December 20, 2013 Tonight the Sunday School kids from Oasis Church went Christmas Caroling in the neighborhoods around the church. Caroling is pretty much non-existant in Japan, so we got a lot of strange looks along the way. However, we were able to pass out a number of Christmas Manga (called "The Story of Hope") to people that we passed. The kids seems to have a good time and hopefully some seeds were planted through the distribution of the comics.
December 17, 2013 Chris left for America in order to help her parents move out of their home and into an assisted living situation. She will be there about a month to help with the moving, transitioning to a new residence and selling her parent's house in Gardena. Michael & Luke will follow in a couple of days and will stay for about two weeks. This could potentially be a busy and emotionally draining month for Chris, so your prayers would be much appreciated. Thank you.
December 7, 2013 We have added Issue 69 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read ithere.
November 17, 2013 We took advantage of the Japanese national holiday today to celebrate an early Thanksgiving. We invited over people from both Oasis Church and Kansai Christian School, We had a good time eating, singing, talking and playing games. The only bad part was that people ate so much, there were no leftovers!
September 29, 2013 Today we had our first baptism at Oasis Church. At first, we didn't know where we should do the baptism, but finally we chose th eplace that was most convenient...the bathtub. The young woman's name is De who has a wonderful testimony about how the Lord has turned her life around. She has a great passion to know Jesus and grow in her faith, and is an inspiration to us all. Conratulations Dez!
September 24, 2013 We have added Issue 68 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.
September 22, 2013 Today we had a special guest at Oasis Church. Ken Totushek (along with his wife Kathy) was in Japan to perform at the Kansai Music Conference, and he stopped by to help lead us in a time of worship. It is always nice to have them fellowship with us, and we greatly appreciate the gift of music that the Lord has given to him. You can learn more about Ken at his website, and even sample some of his many CDs. The picture is of Ken and Noji.
September 17, 2013 Michael signed up with JapanesePod101.com today. In order to level-up his Japanese language ability this year, he really hopes to study Japanese 4-5 days a week. In the past, it has been easy to let the demands of life crowd out this study time. If you could pray for discipline in this area, Michael would be very grateful.
September 6, 2013 Today was the first day of school at Kansai Christian School. Luke started 7th grade so he is officially a junior high school student. Chris also returned as homeroom and Bible teacher for the 5th-6th grade class and teacher's aid for the 1st-2nd grade class. We pray that both of them will have a wonderful school year, full of much learning and growth.
August 29, 2013 We just returned from 9 weeks in the States. Our main purpose was to visit our supporting churches in Southern California, but we also had a little time to visit family, re-connect with friends, and have a little family fun. Here are a few photos of what we did this summer.
Summer 2013 This is the prayer card that we had made in order to pass out in churches this summer. A big shout out to Missions Linked for doing a wonderful job.
June 22, 2013 We are off to the States on Monday for two months of home ministry. It should be a good (but very busy!) time for us and we are looking forward to seeing family and friends again. Once we get back to Japan in the Fall, we'll give you a complete update. Until then, have a great summer.
June 17, 2013 We just finished putting together a little video slideshow of the new Oasis. This is the video that we will show this summer in America as we share at our various supporting churches. Here is a sneak preview.
June 14, 2013 Today was the last day of the school year at Kansai Christian School. It was a good year for all three of us: Luke as a 6th grader, Chris as the 5-6th grade homeroom and Bible teacher plus 1st-2nd grade teacher's aide, and Michael as the school chaplain. Chris worked especially hard this year and she really needs a little down time this summer.
June 7, 2013 Michael did his last chapel of the year at KCS today. We ended our "Following Jesus" series byt talking about how to seek Jesus and grow in our relationship with Him over the summer. Hopefully, it was a practical word and the kids will come back in the Fall on fire for the Lord. Please pray for the students of Kansai Christian School. May they go deeper in their friendship with Jesus as they respond to His wonderful invitation to follow Him.
May 15, 2013 We have added Issue 67 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.
May 7, 2013 The new Oasis Church homepage is now up and running. It is still in the Beta stage with a few bugs to be worked out and a few pages that need to be translated into Japanese. However, go ahead and have a look and get a feel for what Oasis Church is like. Enjoy!
May 1, 2013 As we are preparing to launch the new Oasis Church homepage, we needed to find a new home for the "Re-Thinking Church" message series that we did at SIBC back in 2011-12. If you are interested in listening to the messages that God used to start us on a journey towards becoming an organic house church, please have a look at our new SIBC Sermons page.
April 28, 2013 We had a wonderful gathering at Oasis today. One of our members shared about a wonderful ministry in South Africa that he and his wife will be a part of when they return home in June. Then, one of the women in the church lead us in a wonderful bible study/discussion from Acts 17:16-34. Athens was described as being "full of idols" (v. 16), and the same can be said of Japan. Finally, for lunch Mr. & Mrs. Kawano made loco moco. It was soooo delicious. What a great day!
April 18, 2013 We finally figured out how to put slideshows on our website, so we added a number of photos to our Media page, including a day-trip to Amanohashidate, looking at Cherry Blossoms in Nara Park, a day spent exploring Kobe, and a number of pictures from the past few months at Oasis Church. Enjoy! April 15, 2013 This year KCS is putting on a theatrical production of Dr. Suess' "The Cat In the Hat." To help raise funds for the drama department, Chris made a green eggs and ham lunch for anyone who wanted to order one. Many of the students were hesitant to eat green eggs, but those who did said that they were delicious. Would you expect anything less from Chris' cooking?
April 12, 2013 Luke, got his third quarter grades today. While he usually does well in school, for the first time ever, Luke got straight A's! Way to go Luke! Since he is only in 6th grade, he does not qualify for the honor role yet, but that will change next year once he enters jr. high. Congratulations Luke on all of your hard work.
April 12, 2013 It was chapel time again at KCS. This month Michael talked about the freedom that comes from following Jesus. Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set you free." Specifically, we learned that we are set free from three things: 1) guilt & shame, 2) religious performance & 3) selfish living. This is what Jesus makes available to all those who say "yes" to the wonderful invitation to follow Jesus.
March 31, 2013 Today was Easter Sunday. Being that we are a house church, this year's Easter "message" was a little different than usual. After remembering the death of Jesus through a time of communion, we then got into small groups and each looked at a different passage of scripture on the resurrection. As each small group shared their findings with the large group, we discovered that because of the resurrection of Jesus, we now have freedom from sin, new birth and the hope of new, "spiritual" bodies in heaven one day. Those are truly things worth celebrating! After the service we were planning to go to the park for a picnic, but chilly weather caused us to stay inside for lunch. Anyway, here is the group that joined us for Easter. For more photos of Oasis Church, look here.
March 30,2013 We took advantage of the nice weather to view the cherry blossoms in Nara Park with our friend Lori. The trees were in full bloom which made for lot and lots (and LOTS!) of pictures.
March 22, 2013 Luke had his annual piano recital. His song this years was Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Third Movement. As you will see, it was a REALLY hard song. He actually memorized it rather quickly, but then spent about 7 months actually trying to make his hands do what they were supposed to do. Luke did a wonderful job and we are very proud of him. He is planning to play the same song at his school's Open Mic Night in May.
March 1, 2012 Today was all-school chapel at Kansai Christian School. Continuing in his series called "Following Jesus," Michael spoke on "Receiving Eternal Life." While eternal life is something that we can look forward when we die and spend all of eternity in heaven, according to Jesus in John 17:3, eternal life is about knowing God and living in relationship with Jesus. This means that we don't have to wait until we get to heaven to receive eternal life. Rather, it is something that we can begin to experience in this life as well!
February 22, 2013 We have added Issue 66 of "A Minute with the Masons" to our newsletters page. You can read it here.
February 3, 2013 We did it! After many months of discussion and lots of prayer, we finally have a new name for the church. As of today, we are no longer Sakai International Bible Church. Rather, we are now called Oasis Church. Since moving to a house church format in Izumiotsu City, we felt that maybe it was good to change the name of the church. Not only are we no longer in Sakai, but also God is in the process of re-shaping our paradigm for what it means to be the church. Since our current way of gathering is quite different from what we used to do before, we thought that a new name might be a good way to symbolize the "new" church we have become.
The name "Oasis" is inspired by the words of Jesus in John 7:37-38. Jesus says"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink."We believe that this is one of the main functions of the church: to be a place were we can come to Jesus and "drink" from HIm. Through worship, prayer, Bible study and fellowship, we want to look to Jesus and experience the streams of water that only He can give. As you know, the nation of Japan is a spiritually dry place. For this reason, we want our gatherings to be a kind of spiritual oasis. We want to be a place where tired, thirsty people can be refreshed and renwed as we seek Jesus together.
February 1, 2013 Michael gave the message at the KCS All-School Chapel today. Since September he has been doing a series of monthly messages called "Following Jesus: Responding to the Invitation of Jesus." Today's message was called "Living a Life of Trust" and the text was John 14:1 where Jesus says “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” We learned that following Jesus means that we can trust in the Word of God, the Character of God and the Guidance of God.
January 20, 2013 We took our annual group photo today after church. As you can see, the group has gotten a bit smaller since our move to a simple-style house church, but this is good group of people who are hungry to seek God's heart for the church.
January 12, 2013 After months of waiting and preparing, Luke finally got braces today. At first, they are only on the top teeth. At some point he might get them on the bottom as well. They actually look pretty good on him, and so far he doesn't seem to mind them. We want to thank grandma and grandpa in Los Angeles who helped to foot the bill.
January 7, 2013 The Oregon Ducks won the Fiesta Bowl today so Michael is happy! Being from Eugene, Oregon, Michael has been a Duck fan since elementary school. Congrats on a great year!
January 1, 2013 Happy New Year. May the Lord bless you all in 2013!