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December 30, 2008
Chris and Luke went over to the Kurokawa's house to make mochi with Jiro (Luke's friend from school), his mom and their family. This is a traditional thing for many Japanese to do before the New year. After pounding the mochi and making it into round cakes, then ended the evening by playing the board game LIFE (the Japanese version of course!)
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xmasluke08aDecember 25, 2008
Christmas was simple this year. We spent time at home with just the three of us. After a busy night last night, this was kind of nice.

December 24, 2008
This year we held a special Christmas Eve Candlelight service at SIBC. Normally this is not something that we do because most people in Japan work on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and it is hard for people to make it to an evening service. Typically, we will do something big at church on the Sunday before Christmas (potluck and celebration), but because Christmas was in the middle of the week this year, we decided to give the Christmas Eve service a try. To our surprise, we had way more people that we anticipated. The service was simple, with various people lighting the candles as we read various parts of the Christmas story. We also included lots of singing and a short message. Luke was one of the English readers.
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kcsxmas08aDecember 19, 2008
This morning was the KCS Christmas Program. This was a time to celebrate Christmas as a whole school. Michael helped with the worship team as they lead the parents and students in the singing of Christmas songs, and the kids were able to performed their Christmas drama again from the night before. The program also marked the last day of school before the winter break. This meant that we had to say goodbye to three of our teachers who needed to leave in the middle of the year. One of the teachers was Miss Ayars, who was Luke's teacher all of last year and for the first three months of this year. It was sad to say goodbye, but we are sure that we will see here again. She was not only a wonderful teach, but had also become a good friend.

December 18, 2008
Tonight was the KCS Christmas Drama. The elementary kids did a modern day retelling of the Christmas story. Luke was one of the wisemen. His line was "Pardon me. Could you verify the location of a twinkling celestial body exclusively visible when the earth’s rotation causes a reduction in the illumination of the atmosphere?" People got a kick out of that. They also sang a bunch of songs as part of their story.
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November 22, 2008
We celebrated Thanksgiving a bit early today with a few of our American friends from church and KCS. There was lots of food (thanks Chris) and lots of laughs (thanks everybody). As one person put it, "I never party but this was a party tonight!" Here is a picture of the crazy group.
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October 25, 2008
We have added Issue 52 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletter page. You can read it here.

milkingcow1October 17, 2008
Today was field trip day at KCS, and the first through forth-graders went to Uda Animal Park in Nara Prefecture. Besides getting to feed the sheep and the goats, they also got to milk a cow and make their own butter!

October 16, 2008
While in America this summer we purchased a Wii Fit. After using it almost every day for 2 months, Michael has lost 8lbs! This is about the same amount of weight that he gained in America this summer. According to the Wii, he still has to lose about 30lbs to be at his "ideal" weight, so stay tuned for further updates on his progress.

October 12, 2008
Luke was baptized earlier today at SIBC. You can see pictures of the event here.

October 10, 2008
Today was the annual Sports Day at Luke's school; a time of friendly competition and fun. Luke was on the blue team this year, and they just happened to take home the trophy. Way to go Blue!
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September 5, 2008
Today was the first day of 2nd grade for Luke at Kansai Christian School. This was also first day for Michael, as he has been asked to serve as school chaplain for the year. On the first Friday of every month Michael will have the opportunity to speak at the all-school chapel time. He is looking forward to being able to serve the students in this way.

familyjul08aAugust 13, 2008
Today we arrived home from a very busy two months in the States. This was supposed to be a time to visit supporting churches, see family and friends, and get a little rest. The first two goals we accomplished quite well as we visited 6 churches and spent lots of time with family and friends. However, our time wasn't as relaxing as we would have hoped. Oh well, two out of three isn't bad. You can see a few photos of our summer here.

June 20, 2008
I just realized that we don't have our homepage software loaded into our laptop computer and the software disk is at church. This means that there will be no updates while we are in America. We are due back in Japan in mid-August, so you can expect some major updates then. Until then, have a great summer!

June 19, 2008
Tomorrow we are getting ready to head back to the States for 8 weeks of home ministry. We will start off in Santa Cruz, CA at Mount Hermon (JEMS' summer camps) before heading to Oregon, Washington and finally down to Los Angeles. You can see which churches we will be visiting in our last newsletter. If you are anywhere near, please stop by and say "hi." Anyway, our next update will be from "home."

ailogothumb1June 15, 2008
Tonight we watched the finale of "American Idol." As you can tell, we are about 4 weeks behind the airing in the U.S. We tried really hard to shelter ourselves from the finale results but since the "Idol" winner is world-wide news (how sad is that!), it was pretty much impossible. We knew David Cook was going to come out on top, but it was still fun to watch. Thanks to fellow "Idol" watchers Albert and Cecile for the GRAET South African meal prior to the show.

June 13, 2008
Today was Luke's last day of first grade. He celebrated by going on a "date" with his teacher. Actually, earlier in the week at the class auction Luke bought a coupon for a free viewing of the movie with Ms. Ayars. Chris and I, along with the Magner family, went along as "chaperones."
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June 10, 2008
Today was Luke's 8th birthday. As part of the day's celebration, Chris baked a cake for Luke's class and they had a birthday party at school.

May 18, 2008
We have both recently joined the rankings of Facebook. Michael's profile is here, and Chris' can be seen here. If you haven't done so already, join Facebook and become our friends!

May 16, 2008
We have added Issue 51 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletter page. You can read it here.

rickingrid1May 12, 2008
Two friends from Epic Church just left after staying with us for 5 days. It was good having Rick and Ingrid here. We enjoyed their fellowship and appreciated their service to the church (and to us!). Rick put together the video that we will show to churches when we go home this summer (you can get a sneak peak here), and Ingrid, a professional photographer, helped to take pictures during our worship service. Thanks guys!!

May 11, 2008
Today was Mother's Day and Chris took the opportunity to give the Sunday morning message at church. This is the first time she has done this in about two years, partially because she is usually busy teaching one of the Sunday school classes. She spoke out of Exodus 1 & 2 about the various women who impacted Moses during his childhood. It was a good message for the occasion. As an added bonus, we had 63 people at the service (46 adults and 17 kids)! This wasn't an all-time attendance high, but it was close.

May 10, 2008
Today Chris started an account on Facebook. If you would like to add her to your "Friends" list, you can see her profile here.

April 25, 2008
Today was Luke's acting debut as his school had their annual drama night. In the past the school has done productions like "Robin Hood" or "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," but this year they did two lesser know plays. The older students (grades 5-12) performed "Heart's Desire," a crazy play that I am still trying to figure out. The younger students (grades 1-4) did a series of three folktales from three different countries called "Tarradiddle Travels." Luke palyed 5 different parts: a tree, a road, an elephant, a wall and a mouse. Of course, all of the kids did a great job, but we were especially proud of our Luke. They had been rehersing since September!
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bethelatsibc1April 9, 2008
A short-term mission team from the Bethel School of Ministry in Redding, CA came to the Kansai area this week. The school is connected to Bethel Church, pastored by Bill Johnson. Over the past few years, God has been doing some amazing miracles through Bill Johnson and the people of the church, including hundreds of people healed from cancer! At SIBC, we were fortunate to have a part of the team visit us for a special mid-week meeting. Eric Johnson (Bill Johnson's son) gave a message from God's word and then they ministered to people through prayer. A number of people testified to receiving healings in their bodies. This was the first time to have such a meeting at SIBC, but many people were blessed by the presence and power of God. By the way, you can listen to the Bethel Church podcast here. The messages by Bill Johnson are especially recommended.

item3aMarch 31, 2008
Luke is off from school this week so we took the opportunity to attend a symphony for beginners. Since Luke has really become interested in classical music, we thought that this would be a great experience. Even though Michael played the bass in jr. high school, this was the first time for any of us to hear a "real" orchestra. We all had a good time and the highlight of the concert was the encore when they played "Hungarian Dance No. 5," Luke's favorite classical song!


March 15, 2008
We have more out-of-town guests this weekend, and one of the things that they wanted to do was go to the Sumo Tournament. Since Michael had always wanted to go himself, this was a good opportunity to check it out. Though our seats were a little far, it was still a lot of fun. The best part was wandering around the hallways and taking pictures of some of the wrestlers as they were going to and from their bouts.
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March 9, 2008testimonyluke1
On February 29th (Leap Year Day), Luke's school had a special all-school chapel with a time of extended worship (12 songs!). Luke had so much fun worshipping God, that he wanted to tell the people at SIBC about his wonderful experience. So, today we let him share a bit of a testimony. Once he got on stage, he became a bit nervous, but I think that it was an encoragement to the people to see a 7-year-old want to tell of the goodness of God. Needless to say, we are proud of our son!


March 7, 2008
Today we to Nara to pay our taxes and to see some of the sights with our out-of-town guest. His name was Flat Parker, named after Luke's cousin, Parker Mason. He was sent to us as part of a school project, and we needed to take some pictures to send back to the States. While we were "posing" with the deer in the picture below, the deer bit off Parker's hand and ate it! Oh dear (pun intended)!
flatparker1


February 9, 2008lukeinsnow1
We had more snow again this morning. Alot more than two weeks ago. People tell us that it has snowed more this year than in the past. We enjoy the beauty of everything being white, but with the slippery raods, it is almost impossible to get our car down our narrow, steep hill.


February 8, 2008
Kansai Christian School had their annual ice skating day at Hirakata Park. The weather was beautiful, and everyone seemed to have a great time. Luke tried ice skating for the first time, but he spent most of the day playing in the snow. And even though we weren't supposed to throw snowballs, some people just couldn't resist.
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sibcgroup2008aJanuary 27, 2008
We took our 2008 group photo this morning at SIBC. In many ways, 2007 was a slow year. But the last 5 weeks have been real encouraging and we are sensing a momentum that we have not had in quite a while. We are excited about what the Lord has in store for SIBC in the year ahead. Please continue to pray for us and the church as we commit ourselves to doing the works of Jesus in 2008. May we experience much growth and the wonderful presence of the Lord.


January 21, 2008
We woke up this morning to snow on the ground. It wasn't much, but it was the first time that Luke had ever seen snow. Chris was also pretty excited (maybe even more so than Luke!). Growing up in Southern California, Chris hasn't had much experience with snow either. Below is a picture of our neighbor's garden across the street.
snowjan08a


January 7, 2008
Luke's homework over the winter vacation was to make a 3-D model of Jupiter. We had a lot of fun putting this project together. Luke even included the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter (which Luke has actually seen through our binoculars) and the three faint rings (yes, although Saturn is famous for it's big rings, Jupiter has three rings of it's own). In the end, we were really happy with how it turned out. Below are the various photos of the evolution of Jupiter. jupiterproject1


January 6, 2008
For the last few months Luke has really been getting in to classical music (thanks to Disney's "Little Einsteins" show). In fact, we used an entire iTunes card that Michael received for Christmas to download classical music for Luke! Added to this, for almost a year Luke has been asking to take piano lessons. Since this is something that he really seems to want to do, we have contacted a teacher here in Ikoma to inquire about lessons. With this in mind, on the way home from church today we started looking into buying a piano. Even cheap piano are pretty expensive here (probably in the States too!) and we are a little hesitant about making such a big investment without knowing whether or not Luke will really stick with it. Anyway, now we are considering buying something used or else getting an entry level keyboard.


January 4, 2008
Today was Chris' birthday and we decided to celebrate at Universal Citywalk in Osaka. Since we have never eaten at Bubba Gump Shrimp, we were thinking about having lunch there, but in the end we decided to go to the Hard Rock Cafe instead. Since Mexican food is REALLY hard to find in Japan, we ordered nachos and fajitas. Both tasted sooo good, and the fajita tortillas even had the Hard Rock Cafe logo burned into them. Pretty cool! After lunch we walked around a bit, checked out the Tokoyaki Museum, and finally found an ice cream shop where we ate birthday Sundaes (sorry Chris, no birthday cake). On the way home, the train we rode had Spiderman painted all over the outside. That was fun. If you want to see more photos, check them out here. By the way, Chris turned 29 years old today....again!
ChrisBday08a


For more updates, see...
2007 Updates (July to December)
2007 Updates (January to June)
2006 Updates