December 25, 2006
Personal Update: Merry Christmas! After opening gifts in the morning, we had a little Christmas gathering at our place. Since most of our Japanese friends have to work (today is not a holiday in Japan) the group was mostly foreigners (see picture on right). We had a good time of eating and hanging out, but now we are tired and ready for a day off.
December 24, 2006
Today we had a wonderful day at SIBC as we celebrated our first Christmas in our new facility. We had a good crowd, about 65 people in all. After the worship service, we had a Christmas Celebration which included a potluck luncheon, Christmas songs, special performances by our Sunday school classes, a Christmas quiz game and a visit by Santa (who made it clear that Jesus was the real reason for Christmas). Luke's Sunday school class did a rap called "He Will Rock You" (to the tune of "We Will Rock You.") It was very creative (Thanks Chikako!) and really cute. In the photo below, Luke is third from the left and Chris is second from the right.
December 19, 2006
Personal Update: Today, Luke's kindergarten held its annual Christmas program, with each class putting on a short drama. One class always does the Christmas story, while the other two classes do other Christian-themed productions. This year, Luke's class did the story of "The Three Trees." In one of the scenes, Luke played Jesus who was asleep in the boat with his disciples (see photo below). His two lines went off without a hitch. In fact, many people commented how clear his Japanese was. We were proud of him. After the production, all the kids and parents met in the classroom for a time of singing and gifts. The picture on the right is of Luke with his teacher (Motoka-sensei) and some of his classmates.
December 3, 2006
I just posted Issue 47 of "A Minute with the Masons." Also, here is at least one photo of the inside of the sanctuary. More pictures will appear soon on our "Media" page.
November 26, 2006
Building Update: Praise the Lord! Today we had the first service in our new facility. Our goal for the day was not to celebrate our new rooms, but rather to celebrate the God who provided them for us. The service was marked by a time of extended worship and group prayer as we called out to the Lord fro His presence and glory to fill the place. We still have a bit more work to do on the place, but when that is finished, we will post some pictures.
November 23, 2006
Church Update: Taking advantage of the national holiday in Japan, SIBC had a church outing at near-by Mt. Makio. The event included Japanese BBQ, singing and testimony. This was followed by a hike to the top of the mountain which boasts a free 300 foot roller slide (Luke went dow 12 times)! The forecast called for rain, but the Lord kept us dry all day. About 40 people joined us, including some who came to a church event for the very first time. We are thankful for such a wonderful time of fellowship. You can watch a slideshow video of the event here.
November 21, 2006
Church Update: With the help of the Epic guys, we were finally able to move our stuff into our new rooms this evening at about 8:30 p.m.. The rooms are nice, but we have a lot of work to do in order to be unpacked and ready to go by Sunday.
November 19, 2006
Church Update: Today we held a special worship service at the youth hostel in Hamadera Park. This was our transition service as we are still waiting for our new rooms to be completed. Our special guests were three friends from Epic Church in America. From left to right they are James Yeung, Rick Tamashiro and Greg Nakata. Rick shared his testimony, Greg performed a couple of his songs on the guitar and James gave a short message from the word of God. We really enjoyed our fellowship with these guys and greatly appreciated their service to us during this time of transition.
November 13, 2006
Building Update: Yesterday was the final service in our old building. It was a good time to both remember the past and look ahead to the future. Then today we moved all of the stuff into our new building. Actually, our new rooms are not completed yet, so we have put the entire church into 2 spare rooms in the building. Once the construction of our rooms are complete, we will have to move everything AGAIN! We hope to have the first service in our new building on Nov. 26th. Here is a group picture of our last day in the Daikin Building followed by a picture of Noji (one of the church leaders) after all of our stuff has been moved out.
October 29, 2006
Building Update: Today we finally signed a contract for our new worship space. This means that the inside construction can begin soon. Currently the room is one big room (1,500 sq. ft.) which will need to be divided into a sanctuary, two classrooms, an office and some storage. The cost is quite a bit more than we were anticipating. Our current estimate for the bare basics (walls, carpet, stage & a sign in the window) is about US$40,000! While this amount was a surprise to us, it is no surprise to God, and we trust that He will provide for our needs. Besides, we have been told (by an outside source) that we are getting a really good deal for the work we are having done. By the way, We will occupy the corner room on the 3rd floor (instead of the 5th. as we were earlier led to believe).
October 27, 2006
Personal Update: Michael celebrated his 41st birthday today. Instead of the birthday cake that Chris usually bakes, we celebrated with Twinkies that someone sent from home. Mmmm! We also went out to sushi for dinner.
October 10, 2006
Building Update: We finally found out yesterday that our application to rent the room below was accepted. Actually, quite a bit of negotiation has gone on in the last few days, as the terms and conditions keep changing. However, now it looks like we will be using the corner room on the 3rd floor. We have yet to actually sign the contract, so until then, I guess that it isn't really final. However, the owner has given us to okay to meet with the architect and interior designer to help get the place ready. As it is now, it is completely unusable. There is a lot that needs to be done to have it ready by Nov 10th. Please continue to keep this in your prayers. Thanks!
October 2, 2006
Personal Update: We took Luke to the dentist today to get a tooth pulled. Instead of his new, permanent tooth pushing out his baby tooth, the new tooth was poking out of his upper gums. As you can see from the picture, it looked pretty cool, but we needed to get it taken care of. Luke did a great job sitting still, even while getting his shot. The best part was that the doctor even let Luke help pull the tooth out!
October 1, 2006
Building Update: Today the church leadership team has decided to apply to rent a space about a block and a half from our current location. It is on the 5th floor of a building (see photo below) that is in a very good location. We will have a little bit more space than we currently do, but we will also have to share the building with a number of offices, many of which work on Sundays. As the process is now underway, please pray with us that the Lord would clearly open and close doors according to His plan and will for SIBC.
September 25, 2006
Homepage Update: We bought new homepage software a while back and have FINALLY gotten our new homepage up and running with Freeway 4 Express. The design, at least for the moment, is similar to before with a few, minor changes.
Besides deleting lots of old stuff (like photos and newsletters from 2001-2004), we also added a bunch of new content. Issue 46 of our newsletter is now available for you to read. You can also view a couple of dozen photos from our time in the States this summer as well as our first ever video on this website. This is the video of our church that we showed in the churches in America. Enjoy!
September 24, 2006
Building Update: We have been busily searching for a new meeting place for the church, and have actually looked at a number of potential facilities in the last two weeks. From a human perspective, a couple of them would be doable. The rent is higher than what we currently pay and we wouldn't be gaining any extra space, but they would be good facilities. The problem is that we really don't sense the Lord is leading us to any of these places. Does this mean that we need to keep waiting? Time is running out before we need to make a decision.
September 10, 2006
Building Update: We found out today that we will need to leave our current church facility by November 10th (just two months). The tenants on the first and second floor would also like to occupy the third floor which we currently using. We have been in that building for 15 years, but I guess now is the time to move on. The Lord must have other plans for us. How exciting!