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November 30, 2011
We have added Issue 62 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.

November 23, 2011
Today was a national holiday in Japan, and since it was the day before Thanksgiving, we decided to have Thanksgiving lunch out our house for the entire SIBC church family. The event was co-host by our friends, Albert and Cecile Greeff, who provided the turkey (thank you sooo much!) We had about 27 people. After eating, we worshipped with the guitar and then played Spoons. It was a good day, and we are truly thankful.
thankgiving2011

November 21, 2011
Chris started new job today as a teacher's assistant at Kansai Christian School. She works Monday-Thursday for a total of 10 hours a week. In many ways, it is an ideal job for her. She already knows the people, AND her schedule will now match exactly with Luke's.

November 20, 2011
Today Chris' mother made a decision to receive Christ! Recently, her health has not been so good, so some friends stopped by the house after church to check in on her. As they talked and prayed with her, they sensed that she really needed to know Jesus. To their surprise (and ours too!) when they extended a invitation to follow Christ, she said "Yes." Needless to say, we couldn't be happier! We ask that you would please remember her in your prayers. Thank you.

November 8-11, 2011
Last week we attended the Church Planters Institute. This is a conference for missionaries and Christian workers in Japan. The main reason for us to attend was to hook up with the other JEMS missionaries working in Japan. The JEMS executive director, Rick Chuman, came from America to meet with us as well. This was the first time for us to all get together and so we met many of our co-workers for the very first time. It was a good three days of fellowship, hangingout out and building relationships. Here you can see a group photo. The only person mission is Nozomi West who was not able to join us because she is very, very pregnant.
jemsmissionaries

October 28, 2011
A day after Michael's 46th B-day, he had the opportunity to do a mini funeral for the grandmother of one of our church members. About a month earlier, she had confessed her faith in Jesus, and was baptized in her hospital bed. God's timing is always so good!

October 8, 2011
Today our whole family went to Wakayama Prefecture to serve with Be One. Be One has been doing relief work in the Tanabe/Hongu area after a huge typhoon caused mudslides and flooding in many of the small communities. Our team of 12 served at an old elementary school that is now being used as a non-profit agricultural training center. The nearby river flooded the school with 7 feet of water, damaging most everything in the school. Our task for the day was to clean out two rooms full of debris and wet furniture. All in all, it was a fun day. The work was interesting, we enjoyed getting to know our teammates, the clean air was very refreshing and it was a good experience for Luke. We were joined for the day by our friend from church, Altus. You can see a few pictures here.
wakayama2011

September 30, 2011
Today Luke picked up his first pair of glasses. He had been having trouble reading signs while in the car, so we knew that something was not right. On the way home from the shop he put them on in the car and got so excited. He kept saying, "I can see, I can see!"
glassesluke

September 26, 2011
We have added Issue 61 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.

September 22, 2011
With the start of our new message series at SIBC, we have finally started recording the weekly sermons. We have resisted doing this before because the computer we use at church to run the homepage is 11 years old and the software we use is 13 years old! Neither are very media friendly, but we are giving it a try. If you are interested in listening to our "Re-Thinking Church" series, you can download the messages here. Enjoy.

BeOneSeptember 20, 2011
Chris has agreed to help out Be One Tohoku with their new website. She will be responsible for collecting testimonies from people serving in Tohoku and then getting them translated (either from English to Japanese or Japanese to English). She will then post them to the Be One homepage. If you have some time, go ahead and check it out.

September 4, 2011
Michael started a new preaching series at church today called "Re-Thinking Church: Exploring God's Heart for the Church." For the last couple of years, Michael has been thinking about what it means to be the authentic Body of Christ. The purpose of this series is not so much for Michael to tell the people what "church" should be like but rather for the whole church family at SIBC to examine the scriptures together and try to understand who God really wants us to be. It should be a fun journey!
rethinkingchurch

September 3, 2011
Here is link to Michael's Facebook photos of his time volunteering in Tohoku. These are only about one third of the pictures he took, but the rest were lost when our computer crashed!

September 1, 2011
A few days ago (while Chris was away) the hard drive on our iMac suddenly died on us. Unfortunately, we had not backed up the computer in about two years, so we lost LOTS of information (addresses, e-mail contacts, financial records, photos etc...). Yikes! Anyway, we have now installed a new internal HD and are in the process of trying to rebuild all that was lost. For those of you who have experienced this, you know how much fun it i!

August 29, 2011
Chris is back from Tohoku. It was a busy few days for here. Look here to read a brief report of her trip and here to see her photos on Facebook.

August 19, 2011

Today it was Chris' turn to head up North to serve with Be-One. If all goes well, she will stay for about 7 days. Here is a wonderful video about the relief work that Be-One is doing in the tsunami-stricken area of Ishinomaki City. It is about 10 minutes long, but its worth your time. Check it out!


August 8-12, 2011
Michael spent 5 days volunteering in the tsunami effected area of Northern Japan. Actually, 2 of the days were spent driving (it is about an 13 hour drive), so he only had three full days to serve and help out. He went up with a group called Be-One Tohoku, which is a group of Christians from the Osaka/Kobe area who sends supplies and workers to the town of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture. It was a wonderful opportunity to assist those whose lives have been turned upside-down by this terrible disaster. He hopes to go back in the Fall. You can see pictures and read more details about his trip here.
ishinomakibnrm

August 7, 2011
Today, we had a baptism celebration at SIBC as three people publicly expressed their desire to follow after Jesus. All three had wonderful testimonies of how God lead them to a place of wanted to surrender their lives to Him. You can see a couple of more pictures here.
baptism2011bnr

August 2, 2011
On their way from Sakai back to Sanda, we took the Cerritos Team to Umeda to show them around. We did some shopping, rode the ferris wheel in the HEP-5 building, and ate lunch at a strange waffle restaurant. Chris had the Chicken Caesar Waffle Salad and Michael had the Hamburger Egg Waffle Salad. They looked interesting, but honestly, neither was very good. Here is a picture of Michael's salad as well as a photo of the Cerritos Team at the newly-built Osaka Station.
wafflecerritos

August 1, 2011
Today we held an outreach event at church called Kid's Bible Fiesta. This was an afternoon of singing, games, bible stories, crafts, water balloons, and watermelon smashing (in the park). In all, we had 20+ children, about half from outside the church. It was organized by a young gal at the church (great job, Fifi!), who was assisted by a number of church folks PLUS a mission team from Cerritos Baptist Church in Los Angeles. We thank God for a wonderful event and pray that many seeds were planted in the hearts of these young kids.
kidsfiesta2011

July 31, 2011
At church today Michael FINALLY finished up his preaching series on Kingdom Culture. It took 11 months and a total of 37 messages (by far his longest message series to date!), and even still there were so many topics that he was not able to cover. Clearly, the Kingdom of God is a topic that takes a lifetime to explore. So, although the series is over, we just just getting started in our journey to do life in the Kingdom and live according to the culture of our King. As in the past, August will be testimony month at SIBC, and then in the Fall we will start a new series called "Re-Thinking Church: Exploring God's Heart for the Church."

July 21, 2011
burgerkinglogoThis was a significant day in the history of Osaka. A change took place in the city that will effect thousands (possibly millions?) of lives. What was it? Burger King opened it's first shop in the Osaka (Kansai) area! We FINALLY have an alternative to McDonalds! Yeah! The best part is that it is in Namba, which is very easy for us to get to by train.

towerburgerJuly 4, 2011
A while back we saw a sign at Lotteria (a Japanese fast-food restaurant) for what they called a Tower Burger. It has 10 (yes, that's TEN) hamburger patties and 10 pieces of cheese! At first, we thought it was a joke, but it isn't. I can't imagine many people actually trying to eat one of those, especially considering how Japanese tend to eat much smaller portions than Americans usually do. Anyway, it seems that it was a limited time offer, as it is no longer available. The cost was 1,400 (about $15) and contained 1823 calories. "Would you like fries with that?"

June 26, 2011
We had a baptism preparation class after church today. Three people are interested in being baptized this time (YEAH!). The celebration is currently planned for August 7.

June 21-25, 2011
We took a short family vacation to Tokyo this week. We spent two days at the Tokyo Disney Resort and another day at the DCAT (Doing Church As A Team) Conference. In between, we were able to squeeze in two trips to Burger King (a first in our 14 years in Japan!) and a quick stop at Tokyo Tower. It was a full 5 days, but we had a good time. As always, it is just nice to get away from the regular routine of things. A few photos can be seen here.
disnyland2011dk

June 17, 2011
Today was graduation day at Kansai Christian School. There were two seniors who graduated this year (way to go Bethany & Rachel!), and Luke finished up the fourth grade. At KCS, 5th grade is considered middle school, so in a way, Luke "graduated" as well. Way to go Luke!

June 16, 2011
We have added Issue 60 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.

June 10, 2011
Luke turned 11 years old today. "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you,..."

June 3, 2011
Today Michael did his last chapel at KCS for the year. He finished up his "Spiritual Check-up" series by doing a discipleship check. He challenged the students to be FAT disciples for Jesus (Faithful, Available and Teachable). He also showed a clip from a "Murder She Wrote" episode staring.....his grandmother! Actually, she did not star in the episode, she was just and extra in the background, but it was still pretty cool.

recitalluke2011March 12, 2011
Today Luke had his annual piano recital. He worked very hard this year and performed one of his dad's favorite songs, "Maple Leaf Rag." Check him out on YouTube. Good job Luke!

March 11, 2011
An 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit the northern part of Japan today, followed by tsunamis of up to 30 feet. There is widespread destruction and loss so please pray for both those who need relief and those who are trying to help. Personally, we are about 400 hundred miles away from effected area, and are feeling very helpless way down here in Kansai. Thank you for all of your prayers and e-mails. Let's ask the Lord to use this event to bring many people into relationship with Jesus!

March 9, 2011
Today we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary (14 of them have been spent in Japan)! Thank you, Lord!

February 27, 2011
We have added Issue 59 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.

February 11, 2011
This morning we woke up to snow on the ground. There was almost 4 inches in Ikoma which is the most we have seen since we have been in Japan (13 years!). It made Michael miss the winters in Spokane. Here is Luke with school friend, Sophia.
lukesophia

January 30, 2011
Every January we take a group photo at SIBC. Here is the church family for 2011!
sibcgroup

kindleJanuary 28, 2011
Chris' belated birthday present arrived the other day. She has been thinking about getting a Kindle for quite some time now, so we finally bought her one. The nice thing about it is that we no longer have to pay international shipping rates in order to have Amazon send our books to Japan. So far Chris is enjoying it.

January 20-24, 2011
Michael's dad and Judith stopped off in Japan for a quick visit on their way home from a trip to Australia. We only had 3 full days together, but during that time we saw the World Heritage sites of Kyoto, went to church at SIBC, visited the museum and Starbucks in Osaka, and hit the used bookstores in Nara. Below is a picture of the garden at Nijo Castle in Kyoto.
dadjudith

epicmickeyJanuary 7, 2011
Luke and Michael have spent the last 2 weeks playing one of Luke's Christmas presents. He got Epic Mickey for the Wii, and they are really getting into it. It is fun to explore the alternate world version of Disneyland as Mickey embarks on a grand adventure.

January 1, 2011
Continuing a tradition we started last year, we decided to celebrate Chris; birthday a little early again this year with a trip to the Outback Steakhouse for dinner. Chris' actual birthday is on the 4th, but because that is the last day of the New Years holiday in Japan, everywhere we go is packed with people. Chris had prime rib, Michael had BBQ chicken nachos and Luke had a giant hamburger. Happy early birthday Chris!

January 1, 2011
Happy New Year!

For more updates, see...
2010 Updates
2009 Updates
2008 Updates
2007 Updates (July to December)
2007 Updates (January to June)
2006 Updates