A2 Blog Centre

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

Stories from the people in the A2 Community...
  1. Thank you for walking alongside Nepal quake victims

    Silk Handley recounted with Joe about their time in Nepal, specifically about when they were able to go actually see one of the village sites where the earthquake did quite a bit of damage.

    “It was amazing walking the streets. I noticed huge piles of dirt and mud in the center of the road blocking the road, so that vehicles couldn't even drive there. I was thinking, ‘How did this happen?’ As I was watching, I noticed a woman in her little mud and brick home. She was in a process of actually cleaning it out and taking handfuls of the mud and throwing it into the middle of street, because there was nowhere else to put it. So it’s just heartbreaking that this is her reality, but at the same time, I'm just so grateful that Christians are coming alongside and providing support.”

    Joe summarized by thanking those who support our work there:

    “Let me echo that. Many of you have prayed for us have rallied behind us and rallied behind ladies like this whom Silk is talking about and provided the hope and healing that they have needed in the midst of their deepest pain. Thank you for giving. Thank you for praying. And thank you for walking alongside the people of Nepal.”

     street in quake zone

    More Information

    1. Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy2O8WNn7Ug
    2. See Joe's thanksgiving video greeting here...
  2. $250,000 to accelerate church planting in Japan

    $250,000 for more and healthier churches in Japan

    Give Now!This has been an extraordinary year in the life of the Church of Asia. Every day, we hear of political tensions, natural disasters and religious intolerance. But in the midst of disturbing news, the church of Jesus Christ is on the move. And you can help to move the spiritual needle in Japan!

    My predecessor Doug Birdsall recently reminded me of how the 2020 Vision for Japan came to be. Back in 1986, Doug was sensing the Lord might be calling him away from the mission of Asian Access. Then one night, he woke up—and all he could see and hear was the phrase, repeated over and over,

    “Plant Churches…  Plant Churches… Plant Churches!”

    God confirmed Doug’s call to stay with the mission. As he assumed the presidency of Asian Access, Doug unveiled a vision that God had given him—the 2020 Vision for Japan:

    To deploy 100 church multiplication teams to start 1000 reproducing churches that would enfold 1,000,000 new followers of Jesus and send 1000 missionaries from Japan to the major cities of Asia.


    The Impossible Vision?

    Everyone thought the 2020 Vision was impossible. We struggled to keep pace with our own yearly church planting goals. There were no breakthroughs. The vision truly seemed unreachable.

    Then in March 2011, the triple disaster—earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear-plant meltdown—struck Northeastern Japan. In the midst of the devastation, God began to redeem the tragedy. The Church tirelessly met the needs around them. Huge barriers were broken down between Christian denominations and between the Church and Japanese society. Missionaries moved into the area and joined with Japanese churches in the relief, rebuilding, and outreach efforts.

    These efforts have given Japanese believers a new sense of hope that the 2020 Vision could be within reach. More churches have been planted, more quickly, than we ever could have imagined. And the vision of Japanese pastors grew substantially—well beyond what we could have envisioned. We now have pastors in Japan dreaming of planting 50,000 churches by 2035!


    Significant Signs of Growing Vision

    Consider what happened recently at the Vision Festival, an Asian Access/Japan-sponsored gathering that drew together over 60 Japanese pastors to discuss church multiplication:

    • Research indicates that Japan can absorb up to 50,000 convenience stores before it is saturated (there are currently 45,000 of these hugely-popular stores). Given that there are currently about 8,000 evangelical churches, pastors assert Japan needs  at least 42,000 more churches.
    • Another pastor talked about how his group of churches is achieving church multiplication by using a “strawberry evangelism” paradigm. Just like a strawberry plant, mother churches are sending out church members as “runners” to plant daughter churches.
    • Yet another pastor is praying for Japan’s population to reach 10% Christian by 2024—an amazing growth goal!

    Japanese people are spiritually hungry. They are looking for hope. Jesus intrigues them. The harvest appears to be ripening in Japan. That is why I am writing you now about how you can maximize your gift to support the visionary work of our Japanese brothers and sisters.


    A Vision for So Much More

    Japan: Finding Its Way

    What seemed impossible in 1986 has exploded into a vision for so much more. There is significant synergy now. But we need to strategically harness this energy and do what Asian Access does well—come alongside visionary leaders who can catalyze missional movements.

    Your investment will help to empower these movements of God. This is evident when you review the projects outlined in the flyer, Japan: Finding Its WayGod is doing a new work in Japan. It’s simply remarkable.


    Putting Our Feet Where Our Vision Is

    In fact, it is so remarkable, that my wife Silk and I have decided to move to Tokyo next year. We will base in the heart of Tokyo for 2016/2017, our 50th anniversary as a mission. What a joy it will be to celebrate this grand occasion together in the very city where Asian Access focus all began!

    Handley JoeSilk Oct2015 500px

    Bolstering This Vision

    On top of all of this, Dan Amos, CEO of Aflac Insurance, has given us a remarkable giving challenge: $250,000 by December 31, 2015 to help reach Japan for Christ. Here is what Dan wrote to me:

    Dan Amos, CEO of Aflac“I have been a strong supporter of Asian Access for over 15 years. Their work in Japan has led to nearly a thousand churches being planted and hundreds coming to Christ. The Daniel P. Amos Family Foundation and SOMA Foundation were happy to support Asian Access when they were at the front edge of providing hope and healing to the people of Japan following the triple-disaster of 2011. I have full confidence in their president, Joe Handley, their board, and the mission that they oversee. That is why I am proud to offer this $250,000 matching challenge to help reach Japan for Christ. I hope you’ll join me in praying for Asian Access and supporting them by meeting this match so that more Japanese people can come to know Jesus as their Savior.”
    — Dan Amos, CEO, Aflac

    As we enter this final quarter of 2015, I want to thank you for your partnership with us to help reach Japan for Christ. We are investing in key leaders who are making a transformational difference.


    An Invitation to Participate in This Vision

    As you review the ministry goals outlined in the flyer, would you prayerfully consider a gift to help us reach this $250,000 giving challenge? We praise God for visionary pastors in Japan, being moved by our Lord to dream big dreams. Your gift, which will be augmented by the challenge, can help these big dreams to come true!

    Give Now!


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


    Thank you for your consideration. God bless you and your loved ones this holiday season.

    With Christ,

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

  3. Asian believers cast vision for massive outreach

      Asian believers cast vision for massive outreach
      Japanese pastors at a training conference.
    (Image courtesy Asian Access)

    Asia (MNN) — Believers in East Asia are planning something big. More than 900 pastors and church leaders from their country recently gathered to discuss the largest missionary-sending initiative in the nation’s history.

    Over the next 15 years, this restricted-access country hopes to send 20,000 missionaries to some of the least-reached people groups in the world.

    “[The country] did a survey of how many missionaries God had sent to their country over the last 200 years, and they realized it’s about 20,000 missionaries who brought the hope of Christ to their country,” says Joe Handley, president of Asian Access, a ministry dedicated to raising up Christian leaders within the continent.

    “As they reflected deeper and prayed, they had a sense that they owe it back to God to be a blessing to the nations that have yet to see this hope.”

    The idea behind the initiative isn’t new. In its early days, it was known as the Back to Jerusalem movement, a Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim outreach initiative. However, this movement sat dormant for many years and never fully got off the ground.

    It wasn’t until around 2011 when the nation’s idea of paying back this “spiritual debt” began to gain momentum, beginning through a gathering of Christians in Korea, which Asian Access attended.

    The vision kept growing. Last year, 30 of the top Christian leaders from the country gathered to pray for their 2030 vision: to send 20,000 missionaries from their country to nations with little Gospel influence. They met again last month, this time with 900 pastors and church leaders, to discuss ways they can collaborate to accomplish their goal.

    “For years, this church in this country has been sending missionaries, but it’s not been effective,” Handley says.

    “Many of them have come home discouraged, not supported. Now, they’re poised and looking for groups like Asian Access and many others that are coming alongside to help build capacity for a local indigenous sending movement.

    “This is really stunning, because it’s not foreign agencies that are running this thing. It’s not actually groups like Asian Access, although we’re involved. It’s really local, indigenous expressions of mission societies and churches that are going to be at the forefront of this sending engine.”

    Although support from groups like Asian Access is vital, the indigenous missionaries are in a unique position to make a difference. Their personal life experiences and nationality allow them to impact people in a way that many Western missionaries could not.

    “They are a church that has faced persecution,” Handley says. “They have been living through it for decades. I personally know pastors that have spent many years in jail, many years under torture or oppression, many years under all sorts of different kinds of pressure, and so they’ve already been tested and tried. They have something that generally the Western church has not faced at all, in terms of the pressures that have been put on them.

    (Photo courtesy of Asian Access)“The second advantage is in many of these countries, there is a repulsion against the West. Many of these least-reached sectors of the world, many of the sectors of the world where you have persecution happening, there is no desire to have Western presence in those countries.”

    You might not be able to personally impact persecuted believers, but you can always help those who can. Handley asks that you pray for believers in this country as they foster their missionary-sending vision, as well as for groups like Asian Access supporting them.

    “I would say the key prayer point right now is praying for the capacity building of these nations, whether it’s in collaboration, leadership development, or setting up sending structures, having a church that can support from behind,” Handley says.

    Financial resources are also a necessity. Handley estimates that this initiative is a multi-million dollar effort. Click here for ways to give.


    Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:57)


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  4. Thankful for you this Thanksgiving!

    joe headshot Oct2015Hi there friends,

    I just want to say thank you for your support to us at Asian Access. We are deeply grateful for your partnership, your prayers and your financial support. It's amazing to see what God is doing through the lives of leaders all over Asia.

    This summer, in particular, your work with helping us with the people of Nepal after the earthquake was deeply moving. So I just want to say thank you this Thanksgiving season.

    And you may have heard by now that we have another big giving challenge offered to us by the CEO of Aflac, Dan Amos. He said, “I'll give you $250,000. I’ll match that for Japan for those who want to give towards the end of this season."

    amos dan“I have been a strong supporter of Asian Access for over 15 years. Their work in Japan has led to nearly a thousand churches being planted and hundreds coming to Christ. The Daniel P. Amos Family Foundation and SOMA Foundation were happy to support Asian Access when they were at the front edge of providing hope and healing to the people of Japan following the triple-disaster of 2011. I have full confidence in their president, Joe Handley, their board, and the mission that they oversee. That is why I am proud to offer this $250,000 matching challenge to help reach Japan for Christ. I hope you’ll join me in praying for Asian Access and supporting them by meeting this match so that more Japanese people can come to know Jesus as their Savior.”

    — Dan Amos, CEO, Aflac

    So thank you for partnering with us and please be praying about this giving challenge.

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access


    More Information

    Give Now!


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


  5. Measuring our Fruitfulness

    Reflecting on the ICETE Consultation 2015

    ICETE consultation 2015

    It was an honor being invited to participate at the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education Conference this year. A group of their leaders and a few others recommended we open an intentional dialog between those of us doing non-formal theological education and those doing more formal theological education.

    As you can tell from our group photo from Antalya, Turkey, it was a tremendous week together. Of course, I loved it all the more because I used to live in Turkey. What a fantastic country and Antalya is a great location!

    measure ruler

    Measuring Ministry Impact

    The focus of our week together was on Measuring Ministry Impact. Paul Penley from Excellence in Giving and Craig Parro from Leadership Resources International gave outstanding presentations on research initiatives and ways to measure ministry impact. Not only was I impressed, but also encouraged, because we have been looking more thoughtfully at fruitful practices at Asian Access. 

    Granted, we are hearing positive stories every month about the impact of Asian Access. To get a glimpse of these uplifting stories, take a look at our latest blog articles on A2 BlogCentre.

    Even so, we continue to ask ourselves, "Is there something beyond this anecdotal evidence?" We have taken a deeper look the last few years at The Essence of Asian Access to determine how we can get our arms around the fruitfulness of our ministry.

    As a part of better understanding what we do, we have been developing a logic model that helps us stay focused on our four key outcomes, while considering the inputs, processes and outputs of our core leader development program. Coming out of ICETE, I believe we are on the right track and ask for your prayers as we seek to better appreciate how God is using our movement. We are a learning community and are always interested in seeing how we can improve. We will keep sharing what we discover over the coming months.

    sharpening knives

    Sharpening One Another

    Being at ICETE was also good because we could interact with some of the top leader development groups out there today. All those who are considered best practice organizations were present and it was particularly fun to spend time with Malcolm Webber from LeaderSource and Jane Overstreet from DAI. They are some of the best groups out there doing leadership development along with Asian Access. It was an honor to be invited to ICETE to see how we can explore further collaboration with formal theological educational institutions. 

    Pray for us that we might better serve one another and the body of Christ by seeking ways to add value to one another. Both formal and non-formal theological education have important roles to play in God’s kingdom, and I think we can enhance one another and collaborate more effectively.

    How do you measure your fruitfulness? I’d like to know…

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

  6. Takeshi Takazawa

    Takeshi Takazawa"Asian Access is coming alongside leaders to accomplish what God has called them to do in the way God has called them to do it. This is why I have been involved in this ministry for decades.

    Asian Access is not called to transfer knowledge, but to create learning communities. This is what gets me excited.

    I am convinced that true partnership always takes place in authentic community. Asian Access is committed to this type of community within and across cultures."

    Takeshi Takazawa
     National Director, Asian Access/Japan

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  7. How does Dad get the privilege of working with people like this?

    Handley JoeSilk Oct2015 500px

    Silk and I took our son John to Asia on a recent trip to several countries where Asian Access operates. We were touched deeply how each Asian Access leader took their valuable time to talk to our son John and personally invest in him. They spoke into his life and left a lasting impression on him.

    So much so, that afterward, John reflected to his mother:

    "Mom, it's amazing. How in the world does Dad get the privilege of working with people like this? He's not even in their league."

    Asian Access can identify high-caliber leaders with potential. These are people who not only influence countless others, but also launch significant movements in their respective countries. And yet they have the sensitivity to be present for a young teenager from another part of the world. They realize how important it is to invest in the next generation.

    We are humbled to play a small role in helping to develop these kinds of leaders, who now teach as our faculty and lead Asian Access in their countries. And we partner with each of them to continue identifying, developing and releasing a new generation of leaders across Asia.

    Indeed, I ask the Lord, "How in the world do I have the privilege of working with leaders like this?" What an honor!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley


    More Information

    Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a_dFaTFWkg


  8. Adrian De Visser

    AdrianDV headshot 2015"Many groups over the years have wanted to partner with us. The reason we serve with Asian Access is because they know the value of mutuality. Ministry isn't one-sided for them—from West to the Rest. Rather, it is a true partnership where the best from the West is connected with the best from the East in dynamic collaborative community. Asian Access truly models this form of servant leadership."

    Adrian De Visser
    Founder, Kithu Sevana - Sri Lanka

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  9. A Lesson on Reconciliation: A Case Study from Japan

    Wikipedia Shinzō Abe April 2015-195x300This has been a turbulent year in Asia. China has pushed forward with territorial claims to islands all over the Eastern Pacific. In Japan, Prime Minister Abe offered what many saw as a partial apology for Japan’s role prior to and during WWII. Learn more about the troubled relations between China and Japan >>

    A Lesson on Reconciliation: A Case Study from Japan

    (Photo courtesy Caribbean360.com)Walking the Walk

    In the midst of the turmoil, it’s inspiring to see how Chinese and Japanese pastors have responded. Walking the walk of reconciliation outlined in the Bible, Japanese pastors have set up retreats where they offer their apology for the sins of their forefathers toward church leaders in China, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and beyond.

    Powerful encounters, where Japanese brothers have fallen on their faces to repent for the sins of their nations, have left their pastoral brothers from other nations in tears. Many believe that these acts of repentance carry special spiritual impact in this, the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. These humble Japanese leaders are praying that their acts of reconciliation will spark a breakthrough in the hope of Christ for Japan. I join them in this prayer.


    How can we apply this personally?

    What is happening between nations can also happen in our individual lives. As we reconcile one to another, we demonstrate the love of Jesus. The power of reconciliation is immense–forgiveness is one of the most potent forces in our world. Just look at what happened in Charleston, South Carolina, following the horrific mass shooting that took place this past June at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

    When we ask forgiveness for wrongs we have done–AND when we forgive others for wrongs they have committed against us–an amazing force is released. I’m praying this force of forgivenesswill prove transformational for Japan this year. And I pray it will also prove to be transformational in your own life.

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley


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  10. Identifying Leaders: The Asian Access Approach

    ND gathering 2015 web 500

    At Asian Access, we have been affirmed for our ability to identify leaders who are right for our program. We’ve had numerous requests to share what we believe we have learned. So with humility, let me offer a few thoughts on our approach.


    ALL IN with God

    all in 500x221The Asian Access approach is rooted in a core value: a commitment to developing a deep love relationship with God within the hearts of leaders. Our values statement begins with this commitment: ALL IN with God. In the words of one of our leaders:

    Whether we have arrived or not, we aspire to grow in love relationship with God and walk with Him and do ministry with Him… We keep this in front of us all the time. When this desire is expressed, it attracts leaders who really aspire to love God and grow in relationship with him. This also allows God to work in and through us rather than an emphasis on usdoing things for God. Finally, this affects how we empower one another—by relying more on God and less on ourselves in every step.

    LIVE Community

    LIVE CommunityAfter our relationship with God is our relationship with one another. The second of our three values is an action statement: LIVE Community. We seek to find the right leaders together, in community. Another of our leaders puts it like this:

    In leadership selection, because community is both the means and ends of what we do, we see leadership selection as developing relationships, just as Jesus selected twelve to be not only apostles but also have them be close to him. We strive to open our hearts to be in community together. This affects our openness, desire for unity, and our desire to learn from one another—both within and across cultures. Because of this value, we invite potential leaders to first come and experience A2 with a group of leaders already engaged in the program. In the same way, when we explore possible new countries, we do so in community. 

    Tea break 500

    Empowering Leaders Cross-Culturally

    Another key to the Asian Access approach is how we understand what it means to authentically empower leaders cross-culturally. Our conscious priority is to honor the authority of our Asian partners. When we begin relationship with a potential new country, Asian Access is represented by Asian leaders. When Westerners are involved, we are intentionally positioned in subordinate, supportive roles to our Asian colleagues. Here is how one of our Asian leaders has articulated his impression of our commitment to inclusiveness: 

    Asian Access values and accepts Asian leaders to the degree that Caucasians may feel a little uncomfortable or rejected. This is very rare. Most of the time, the Asian leaders in a cross-cultural partnership feel rejected in spite of the fact that the Westeners believe they are welcoming their Asian colleagues. Of course, Asian Access still has a ways to go to in terms of living out authentic inclusiveness. I often still feel marginalized—that what I say doesn’t count as much as a Westerner who can say it more succinctly, intelligently, and persuasively. Epistemologically speaking, Asians do not rely on cognitive explanations, but instead favor relational and experiential knowledge. This is why who we are is as important (if not more important) as what we do. After all, ultimately ministry flows out of being.

    Processing at ND gathering 500

    Leaders with a Heart for the Church

    Being community-centered means we are not searching for one key leader. While we do look for people of influence, we’re not looking for big names or leaders whose pedigree is based on recognition in the West. Rather, we search for leaders with a kingdom mindset; leaders with a vision bigger than their immediate sphere of influence; leaders with a heart for the Church. Here is how another of my colleagues puts it: 

    When we help to launch a new country, we are not seeking the Promised One. Rather, we seek to empower a national working team who will lead the ministry. We seek to do things in a way that will enable the leadership of that country to “own” the ministry from the beginning. From the outset, we seek interact with local leaders in a way that will foster and communicate local ownership.

    Bridging People, Diminishing Barriers

    As we go forward, we reach out to the whole Church. We spend time with leaders in every denomination, network, and movement in that country. In a restricted-access country, where the Church is operating under oppression (and sometimes legal restrictions), we connect with both registered and unregistered churches. We are firmly committed to leader development that bridges denominational, theological, cultural, ethnic, and political barriers.

    Life-on-Life in Learning Communities

    Finally, we seek to interact with people holistically. We spend time getting to know leaders in their homes, over family meals, worshipping and praying together, in their context. This allows them, and us, to get to know one another in ways that helps us to discern if we share the same spirit and perspective on what it means to develop learning communities of Christ-like leaders.

    Ultimately, it all comes down to discerning the leading of the Spirit. Christ is the primary agent; as we lean into Him, He guides us forward. When we are all in with God, we know that He will lead us, in the proper timing, to just the right people—people who share the vision to see a vibrant community of servant leaders… leading the Church across Asia.

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley


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    Core ValuesMission, Vision, Values

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