A summary from three blogs: A2 Community + From The President + A2 Stories on Mission Network News
The International Monetary Fund has decided not to provide debt relief to Nepal in the face of the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country. This is devastating news for the Nepalese people. Being a poor country, they shoulder an enormous debt load to the IMF. Now they have been struck by one of the most devastating disasters to hit a country in the last decade.
In past years, I have seen firsthand the destruction wreaked by both Hurricane Katrina and the triple disaster in Japan. I’ve never seen such devastation as when visiting the countryside of Nepal this June. The pictures that I and others have shared don’t begin to capture the extent of the catastrophe.
In spite of all of the challenges, the work of Christ is alive and well. Here’s a direct quote from the leaders of Asian Access Nepal:
"We have reached to 13 [earthquake-devastated] districts, reached out to 6,500 people, and built two schools.”
Asian Access plans to continue to assist our colleagues in Nepal. Currently, they are focused on the assembly and distribution of Family Rebuilding Packages. For just $130 per package, our colleagues can provide the following to help a family of six to get back on their feet:
Please help us to reach out to hurting families in Nepal. Your gifts will make a significant impact! If you’d like to help provide Family Rebuilding Packages, you can give here. Just click the Nepal Earthquake Relief designation.
...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.
To stay current on what God is doing in Nepal, follow our Nepal Updates.
Thank you for praying for and caring about the people of Nepal!
In one of the poorest countries in the world, where garment workers labor under harsh conditions, Asian Access is partnering with InterVarsity to build the Living Water Centre (LWC)—a multi-purpose training and conference facility in a country where land and buildings like this are scarce.
Peter Mazumder, general secretary of InterVarsity Bangladesh, shares in a video interview his vision for a center that will lead people to living water. LWC will help the nearby garment workers through providing a medical clinic and chapel as well as serve the facility needs for a number of organizations who are partnering in this vision, including Development Associates International, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Asian Access.
Watch as Peter shares his vision—and pray about partnering with us to provide the financial resources needed to bring the vision of LWC into reality. Project opportunities range from $28,000 to $300,000. Bring the life-giving hope of Christ to hundreds of Bangladeshis through the Living Water Centre.
Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water
I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
- John 4:14
A USA-based foundation has just awarded Living Water Centre (LWC) a 1-for-1 Matching Grant of up to $28,000. Contributions made to LWC will be doubled by this foundation, up to the total award. The deadline to match the grant is October 31, 2015.
Not long ago, I was serving with Asian Access in a predominantly Buddhist nation. It’s a nation where the Buddhist priests have been quite antagonistic to the Church, threatening believers and burning down church buildings.
As I was serving, I was visiting an impoverished village where some of my colleagues had reached out following a devastating natural disaster. They went into the community, served the people, and rebuilt hundreds of homes that had been lost. I was visiting trainer centers that had been built to equip the people and educate the children.
Apparently, the region surrounding this village was quite activist as the radical Buddhists were ready to demonstrate against the believers and again wreak havoc on the believers. It was interesting in the village though as none of the Buddhist locals were helpful to that community. Most of the community were not Christians, but those reaching out were and the demonstrations were directed toward the outreach workers.
Just before the mayhem was to begin, one of the monks shared with my colleague his need for a computer: his had died recently and they couldn’t afford a new one. So my friend decided to give him a computer. Guess what? That monk was so touched that he stopped the entire demonstration.
Isn’t that so like Jesus! When those who hate us come to us in need, we can reach out to them and it can turn into a powerful moment for the gospel. Today, that village is a place of peace and some are coming to Christ because one person decided to be a peacemaker with a simple act of generosity.
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:14
Note: This article has republished with permission from Evangelvision, here is the original post...
Joe Handley (@jwhandley) is president of Asian Access. Previously, he was founding director of Azusa Pacific University’s Office of World Mission and lead mission pastor at Rolling Hills Covenant Church. He also co-led one of the first multi-national high school mission congresses in Mexico City. Joe strives to develop leaders who multiply churches that transform nations. Learn more: Asian Access Blog
It was the guy in the worship band—a guitarist playing with two broken legs—who finally got to me.
When the 7.9 earthquake struck Nepal on April 26, over 300 men, women, and children were worshipping at Visions of Salvationchurch in central Kathmandu. The building collapsed. Nineteen people, including the pastor, were killed.
Yesterday, my friends here (who shall remain nameless) and I were invited to share at the VOS service. They are renting a building near their now-destroyed sanctuary. It is unfinished—bare concrete floors, tin roof, no lights—but it is sturdy. The late pastor’s son and his wife now lead the church.
Like the rest of the country, VOS is trying to climb out of the rubble while struggling with collective PTSD. “When the worship service starts,” the pastor’s wife told us, “the children get anxious. They remember that this is when the earthquake hit.”
VOS had asked my friends (who are nationally-influential leaders here) to offer some words of encouragement at the service. My friends asked me to do the same.
What can one possibly say to people who have been through such a terrifying ordeal—who have suffered such devastating loss? (And things are worse in the countryside, where we had traveled the day before. Whole villages have been basically wiped out, and the survivors are still in shock.
“Our brains are wrong,” they told us. “Our thinking has been disorganized since the earthquake.”)
At the service, we did our best to provide words of comfort and encouragement. I stumbled through my portion as best I could. Then, my friends eloquent and compelling words from the Scriptures and their hearts.
After awhile, you can get used to a disaster area. The destroyed homes, collapsed schools, and dazed survivors become familiar. It was joining Visions of Salvationas they came to life in praise, worship, and prayer that brought the depth of the tragedy—and the hope that these believers are finding in Jesus—crashing back home.
Especially that guitarist. Just to watch him playing (excellently!) while he sat on the stage with his cast-swathed legs sticking out… amazing.
Nepal has a long, long way to go. The rebuilding, and healing, is going to take years. But it was inspiring to see the infectious grin on the guitarist’s face as he prepared to play behind a young woman singing a special song.
Break a leg, brother.
P.S.: Nepal needs your help! You can pray, you can give, and you can go...
...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.
The tragedy offers a glimpse into the race against time that the quake-stricken country faces as a whole. As a result of the April and May quakes and aftershocks, 500,000 houses were destroyed and another 269,000 damaged, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in makeshift shelters.
Now mid-June, although the rescue phase is over, and the secondary relief phase nearly complete, the tertiary rebuilding phase is being hampered. Noel Becchetti with Asian Accessoutlined the problem from a hotel room in Kathmandu, Nepal. “There’s a national rubble issue here. There’s so much rubble that has to be cleaned out before they can begin to get ground ready for rebuilding, that that’s the A#1 issue.”
When people hear that what’s needed is “rubble clearing” crews, they get the impression that cleanup is close to completion. Becchetti observes that it’s quite the opposite. “The TV pictures and all that are helpful, but this place is so dynamic, and what happened here is so devastating. It’s hard to get your mind around it until you see it with your own eyes.”
What’s more, not everyone has gotten relief aid yet. Becchetti joined a team that headed for a village just 25 km outside of Kathmandu. It took four hours to get there, not because of crumbled roads, but because of the natural terrain that is part of the Himalayan kingdom nicknamed “the Roof of the World.” He says, “We were in a village that no one had gotten to because it’s hard to get to places. People were saying, ‘The government hasn’t come here. Nobody else has come here. You guys came here.'”
In fact, they were called by the lone Christian (now a pastor) in the village. Through partnerships with other faith-based groups, a lot can be done. “What they’re trying to do is get teams who can go and begin to do that, and at the same time, they are identifying residents who are in the greatest need and putting together packages that will get them through the next several months.” Specifically, “They’re going to get families the tin and bamboo to make a shelter, flooring, bedrolls, and towels–just the basics. The race is on to get as much of that relief out [as possible] before the monsoons hit.”
Becchetti noticed another factor that plays into the restoration of a community. “There is this collective PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that you can see everywhere. So, what Christians are trying to do is really plant seeds of just saying, ‘We’re here because we love you. God loves you. We just want to reach out to you. What do you need? How can we help?'”
The United Nations has estimated that 1.4 million people require food assistance, due to high damage to agriculture-based livelihoods. Even though other aid efforts seem to be struggling, Becchetti says,
“People have been generous. We have been able to raise a fair amount of money. That money is already over here. It’s already working. I happen to know it’s going to run out in two weeks. [To put it into perspective,] we’re raising thousands of dollars, [but] we’re in a situation where they need hundreds of millions.”
Listen to the radio broadcast: (story #1)
Nepal (MNN) — Healing is slowly coming to the grief-stricken and quake-shaken country of Nepal.
The April 25 and May 12 earthquakes, as well as hundreds of aftershocks, caused over 8,000 deaths and billions of dollars in damages.
Many organizations such as Asian Access immediately jumped in to take action in rebuilding the country. They’ve asked for donations and volunteers, and have been given a great deal of support.
But according to Asian Access, not quite enough has been received.
“Even the U.N. isn’t receiving enough money as they determined to impact the nation.” President of Asian Access, Joe Handley, said in a blog post.
“This is going to be a long, tough road for the Nepali people, and most of the world have already forgotten them!”
Even the donations that are given seem to be having some type of conflict.
Daily Mail reported a number of donations from Britain–including shoes, sleeping bags, and cooking utensils–are stuck in Catterick Garrison (the British Army’s largest training facility) because of a strict 30% tax enforcement Nepal has put on donations.
Yet, despite the limited resources, signs of healing and hope have started to show in the Nepali people. They’ve seen the extraordinary efforts made to help them, provide for them, the prayers, and how much Jesus cares for them.
“As we went village to village, my friends and colleagues would sit down with me and those who’ve been impacted, listen to their stories of deep suffering, pain, and loss,” Handley said.
“One by one, we prayed for them, and you could see that the Great Healer…was present. He was bringing calm to their fears.”
Handley said people’s faces lit up as Asian Access told them about providing tin roofs as shelter from the upcoming monsoons and partnering with local schools. God is making beauty out of the ashes as Asian Access continuously prays with people and shares the Gospel, giving hope that doesn’t depend on temporal circumstances.
Now, Asian Access is asking for your help. They need prayer, donations, and soon they’ll need volunteers to give comfort to this hurting nation and these desperate people. They want to continue their efforts of disaster relief and spiritual relief, and they want to do it alongside you.
Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 3:06)
Karl and June of Moody Radio-Chicago interviewed Joe Handley on the heels of his return from Nepal. Joe provided a status update on what's happening—both the challenges and the opportunities—how they're coping there, and how you can help.
Listen to the Moody Radio interview with Joe Handley about Nepal...
Have you ever had one of those weeks that gave you a super charge? That's the type of week I had in Japan these past two weeks.
It began with a "Faith and Work" conference hosted by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, The VIP Ministry for Executives and 7 Media. It was inspiring to share and hear from key business leaders how we can integrate our faith with our business ventures. I trust that our time proved catalytic for the many businessmen who came. My friends were astounded as they had rarely seen that many Christian business people show up for an event like this. It seems that God may be on the move with something in Japan... Perhaps a new day is dawning!
This new day dawning is certainly happening among our Asian Access missional partners. I spent a few days with Dan and Casi Brown in Rifu and it was thrilling to experience "a day in the life of the Brown family". Of course, being with their kids 24/7 for a few days helped quite a bit too. They hosted a BBQ for our staff in the region and it was so encouraging to be together, sharing life together and hearing stories of what God was doing. My highlight though was participating in their young men's group where each person shared his life story. Wow, what a joy it was to hear how these young men had come to Christ and how Dan and Casi were investing in them!
Things kept getting better... From Rifu, I made my way to Tokyo where I got to spend two days with Tim and Wakako Clark. Wow, was that fun... Was that inspiring! They shared stories of how in just over a year they have had great opportunities to share about Christ with their neighbors and how the Alpha Marriage Course and Relationship Central are making a difference for marriages in their community. I was so inspired, and I hope many in Japan will be able to experience the Alpha Marriage Course in the years to come. I too had fun with their kids: toy great boys who gave me great joy spending time with while I was with their family.
Finally, I spent a few days at our annual Spring Retreat. Again, wow, what an experience. We had powerful times of worship and learning: going deeper together with a blend of spiritual formation in community for mission. My former colleague, Tim Morey, from Life Covenant Church in Torrance CA did a superb job guiding us in the journey.
And throughout the week I heard inspiring stories of the life giving hope of Christ: a person who had just been baptized in Karuizawa where we were, another gentlemen heard the story of Christ from Eric Takamoto... How I wish I had time to share more about Eric and what his wife Sue shared about him! Then, a young church planting couple with a vision to start a new church, perhaps, in Shiogama. I could go on and on and on...
Let me simply say that A2 staff "Rock"! They are difference makers and without them, the whole of what you have seen happening in places like Nepal, Japan, etc. wouldn't be happening. Even those of us who are fresh on the field and feel like we have absolutely no idea what we're doing... Do you remember those days in ministry? I do! Even the young moms and dads who spend so much of their energy just surviving and raising those young ones. It is in those early days that trust is built with out neighbors and with the leaders that we work with that build enormous bridges for the future.
I'm so proud of our crew. If you support them, thank you! And, I trust that you'll reach out with a note saying "Well done! Keep up the good work. You're doing a great job!" We all need to hear those words, don't we!
As I reflect on my trip to Nepal and the devastation that I saw virtually everywhere as well as the clear signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in nearly everyone I came across, I was reminded of this phrase from Chris Tomlin's song: "Our God":
Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There's no one like you none like You!
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Devastating village after village as well as numerous buildings collapsed in the capital city Kathmandu, at first led me to despair. How could we ever help make a difference here? This multi-year, $5B endeavor is too much, I thought. Even the U.N. isn't receiving enough money as they determined to impact the nation. This is going to be a long, tough road for the Nepali people and most of the world have already forgotten them!
Then, signs of hope started to emerge... Glimmers of the healing touch of Jesus. As we went, village to village, my friends and colleagues would sit down with me and those who've been impacted, listened to their stories of deep suffering, pain and loss. One by one, we prayed for them and you could see that the Great Healer, the one Chris speaks about in his song: "Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power" was present. He was bringing calm to their fears.
As we spoke of providing tin roofs to provide adequate shelter from the upcoming monsoons as well as partnering with local schools in communities, you could see people's faces light up. Somebody cares about them; Jesus cares about them!
Indeed, "Our God is Healer" and He is "Awesome in Power"... "Out of [these] ashes we [will] rise"
Join me in praying for the people of Nepal... May we bring the healing touch of Jesus to numerous communities across the nation through providing needed shelter, rebuilding lives, homes and communities. As we serve through the local churches, the Healer will be present bringing hope out of despair, light out of darkness, and healing out of deep pain and loss.
Consider how you can take part: You can pray, you can give, and it looks like you'll be able to go! Soon, we'll be posting news about teams to serve if you sense the Lord calling you to help. Please keep praying, keep giving and consider going. Nepal needs all the help she can get and you can be part of God's healing presence!
Grateful for your prayers and support,
Joe Handley, President
Karl and June of Moody Radio-Chicago interviewed Mr. Chittry on the ground in Nepal. He provided a status update on what's happening—both the challenges and the opportunities—how they're coping there, and how you can help.
Listen to the Moody Radio interview with Mr. Chittry in Nepal...