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Issue 49- September 2007

Dear Praying Friends,

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands.” Psalm 19:1
mwm493
Ever since Michael preached from this passage back in February, our family has had a growing interest in astronomy. Beyond just learning to find the Big Dipper, we now have a growing list of items that we long to discover: nebulas, star clusters and even distant galaxies. However, our newfound enthusiasm to gaze upon the heavens has been met with a bit of frustration. Due to smog and frequent clouds, there have only been three good star viewing nights in the last 4 months! We know that the “works of God’s hands” are up there, but they have been difficult to see.

This is a good illustration of the reality of ministry. We know that God is at work in the hearts and lives of the people around us, but sometimes it is hard to see what He is doing. This is what we have been experiencing these last few months at SIBC. Attendance has been down and people seem really tired. At times, it has been easy for us to feel a bit frustrated by the situation. However, we need to trust that God is still at work, even if we can’t see through all of the “clouds” and “smog.” Please pray for both us and the church, that we would be faithful in prayer and in seeking the Lord. May we not become weary in our service to Him.

mwm491CERRITOS TEAM
One of the highlights of the last few months was the visit of the short-term mission team from Cerritos Baptist Church in Cerritos, CA. In early August, eleven people joined us for two days of ministry and fellowship. Through a Saturday night family event, the Sunday worship service and an afternoon fellowship time, the team encouraged us through music, hula and testimonies. Lots of pictures of our fun together can be found on the SIBC homepage here.

BAPTISM
In mid-September, the church will hold our first baptism service since moving to our new building. Taking this wonderful step of faith is an English teacher named Yukako Yamasaki. Please pray that Yukako would growth in her Christian faith and would learn to live as a genuine lover of God. Please also pray that the baptism celebration will be a good reminder to the rest of the church of the new life that we all have in Jesus Christ.

mwm492MOVING TO IKOMA
The big event for us this summer was moving to a new city. In order to be closer to Luke’s new school, we moved to Ikoma City in Nara Prefecture. This is just over the mountains from Osaka, and is about a 75 minute train ride from the church. For about the same price as our former apartment, the Lord has allowed us to get into a rental house that is almost twice the size. After 3 months, we are now feeling settled in and are very thankful for the Lord’s provision of such a wonderful place. Please pray that we would begin to make new friends in Ikoma. Please also pray for Michael as he adjusts to the long train commute to church during the week.

LUKE STARTS SCHOOL
Speaking of Luke’s school, Luke started first grade on September 3rd. He is at an international, English-speaking school in Ikoma called Kansai Christian School. He has a small class (10 students) and a wonderful teacher (Ms. Ayers), and so far he is really enjoying the school. Please pray that this would be a good year for Luke. May it not only be a time for academic learning, but also a time for much spiritual growth.

Well, that's about all for this time. Thanks again for your prayers and support. May the Lord bless you all.

In Christ,
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Michael & Chris Mason