you and provide for you in ways that the Lord gets the glory.

Until the Whole World Hears,

Pastor Andrew Russell
Andrew, Niki, Joshua, and Christian

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things.” Jer. 33:3

Contact info:

3 Walton Court
Narre Warren,
VIC, 3805 Australia

011-61-3-9796-7771 = home #
011-61-4-3456-2543 = cell #