Rev. Dr. Mason Okubo Mason Keiji Okubo is the senior pastor of Immanuel First Lutheran Church. He also sings tenor in the IFL Choir and teaches our church information class to prospective members. 2013 marks his tenth year as our senior pastor.
Pastor Okubo was born June 17, 1958 in Urbana, Illinois, the son of George and Kazuko (Kay) Okubo. He has one brother, Stacey, and one sister, Lynnette. He and his wife Debbie have two sons: Andrew, a student at Mt. San Antonio College; and David, who is studying Zoology at Oregon State University.
The family is very active in the Boy Scout program. Debbie is chairman of West Covina's Cub Scout Pack 51, based at Immanuel First, and previously chaired the Boy Scout program at St. John's Lutheran Church in Orange, CA. Pastor Okubo is a pastoral advisor for the Lutheran Association of Scouters of Southern California.
Pastor Okubo received his Doctorate in Physics in 1986 and for ten years worked in the laser and optics industry. Simultaneously, he served as a volunteer at St. John's Lutheran Church of Orange in a variety of ministries.
In 1995 Pastor Okubo felt God's call to full-time ministry and entered the Ethnic Pastor Certification Program (EPCP) at Concordia University, Irvine. In 1999 he graduated with a Masters in Theology and Culture and was ordained later that year. He received a Divine Call to serve at Concordia Irvine as an assistant professor. In 2001 he received a Call to serve at St. John's as Minister to Youth and Children, and later as Associate Pastor of Christian Care.
In September of 2003, Pastor Okubo answered the Call to Immanuel First Lutheran in West Covina. His ministry began with them on October 1.
Rev. An Binh ThaiAn Binh Thai is the associate pastor of Immanuel First and oversees our Vietnamese Lutheran Church, serving the Vietnamese community of the San Gabriel Valley. He is a Vietnamese native who trained teachers and evangelized his countrymen prior to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. He and his family later escaped as part of the "boat people" refugees and eventually emigrated to the United States. The entire Thai family, including grandchildren, were reunited in this country in 2004.
On Thanksgiving Day 2000 Pastor An was called by Immanuel First to be a missionary for the Vietnamese community, and our mission church was established. In 2002 he earned a Master's degree in Theology from Concordia University, Irvine, and at the end of that year he was officially ordained as a pastor in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
Since his ordination into the LCMS, Pastor An has worked on translating Lutheran books into the Vietnamese language, including Luther's Small Cathechism and Friendship Evangelism. He has also assisted other Vietnamese missions in LCMS churches across the country.