A summary from three blogs: A2 Community + From The President + A2 Stories on Mission Network News
This past weekend I heard a great quote:
“How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you were?”
— Satchel Paige
That quote got me thinking about this chapter of life that I and many of my friends are in. Are we “over the hill”, “experienced”, “done”, “waiting for the day we go home” or making our lives count? Do we have an OLD attitude or are we learning every day? Our health is, in so many ways, in His hands but our attitude is all up to us.
I am also reminded of what Max Lucado said:
“If you are still breathing, then God still has something for you to do.”
Could it be that our whole life—all of our experiences, successes, failures, both the ups and the downs, the good and the bad—was all preparation for what God wants to do through us in this chapter of our lives?
To my older (whatever that means) friends: Let’s go hard after God and let Him use us in this chapter of our lives. Because we are all still breathing!!
Have a great day and KLU! (Keep Looking Up!)
Jerry Hardy served as Executive VP of Asian Access from 1973-91 and remains a strong friend, supporter and advocate of the ministry. Here's how he can be reached...
Hardy Insurance & Risk Management
Japan (MNN) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzu Abe brought dissatisfaction and caused a stir in several Asian countries with his 70-year commemoration World War II speech.
But Asian Access is working to bring peace and unity throughout the Asian and global church.
During his speech, Abe expressed grief and reaffirmed past apologies from Japanese leaders for the actions the country took in the war, as well as the losses it suffered.
“History is harsh,” he said. “What is done cannot be undone.”
Abe later added a twist to his apology, which has attracted complaints. “We must not let our children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize,” he said.
Reports and leaders of neighboring countries have expressed their frustration and described his speech as a “watered-down apology.”
Gerald L. Curtis, an expert on Japan at Columbia University, told the Washington PostAbe’s speech didn’t satisfy anyone. But Curtis did point out the Prime Minister included the four “sacred words” past Japanese leaders have used in commemorative speeches: aggression, colonialism, apology, and repentance.
“Even if not in first-person declaratory sentences,” Curtis said. “ And, he did not say anything so outrageous as to make an angry response unavoidable.”
But even so, Abe’s speech irritated retorts. According to the Japan Times News, China called his speech “evasive.”
“We know that the statement that ‘we should no longer apologize’ will be taken by Chinese government as quite negative,” says Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access.
Takazawa further explains that the Chinese government will view Abe as not taking full responsibility of the pain Japan inflicted on China and several other neighboring countries in the war.
In response to earlier accusations, Japan said China has been dwelling on the past for far too long.
Though the diplomatic relationship between the two countries has been restored for some 40 years, tensions are still thick, and it’s taking a toll in the lives of younger generations.
Japan has been revising textbooks in schools for several decades. The books are now covering less of the events leading up to, during, and after World War II, as well as Japanese invasions.
“On the contrast, China and Korea–South Korea and North Korea–continue to educate young people what Japan has done,” Takazawa says. “So the gap between the understanding of what has happened during the war has been widened, especially among young generations.”
90-year-old war veteran, Mai Sanyi told Yibada News, Japan needed to become more sincere and should stop revising textbooks to “gloss over history.”
South Korean President Park Geun-hye also commented, “History can never be covered up. History remains alive through its witnesses’ vivid testimony.”
“We encourage spiritual leadership to take a step toward the future with the kingdom values,” Takazawa says. “We encourage [the] church to continue to keep the unity not just within Japan, but within the Asian churches as well.”
You can take part in that encouragement by joining the global church in prayer for one another to have fellowship, for governments in Asia to have wisdom and to move forward with the Lord’s values in mind.
Finally, Asian Access invites you to go to Japan and encourage believers and on-the-ground staff. Find details here.
Listen to the audio broadcast (Story starts at 1:13)
Dear A2 Community,
I am a graduate of Class IV in my country. This is just to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciations for your ministry in Asian Access.
I have found out myself these years that I keep preaching again and again on the topics you have taught me, "Love Relationship with Jesus". The more I've preached about this, the more I found the importance of the subject. Now I am also translating from your teaching "Abide in Me," "Remain in My Love" and "Jesus, the Center of the Bible" at an upcoming one-week-conference next month, sponsored by a major denomination in our country. I trust that these concepts will be learned, discussed and applied by the attendees. Glad to inform you that there should be about 5,000 people from all across our country.
I thank you and all the A2 board members here for tirelessly working for our country.
May God bless you.
In His grace,
Asia (MNN) — In Asia, there’s a pastor of a new church who has already led 27 people to Christ and has plans to plant churches all across his region. But Asian Access says what makes his story really unique is the fact that he was once a religious leader in a completely different faith: Buddhism.
The man had spent almost 30 years as a Buddhist Lama, or head monk. His duty was to prepare dead bodies for the next reincarnation. But as he worked, he would often wonder if what he was doing was actually effective. He was worried about what the afterlife might have in store for him.
Then, his wife became seriously ill. He used traditional Buddhist magic to try to heal her, but nothing he could do had any effect.
During the ordeal, his daughter started making friends with some of the girls from the Christian Children’s Home. She was struck by the difference she saw between these girls and the rest of her friends, and she began going to their church.
As time passed and her mother got even more ill, the little girl invited her father to church. She pleaded with him, insisting that they could help.
For months her father refused, but finally he succumbed to his curiosity and attended church, taking his wife and daughter along with him. That day, by the time he had returned home, his wife had miraculously recovered, and he committed his life to Jesus.
Since then, his passion has been to spread the Gospel to villages in his region that have no church. A group of Christians established a new church so believers wouldn’t have to walk as far, and they asked the former Lama to be the new pastor.
The man is being discipled by the leader of Asian access, and through his care, almost 30 people have accepted Christ and been baptized.
Because of his past, this man will be under extreme threat, but he has a such a heart for missions that it seems he cannot be stopped.
Pray that he will continue to spread God’s Word and bring the message of new life in Christ to the villages he cares so much for.
Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:51)
How thrilling for me to receive this picture from my friend and colleague Meng Aun Hour today. Meng was updating me on a program he started called the "School of Discipleship".
Several years ago, after Asian Access/Cambodia had already duplicated the ministry efforts through the local denominations in country, Meng and his team realized: "We won't ever reach all the leaders in Cambodia if we only work with the top level leaders through Asian Access." With that in mind, he started the School to empower the next generation leaders.
What a joy for me to see the fruit of Asian Access through this photo: our vision is to see everything we do reproducible, and in Cambodia, we are now seeing it go to the third generation and beyond.
Hurray for the School of Discipleship and the profound impact it is having on the nation of Cambodia!
How do you intend to influence the next generation? Do share... We want to learn from one another!
The older gentleman had been a Tibetan Buddhist Lama for nearly 30 years and spent most of his life preparing dead bodies for the next reincarnation. He frequently wondered whether or not this really helped and often thought of what the afterlife might have in store for him.
His wife became ill and nothing he tried would heal her. He tried all the magic that a typical Buddhist priest would try to no avail. After many months of her illness, his daughter met some kids at a Christian Children's Home. She loved playing with those girls and the inspirational worship. She was so enthralled that she attended their church a few times.
Later she told her father,
"Please come with me to church. This is very very good. And maybe they can help mom."
After months of refusing to attend, he became curious and took his wife with him. That day, his wife was healed of her ailment and he soon thereafter committed his life to Jesus.
He's found peace like he never experienced before and after learning to follow Jesus this past year, he developed a passion for many villages where there is no church. Many from these towns and villages will walk 4-5 miles to attend church and while I visited him, they inaugurated a new church plant with him as the pastor. He's being discipled by the leader of Asian Access: a leader reproducing other leaders. Already 27 people have come to Christ and been baptized in his community and he plans to see church fellowships start in all the villages around his region. What a vision! What a transformation!
A2's focus on reproducing disciple-making leaders has captured this lama's heart. And now he'll be dedicating his life to this cause in one of the most difficult places to serve. He'll be under constant threat due to his bold stance. He knows the heart of his people and I foresee many coming to Christ, several leaders developed and many churches being planted due to his strategic placement by God.
What a powerful story of transformation leading to multiplied transformation!
Pray for him as he steps out in faith to serve Christ among those who will no doubt persecute him!
China (MNN) — There’s a well-known proverb in China that says, “If a nail sticks up, pound it down.” Right now, this could relate to the tension that’s taking over the country.
Over the last months, authorities have removed and dismantled or burned over 1,200 crosses from the roofs of churches, even as they’re saying they want peace.
“The government does not want to see a disharmonious society,” explains Joe Handley of Asian Access.
“When they see churches that are putting up these crosses, they feel like that’s a bit of a flagrant kind of expression in the midst of the society at large. The church, on the other hand, sees this as a normal practice of believers [or] people that hold to their faith.”
Christian persecution is nothing new to the country, which is listed at #29 on the Open Doors World Watch List. Pastors have been threatened, chased from their homes, or put under house arrest, and churches have been burned.
While underground churches are used to harassment and oppression, this situation proves to be different.
“This time, not only is it the unregistered church, but its also the registered churches that are being affected,” Handley says.
The government says the removal of the crosses is simply to enforce building codes and that they want peace; yet every action regarding these churches seems to be saying the opposite.
Protesters have started speaking up for their freedom and rights. Believers are hanging crosses in their windows and wearing them on clothing. Month long sit-ins or demonstrations have also been reported. “Each time they take a cross down, we will put more up,” one Chinese Christian told Guardian Newspaper.
The campaign of removing crosses feels sudden; what triggered it? It’s a question of numbers. Around 85 to 150 million Christians are in China, making it one of the fastest-growing Christian nations in the world. “[The government is] afraid that the body could rise up and kind of put political pressure, and move the country in a new direction. And the government simply doesn’t want that. They want to retain power,” Handley explains.
The Chinese government has often persecuted the church as a tactic of slowing down the growth.
“The interesting thing, though, is that I don’t sense anybody [in the church] interested in a political revolution. There’s no sense of that whatsoever.”
Handley adds that he’s only seen proof of Christians wanting their appropriate freedoms. “Their desire is simply to stand up for what they see is their rights within Chinese society and even legal rights according to some of the documents that the government holds.”
Asian Access is using leadership training to help restore and maintain peace. How? The ministry makes it a goal to be deeply invested in individual’s lives for a several year period. Right now, A2 is training local church and business leaders in 11 countries across Asia to be more harmonious members in society, so they can “build up not only the church, but also the country.” After all, Handley asks, “Who better to bring peace than the Prince of Peace Himself?
“If Jesus’ peace is put at the forefront of the minds of both the government, as well as leaders of the church, then I think they will be headed toward a more prosperous and harmonious society.”
Similar leadership training in other Asian countries has already made positive impacts. “Asian Access has, in particular, helped us strengthen the lives of our marriages, our families, our child rearing, and that helps us be better leaders in society,” believers have relayed to Handley.
You can be a part of this life-changing leadership training program by givingor praying.
“I think all of us simply need to pray for the country of China, for the people of China, for the government of China, and for the church leaders. They all need wisdom.”
Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 0:22)
As I've been in South Asia the last three weeks, I've heard story after story of powerful life change! Several pastors shared about the persecution they face: some have been chased, beaten, and their churches have been burned. Country after country contained numerous stories toward this end. Sadly, several of the countries are even facing greater degrees of religious intolerance from their governments.
Pastor G, pictured here with me, shared about the difficulties he faces in his country and how grateful he was for Asian Access. He shared that the deeper fellowship among the A2 pastors gives him strength to face the pressures and persecution that comes his way. Over and above this, he said:
"Joe, Asian Access changed my family life!"
He described how before Asian Access he was devoted to ministry and neglected his family but since graduating his marriage is stronger and he does a much better job of caring for his family.
Furthermore, Pastor G has now developed eight other leaders within his church and formed 10 cell groups (small groups that are designed to reproduce). All of this helps build the work of Christ in his nation as these cell groups are perfectly designed to foster church planting. He told my wife that his church has planted many churches in the villages surrounding his city.
In the last 7 months alone, he has seen more than 100 people come to Christ through his church. Perhaps the persecution he and others are facing is simply not working as a means of suppressing the advance of Jesus Church. I've heard this many times before that when pressure and persecution come, the Church simply grows stronger.
I know for certain that I'm impressed by leaders like Pastor G! He represents several I have met these last few weeks in South Asia. I'm proud of them and I trust that you will pray for them along with me.
If you'd like to support a persecuted pastor like Pastor G to empower them, you can learn more here.
Thanks for praying,
Even in the midst of disaster, Nepalese are welcoming, friendly people. They were eager to speak with us as we encountered them on the street. One woman shared how people had come alongside her and her family, providing a tin shelter that will last for several years, buying them precious time as they rebuild their lives.
When we asked who helped her she said,
“The people who don’t worship idols... they help us!”
My colleague quickly shared with me that the woman’s words meant that her benefactors were followers of Jesus. We praised God together, knowing that believers around the world have rallied to help the people of Nepal—and these efforts are having a significant impact.
We are raising money to provide more of these tin homes, like the one you see pictured here. In addition, along with the shelter we want to provide a package of supplies each family needs to make it through these next harrowing months.
For just $130 per package, our colleagues in Nepal can provide the following to help a family of six to get back on their feet:
You can be the light of Christ in the midst of the darkness by prayerfully considering helping a family, or two, or many more…
In him was life, and that life
was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
- John 1:4-5
Thank you for being part of the people who don’t worship idols. And thank you for being the hands of feet of Jesus to the people of Nepal.
Joe and Silk Handley
Just 10 days after the devastating tsunami and earthquake of March 11, 2011, Pastor Itoh and the Christians from Izumi Gospel Chapel in Sendai began responding to the needs around them. God led them to a neighborhood in Higashi Matsushima, (one hour away) that hadn't been receiving food and supplies. That relationship has continued to grow. Seven months later they began leasing a tsunami flooded building which they restored, providing a much needed community meeting place.
Since 2012 Asian Access has been partnering with this ministry through the teamwork of Pastor Itoh and the Boehme family.
Now, 4 years later, there are worship services held weekly that are well attended. Many have already put their trust in Christ. This has been exciting to witness in a country with less than a 1% Christian population. There are numerous monthly community outreach opportunities.
Here are just a few examples of ministry activities:
Since 2012 relief work and church activities have been held at a rented facility. The monthly costs to rent and run this facility is too high for a new church plant. In answer to this problem, a building will be built. The building will be paid for and the only ongoing costs to the church plant will be a small rental fee for the land and utilities. This will allow the new church a long term meeting place and a continued community presence among the disaster survivors.
There is currently only $25,000 needed to complete this project. Won't you consider a gift toward this need and invest in the ongoing transformation happening in this tsunami devastated community.
1. Learn More: If you'd like to read more about the Amazing Grace Relief Center, download the 3-page flyer here...
2. Give: If you want to invest, please click this button and select "Amazing Grace Relief Center."
To give online, click the red “Give Now!” button below or or visit: https://give.asianaccess.org. Be sure to choose "Amazing Grace Relief Relief Center" on the Designation drop-down menu
Or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.
3. Pray: Please ask God to bless this new relief center. Pray for it to not only meet the needs to hurting people, but also to draw many to Christ.
God bless you and thank you for your prayers and financial support for Asian Access! Thank you for prayerfully considering this giving opportunity.