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December 30, 2010
Michael conducted his first ever wedding today (in Japanese none-the-less!). It was also the first ever wedding to be held at SIBC. The happy couple have been long-time members at SIBC, so it was a nice family affair. We wish Hiro & Miki the best of luck.

October 25, 2010
The Franklin Graham Festival is now over. We attended 3 of the 6 events over the 3-day festival. In total, over 30,000 people attended the various events and over 1,000 made decisions (or re-commitments) to follow Jesus! The picture below was taken during the Sunday evening altar call.

October 4, 2010
Today we added our 2010 Support video to our YouTube page. This is the video we showed in churches this summer when we were back in the U.S. for home assignment. The video is similar to the one we used in 2008, but with new photos and video clips from the last two years at SIBC. It also contained a short section from Michael's work as chaplain at Kansai Christian School. You can watch the video here.

October 3, 2010
Chris had the opportunity to preach at SIBC this morning. She shared about evangelism and encouraged people to consider who they might be able to invite to the Franklin Graham Festival to be held in Osaka on October 22-24.

October 2, 2010
We took advantage of a rare day when both Luke and Michael have the same day off to visit Ueno Park, in Iga-Ueno, Mie Prefecture. The highlight of the park was the Ninja Museum. It was small, but very interesting. We especially liked the ninja house, with the various trap doors, trick walls and cool hiding places. Better, yet, the whole exhibit was in English. Also in the park, we watched a taiko drum performance and visited Ueno castle. The castle itself was quite small (compared to Osaka or Himeji), but there was some nice artifacts on display inside, and the top floor provided a nice view of the city.

spiritualcheckupOctober 1, 2010
As the part-time chaplin at Kansai Christian School, today was Michael's first chapel of the new school year. He started a new series called "Spiritual Checkup: Finding Spiritual health in Jesus Christ." Our checkup for this month was a Heart Check, and we learned that a healthy heart is soft, hungry, humble and pure. May the Lord uses these bimonthly checkups to help the students and staff remain spiritually healthy.

September 21, 2010
We have added Issue 58 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.

September 12, 2010
Today we started a new sermon series at SIBC called "Kingdom Culture: Discovering Life in the Kingdom of God." Over the next 6 months, we are asking God to renew our minds and transform our hearts so that we might walk according to the culture of the Kingdom of God, and not the patterns of the world around us. As a result, we hope for greater encounters with God, a deeper walk with Jesus, and an increase in the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

exercisebike1September 11, 2010
After a visit to the doctor this summer, we have decided to take better care of our health (finally!) This means that we are eating better and trying to get more exercise. To help with the later, we bought an exercise bike today. Michael rode one at our friend's house this summer (thank you Kevin and Dorene) and really liked it, so we made the investment. Both Michael & Chris want to lose about 30lbs, so we will keep you updated.

September 6, 2010
Luke started 4th grade today at Kansai Christian School. Good luck Luke!

September 3, 2010
While in Los Angeles this summer, we experienced Yogurtland for the very first time. Imagine our excitement when we discovered that they were actually built one in Osaka while we were away! We tried it today for the first time. It was awesome! For those of you who live in Kansai, here is the info. (UPDATE: As of August 2011, Yogurtland is now called Partyland.)

August 17, 2010
Today we just returned from 8-weeks of Home Ministry in the States. As always, it was good to see family, visit our supporting churches, and re-connect with friends. Besides visiting 5 churches, we were also able to enjoy Mount Hermon Family Camp, a 4,000 mile road trip to the Northwest, a short vacation in the Southwest and three days at Disneyland. Look here for a few photos from our summer.

June 13, 2010
We had a baptism service at church today for newlyweds Muneaki and Kayo Murata. This was our 7th baptism celebration since being in Japan and the first one to get rained on! Weather aside, it was still a great day.

June 10, 2010
Happy 10th birthday Luke!

May 18, 2010
We have added Issue 57 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.

May 17, 2010
Today Luke went to the orthodontist to start the process of getting braces. Phase 1 is a retainer for two years. At first, he only has to wear it at night and when he is hanging out at home.

April 29, 2010
Here is our little Leia. Isn't she cute!

April 23, 2010
After our monthly meeting with Pastor Kuroda this morning, we decided to eat lunch at a place called Kaika Sushi. Chris ordered the sakana teishoku (fish lunch set), thinking that she was going to get a nice piece of fish. Needless to say, she was a bit surprised when they showed up with the whole fish HEAD! However, it was very good and it made a fun picture.

April 19, 2010
Michael went on his first big hike of the Spring season. He did a 20km stretch of the Diamond Trail from Kimitoge Station to Mt. Makio, via Mt. Iwawaki. Click on the picture below for closer look at the map of the route he took. Michael literally walked from one end of the sign to the other. The trip took just over 6 hours (one-way).

lukeleia1April 18, 2010
Luke has been asking for a pet for quite a while, so after church today we went out and bought a hamster. After much consideration, we finally decided to name her Leia. If you want to know why we chose that name, consider the names of the brother and sister duo from StarWars (the picture to the right will give you a hint.)

April 17, 2010
We had our annual church outing to Mt. Makio today. This was the first time that we have not done it on a national holiday, so we had a smaller crowd than usual. However we still had a great time of eating (thanks Miki, Ueda and Kanayama), testimony (thanks Katherine and Mikako), singing (thanks Sei and Altus) and playing (thanks 100 meter roller slide!)

krispykreme1April 16, 2010
We had to go to Osaka today to apply for Luke's new passport. On the way home we stopped off in Shinsaibashi to visit Osaka's first Krispy Kreme! It was supposed to open two days ago, but when we got there we were saddened to discover that the grand opening had been postponed until the 29th. So, while we didn't get our doughnuts, we did get to go to the Apple store (which is just one block away!) Now we have TWO reasons to go to Shinsaibashi!

April 9, 2010
Junko performed at the KCS all-school chapel this morning. The students really seemed to enjoy her. Michael also continued his message series called "Who Are You?" Today, the topic was "You Are Holy." After chapel, we took Junko and the entire Cheng family to Nara Park.

April 8, 2010
Michael went to the airport today to see Shibuya as he departed for Australia. Although we are happy that he will finally be back with his family, we are sad to see him go. Not only has he been a huge blessing at SIBC over these last 13 years, but he has also been a dear friend. Shibuya, may God bless your new life in Australia!

April 4, 2010
We had a wonderful Easter service today at SIBC. Besides celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, Junko perfumed a couple of songs during the worship service, which made it a very special service. After that, we had a wonderful potluck lunch, followed by a short drama presentation by the kids (thanks Fifi and Chris!) and more singing by Junko. On a sad note, today was Takeaki Shibuya's last day at SIBC. He has been at SIBC for 18 years and has been a valuable asset as a translator and a member of the Leadership Team. Later this week he will go to Australia to hook up with his family who moved there about a year ago. Shibuya, we will miss you!

April 3, 2010
The Cheng family (David, Junko, Joshua and Megumi) arrived at our house today. They will be staying with us this weekend and next weekend as Junko will be singing at various locations around the Osaka/Nara area (including SIBC and KCS). Today just also happens to be Josh's 12th birthday. Happy Birthday Josh!

pianorecital1March 22, 2010
Luke had his second piano recital today. He has been playing for just over two years now and is showing good progress. The recital was held at a community center in Nara and 15 students performed. Each student did 2 songs on their own, plus a duet, either with their teacher or with another student. You can see a few photos here or can actually watch Luke play here.

March 19, 2010
Today there was a teachers appreciation lunch at KCS. Even though Michael is the school chaplain who only does one chapel a month, he was still invited to attend. The lunch consisted of a nice sushi and soba set. Mmmm! Thanks to all of the teachers who work so hard to help the students grow, both academically AND spiritually. You guys are great!

dollfestival1March 17, 2010
In celebration of Girl's Day, Chris and her Japanese teacher (Hattori-sensei) went to a doll festival in Takatori-cho, Nara. About 90 homes in this village set up doll displays in their homes/shops of many different styles and sizes. People can then go on a walking tour and visit the houses. Chris really enjoyed it, and Michael and Luke are even interested in going to see it next year (yes, they want to go look at dolls!)

February 5, 2010
Kansai Christian School (KCS) had their annual all-school ice skating day today at Hirakata Park. Michael plans to put together a little video of the day, so when he gets around to it, he will try to post it on YouTube.

January 31, 2009
Here is the annual group photo we took at SIBC today.

January 1, 2009
Today we celebrated Chris' birthday a little early by going to the Outback Steakhouse in Umeda. Chris was in the mood for steak, so we decided to give it a try. Among other things, we tried their famous "Bloomin' Onion." It was greasy, but really nice. Happy Birthday Chris!

For more updates, see...
2009 Updates
2008 Updates
2007 Updates (July to December)
2007 Updates (January to June)
2006 Updates