A2 Blog Centre

A summary from three blogs: A2 Community + From The President + A2 Stories on Mission Network News

A2 Blog Centre is an aggregation of all official blogs of Asian Access
  1. David & Jackie

    David and Jackie Ro, OMF missionaries, were with me this week in Taiwan. They are some of the finest servants of Christ you can meet. Jackie serves as the director for A2's Women in Ministry leader development program, while David serves as the East Asia Regional Director for the Lausanne Movement and for Gordon Conwell Seminary’s J. Christy Wilson Center for World Missions.

    As we were sharing with leaders in Taipei about the ministry of Asian Access, they both had some profound insight to share: insight that was incredibly encouraging to me. 

     

    God and Family before Ministry

    Jackie shared how the women in the Asian Access cohorts truly do experience the values of putting family before ministry. Of course, God comes first but for our alumni, we are committed to honoring our families before the ministry we do. Hearing stories of women who have pledged their lives to God first, family second and ministry that follows was quite moving. Several of them have husbands who are pastors who went through the program as well, many reporting that their husbands no longer neglect their family for ministry.

     

    A Kindgdom Platform for National Ministries to Thrive

    David’s sharing was equally profound. He said that Asian Access builds a foundation or a platform as he called it for other nationwide ministries to thrive. He mentioned how Asian Access lays the groundwork where pastors no longer compete with each other or see their church as the only option. Rather, they are committed to the kingdom first before their particular ministry allowing broader nationwide efforts like the Lausanne Movement and other global partnerships to thrive.

    As we say at Asian Access: one of our key goals is to “unite the Church” to see leaders multiplied, churches planting churches and extend the transforming power of the Gospel.

    Praise God for servants like Jackie and David for serving with us. Together, we are part of this incredible community to see a vibrant community of servant leaders leading the Church across Asia!

    Toward uniting the Church,

    Joe Handley
    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

    More Information

    Uniting the Church across Asia [video]

  2. Pastor Rajiv recently shared with me his compelling story. It was powerful to hear what God was teaching him.

     

    “On a Journey of Big”

    Prior to joining Asian Access, Pastor Rajiv was “on a journey of big.” He enjoyed a very prominent position at a large church. However, as he reflected on success, he wondered if his ministry measured up. He began questioning the real impact of his kingdom work—despite his popularity and notoriety.

    As Pastor Rajiv grew through the Asian Access learning community, he began seeking the Lord in fasting and prayer about the future. Over time, he felt led toward a new ministry: one that invested deeply in a few rather than one that performed in front of larger crowds. It was here—in the midst of the micro life-on-life ministry—that he saw real transformation: disciples being made and one’s who flourished in their walk with Christ. In his assessment, this was successful, effective ministry.

    At the conclusion of his story, he said something that caught my attention:

    “Big is not just about largeness and numbers — SMALL IS THE NEW BIG!”

    Take a peek into his story here. You’ll be intrigued what you see and hear.

    Indeed, we agree with Pastor Rajiv that “Small is the new big.” This is precisely why Asian Access leverages our transformational process to change the few who change the many.

     

    What is Your Journey?

    And, what might Rajiv’s words mean to you? What journey are you currently traveling? What is Jesus calling you to do? Are you up for a 40-day journey to refine your calling in life?

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

    More Information

     

  3. Asian Access has released a series called, Eastern Voices: Insight, Perspective, and Vision from Kingdom Leaders in Asia In Their Own Words.

    We'd like you to meet Peter...

    A2 50th psm

    Freeing Bible Teaching from the Bonds of Culture

    Here are three brief video clips based on his chapter in Eastern Voices, Vol. 1 — “Bringing the Bible Back to Life” (chp 7)...

     

    (1) Why we lack good Bible teachers (2:15)

    Why can Bible teaching in countries like Bangladesh be so dry and unappealing? Peter Mazumder shares why so many Bible college graduates in Bangladesh begin their ministries unmotivated, as well as unequipped, to teach the Bible with life and power. (https://youtu.be/fmMdETkDmYE)


    (2) Bringing the Bible Back to Life (3:52)

    Finding Bible teachers in Bangladesh who can bring the Word with power, life, and practical application is a huge challenge. Why is Bible teaching so ineffective, even boring, in Bangladesh? Peter Mazumder shares some thoughts on how this problem has developed and offers an alternative approach that could revolutionize Bible teaching in his country. (https://youtu.be/ohEvMbN-qf8)


    The Word of God is Powerful (2:02)

    Is there hope for Bible teaching in Bangladesh? Yes, says Peter Mazumder—as each believer understands the power of God's Word for their life, is equipped to learn how to understand and apply the Bible for their life, and how to share their skills with other believers, person by person. (https://youtu.be/ohEvMbN-qf8)

     

    mazumder peterAbout Peter

    PETER DEBAKAR MAZUMDER serves as national director of Bible Students Fellowship in Bangladesh as well as co-national director of Asian Access Bangladesh. He lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh with his wife Sylvia and their daughters Parmina and Joanna.

     

     

     

    EV1 final title slide 2017 04 25 flat 700pxAbout the "Eastern Voices" series

    Eastern Voices Volume 1 is compilation of 14 stories from 15 different Asian authors. The book is available in paperback and in digital (ePub) format. It can be purchased through Amazon and other book resellers. Order your copy of Volume 1 today!

     

     


     More Information

     

  4. Asian Access announces largest matching grant in its 50-year history...

    A2 bless pastors 511777401 800x200

    Every Gift Will Be Doubled!

    Just a quick reminder: every dollar you give to Asian Access will be doubled. This is cause for celebration, for you and me both!

    I also want to thank you for your faithful support. It's because of your prayers, the investment of your time and energy, and through your financial support, that you helped lay a solid foundation for Asian Access.

    Through your love and support, the body of Christ is coming together in unity. Relationships are being restored, churches are being planted, the love of Jesus is being displayed and God's Kingdom is advancing across Asia! You are truly the unsung hero behind the story and impact of A2, and I want you to know how grateful I am for your partnership.

    This is an extraordinary time for Asian Access, and I want to invite you to join me in what I sense is a significant movement of the Holy Spirit. By faith, the Lord is leading A2 into deeper and unchartered waters. We're exploring opportunities to begin working in another six countries right now with the goal of being active in 20 countries in Asia by the year 2020!

    As a catalyst to deepen the impact and expand the reach of Asian Access we've been challenged with a unique opportunity.

    A group of generous ministry partners have combined their resources and offered A2 a $2,250,000 matching grant and challenged us to raise another $2,250,000 to match it! This means that every dollar you invest in Asian Access will be doubled!

     

    Would you please pray about participating in this matching grant?

    Your gift of $50 becomes $100 and your $100 gift becomes $200 toward expansion into six more countries. Thank you in advance for whatever God leads you to give.

    God bless you,

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

    Asian Access

    Celebrating 50 years of ministry in Asia

     


    Give Now to Matching Grant lock

    Thank you for considering giving toward Asian Access this year.

    Give Now!
    JPY¥

    ...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.

  5. Joe sharing with A2 participants

    Vibrant Community of Servant Leaders 

    Not long ago, I had the privilege of being with some of the alumni from Asian Access in South Asia. What a privilege it was sharing with them and hearing their stories.

    After sharing briefly about the heart of Asian Access for our alumni—seeing a vibrant community of servant leaders… leading the Church across Asia—we then broke into small groups. Little did I know the treat I was in for.

    These two men had no one they could confide in prior to Asian Access. But, over the two year process, they became great friends. And today, they shared their appreciation. They said...

    “We now have a friend with whom we can share everything. Before Asian Access we were lonely and didn’t feel like we could share openly. Today, I share everything with him and he shares everything with me. We know each others’ junk! And, we encourage one another and help each other.” 

    As they shared with me, they poured out their hearts. I was so deeply touched by their sharing that I too felt compelled to share my junk with them that day!

     

    Key Paradigm Shift: from Isolation to Community

    Typically, Asian leaders are not given permission to be open with anyone or show weakness, as there are no safe places to share. But through the Asian Access learning community, they create a safe place.

    Seeing the community fostered through the Asian Access process is powerful to watch. Isolated leaders now know they have a community to lean on during their darkest hours and to help them through the challenges of their lives. Now, they spur each other on and strengthen one another’s walk in Christ. They foster an environment of grace and confession that spills over into their churches which ignites mission throughout the city.

    What a powerful picture of how God is building a vibrant community of servant leaders to lead the Church across Asia!

    Join me in praying for leaders’ like these! They face pressures like you and I have never seen and they are reflecting Jesus in the midst of a hostile environment.

    And, join me in finding someone you can be real with: someone to share your heart and pain and help each other in the journey of life and mission!

    "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."
    — Proverbs 27:17

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     


    More Information

    • Asian Access leader development participants experience several paradigm shifts. Leaders who were isolated are now connected and living in community. Here are some others...

    Paradigm Shifts through the A2 Leader Development program

     

  6. mnn cambodia headline photo

    Is Cambodia returning to its violent history?

    Cambodia (MNN) – The United States recently called for Cambodia to undo its dissolution of the country’s main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party or CNRP.

    Cambodia Disregards Democracy

    According to a statement released by the White House Office of the Press Secretary on November 16, the US says the allegations by the Cambodian government that the CNRP was conspiring to overthrow the government is baseless.

    cambodia mapCambodia’s government used these false accusations to justify CNRP’s dissolution and the imprisonment of its leader, Kem Sokha. The government has also banned over 100 opposition leaders from being able to take part in political activity as part of its crackdown on any perceived opposing parties of the current regime.

    Furthermore, the CNRP was planning to challenge the current government officials for office in the country’s democratic elections next year.

    The US finds Cambodia’s recent activities disturbing to its democratic progress and cited in a released statement on November 14 that the Cambodian government has been restricting the free press, civil society, and evidently political opposition.

    Since then, the US has called for the release of Sokha, the re-establishment of the CNRP. It has also encouraged the Cambodian government to allow the existence of opposition parties, freedom of a civil society, and for the media to be able to maintain its legitimate activities. Currently, the US hopes to see the Cambodian government’s commitment to continuing to build a democratic system.

    Cambodia to US: We Don’t Need You

    However, it’s unclear if the US, or others including Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Union will be able to effectively convince Cambodia to return to a state of building a democracy by threatening to cut funding and place sanctions on the country.

    Hun Sen, Cambodia’s Prime Minister, mocked the US’s threat with its call of confidence in its neighbor, China. Sen claims that wherever the US and others fail to financially support Cambodia, China will supplement.

    Sen has held on tightly to his power since 1985 when he gained office. And in 1997, Sen ousted his co-prime minister in a coup. Now many individuals fear Cambodia’s return to a one-party political system could send the country back in time and put anyone who disagrees with the government in danger.

    The Church’s Suffering

    Recently, Mission Network News had the opportunity to talk to a Cambodian pastor who shares: “We [are] afraid that this country will go back to [like] in the past, the killing field kind. Led by one person, led by one party, and he can do whatever he wants. He [doesn’t] follow the law of the country.”

    During this time nearly 2 million people were killed for opposing the one-party government or being considered useless. The Cambodian pastor says that during the killing fields Christians were killed right away. This is one of the reasons this pastor is concerned about what the future holds for Cambodians.

    Currently, the Cambodian government is focusing on suppressing three groups of people to bring a one-party nation to culmination. These people include opposition leaders, human rights workers in the country, and Christians. Why this mix? Because each group has influence and does not necessarily support Sen’s continued reign.

    Closing Doors

    On a separate note, despite what looks to be a closing door in Cambodia, Asian Access has found a way to continue coming alongside churches in the country. The organization is doing so through two leadership training groups. These groups are practicing and implementing tools that help equip the Church for the situation it’s facing in Cambodia.

    School of Discipleship“Asian Access is coming alongside these groups in the country. One is a basic training group called a School of Discipleship. And another is a program that we simply call, A2,” Asian Access’s Joe Handley shares.

    “Through coming alongside and supporting leadership training, we’re able to assist, empower, and equip these pastors and churches to be able to engage [with] the issues as well as calm their people’s fears so that they can be salt and light in society.”

    And as doors keep swinging to a close, Asian Access has found a way to stay put through sustainability. Handley shares local resources, faculty, and training is happening more and more to help support churches and these groups.

    Please Pray

    As for prayer, the Cambodian pastor asks:

    “Pray for protection over the Church, and also pray for the Church, [that] the Church [will] stand firm in [its] faith, boldness, and trusting God. And also pray for the Church this time that the Church [will] come together and find a way … as the Church [to] be the light and the salt for this nation.”

    Pray also for the political situation in Cambodia and for fears to be calmed within the Cambodian Church.

    To help come alongside and support Cambodian churches, click here!

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)

    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Nov27-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    More Information

     

  7. A2 EV1 CyberWeek 2017 1600x900

    Special Purchase: Cyber Week Deal Extended through December 1st!

    This week, we are offering a discount on our brand new series, Eastern Voices: Insight, Perspective, and Vision from Kingdom Leaders in Asia In Their Own Words.

    Order your copy from Amazon today, whether in print (US$9.99) or digital e-book (US$5.99) format. That's a discount over 33%!

    purchase EV1 amazon 270x75

    And if you order through AmazonSmile (use the button below to sign into AmazonSmile), Amazon will donate some proceeds back to Asian Access! Note: If you've never logged into AmazonSmile, the very first time only, you'll need to select "Asian Access Life Ministries" as your charity before shopping.

    amazonsmile account 280x70

     

    About Eastern Voices

    God is raising up world-changing leaders in Asia.

    Eastern Voices Volume 1 is your chance to meet and hear from some of the most influential leaders in Christendom today. Their ministry field is Asia. They live and work in some of the most challenging and dynamic environments for the gospel found anywhere. And they have a lot to share—experiences and perspectives that will benefit the worldwide body of Christ.

     

    Marlene LeFever“You need to read these chapters—every one of them. Grow what you know about Christians in eastern countries. Rethink what you thought you knew. Listen to these new voices. Study their approaches. Learn from God-followers who are presenting original culturally-appropriate ways to bring Jesus to their countries.”

    MARLENE LeFEVER, author of Creative Teaching Methods
    and architect of two survival curriculums,
    Ebola Crises and After the Earthquake


    More Information

    • EasternVoices.org: Find out more about Eastern Voices, read excerpts, and see video interviews with the authors.

    Shop AmazonSmile and Give Proceeds to Asian Access 

    Support us when you shop during Cyber Week. Go to smile.amazon.com/ch/95-6120630 and Amazon donates to Asian Access.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    Support us when you shop this Cyber Monday season

     

  8. A2 EV1 CyberMonday 1600x900

    Cyber Monday Special Purchase

    Today, we are offering 1/3 off our brand new series, Eastern Voices: Insight, Perspective, and Vision from Kingdom Leaders in Asia In Their Own Words.

    Order your copy from Amazon today at a discount of 33.3%, whether in print or e-book format...

    purchase EV1 amazon 270x75

    And if you order through AmazonSmile (use the button below to sign into AmazonSmile), Amazon will donate some proceeds back to Asian Access! Note: If you've never logged into AmazonSmile, the very first time only, you'll need to select "Asian Access Life Ministries" as your charity before shopping.

    amazonsmile account 280x70

     

    About Eastern Voices

    God is raising up world-changing leaders in Asia.

    Eastern Voices Volume 1 is your chance to meet and hear from some of the most influential leaders in Christendom today. Their ministry field is Asia. They live and work in some of the most challenging and dynamic environments for the gospel found anywhere. And they have a lot to share—experiences and perspectives that will benefit the worldwide body of Christ.

     

    MARK LABBERTON, President, Fuller Theological Seminary

    Mark Labberton“To hear these particular Christian voices from various parts of Asia is a richly formative gift. What a treasure house. Hear these stories and be moved!”


    More Information

    • EasternVoices.org: Find out more about Eastern Voices, read excerpts, and see video interviews with the authors.

    Shop AmazonSmile and Give Proceeds to Asian Access 

    Support us when you shop on Cyber Monday. Go to smile.amazon.com/ch/95-6120630 and Amazon donates to Asian Access.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    Support us when you shop this Cyber Monday season

     

  9. A2 HappyThanksgiving 2017

    joe and silk thanksgiving 20017Joe and Silk wish all our friends a very Happy Thanksgiving on behalf of everyone at Asian Access.

    "Hi Friends,

    We're here in Tokyo, and we just want to say how grateful we are for you this Thanksgiving. As we've been thinking about you and just wanted to share some verses with you..."

    Find out what passage of Scripture they want to share with you.

    {youtube}https://youtu.be/eM74sv8Kcrc{/youtube}

    God bless you,

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley (for Silk, too)

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

  10. Asian Access announces largest matching grant in its 50-year history...

    A2 bless pastors 511777401 800x200

    Every Gift Will Be Doubled

    Every dollar you give to Asian Access will be doubled. This is cause for celebration, for you and me both!

    I also want to thank you for your faithful support. It's because of your prayers, the investment of your time and energy, and through your financial support, that you helped lay a solid foundation for A2. God is using the fruit of His work through you to bear even greater fruit and we recognize the multitude of blessings that have come from your love.

     

    Through your support, the Lord is sharing His Hope and Love to a dark and lost world.

    • Through you, thousands of people have come into a loving relationship with Christ in countries such as Nepal, Mongolia and even Japan!
    • Marriages have been strengthened in East Asia and South Asia.
    • Women and vulnerable children have been rescued from trafficking in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Cambodia.

    Through your love and support, the body of Christ is coming together in unity. Relationships are being restored, churches are being planted, the love of Jesus is being displayed and God's Kingdom is advancing across Asia. You are truly the unsung hero behind the story and impact of Asian Access and I want you to know how grateful and thankful I am for your partnership.

     

    Our vision and mission remain the same:

    "To see a vibrant community of servant leaders with vision, character and competence leading the church across Asia." And, "To identify, develop, and release emerging kingdom leaders to unite the church, multiply leaders and congregations, and extend the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

     

    This is an extraordinary time for making impact!

    I want to invite you to join us in what we sense is a significant movement of the Holy Spirit across Asia. By faith, the Lord is leading A2 into deeper and unchartered waters. Along with strengthening our ministry in countries where we already work, we're exploring opportunities to begin working in another six right now with the goal of being active in 20 countries in Asia by the year 2020!

    As a catalyst to deepen the impact and expand the reach of Asian Access we've been challenged with a unique opportunity.

    A group of generous ministry partners have combined their resources and offered A2 a $2,250,000 matching grant and challenged us to raise another $2,250,000 to match it! This means that every dollar you invest in Asian Access will be doubled! This challenge would ultimately be a $4,500,000 investment of Kingdom resources into the ministry!

     

    Would you please pray about participating in this matching opportunity?

    Your gift of $50 becomes $100 and your $100 gift becomes $200 toward expansion into six more countries. Even a small act of generosity can grow into something far beyond what we could ever ask or imagine and I pray that you'll partner with us in this opportunity and invite others to do the same. To give, please click the red button below and select "Matching Grant Fund" in the drop-down box.

    Please visit our website, AsianAccess.org, to be more informed about how the Lord is working in Asia. And why not share it with others?

    Spiritually, a war is raging and the enemy does not want us to do what we are doing because it is advancing the Kingdom. Asian Access is on the frontlines of the battle, and you put us there!

     

    Because of you, we're changing the few who change the many!

    Your prayers and financial help make a real difference in the lives of these pastors and their families. While your prayers and support are vitally important, I pray that through Christ, you will be one with our brothers and sisters around the world, filled with love and compassion, advancing the Kingdom of God together.

    Ultimately, "Make love your goal..." (1 Corinthians 14:1).

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     


    Give Now to Matching Grant lock

     

    Thank you for your gift—every dollar will be matched!

    If you have trouble viewing the online donation form, click the red button below.

    Thank you for considering giving toward Asian Access this year.

    Give Now!
    JPY¥

    ...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.

  11. The Legacy of Dr. George Leslie Mackay

    Not long ago I had the privilege of speaking at the Asia Church Leaders Forum in Taipei, Taiwan. It was an honor to share especially as the only non-Asian asked to talk about “Asians Reaching Asia”.

    Even more powerful for me though was visiting Greater Taipei with my son and good friend Shung. We had a wonderful day together exploring the city and seeing the story and impact of the first Canadian Presbyterian missionary to Japan, Dr. George Leslie Mackay. It was amazing seeing all the missions, schools, and hospitals that were started by this missionary pioneer. Who would’ve imagined that God could use such a humble missionary to make such a significant contribution to the world.

    Dr. Mackay’s influence in Taiwan is so renown that there are placques and statues all over the place highlighting his influence and the difference he made for the people. To learn more, just check out his Wikipedia page: Dr. George Leslie Mackay.

    00284 00454

    And his legacy just keeps on giving today. Not only did Dr. Mackay impact Taiwan in such a significant manner but my friends and I reflected on how his legacy today influences the Greater Chinese world through other missions and outreaches. This includes Asian Access! We would not be able to do what we are doing throughout the Chinese world today without the rich heritage of Dr. Mackay’s disciples. Through their time, energies and resources, Asian Access has spread it’s wings throughout the Chinese world and beyond.

    This has gone so far as us investing in the new Chinese mission movement today and their 2030 Vision to send 20,000 missionaries from China to the unreached areas of the world today by the year 2030. We’ve been active participants in mobilizing and empowering church leaders for this very vision. Why? Much of it stems from the support of Dr. Mackay’s disciples and influence.

    So, today I praise God for the way he inspired and led Dr. Mackay!

    Will you be the next Dr. Mackay? If you let Jesus use you, this could be you!

     

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter
    @jwhandley

     

    More Information

    00284 00455

  12. Recently during our national directors meeting in Thailand, one of Asian Access directors said the following:

    “It is very difficult to run our programs in our country because of political pressure and persecution. It's a miracle that I'm alive today given these dynamics!"

     

    Becoming the Norm?

    Increasingly we serve a world where this type of situation is reality. When I began with Asian Access over nine years ago, several of the countries we serve were facing pressure and persecution; but today it seems that at least half of the countries we work in are under some form of duress if not outright persecution.

    Pray for us as we seek to serve. As you can see from this pastor’s comment, he states that it is very challenging to provide the leader development that we do in these countries because of either political and sometimes religious pressure and persecution.

    Pray for pastors like him who seek to strengthen the lives of believers in their countries and so desire for us to continue serving. And pray for their protection. As he said, “It’s a miracle that I’m alive today given these dynamics!”

     

    Sponsor a Persecuted Pastor

    If you’d like to support the development of pastors like him, check out Sponsor A Persecuted Pastor. We could use all the help we could get in coming alongside them. And, pray for us that we can serve them well.

    Thanks for praying and supporting them!

    Always learning,

    joe sig blue
    Pastor Joe

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

    More Information

    Helping Leaders Thrive

    {youtube}https://youtu.be/FvlFsVZ0S_8{/youtube}

  13. It’s been an interesting season for me lately and today was another reminder on the journey to rest. One of the devotionals I read is Skye Jethani’s WITH and today’s post was Rest is the Mark of a Free People

    Perhaps my journey will help yours.

    The Asian Access board recently did a full executive review with me and while I got high marks across the board on nearly every spectrum, they strongly encouraged me to rest. One of our board members stated the following in an email following our meetings: 

    "I do feel strongly that the single biggest factor in the future of the mission is you being able to develop a governor that throttles your speed back by 25%. The ability to say no, because there will always be twice as many trips you SHOULD take than you possibly can. If you can pace yourself to do this for 10-20 more years with enthusiasm and rest (no more getting sick from your trips) and a close walk with God, I’m confident we will reach your challenging 10-year expansion goals." 

    Then, these past few weeks as I apologized to our teams in Japan and our national directors for not modeling this core value of our mission, one of our VP’s suggested we needed to go into a season of spiritual warfare prayer because of all the health issues facing key leaders in our movement. 

    We did just that this past week and the same theme arose:

    We need to simply trust God and work less.

    Thus, we show our dependency on the Lord and spend more time resting and enjoying his presence in our lives. 

    One board member even stated:

    “Joe, You know those monthly reports where you tell us the highlights of ministry and benchmarks we are making. How would it feel if you simply wrote us that you were sitting on a rock watching the hawks fly by?”

    I had to confess that I couldn’t even imagine that. 

    But, my pledge to our teams and our national directors is that I intend to model this better in the future. And, I’ve invited them to speak into my life and help me in this area.

    Will you join us in praying that we can be a more restful movement? And, help us by sharing ways in which you practice God’s presence and rest. We’d love to learn from you!

    To learn more about Rest, check out some of our posts:

     

    Always learning,

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

  14. Time is running short for the Rohingya

    large image of Myanmar refugees fleeing by boat for Bangladesh courtesy of Jordi Bernabeu Farrús via Flickr: https://goo.gl/daSWrS

    Bangladesh (MNN) — Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic Muslim minority are running out of options.

    During the past seven weeks, over half a million Rohingya have fled Rakhine State in Buddhist-majority Myanmar from what the U.N. has called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Myanmar’s government refuses to recognize them as one of the country’s official ethnic groups, while security forces and Buddhist vigilantes have raped and killed villagers and burned entire villages.

    buddhist monks in myanmarBangladesh estimates that 800,000 refugees now live in camps in its border town of Cox’s Bazaar, the coastal city where refugees arrive by boat. The camps are overcrowded and unsanitary, while food, water, and shelter are scarce.

    “We don’t know how long the Bangladesh government will take care of that, but by seeing the situation, the way they live is inhuman,” Peter Mazumder, Asian Access’ national co-director in Bangladesh, says. Mazumder recently visited the camps to witness the suffering firsthand.

    The Bangladeshi government has provided refugees with temporary ID cards, which allows them access to food rations. However, they are not formally recognized as refugees, meaning they don’t have access to education or the ability to move freely around the country.

    Mazumder, who also works with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is helping make sure they aren’t forgotten. He says they raised money at a recent student conference to help meet refugees’ physical needs.

    “Praise God that we got permission from the government,” Mazumder says. “Our local church and the students will be going next week to distribute this food.”

    Mazumder says there are also 200,000 children in the camps in need of medical assistance. Thankfully, there is a Christian hospital nearby providing assistance.

    large image of Myanmar refugees fleeing by boat for Bangladesh courtesy of Jordi Bernabeu Farrús via Flickr: https://goo.gl/daSWrS“We are praying that we may raise a little more money, especially to respond [to] the children, to take care of their medical needs,” Mazumder says. “We are thankful to God that the Bangladesh government is very positive to help in this crisis.”

    The Rohingya have been facing persecution for decades, and their situation isn’t getting any easier. Mazumder asks that you pray that the situation would be resolved soon and that Myanmar’s government would choose to help them.

    You can find ways to support Asian Access’ work in this region by clicking here. 

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Oct19-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    More Information

     

  15. Joe and Elliott on the Typhoon Taxi

    Our Asian Access family of national directors had a wonderful time together this past week. The highlight of the week was our excursion on what I call the Typhoon Taxi.

    Bangkok, the site for our meeting, is crisscrossed with rivers and canals. Bangkok has also developed an extensive water taxi network to help its residents make their way through what can be a gridlocked road system. The water taxis aren’t fancy, but they are cheap—and they move. 

    We decided to take one of the main water taxis across town as part of an outing—a chance to get out of our hotel and enjoy some time together. How did we know it was going to pour rain that afternoon? And how did we know that our bus would be trapped in total gridlock just 300 meters from the water taxi station? Welcome to Bangkok.

    Not to be deterred, we hopped off the bus and jogged through the downpour to the water taxi station.  Fortunately, it was the first stop on the route, so there was room to get on the boat. Not that deterred the dozens of people who continued to board the taxi at every station! In no time, the taxi was jammed to overflowing—allowing us the cozy experience of being squished between our new best friends and the taxi’s engine.  It was rainy, humid, hot, and we were jammed in like sardines.  Fun in the city!

    Typhoon Taxi ride

    Actually, the typhoon taxi was a great way to let off steam from an intensive and productive week, focused on sustainability. We’ve been talking about this within Asian Access for years…but it is a sensitive issue, one that can be tough to make real progress.

    We were blessed by the advance work of a task force (made up primarily of key Asian leaders in our movement) who prepared our approach to the topic. They took the conversation to an entirely different level: Ownership! We then tackled sustainability in three key areas:

    • Leadership
    • Faculty
    • Resources

    Sustainability described by Pastor Meng Aun Hour

    But the emphasis of the task force was the importance of Ownership.

    This week marked a milestone for Asian Access. The level of ownership among our leaders rose substantially. By the end of the week, we had set a path toward an interdependent model of sustainability, the initial work to begin over the course of this next year. Check back in with us a year from now to see how we are doing.

    Joe, Joshua, and Takeshi Dorrie with a friend

    Like our ride on the Typhoon Taxi, this journey could be quite an adventure, with unknown twists and turns along the way.  Will you pray for us as we walk the trail toward an interdependent, sustainable ministry?

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

      

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  16. A2 savethedate postcard Pasadena front web

    Dear Alumni, Financial Supporters, Prayer Partners and Friends:

    As you may know, 2017 marks our 50th year in ministry. There are many things through the years to fondly remember and thank God for; there are also many new initiatives that the Lord is leading us to pursue in the coming years. And I would like you to set aside an evening on October 21 in Pasadena, California to celebrate this milestone anniversary with me.

    In Jakarta this past April, we celebrated with our Asian brothers and sisters. We enjoyed a great time of remembering what God has done and envisioning what he has for Asian Access in the future. I have reported on this event on our blog, which you can access here:  https://www.asianaccess.org/a250...

    A2|50th AnniversaryBut this fall, we want to invite our friends in the U.S. to commemorate 50 years of successful ministry. We enjoyed a great evening in Knoxville, TN in September. For those in the Southwest region of the U.S., we will hold our dinner event at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, CA on October 21, starting at 6:30pm. Dinner will be served followed by a simple program including a few video clips to celebrate our 50 years. Our founder will share his reflections. Plus, Asian leaders, A2 missionaries and I will bring firsthand updates from across Asia We will look back to our past and ahead to our future. We have many new ministry updates to share with you.

     

    WHEN: Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 6:30 – 9:30 P.M.

     

    WHERE: Lake Avenue Church, 393 N. Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA

     

    REGISTRATION FOR THIS EVENT IS NOW CLOSED

    If you are able to join me on October 21, please RSVP today to reserve your spot by completing the form here: https://www.asianaccess.org/a250...

    I hope that you are able to join me in Pasadena on October 21 to celebrate. Regardless, thank you for partnering with Asian Access and LIFE Ministries these many years. I'm grateful for you, because through your prayers and gifts, you are part of strengthening the Church and advancing the Gospel across Asia. Together, we’re changing the few who change the many.

    For His Kingdom,

    joe sig blue
    Joseph W. Handley, Jr., President

    Joe Handleyemail jhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter @jwhandley

     

    More Information

    P.S. – Space is limited, so please RSVP today: https://www.asianaccess.org/a250

    A2 savethedate Pasadena 2017 10 21 back web

  17. A church that met in a bar has exciting news

    Japan (MNN) – A couple of months ago, we told you about pastor Takahiro Ami in Sendai City, Japan, who held his church services in a local bar. It was smelly and crowded, but it was the only place they could find.

    Pastor Ami’s congregation cleaning up after their last service in the bar. (Photo courtesy of Takahiro Ami via Facebook).Well, here’s an encouraging update: Joe Handley with Asian Access says Ami has found a new building better suited for his congregation’s needs.

    “He is cutting new territory with church life in Japan by meeting outside of a traditional church building,” Handley says.

    “Even just his step into a bar was courageous, and now, to take this to another level, where they’ll have more accessibility for families, is quite remarkable.”

    Ami is part of a group of younger pastors being trained by Asian Access. Handley says in Japan, where Christians make up only about one percent of the population,it’s unusual for a church to meet anywhere other than in a traditional church building. Still, despite meeting in a bar for ten years, Handley says Ami’s church has played a huge role in meeting the country’s spiritual needs.

    “It’s been very interesting, especially in light of the post-tsunami, post-earthquakescenario that hit that region, where people are very open to the Gospel like never before,” Handley says. “In fact, the response rates to Christ since the disaster have been seven times normal, which is unbelievable.

    “So he came with this new idea, this fresh idea, at a perfect moment in time, when people were really just hungry for people to help them. They were looking to kind of meet needs that they didn’t know they might have, kind of hungry spiritually in the midst of all the loss they were facing.”

    Handley says Ami is casting a great vision for the Church in Japan. His goal is to one day see churches become as common as convenience stores.

    Pastor Ami’s new church building. (Photo courtesy of Takahiro Ami via Facebook).“They have said, in order to truly impact Japan for Christ, we need a church just like every convenience store, which basically is every corner in Japan,” Handley says.

    “They’ve done studies, and there are 55,000 convenience stores in the entire nation. And so now this generation is bold enough, with just about 8,000 churches, to say, ‘We need to go big and pray for 55,000 churches in the coming years ahead.’”

    Can you come alongside Ami’s daring vision? Handley asks that you pray that Ami’s congregation would maintain the funds necessary to remain in their new building. He also asks that you pray that his church would flourish and that Ami would continue to grow as a leader.

    You can support Asian Access’ work financially by clicking here.

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (story starts at 2:54)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Sep13-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    More Information

     

  18. 00279 00441

    I was recently asked to share at the Asia Leaders Summit in Taiwan on the topic of “Effective Evangelism in Asia.” They gave Asian Access permission to share the report online so that we could all learn from the gathering.

    It was an honor to be requested to speak, especially given the focus of the group: “Asia by Asians! – A diversity of Asian churches united to evangelize and disciple Asia.” As the only non-Asian participating, I was humbled to be invited and asked to share.

    I trust you enjoy learning from my Asian Access colleagues’ wisdom below…

     

    Effective Evangelism in Asia // Asia Leaders Summit, Taiwan

     

    A Principle from Japan

    A Japanese colleague became a follower of Jesus at a young age. In his early days of following Christ, he attended a seminar on apologetics. He felt he was gaining insights into how to reach his friends. After completing seminar, he tried these new ideas on outreach on a friend.

    He explained the Gospel to his friend. At each stage of the sharing, he asked his friend, "Do you agree with this?" Each time, his friend answered “Yes, I agree with what you are sharing.”

    My colleague thought that his friend was ready to become a Christian. He asked his friend, “Do you want to accept Christ as your savior?” His friend's answer? “No!” My colleague replied, “But didn’t you say that you agreed with me on all these issues?” "Yes, I did.” "Then why don’t you want to make a decision to follow Jesus?” His friend answered,

    “All you care about is being right. You don’t care about me. If that is Christianity, I want nothing to do with it.”

    This encounter was a devastating but powerful lesson for my colleague. Effective evangelism in Japan was not about arguments or apologetics--it had to involve true care and friendship.

    00279 00442

     

    A Principle from Sri Lanka

    I have another colleague, a Sri Lankan. He’s written an article called Evangelism in Asia: Developing and Living Out Relevant Theologies (EMQ, July 2015). He mentions that the Western world focuses on truth but this truth often clashes with other truths in pluralistic Asian contexts.

    My colleague builds his model of John 1:14...

    "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In this context, grace is mentioned before truth.

    My colleague's contention is that in Asia, grace must precede truth in relationship with people you are trying to reach for Christ. He argues that in a world of competing truths, the only way forward is through grace, which then opens people become open to hear the truth.

    Let me share two examples of this "grace before truth" approach, both coming out of devastating disasters.

     

    An example following Japan's triple disaster

    When the triple disaster hit Japan in 2011, Japanese leaders and missionaries felt called to mobilize and help their fellow compatriots. One pastor would visit daily all of the fishing villages he could reach. I just recently was in one of these villages and heard his story first-hand.

    This pastor introduced a group of us to a lady and her husband whose family ran a fishing business for several generations. As the post-earthquake tsumani approached, the husband heard the sirens. He mobilized as many people as he could to onto his fishing boats, heading out to sea and safety. But his wife and daughter were not among them; they had been out of town that day.

    Driving home, his wife made it to a bridge when the waters struck their town. She watched as her friends and community were swept out to sea. When the waters subsided, she went home thinking her husband had also been lost. It was three days before his boat returned to their town.

    As the pastor visited their area, he brought supplies, food, and clothing to this family. Week after week, he shared what he had and told them about the hope he had in Christ.

    Their daughter became a believer. She begged her parents,

    “Please come to Jesus. Please come to Jesus!”

    The mother became a Christ follower a few months ago and now hosts a small house chapel in their factory. The husband, smoking a cigarette, told us that day that he didn’t know about this faith stuff, but he knew that that pastor loved him and his family and his community. He said, "You can use my factory any time you want for your church!" His wife told us that she won’t become baptized until her husband accepts Christ and they can get baptized together.

    I have heard story and story much like this one. And now, a country that used to believe that planting 1,000 churches was impossible now believes they can plant 55,000 churche, making Christianity accessible to everyone by planting small fellowships on virtually every corner, just like convenience stores. They call it convenience store church planting!

    00279 00443

     

    An example from earthquake relief in South Asia

    A few years ago, another major earthquake struck a South Asian country. When the quake hit, it destroyed many remote towns and villages and devastated their capital city. Some regions are so remote that no government or aid groups were able to get there. But believers in that country are used to walking days to attend a church.

    In one of these regions lived a Tibetan monk who was antagonistic toward Christians. He blocked all Christian activity in the entire area. But when the earthquake hit his town, a group of Christ followers decided to deploy supplies to that region. Day after day, his church served the people of that community. After several days, the Tibetan priest came up to the pastor and said, "I don’t know who your God is, but He obviously cares about us. I want to follow your God!”

    That monk is now a pastor. When I met him, he had already planted two churches and was working on a third. He has led 34 other Buddhist monks to Christ! He told me:

    “All these valleys in the big mountains near my region have no church. Before I die, I have a vision to plant a church in each one of those valleys.”

    Church leaders estimate that in this country, more than 200,000 people have come to Christ since the earthquake.


    I think you get the picture. When grace precedes truth, evangelism becomes much more natural. When we make friends, and serve people, they are more open to hearing the truths we have to share.

    I hope that these examples will build your faith and your confidence to share with those around you. We are seeing entire people movements for Christ emerging throughout the region. We invite you to join us in praying to see revival stir across the continent.

    God bless you and God bless the people of Asia.

    May we all lean into this principle of allowing grace to precede truth!

    Do you have examples of sharing your faith that highlight these ideas? If so, please share!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

  19. Asian Access has released a brand new series called, Eastern Voices: Insight, Perspective, and Vision from Kingdom Leaders in Asia In Their Own Words.

    We'd like you to meet Adrian...

    A250 Adrian & Doug

    A Call for a New Paradigm

    From Eastern Voices, Vol. 1 — “The Blasphemy of Worship” (chp 6)

     

    Introduction (0:49)

    Adrian de Visser shares his concern that in some contexts, we have actually made worship blasphemous.

     

    Part 2 (5:19)

    Is it possible that we have made worship blasphemous? Adrian de Visser shares how this in fact has happened. He also provides keen perspective on how foreign missionaries brought worship styles into Asian cultures that are alien, and even offensive, to the very people they are trying to reach.

     

    A250 devisser adrianAbout Adrian

    ADRIAN DeVISSER is founder and senior pastor of Kethu Sevana Ministries in Sri Lanka. He also serves as national director for Asian Access Sri Lanka as well as A2’s Vice President for Partnership Development. He and his wife Ophelia live in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

     

     

     

    EV1 final title slide 2017 04 25 flat 700pxAbout the "Eastern Voices" series

    Eastern Voices Volume 1 is compilation of 14 stories from 15 different Asian authors. The book is available in paperback and in digital (ePub) format. It can be purchased through Amazon and other book resellers. Order your copy of Volume 1 today!

     

     


     More Information

    Intro:

    https://youtu.be/0NBafNXgKzA

     

    Part 2

    https://youtu.be/tBYDpfDmvXU

     

  20. About 400,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar

    Myanmar (MNN) – For decades, Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority population has been known as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. But over the past three weeks, their situation has taken a deadly turn.

    Buddhist monks in MyanmarOn August 25, Rohingya rebels attacked police posts throughout Rakhine State. Myanmar’s military tried to root out the rebels, but many Rohingya say soldiers shot those who fled indiscriminately. About 400,000 of Myanmar’s one million Rohingya have fled the state from what the UN has called a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Myanmar’s government has drawn widespread condemnation as military soldiers have killed hundreds of Rohingya, attacking them with rocket launchers and burning their villages.

    Wesley Thura with Asian Access, an organization dedicated to training and equipping Christian leaders throughout Asia, says it’s difficult to know exactly what side to believe.

    “I do not know the true story,” Thura says. “Different parties are saying different stories. Our government says different stories. The Rakhine people there say different stories. The Rohingya people say different stories. I do not know which story to trust or believe in.”

    The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority group that came from Bangladesh nearly 200 years ago when Myanmar was under British rule. They have been denied citizenship since 1982 and aren’t recognized as one of the country’s 135 official minority groups. They live in one of the poorest areas in the nation and lack basic necessities and opportunities.

    “We collect some money, some donations, and we give that money to our A2 alumni who is in charge in this area,” Thura says “So he brings this money and buys some rice or essential needs, and then brings this food and provides for them.”

    praying for next cohortWith so much contradictory information coming out of Myanmar, it’s difficult to know how to pray. Thura asks that you pray for Asian Access’ alumni working in this area and that Christians living in Myanmar would positively influence the situation.

    “Now [Rohingya believers] are facing these kinds of new problems and difficulties,” Thura says. “So please pray for the Christian community here in Myanmar, that they may be able to talk with the government and find the best way to help both sides, both sides being the ethnic Rakhine people and Rohingya people.”

    Interested in how you can support Asian Access’ work throughout Myanmar? You can find a variety of ways to support Asian Access by clicking here.

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Sep18-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    More Information

     

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