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. "We tend to overcomplicate the simplicity of listening to Jesus." — Tony Dale

    Not long ago I had the privilege of participating in one of our Asian Access sessions where Tony and Felicity Dale were teaching. It was brilliant and their stories inspired me.

    Today, they lead a Christ-centered business that is on mission and they’ve seen remarkable results. Many small fellowships have birthed out of their simple story and who knows how many people are now following Jesus because of their faithful presence!

    "My sheep hear my voice."— John 10

    They pointed to this passage and as highlighted above noted how so many of us overcomplicate listening to Jesus. Their advice: Just listen to Jesus!

    Years ago when Tony and Felicity were in Med School in England, they listened to Jesus and he encouraged them to start small fellowships of med students learning about Christ. They started with just 3-4 Med Students and soon enough hundreds were on fire for Jesus!

    You see God uses the ordinary to make the extraordinary happen!As they put it, God took a very ordinary group of students and he did something extraordinary.

    Today, Tony and Felicity do the same thing but in the context of a business based in Austin TX. It’s amazing to hear how God is using them as business leaders to see extraordinary things happen for his kingdom.

    Do you hear God’s voice? If not, Tony and Felicity have some advice:

    • Go somewhere where there are NO distractions.
    • Focus your thoughts on Jesus:
      • Ask, Lord is there anything you want to share with me?
      • Or, Lord I’m worried about this in my business (or family or church).
    • Listen for a flow of spontaneous thoughts.
    • Then, write it down.

    Invariably, God will speak to you. And when he does, obey! Do what he says.

    Are you listening to God these days? Do you hear his voice?

    Just listen to Jesus!

    joe sig blue
    Joe & Silk Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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    dale tony and felicity 2017 square"Felicity and I have had many trips with Asian Access to help develop pastoral leadership in countries that may be underdeveloped economically, but are hungry for the development of the church. What a privilege these trips have been. Meeting across denominational lines, with leaders from multiple denominations embodies the unity that Jesus prayed for and commanded in John 17. Watching those leaders not only embrace each other, but also embrace ideas that may have been outside of their experience so far, has been humbling and rewarding. The impact of these church movements will be far reaching in the development of these countries and of the body of Christ within these countries."

    Dr. Tony and Felicity Dale
    Founders (with others) of House2Houseauthors, and founders of The Health Co-Op
  2. starship enterprise 600x400

    A2.business Enterprise: Starship Log – Entry 2017-0321-09:33

    I grew up watching the TV series, Star Trek. I was recently reminded of the opening of that show at a session of A2.business in South Asia. Star Trek opened every show with Captain James T. Kirk saying,

    “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

    After spending the weekend together one of the CEO’s shared this A2.business group is the right group for marketplace leaders who must “boldly go where no pastor can go.”

    A2.business

    Life-on-Life

    gidoomal ram 2015 200pxThis takeaway came out of the group’s experience together of “life-on-life” with each other and with our faculty for the weekend, Ram Gidoomal from London. Ram shared deeply out of his life story, a rich history of God’s calling to Himself and to being a business leader. Precisely because Ram spent most of his life in the marketplace, he was able to kindle conversation about balancing success in business with a heart for mission. Ram shared out of both his successes and mistakes, and how his relationship with God grew.

    Out of this experience he learned how to be intentionally missional. He demonstrated through his own stories how to go into places in the marketplace that only a few leaders can go, always displaying the light of Christ.

    Vision of a Few to Change the Many

    The A2.Business leaders Ram spent the weekend with are a small group who have a vision to change many. They know they have been put in C-suite positions where they can help transform their countries from the inside out. Ram inspired the cohort to press on toward the high calling of being a Christ-like leader.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Elliott Snuggs, First Lieutenant
    A2.business Enterprise

    Starship Log – Entry 2017-0321-09:33

     

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    Ram Gidoomal (United Kingdom)

    Ram is a businessman and entrepreneur who over the last twenty years has used his business acumen to support the work of numerous public and charitable organizations and global and local missions. In 2011 he was appointed Chairman of Traidcraft and the Lausanne Movement Board of Directors. Past roles include UK Chief Executive of the Inlaks Group, Crown appointee to the Court and Council of Imperial College London, and founder of the Christmas Cracker Charity which has raised over £5million, engaged upwards of 50,000 young people in the process, and mobilized many of them to world mission. He was a candidate for London Mayor for the Christian Peoples Alliance in 2000 and 2004 gaining nearly 100,000 votes in each election. (see article in The Guardian)

  3. By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

    brachiate

    During a recent conversation with a friend of mine, he mentioned a word I had not heard before... brachiate. He suggested I search it out on google when I returned home. He said it is a word worth discovering... and even more important, a word worth living. I did as he said and discovered the following:

    BRACHIATE: comes from the Latin BRACHIUM, discovered in the mid eighteenth century and means “arm” or “arm swinging”. The verb means to swing by the arms from one hold (branch or tree limb) to the next and one of its uses is for smaller monkeys that proceed through the jungle by swinging from one hold to the next.

    example of brachiate

    I began to think of other possibilities and thought of the monkey bars we used in junior school or the trapeze artists soaring through the air in a circus. To the monkeys in the jungle, brachiating has a degree of risk as they swing from one tree limb to another. For there are moments where they need to let go of the security of one branch to launch out hoping that there is another branch for them to grasp.

    And that’s when the reality of living the Christian life came home to me with fresh perspective. For following the Lord has a lot to do with brachiating. Let me give you a few examples :

    1. ABRAM

    The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you,” Genesis 12:1. Notice, Abram had to leave that which was familiar to him to go to that which was at the time unknown. He was being asked to brachiate.

    2. PETER and JOHN

    “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:11

    All Peter and John had was a call to follow Jesus, not knowing where it would take them, what it would involve or how their needs would be met. They were being asked to brachiate.

    3. PHILIP

    Now and angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Acts 8:26. Philip was leading an amazing evangelistic outreach in a city in Samaria (Acts 8:4-8) and was instructed to leave it all and head for the desert, not knowing what was going to happen next. He was being asked to brachiate.

    4. ELIJAH

    ‘Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have instructed a widow there to supply you with food.” ’ 1 Kings 17:7-8

    What was Elijah required to do when he heard the words, “the brook has dried up”? He was asked to do something quite illogical that required a great step of faith. The widow who was to provide him with food was in fact poor and incapable of feeding herself, let alone Elijah. He was being asked to brachiate.

    Modern management theory would advise us to examine our options which for Elijah might have been:

    a.) Do nothing and hope for the best which would be the equivalent of watching your church gradually die and close down.

    b.) Take some human initiative like drilling for water or applying for a grant of money which might require a church to compromise its convictions and calling.

    c.) Revert to the traditions of the past and build monuments to the ravens (the good old days) and not accept the fact that God has moved on. Elijah was being asked to brachiate.

    As I read the scriptures, I have come to the conclusion that the practice of brachiating is quite common for those who would wholeheartedly follow their Lord. In fact, as long as we follow the Lord, we will continually be asked to step out and brachiate.

    So what can we learn about brachiating from Abram and Peter and John and Philip and Elijah and others who have been used greatly by God?

    1. They were people who surrendered their lives to God. They were people who realised that when they surrendered their lives to the Lord, He had the right to interrupt their lives and cut across their plans anytime He chose.

    2. They were people who heard the voice of God. This meant that they were people who made it a high priority to spend time in the presence of the Lord in serious Bible study and prayer. Henry Blackaby said in his book Experiencing God, “One of the greatest tragedies among God’s people is that while they have a deep longing to experience Him, they are experiencing Him day after day, but do not know how to recognise Him.”

    3. They were people who took bold faith steps in obedience to God’s word. They recognised that it is only in the continual taking of faith steps that they gave God room to move. Such faith steps although at times illogical, connected them to the resources of God and the open doors of God. To brachiate will require a person to leave a place of security and to momentarily hang suspended, trusting that the Lord will provide the next tree limb to grasp.

    4. They were people like the great missionary Hudson Taylor who led the Chinese Inland Mission on the principles that he would : a. Never ask anyone for money b. Never go into debt c. Depend totally on the promises of God

    How about you? Are you living a life of brachiating? It is a word worth living. Has the Lord been speaking to you like He has spoken to so many people in the scriptures in the past, and down through church history and is still doing so today?

    • Abram: Leave your country... and go to the land I will show you.
    • Peter and John: Leave everything and follow me.
    • Philip: Go south to the desert road.
    • Elijah: The brook has dried up. Go at once to Zeraphath... I have instructed a widow there to supply you with food.

     

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brachiatea-word-worth-living-denton-rod

    _________________

    rod dentonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au

    See also, Asian Access Faculty

     

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  4. By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation

    univ of desert 800px

    God's choice training ground for future leaders

    “At certain times and places God will build a mysterious wall around us. He will take away all the supports we customarily lean upon, and will remove our ordinary ways of doing things. God will close us off to something divine, completely new and unexpected and that cannot be understood by examining our previous circumstances. We will be in a place where we do not know what is happening, where God is cutting the cloth of our lives by a new pattern and thus where He causes us to look to Him.

    Most Christians lead a treadmill life – a life in which they can predict almost everything that will come their way. But the souls that God leads into unpredictable and special situations are isolated by Him. All they know is that God is holding them and that He is dealing in their lives. Then their expectations come from Him alone.” 
    Streams in the Desert, 5 April — LB Cowman

    It took some time for me to understand God’s University of the Desert and then to trust Him in those deep experiences. But then it took even further time to recognise not only God’s presence in the loneliness of the desert, but also God’s purposes in the desert as He would be preparing me for the next season of my life.

    In the process I found perspective as I began to read the scriptures with a desert paradigm and I was surprised how many of God’s choice leaders spent time in the desert at critical seasons in their lives.  Many of them became my mentors on how to live life in the desert. People like Joseph (Genesis 37:36), Abraham (Genesis 12:1-7), Moses (Exodus 2:15), David (1 Samuel 22:1-2), John The Baptist (Luke 3:2-3), Jesus (Luke 4:1-2), Paul (Galatians 1:16-17) and the Apostle John (Revelations 1:9).

    Gradually it dawned on me that God has a choice discipleship training school called the University of the Desert. It is not one in which we can formally enrol and undertake classes of our own choosing and be graded on our academic achievements. Rather, it is one in which God sovereignly works through the circumstances of our lives to test us in order to approve us and then entrust us with responsibilities that are known only to Him (2 Thessalonians 2:4.) Sometimes it is only God and I that are aware of the fact that the class in the University of the Desert is in session.

    The following are some of the lessons I have learned as a result of studying the scriptures and from my experiences in the desert.

    1. It is normal for God to sovereignly plan seasons in the desert in the lives of His servants.

    So important is the desert experience in God’s leadership emergence program that it is unlikely that the people God uses will avoid time in the desert at some critical stage in their lives. There are some tests that can only be passed in the desert and there are some lessons that can only be learned in the desert where the flesh life is dealt a stunning blow and total dependence on God and a humble spirit is developed.

    2. In the desert, God tests us to reveal what is in our hearts.

    “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert those forty years to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.”  Deuteronomy 8:2 (Also Proverbs 17:3, Deuteronomy 13:3, 1 Samuel 16:7)

    God does not promote people on mere potential, but rather He promotes those who pass the tests that come their way, often unnoticed, like tests of integrity and obedience and faithfulness that can come in moments of disappointment and rejection and failure.

    Perhaps there is no better reference that a person can have than the reference we find in Romans 16:10: “Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ.”

    “Storms may sweep down upon us from different directions and for different reasons. Sometimes Satan causes the storm, sometimes people cause the storm. Sometimes I cause the storm. And sometimes the Lord sends the storm. But no matter who or what the cause, they all work to reveal the same things: the nature of my faith, the strength of my commitment, the level of my maturity, the health of my attitude, the measure of my teachability.”
    — John Maxwell

    3. Our Journey that leads us into desert experiences does not take God by surprise.

    Even in Jesus life we read that He “was led by the Spirit in to the desert, to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1)

    Sometimes it might even seem that it is a consequence of the sinfulness of other people that causes us to go through a painful season in the desert but God is sovereign and He is still able to work out His purposes in the most difficult of experiences. Joseph teaches us the importance of attitude and focus on God and not our circumstances in the desert when he speaks to his brothers who purposed to destroy him years earlier:” Don’t be afraid. Am I not in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-20)

    4. In the Desert God allows many or all of our ‘Props’ to be removed from us.

    In one particular desert experience, I witnessed the closing of some familiar doors that had become sources of security for me. These props were removed and in the process, I realised that it was appropriate to let go of them as God began to reposition me and remind me that my security and identity needed to be found in my relationship with Him alone.

    In the desert, God is taking us to a place of total dependence on Him and that can involve some painful moments of props being taken away as we learn to walk by faith. Some of these props can include sources of income, areas of responsibility, positions of influence, relationships, health etc.

    5. The Desert is a place of choices.

    Options emerge in life in the desert. I can take control of life in the desert and react to the circumstances in which I find myself, or I can trust my situation to God and surrender my circumstances to Him. But I must make the choice as to which option I will select. In one desert experience, I remember clearly hearing God speak into my unfolding situation. He said, ‘In this desert, Rod, you can give birth to an Isaac or an Ishmael.” And I remember the story of Abram and Sarai as they needed to trust God for the birth of their promised son. To choose an Isaac requires a person in the desert to wait on God and trust God for what is humanly impossible and is born of the Spirit. To choose an Ishmael results in a person in the desert taking control and rushing ahead to do that which is born out of the flesh and is humanly possible.

    6. The Desert is an intensive time of personal character growth.

    Consider the contrast in the life of Moses before and after his desert experience. In his first forty years of life we read “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” (Acts 7:22). Compare this with Moses’ own words after the second forty years of his life after his desert experience, Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10). What an incredible change as Moses experienced brokenness and a loss of confidence in the flesh and now was forced to be totally dependent on God. He would now learn that when he was weak, he would be strong.

    Often we find that when a person’s growth in competence outgrows their growth in character, this becomes a recipe for self-destruction. The desert is a place of humbling and brokenness where we are stripped of our independence and pride and learn to become God dependent.

    7. The Desert is a place of Spiritual Warfare.

    “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit in to the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1

    Not only is the desert a time where God is at work preparing us for future seasons of life, it is a time when the enemy will do all he can to remove us from the arena of God’s purposes. In the desert, our points of vulnerability can become even more acute and Satan, who knows us all too well, will press in to try and cause us to fail the tests of the desert.

    Paul challenges us to be “strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” and to “put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11. Remember, the devil is persistent. “When the devil had finished all this tempting (of Jesus), he left Him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)

    8. The Desert is a place where we learn to experience intimacy with God at a deeper level and see things from His perspective.

    Life in the desert is less cluttered and more simplified. In the desert God strips us of the things of the world and frees us to go deeper with Him. The wells of life are deeper in the desert. More and more we begin to see things the way God sees things. This is perspective, that quality which separates leaders from followers. The desert is a place of revelation, as we see in the case of John the Baptist: “The word God came to John… in the desert.” Luke 3:2

    The desert is a time of preparation for the future and is a time where God teaches His chosen servants to learn how to follow His promptings and partner with Him in what He is doing. In the desert, we transition from knowing about God to knowing God, as we are weaned from the accumulation of things that have hindered us from hungering and thirsting for the Living Water.

    “But when God who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but went immediately into Arabia (the desert) and later returned to Damascus” (Galatians 1:15-17)

    9. The Desert is a place where we strengthen the disciplines that form a strong foundation for our future lives and ministry.

    God has no shortcuts in His training program and the dropout rate can be high. The desert has a way of stripping life down to the basics and causing us to evaluate what is ultimately important and what is not. In the desert we are set free from the world’s agendas to create a materialistic heaven on earth and we realise that it is in the establishment of spiritual disciplines that we can move beyond the superficiality of our culture and deepen our foundations. Upon these foundations, God is then able to build a strong kingdom.

    10. The Desert is a place of victory that leads to a new future in the fullness of God’s time.

    “Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert. And streams in the wasteland.” — Isaiah 43:18-19

    “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

    There comes a time when life in the desert will end. For life in the desert is a time of preparation, a time of revelation and new perspective, a time of learning how to walk in the presence of God, a time to pull all the props away and move on from the things of the past and a time to walk by faith into the future and trust God to be our provider. Just as the Lord leads us into the desert, so it is that He leads us out of the desert, often with the promise that the best is yet to come.

     

    This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/university-desert-gods-choice-training-ground-denton-rod

    _________________

    rod dentonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au

    See also, Asian Access Faculty

  5. This day will be a day I never forget.

    Six years ago, in just a few short hours from right now, I was in Karuizawa, Japan for our annual Japan Staff Spring Retreat. It was a wonderful time together with our Asian Access/Japan family as always and as we were in chapel that afternoon, the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced hit: over 9 points on the Richter Scale. Even though it was centered several miles off the coast of Japan and many miles further from my location, it was still the single longest and strongest quake I had ever lived through. And, I’ve lived through some pretty strong quakes living most of my life in Los Angeles.

    This morning as I awoke, I was reminded of being here in Japan that horrible day. Silk and I were in Japan and our thoughts went to many of the pastors and churches we know in the heaviest hit regions plus staff we have all over the country who were unable to make the retreat. We also were thinking of our children and families back home and what might happen to us.

    As you know it was a devastating quake that triggered a massive tsunami that wreaked havoc on the shorelines of Northeast Japan. They call it a triple disaster because the tsunami also hit the Fukushima Nuclear plant which subsequently had a meltdown leading to the evacuation of the entire city, much of which is still a ghost town today.

    To get a sense of how etched this is in our memories, take a look at this article by Asahi: SIX YEARS AFTER: 3/11 tsunami banner evokes the unimaginable in Tokyo’s Ginza. Notice the picture in the article posted here showing how high the waters rose impacting Japan. Up to the fourth story! 

    highest watermark during Tsunami of March 2011

    It was an awful day for Japan.

    A day that she and none of us who lived through it will ever forget. 

    Many times I have preached and shared about the reality of Romans 8:28 following the disaster: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

    As some of you know, recently I was able to travel around Japan seeing first-hand what God has done following this horrendous tragedy. You see God brings good out of the bad for those who love him! The local Japanese churches rallied to help their neighbors and the body of Christ became a beacon of hope that is still living and active today. Just check out a few of my posts and news reports following that recent visit to the disaster areas:

    All these efforts have led to a new perception of the Japanese Church. It is more and more seen as a part of local society rather than some foreign religion. And, response rates to following Jesus rose to 5-7 times normal the last few years. 

    And, that is just the beginning. Many feel that the soil has been prepared for a greater harvest still to come. So, please join me in praying! Learn more here: Prayercast: Japan

    I’ll never forget this day. It is etched in my memories forever and it was God’s opportunity to teach me again the truth of his words: All things work together for good to those that love God. It may not always be rosy and in fact there may be devastating things along the way, but ultimately God works these things out for good over the long haul.

    Join me in praying for Japan today!

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

     

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  6. My first cross-cultural teaching experience

    Written by Wesley Kyaw Thura

    cam wesley teaching closeup 375pxIn Asian Access, we believe that God is empowering our leaders to take larger roles in the movement. This includes developing more leaders within Asia who can teach Asian Access in their own countries. But beyond that, we are dreaming that A2 leaders can teach in one another’s countries throughout the movement.

    That dream became a reality for me. In February, I was invited by my good friend and colleague Meng Aun Hour (National Director for Cambodia) and his Working Team to help to teach for the A2 Cambodia session. I joined Rev. Paul Ariga from Japan and Dr. Steven Taylor in teaching the leaders in the current Cambodian class.

    The first day, I shared on the subject What Does it Mean to be a Servant of God?, focusing on the concept of servant leadership. The second day, they allowed me to share my ministry journey. This journey has taken some surprising twists in the last few years, as God has led my wife Alma and me to leave a secure ministry career and launch, on faith, a ministry to the poor, hardcore-Buddhist day laborers of Myanmar, a ministry called New Life in Christ.

    When I arrived in Phnom Penh, I was warmly welcomed and received into their midst. The participants are all top pastors and leaders in Cambodia, but they radiated a loving, humble spirit that I very much appreciated.

    The first couple of days, I listened as Rev. Ariga and Dr. Steven taught their sessions. I tried to listen to both what they were sharing and how they shared it, seeking to find bridges upon which I could build when my time came.

    As I listened, I noticed some differences between A2/Cambodia and A2/Myanmar. Unlike Myanmar, where our teaching and learning styles can be intense, the atmosphere in Cambodia was quite relaxed. At the same time, my Cambodian friends stayed on their timing schedule to the minute. In Myanmar, “8:00am” can mean more like 8:10 or 8:15; in Cambodia, 8:00am meant—well, 8:00am.

    When it was my turn to teach, I realized some of the challenges involved in teaching cross-culturally. When I speak English, I am used to doing so to native English speakers; this influence the words and phrases that I use. In this case, I was speaking English to leaders whose native language is Khmer. I quickly learned that I needed to exercise care to be as clear and concise as possible in my use of language.

    cam wesley teaching wideshot1 500px

    I also learned quickly that humor does not always translate across language. A joke I made regarding a popular American soft drink was immediately recognized by Dr. Steven, but was a puzzlement to the rest of the group.

    What most impressed me about the Cambodian leaders was their responsiveness. They came to the sessions with a genuine learning spirit. When given questions for group discussion, they jumped into those discussions. The discussions were deep and serious, and the feedback afterward with the larger group was meaningful.

    cam discussion triad 2017 500px

    It was an amazing privilege for me to be able to be part of the session in Cambodia. It was also a powerful learning experience for me. To be honest, I was a little scared going into my first-ever cross-cultural teaching experience. While God graciously allowed me to have the experience with a warm, caring group, He also taught me some lessons:

    • Prayer is crucial. Because of my nervousness, I asked a group of brothers and sisters in Myanmar to pray for me during my time in Cambodia. I very much felt the power and comfort of their prayers.
    • Serious preparation—spiritual, mental, and physical—is vital if one is to be effective in a cross-cultural teaching experience.
    • I must be willing to meet, mingle with, and listen to my new friends. It is important that I get a sense of who they are if I am to be able to connect with them in a teaching environment.
    • In partnering with veterans like Rev. Ariga and Dr. Steven—leaders with previous experience in cross-cultural teaching situations--it was important that I both listen carefully to their teachings and ask them for advice.

    cam key leaders 2017 500pxI am so grateful to Meng Aun Hour and the A2 Cambodia Working Team for their invitation, graciousness, and warm hospitality to me. It was an energizing first experience in the area of cross-cultural teaching, and I am looking forward to more opportunities in the future. And I am very excited that in September, we will welcome Chinzorig Jigjidsuren, Asian Access Mongolia National Director, to teach at our session in Myanmar.

     

    Wesley Kyaw Thura
    National Director, A2/Myanmar

     

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  7. McConnellDoug 300x300 72dpi BW"One of the joys of aging is the opportunity to reflect on the work of God throughout the world. My first knowledge of the work of Asian Access came vicariously through a professor at Fuller talking about Scrum Dendo in Japan over thirty years ago. In the two decades that followed I had the chance to work with various people and ministries of Asian Access, building my confidence in the deep work that God was doing in and through the organization. For the past decade it has been a joy to closely watch the work flourish and develop. I respect the work of Asian Access and rejoice in this wonderful historical milestone. Congratulations on a job well done!!"

    Dr. Doug McConnell
    Provost and Professor of Leadership and Intercultural Studies,Fuller Theological Seminary

     

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  8. As recovery stagnates, Gospel growth booms

    Damage left by the 2011 tsunami. (Photo cred: Tamaki Seto via Wikimedia Commons)Japan (MNN) — Broken remnants and barricades remain six years after Japan’s deadly ‘triple disaster’.

    “There are still tens of thousands of people in temporary housing…. That place (near the Fukushima nuclear facility) was so devastated that the local people cannot afford to go back into their homes and rebuild them,” says Joe Handley of Asian Access.

    Worse yet, the Japanese government is ending housing subsidies for some Fukushima residents. Financial aid will end this month for “those who fled the Fukushima nuclear disaster from areas other than the government-designated evacuation zones,” according to Japan Today.

    Yet, Handley found hope during a recent visit to Japan.

    “The people who had been displaced would refer to the Christian groups coming in as, ‘Oh, there it is! Mr. Christ! Mr. Christ! Christ is coming! Christ is coming!’ because they don’t know the word for ‘Christian’ or anything in terms of religious terminology.

    “They just see these people coming that are representing Christ, and they see them as ‘Mr. Christ’.”

    Context makes this even more profound.

    “The response rates to the Gospel have skyrocketed during this period of time, which is stunning for Japan,” Handley notes. “You don’t see this kind of response normally; it’s a very difficult place to reach for Christ.

    “It’s stunning to see what God is doing.”

    One man watched Christian relief workers with skepticism and suspicion. As months and then years passed, something in the man’s heart softened.

    Many NGOs rushed to Japan’s aid in the initial months following the triple disaster. However, as time went on, so did the responders. Eventually, only the Christians remained.

    “Then he noticed something else different about these people,” says Handley. “In the midst of their challenge of serving…they have a smile on their face. They’re not worn out, they’re not burnt out…they’re there serving with a joy in their expression that he was just stunned by.

    Muhling Family with smiling faces

    “He said ‘I want what they have, I want a face like that.’”

    Please pray for this man’s salvation. Pray that Japanese Christians will be encouraged by this response, and will continue sharing the Gospel faithfully.

    In addition, ask the Lord how He would have you respond. Find more updates and “next steps” here.

    Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:37)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Mar02-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  9. david nd2016 lrLast Fall, Pastor David Dayalan, Asian Access VP for Program Development shared a devotional highlighting letting Jesus take the lead with our board of directors. I thought you might enjoy seeing a taste of what we spend our time doing in seeking to prepare Christ-like leaders… You’ll quickly see that it’s not about us being leaders. It’s really about us being followers!

     

    Why did Jesus lead the way he did?

    1. He knew who he was.

    "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God…" – John 13:3

    • Jesus was sure of his identity.
    • Rather than focusing on pleasing people, Jesus led by focusing on the Father.
    • Why do we focus on other things, David asks, such as… achievement, degrees, work?

    “If we have a clear identity, then we are able to lead radically like Jesus!” – David Dayalan

    2. He was controlled by the Spirit.

    "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness." – Mark 1:12

    • Rather than trying to control things, Jesus allowed the Spirit to lead him.
    • The Spirit often leads us to places we don’t want to go… Will we follow?
    • Since the Spirit is given to us in abundance as scripture tells us, so am I functioning in the Spirit?

    “Today, leadership is seen as doing but it is really about being!” – David Dayalan

    3. He was in command of the Scriptures.

    • Jesus thoroughly knew the Scriptures and used them to teach, clarify, encourage, correct and rebuke.
    • Are we good students of the Word, able to handle it correctly?

    “As leaders, we are teachers, so we need to be in command of God’s word.” – David Dayalan

    4. Jesus is wholesome.

    "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." – John 10:10

    • Jesus was covered with integrity.
    • Is God in control of our lives?

    “Am I whole?” – Pastor David asks.

    5. Jesus was committed to God’s purposes.

    • Jesus was committed to God’s kingdom… not his own kingdom

    Are we committed to God’s whole kingdom? Or do we focus on our own? – David Dayalan

     

    Ask yourself these questions today on Ash Wednesday. Do you let Jesus take the lead in your life? Are you truly following him?

    As I head into this lenten season, I'm asking myself, "Which of these reasons do I need to focus on making strides?" As a leader, will you join me in asking this of yourselves? Let's be more like Christ and follow him more deeply.

    Folliowing Christ,

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

     

  10. Written by Peter Debekar Mazumder

    bang 3 6 group

    We got an energizing and provocative word from the Lord at the Asian Access Bangladesh class in February. Rev. Adrian De Visser of Sri Lanka was our faculty. His topic was Evangelism Through Grace.

    bang 3 6 adrian2

    Grace? That seemed odd to some of the participants. Evangelism is about proclamation and warning people away from Hell, isn’t it? But Brother Adrian gave us a new look at this vital area of the ministry.

    bang 3 6 teabreak

    Adrian began by identifying the four aspects of a human being:  physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. He told us,

    “As ministers, we too often focus only on the spiritual side of a person. While this side is very important, it can cause us to ignore the other three components. All four, together, are vital to a healthy and balanced disciple.”

    At the session, Adrian spent extensive time on emotions. “We need to understand a person’s emotional needs as well as their spiritual needs if we are to reach them for Christ. But we also need to be healed from our emotional wounds if we want to be an effective leader. Without addressing the emotional needs of others and of ourselves, we cannot understand God’s grace in our lives.”

    Brother Adrian then shifted his focus onto evangelism. “There are two things we need to remember,” he told us, “Truth and Grace. But if we first approach an unbeliever with truth, without showing any grace, they will react to the truth—that they are a lost sinner. 

    “For those of us in shame/honor cultures like Bangladesh and my country, this can be devastating. But if we can first show grace to others, it can make a bridge to open their hearts. Then, we can share the truth.”

    He noted that, as Asians, we got the gospel from Western missionaries. While their intentions were good, these missionaries served at a time when people did not realize that they might be adapting the gospel to fit their own cultural interpretations. 

    “We must identify how Western culture has negatively impacted our understanding of the gospel and learn how to communicate the gospel in ways that can be understood by our culture. We can then share the gospel in more meaningful and effective ways.”

    Finally, Brother Adrian laid his hands on the participants to bless them so that they can build big dreams and seek God’s vision, which will guide them to impact the nations His glory and Kingdom. The participants then took the opportunity to pray for Pastor Adrian, his family, and the ministry God has given him to serve others.

    bang 3 6 sports2

    bang 3 6 sports1We were also able to take some time for fun at nearby Nandon Park (see photos). All in all, this sixth session was a great time of dynamic training and fellowship. Praise the Lord for this special session and time of companionship.

    bang 3 6 group2" />

    mazumder peter sig
    Peter Debekar Mazumder
    National Co-Director, A2/Bangladesh

     

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  11. travis dave 200x200px"Just as Leadership Network focuses on developing leaders in North America, Asian Access focus on developing leaders in the emerging Asian context is vital for the future of Christianity. Asian Access is a timely ministry in this critical day when we are all looking to build closer relationships with believers in Asia. I commend their ministry to you."

    Mr. Dave Travis
    CEO,Leadership Network

     

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  12. Greetings from Mongolia! Thank you very much!

    jigjidsuren chinzorig headshot 2016 Apr 400px"I would really like to thank all the people who are committing themselves in prayer, in giving and in being part of the global movement of advancing the kingdom of God through church planting and equipping and training ministries. Everybody, because we believe in the priesthood of every believer, we all have been serving by our gifts, by our resources, and by our calling.

    So thank you very much for all of your investment and contribution to the churches in Asia and eventually the global Church. Thank you very much."

     

    May God bless you all!

    Thankfully,

    Chinzorig Jigjidsuren
    National Director, Asian Access/Mongolia

    map of Mongolia

     

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  13. by Michael L. Wilson

    wilson mike 2016Dec 500px sqareI grew up in a household where PTSD was the norm. Over the years—especially in my youth and early adulthood—I had some counseling as well as healing prayer.

    Since my freak bike accident trying to get two disciples to the train station and then LAX, I have entered a yearlong journey toward normal function of my arm and shoulder. My custom is to practice meditation on Christ with alertness. During this crisis, God has reminded me of an uncle who committed suicide and a cousin who was killed in a train yard trying to buy drugs. I am confident if this type of making efforts to be mindful of God was not my custom, I would not have “caught” what God was alerting me to. I know that now I have less anxiety about the long journey I am on.

    If you have only read the New Testament, then you may be surprised to know that the Jews were at times in their history very spiritual and had a custom of meditating on God. When they came back from the exile, they did not want to fall into apostasy again. This is one of the strategies they used to “abide with God.”

     is the Jewish term for being intentionally attentive to God’s presence in every aspect of living every moment of every day. Because life has many distractions only some of which have a spiritual source, we must be alert and bring ourselves “back to center” on Christ. This activity if it becomes a habit can draw you closer to God and have more of him in you.

    The Early Christian Church Fathers continued the early habit they had learned when they were unsaved Jews. They called meditating on Christ throughout the day with alertness to distractions from the enemy Nepsis. Could this be one of the reasons Christianity is the world religion with the most followers globally even today?

    This holy habit has been known in modern times to result in signs and wonders where persecution of Christians is common.

    Your homework is to try to do this daily for a week and make a daily journal entry. You will not be able to do it perfectly, but don’t worry, our Wonderful God does not expect perfection from us. Good advice is to keep short accounts—when you sin and God’s Spirit brings it to mind confess it immediately and add a prayer to keep the devil away from you and never let him return.

    A suggestion:

    Center your attention on Christ at least four times per day, saying a prayer like:

    “Lord, you are my God,
    I long for you like a dear in dry and thirsty land without water.
    Be in my head and my understanding.
    Be in my eyes and in my seeing.
    Be in my mouth and in my speaking.
    Be in my heart and in my speaking.
    In Jesus’ most Holy Name.”
    AMEN

    If you are committed to this kind of intimacy with Christ, you will see an increase in “divine appointments” from God for the one committed to his will his way always.

    Let's be mindful.

    Michael L. Wilson - signature

    Mike Wilson

     

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  14. pearson john formal 200x150"You can sense the energy and optimism of a ministry by visiting its website and meeting the key leaders. But…to know the heart and heartbeat of the ministry, get acquainted with their board members. As the board goes, so goes the ministry. So I’m delighted to say—based on up-close and personal observations and interactions—I know that Asian Access is led by God-honoring board members who care deeply about the Gospel and the Great Commission. And as stewards of the ministry, the board ensures that Asian Access continues to meet or exceed the rigorous accreditation, integrity, and transparency requirements of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)."

    Mr. John Pearson
    Board Governance & Management Consultant
    Author,Mastering the Management Bucket
     

     

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  15. Nozomi のぞみ = Hope

    brokenness beauty sign

    Last week I had the privilege of visiting the Nozomi Project and wow, I didn’t expect how powerfully God would move in my own life. As we were sharing together I heard the amazing story shared in this video about an autistic boy: https://vimeo.com/164225374

    Thing is, I didn’t expect it to hit me personally. You see, I have an autistic sister so I shared a lot in common with the family in the video. As you’ll see in the story, the mom was encouraged through the Nozomi team, and particularly by my colleague Sue Takamoto, that her son’s life has purpose and meaning.

    That led me to share part of my own journey growing up with my sister. You see, I’m not naturally a very compassionate person but growing up with my sister, there were times where I felt compelled to defend her and protect her from mean people. Growing up with my sister, Suzy, allowed God to melt my heart and I believe is one of the key reasons why He called me into mission today. You see, its simply very difficult to live a life of mission without having a heart of compassion and my sister, Suzy, is a big reason why I have a compassionate heart today.

    It didn’t end there. Suzy has become, I believe, my most supportive and passionate prayer warrior. She prays simple prayers for her brother, me, and my family as well as for Asian Access and the ministries that are touched through us. As I started sharing my story with this young lady, we both started to weep and at one point, I couldn’t even talk for a few minutes. Today, Suzy likely prays for many of you when I share your stories or needs publicly. She’s a BIG part of God’s redemptive plan. And, I believe it wouldn’t have the ministry I have today if it weren’t for my sister!

    For years, we have prayed for her healing from autism but God in his wisdom had a higher purpose for my sister. He has the same higher purpose for this young autistic boy who now even has a jewelry line named after him. Check it out: https://nozomiproject.com/collections/daiki-key-chain

    "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” 
    — Exodus 9:16

    The same is true for you: God has a higher calling for you. No matter where you see yourself in life, God has an important purpose for you. You see, all of us are broken vessels whom God intends to shape for his divine plan. Out of the brokenness of our lives and out of the brokenness of Japan’s triple-disaster, God can bring Nozomi. He can bring hope! 

    If you need a little boost of hope today, check out the links above and go to the Nozomi Project website to explore more: https://nozomiproject.com/

    I’m praying for you and there’s a good chance that my sister Suzy is too!

    Blessings,

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

    2016 anniversary

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    {vimeo}https://vimeo.com/164225374{/vimeo}

  16. joe and nakamuras

    Pastor Yoji Nakamura, who leads the Kyushu Christ Disaster Relief Center in Kumamoto, is an amazing pastor. You can learn more about him in this post from last fall: Mr. Christ… Christ, Christ, Christ!

    sign 2

    kumamoto collage

    I had the privilege of spending a few days with him in Kumamoto following up on the earthquake that hit the region about nine months ago. He was so inspiring and as he shared in church that morning before I preached, he told the congregation another amazing story that brought tears to all of our eyes! 

    As they’ve led the relief efforts, they have tried to adopt people from the disaster areas who live in temporary housing and Pastor Yoji adopted a little girl who has been particularly challenging to work alongside. Most people avoid the child because she’s so oppositional. But, Yoji just loved on her.

    One day, as they were preparing to leave the shelters, this little girl ran up to Pastor Yoji and said:

    “I think I like you.”

    It was one of those days where you feel like, "I’m exhausted and not sure how much more I can do." But, this little one encouraged Pastor Yoji.

    He returned later that week and again that little girl ran up to him grabbing his leg, begging him not to leave, saying “I like you!” All of us were in tears as he shared this story. You see, it’s little moments like this, little glimmers of hope in the midst of the trials that we know God is working. The whole church was inspired to keep serving. And, Pastor Yoji has a big vision for reaching these hard hit communities. He launched the Kumamoto Mission Network the week prior to us arriving and we had the privilege of meeting with them.

    Will you pray for them as they seek to build upon the seeds God has planted? When the community calls your efforts “Mr. Christ” and when little girls who have lost all hope start to say “I think I like you.” you know God is doing something.

    My sense is that God is doing something special in Japan these days… And, I hope you’ll join me to see more of this momentum build. Please pray. Please give. Please come!

    In Christ,

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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  17. You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but ontablets ofhuman hearts.

    — 2 Corinthians 2:2-3

    Kent and Yuko Muhling 2015

    Being with Kent and Yuko Muhling last week in Sendai inspired me. They are trying so many different ways to reach out to their neighbors, I was deeply impressed. You would be proud of them!

    One story in particular captured my imagination. They shared about a man who has been watching the Christian relief teams not far from Sendai City. He lived through the disaster and has seen the relief teams come and go. But, he was particularly inspired by the ongoing efforts of the local churches, missionaries, and believers from all over the world who keep coming and serving.

    jpn temp housing

    As he thought about these people and what they were doing, he watched them very closely. He noticed that despite all the trials they suffered in serving, all the challenges they face on a daily basis and even the difficult circumstances through which they live, they always had joy in their heart and a smile on their face.

    He said, “I want a face like that!”

    smiling face

    So, this gentleman is very close to, if not already by now, has come to Christ. It is so true what Paul said to the Corinthian Church: our lives are a letter being known by those around us. As we walk in the Spirit, the living letter that we are shares the aroma of Christ.

    I was inspired once again… Our lives, lived in front of others, being filled with the Spirit are a living testimony to those around us. I wondered that day, “What does my face reveal?"

    How about you? Do you have a face like these pastors, Japanese believers and missionaries serving near Sendai? 

    Pray for the churches of Japan and missionaries like Kent and Yuko and their children as they all live out the hope of Christ in the midst of all that has happened in the country. We need your prayers!

    In Christ,

    joe sig blue
    Joe  Handley
    President, Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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  18. tomoaki goto and joe 500px

    Recently, I experienced a great deal of joy at Asian Access/Japan National Conference. Story after story was shared that inspired me!

    One pastor who just graduated from Asian Access/Japan, Tomoaki Goto, shared an incredible vision. He wants his church to be known as the Joyful Church. And Pastor Goto lives out the essence of the word “joy”. Just look at his face pictured here with me. That says it all!

    Before he shared, several ministry strategists spoke about the needs of the church in Japan:

    1. We are an aging society so we need to reach the elderly.
    2. We have to reach the youth or we won’t survive.
    3. We must even practice Genesis evangelism. [Hint: we need to have more babies!]
    4. We must be about church planting in order to grow.
    5. And, finally, we must meet the needs of our community.

    Pastor Goto hit all five in the vision God has given him for his church. Between that and his contagious spirit, I was sold! 

    What a joy to see an emerging young leader like Pastor Goto and his generation of pastors who want to take up the torch to reach Japan for Christ. His vision is to have a church that first and foremost is joyful as a signal of hope to his nation. And, his strategy addresses all the critical needs addressed during this conference, including having a new baby! He and his wife are expecting.

    Join me in praise for what God is doing in Japan. I have a sense that this is harvest season as more and more I am hearing reports of people coming to Christ and a more open spirit across the nation. What a joy to be living here at this significant season of time! 

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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    • Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/YXa6ZPHo9mk
    • see Pastor Goto's smiling screenshot below...

    tomoaki goto screenshot

  19. A2 50th Anniversary Save The Date postcard

    REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED!

    Join us for our Jubilee in Jarkarta!

    Friends, this is an exciting year for Asian Access. We get to celebrate 50 years of ministry, and we want to invite you to something special.

    Come celebrate our Jubilee year with us! We are thanking God for 50 years of ministry in Asia. Join us as we both reflect on what God has done for the past five decades, and look forward to what God has for us into the future.

    Ajith Fernando thumbDr. Ajith Fernando, a gifted speaker and Bible teacher from Sri Lanka, will explore the theme of Jubilee, with special focus on how it applies to A2’s vision for the next 50 years. Gather with our A2 community from countries throughout Asia as we fellowship together and engage our calling to see a vibrant community of servant leaders leading the Church in Asia.

    We would love for you to join us for our "Jubilee in Jakarta" this coming April. Please come! Help us celebrate 50 years of ministry with Asian Access. It's going to be an exciting, wonderful time.

     

     

    Considering coming? Contact Us!

    The dates are April 26-28, 2017. If you are interested in attending, let us know. For more details about attending our anniversary Jubilee in Jakarta, visit: http://www.asianaccess.org/a250...

    Warm wishes for a fantastic year ahead,

    Joe & Silk Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

     

    A250 pos tag 375x140

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    A2 50th Anniversary Save The Date postcard

  20. Asian Access/Philippines is underway.

    A2 philippines 1 1 B 500px

    On January 16–19, 30 handpicked leaders attended an orientation session co-sponsored by the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and the Philippines for Jesus movement (PFJ). Between them, PCEC and PFJ represent 55,000 of the more than 68,000 Protestant churches now active in the Philippines. They include churches from more than 75 different denominations.

    Bishops Noel Pantoja from PCEC and Dan Balais from PFJ headed the group that attended the session. Bishop Noel told us:

    bishop noel headshot 2017 125px“Asian Access/Philippines is an answer to a prayer for greater unity that we have been praying since 2010.”

    Bishop Dan added:

    bishop dan headshot 2017 125px“A2/Philippines is an important step in the ongoing reconciliation process God has been leading our respective movements through, as we repair damage that was done when a key Philippine pastor ran unsuccessfully for President.”

     

    A2 philippines 1 1 A 500px

    Rev. Adrian De Visser, Asian Access/Sri Lanka National Director and A2 Vice President for Partnership Development, led the orientation session. He introduced the leaders to Asian Access and gave them a brief overview of what the full two-year experience can offer.

    “What we can do over a few days is to give you a taste of what Asian Access is like,” Pastor Adrian explained to the gathering of 25 men and five women. “From here, you and your leaders can discern who is called to become part of the first A2/Philippines class.”

    The dates for all eight sessions of Class One have been set. The next steps will be led by Bishops Noel, Dan, and their colleagues as PCEC and PJM together determine the 12–15 leaders who will now be invited to join Class One. Session One will be held May 5–8 at CCT Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center just outside of Manila, where the orientation was held.

    “We are excited to be a part of what God is doing to bring the Philippine Church together,” Rev. Adrian shared. “This is an historic time for the Philippine Church, as they move forward with a vision to double the number of churches in the Philippines by 2020. The need for spiritually-grounded, empowered, and equipped pastors will be greater than ever.”

    All of us at Asian Access are excited about the launch of A2/Philippines. It is indeed an answer to prayer. And it is made possible due to your friendship, prayers, and financial support. THANK YOU for all you have done and continue to do to support the work of Asian Access!

     

    Noel Becchetti
    VP for Leader Development

    A2 philippines 1 1 C 500px

     

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Contact Us...

go2japan
PO Box 3307
Cerritos, CA 90703 USA
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www.go2japan.org

 

 

 

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