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Issue 69- November 2013
Dear Praying Friends,
We hope that this holiday season finds you well and enjoying time with both family and friends. Christmas time in Japan is bitter sweet for us. All of society celebrates Christmas, and yet the day remains a distinctly Christ-less holiday. So few people have yet to hear about the Name that is above all names. May the Lord give each one of us opportunities to share about the love of Jesus during this special time of the year.
In October we had our first-ever baptism at Oasis Church. Dez, a young mother from the Philippines who is married to a Japanese man, recently turned to the Lord during a difficult time in her life. Knowing that she needed to connect with a group of Christians to help her to grow in her new-found faith, the Lord lead her to Oasis Church. After about two months at Oasis, she expressed an interest in being baptized. However, since we had never done a baptism at Oasis before, we wondered how we were going to do it. At first, we considered going to the beach, but we were a little late in the season for that. So finally we decided on the only other source of water that was available...the bathtub! Japanese bathtubs are quite a bit smaller than the typical American tub, but we seemed to manage okay. Before being baptized, Dez gave a very moving testimony of the power of God working to change her heart and transform her family situation. PLEASE PRAY for Dez to grow in her faith as she learns to surrender every area of her life to Jesus. PLEASE ALSO PRAY that her hunger and passion for the Lord will be an inspiration to others in the church family. May we all share Dez’s desire to follow Jesus, know His Word, and walk with Him each and every day.
As we look ahead to the New Year, we are preparing to launch a new Bible reading and journaling plan. We want to challenge everyone in the Oasis Church family to commit to reading the New Testament at least once in 2014. On top of that, we are encouraging people to keep a simple journal where they record a meaningful verse or truth that they encounter during their daily reading. The goal of this new plan is two-fold: First, we want to encourage people to be reading their Bibles more. If we truly want to grow as disciples of Jesus, we NEED to be spending time in the Word of God. Only reading the Scriptures on Sunday morning is not enough if we desire to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Second, we hope that as people record the things they learn in their journal, then they can bring their journals with them on Sundays and use them as the basis for encouraging one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs us to “build up one another” when we gather together. One of the ways that we want to do this each week is to have different people share the things that they are learning during their personal times of Bible reading. To this end, PLEASE PRAY that each member of the church family will say “YES” to the challenge of reading the New Testament at least once in the new year (this is only about 6 chapters a week). Also, may the Lord use this not only as a means for personal growth, but also as a way that we can help one other to grow in truth and move forward in our relationships with Jesus.
KANSAI CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
Every December, the various grade-levels at KCS participate in some sort of Christmas community service project. Some classes visit local nursing homes while others tell the Christmas story in a local elementary school. Still other classes go Christmas caroling around town. In all of these ways, Kansai Christian School desires to be a blessing to the small town of Heguri. PLEASE PRAY for the students and teachers as they go out on December 19th. May the Lord use them to bring the light and joy of Jesus into the community.
In November, we (both Michael & Chris) started a weekly basketball club for the middle-school students. Since KCS’ official basketball team is only for the high schoolers, Chris thought that it would be fun to teach some of the basic skills of basketball to the younger students. Neither Michael nor Chris has ever coached sports before, but the kids don’t seem to mind. They really seem to enjoy learning new skills and having fun together. About 10 students are participating in the club which runs through the end of January.
On a personal note, we ask that you PLEASE PRAY for Chris’ parents. They are currently in the process of moving from their home in Gardena to an assisted living community in Alhambra. If their application is approved, then they will first need to sell their house before they can move into their new apartment. However, at the ages of 91 (father) and 83 (mother), this will be a big life change for them. PLEASE PRAY that the Lord would give them peace as they make this transition. May the whole process go smoothly and quickly, especially regarding the selling of their house.
PLEASE ALSO PRAY for Chris. Being an only child, it is hard for her to be so far away from her parents at a time like this. However, we are thankful to our many friends and the church family at Gardena Valley Baptist Church for lending a hand during this season. When her parents are ready to make the actual move, Chris plans to return home then in order to help out. PLEASE PRAY for the necessary finances (especially the airline ticket), as well as good timing. Chris will need to take time off from teaching, which means that she will be responsible for finding a teacher to cover her classes while she is away.
Well, that’s about it for now. As always, we cannot express enough how much we appreciate your prayers and support on our behalf. Without your partnership, we would not be able to do what we are doing. So, from the bottom of our hearts...Thank You.
May you have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2014!
Blessings in Jesus,
Michael & Chris Mason