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. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
    — Joel 3:14 

    00315 00519

    On Sunday afternoon, our family went to Harajuku here in Tokyo because I had found a great little Mexican food place. For those of you who live in Japan, you know that finding great Mexican food is no easy task. And, being from California, one of the things we crave most is great Mexican food.

    It was the week of Silk’s birthday and the day after Cinco de Mayo, so why not go Mexican for lunch after church! 

    As we were walking down the streets, I was overwhelmed by all the people. You can see the pictures here but they don't even do the situation justice. It was wall-to-wall people!

    00315 00520

    This is a daily slice of life in Tokyo where numerous intersections are just jammed with people. Check out this brief video of Shibuya crossing. Crazy!

    {youtube}https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7KMLWnQ2h0{/youtube}

    And, not far away at Shinjuku station, it is said that more than 3 Million people a day course through the station. The busiest station in the world.

    Frequently when heading through the city, I sense the immensity of the prophet Joel’s words: Multitudes in the Valley of Decision. My heart breaks for the lost people of Japan, the second largest unreached people group in the world. I begin praying...

    "Lord bring a breakthrough for the Gospel here. May we see a new move of your Spirit in Japan and may many come to know Jesus as their Savior."

    Would you join me in this prayer? And, pray about how you can get involved: Consider coming to Japan and serving with us. Check out http://go2japan.org for more.

    There are so many lost people here and how Jesus longs for them to find peace in Him. 

    Crying out for the people of Japan! 

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

     

    More Information

    go2japan.org

  2. Anti-conversion laws create pressure on Christian ministries in India

    India (MNN) – What if sharing the Gospel could land you in jail? This is the reality many Indian Christians face now that another state has enacted an anti-conversion law.

    Why Anti-Conversion Laws?

    Indian anti-conversion laws are put in place through local state governments. These laws have been part of public discourse since the colonial period, when they were seen as a way to protect national and religious identity in the face of British imperialism. Over the years, these laws continued to serve different purposes, but now they are coming back into popularity.

    Anti-conversion laws do not simply discourage interpersonal sharing of faith, they make changing religions illegal. For Christians, this poses a unique problem when faced with Scriptures like the Great Commission.

    Nationalist, Religious Pressure

    Joe Handley, president of Asian Access, says that while the resurgence of anti-conversion laws may take Western Christians by surprise, religious pressure has been building in India for years.

    He explains,

    “This has been an ongoing kind of movement for a number of years now. Essentially ever since [Prime Minister] Modi has come into power, there’s been this move to consolidate that power under a broader umbrella called RSS. So RSS is the broad umbrella party that’s trying to move the country toward what they call a Hindu Rashtra… And in that sense they want the country to become a Hindu nation.”

    A Broad Impact

    Anti-conversion laws are serious. They are open to many interpretations and can have steep consequences for those accused of violating their terms.

    Handley offers some insight into the fall-out of these laws. “Concern is for most of the folks doing ministry on the ground, is that it affects the local Church. And so, as you have this increasing intolerance happening within the country more and more, churches are facing pressure and then direct persecution. And because of that, there’s a backlash on those organizations who service the local churches and ministries in India.”

    Churches are rethinking how they conduct services and training programs are reconsidering how and where they hold training because security concerns are growing.

    Growing Fear

    Handley says that there is significant fear in the local Church over the anti-conversion laws and the hostility they seem to be breeding.

    “And their fear is justified. I was just reading a recent report wherein one of the movements in a part of the country 70% of the Christians in that kind of direct network or movement, 70% of them faced some form of pressure within their setting and then 20% have had outright persecution of some sort. And it’s just devastating to read these news people dying, people threatened, bullied, all sorts of things.”

    Supporting the Local Body

    As the pressure mounts, Indian believers are asking for prayers. They are seeking wisdom as they try to live and work despite the anti-conversion laws. Church and ministry ask for prayers that they might understand how to continue in their callings.

    Pray that God would equip His people with confidence in Christ, a readiness to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom in challenging situations.

    Handley also emphasizes that Indian believers are asking for advocates for their situation on humanitarian and government levels. Don’t let their plight be forgotten. They are asking that this restriction of their freedoms would be kept top of mind and top of policy.

    If you would like to support Asian Access as they seek to support and equip local leaders, this is a great time to give. The Asian Access giving grant is still active. Gifts will be matched up to $167,000. They still need $12,448 to finish the matching campaign. Consider joining their ministry financially today. Go here for more information.

    Listen to the broadcast: (story begins at 1:16)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-May18-2018.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  3. epic fail 885x400

    Have you ever failed at something? 

    I have. Many times!

    I believe a key part of life and leadership is navigating, walking through and bouncing back from failure. I’ll never forget not making sports teams as a young person and how I responded to those situations. Those were great learning experiences for me. Later, in other school situations, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped and people told me:

    “Joe, maybe you should consider a different career.”

    OUCH! That one hurt.

    Later still I was being encouraged to try other posts in life and several times I was told “No”. Again, big learning experiences for me!

     

    Leadership Lessons

    To be in leadership, you have to know how to deal with “No” and with “Not doing so well” and even utter “Failure”.

    Many times my colleagues in Asia have shared how the faculty of Asian Access changed their paradigms of leadership. For most of them, they believe that as a pastor they cannot show their mistakes. They live constantly being watched and put on pedestals and so they learn, over time, to mask their real issues in life.

    However, several of our faculty challenge their deeply held belief about strong leadership by sharing openly about their own failures. They vulnerably talk about their mistakes in ministry and how those became great learning experiences, humbling moments in their lives. But, they also talk about how through opening themselves up to others they grow through these painful experiences and become stronger. From there they move into smaller group sharing and it’s amazing what people begin to share.

     

    Leaders who were isolated... are now connected

    All of a sudden huge burdens are lifted as they share their sins, their foibles, and their abysmal or even epic fails. This catalyzes a whole new approach to ministry where they find people (other A2 alumni usually) who they can be accountable to and begin to process what’s happening, learn from it and bounce back. They cry together and pray for one another and next thing you know, they are making strides in these major issues of life. And, they begin to better identify with their church members, more able than ever to help them through their own crises. So failure can become a springboard to more effective ministry.

    Where the vulnerability of our faculty opens the door for this paradigm shift, the power of the learning community helps them to experience it firsthand. As a result, this experience embeds a new belief system into these leaders.

    praying for one another

    Grace & Community to Help Us

    The psalmist says,

    The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
    – Psalm 37:23-24.

    Even when we fail, God is there for us. And, he has given us one another to carry us through the trials. Sometimes we need others to help us make sense of failure and see the way forward.

    Failure brings us the opportunity to grow, to gain perspective, to turn things in a new direction. Without failure, I’m not sure we can lead well.

    In fact, I’m convinced the road through failure is what makes us better leaders.

    If you’ve had an Epic Fail, run to God and head to a trusted advisor or counselor. God can turn things around! And, you’ll become stronger for it.

    What have you learned from failure? Do share with us!

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

    More Information

  4. ec crossing the uncrossable

    Edmund Chan's Message #3

     

    Essential vs. Non-Essential

    When the Titanic went down, Major Arthur Peuchen was one of those who survived. Why? 

    He was able to discern between the essential and non-essential. As the great ship was going down, he was faced with a crucial last-minute choice. On the one hand, he could choose the jewels or monies left on the ship for the taking. Or he could choose three oranges instead. He grabbed the fruit. Why? Because oranges could provide sustenance for him and others floating at sea, waiting for rescuers to come.

    In a similar way, Pastor Edmund Chan (pictured above on right), reminded us that we must look for that which is essential in life. And, the key is discipleship. But as Dallas Willard often asked,

    “What’s your plan for discipleship?” and “Does it work?”

    The great problem in discipleship he suggested is obedience!When we hear the Word of the Lord, do we obey?

    From Joshua 3:1-17, Edmund shared three principles to making headway—keeping the main thing, the main thing.

     

    Principle 1: A Heart to Follow (vv. 2-3): 

    The key for the Israelites was to simply follow the Ark. The presence of God, dwelling in the Ark at that time, was enough to sustain them in their mission. Likewise today, do we have the heart to follow?

     

    Principle 2: The Faith to Believe (v. 13):

    The priests had to believe that simply stepping into the water would work. Faith, as Edmund shared, is the currency of heaven! He advised us that, day by day by day, we must come to Jesus via the Scriptures. 

     

    Principle 3: The Courage to Act:

    You see, the waters couldn’t have subsided immediately because they stopped way upstream long before the water dried up near Jericho. Thus, the people had to be courageous to step into the flooded water area.

    God was building their faith!

    Edmund closed with this question:

    "What is your uncrossable river today?"

    If you have a heart to follow, faith to believe and courage to act, then you can Cross the Uncrossable! 

      

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

     


    rev-edmund-chan-200x150"I believe that the test of leadership is found in the third generation. It involves mentoring leaders who would reproduce leaders. This is why I thank God for Asian Access! It is an outstanding movement that's strategically committed to sustainable leadership development! Mentoring leaders. Multiplying disciples. YES!!!”

    Rev. Edmund Chan
    Leadership Mentor and former Senior Pastor, Covenant Evangelical Free Church, Singapore
    Founder of the Global Alliance of Disciple-Making Churches

     

    More Information

  5. A2 Match April2018 header 800x200
    multimatch progress thermometer 165500

    I want to share some good news and share a story.

     

    Good News!

    We are getting very close to meeting our matching gift—we just need $12,448 more. If you give soon, your gift can still be doubled!

     

    An Amazing Story…

    Recently I met a mangled, old-looking pastor in one of the small Asian Access training cohorts in Cambodia. Charya’s bones were crooked, he was missing an eye, he could barely walk.

    Charya (not his real name for security reasons) was convicted during the session as they talked about the apostle Paul being chief among sinners. He later confessed to the director, "I’m worse than that man."

    You see, Charya was a commander during Pol Pot’s reign of terror. Everyone feared him because of brutality. He would pull people’s hearts right out of their body while they were alive—and he raped hundreds of women.

    But following the Khmer Rouge brutal reign, Charya’s wife became a Christian and eventually so did Charya!

    Surprisingly, Charya became a pastor in that remote region where the Khmer Rouge have been hiding to this day. He started leading people to Christ and started a church. His ministry became fruitful enough that he was one of the few chosen to go through Asian Access training.

    During the two-year cohort, Charya confessed his past to the director and said, "God could never forgive me." But our director assured him that God can do the impossible and if he could forgive the apostle Paul, he would forgive him. Jesus paid the price for his sins on the cross. Charya found freedom from the guilt and shame of his past sins.

    Asian Access helped build his understanding of God’s grace, and he grew stronger in the Lord. He learned about making disciples and reproducing what God had done through him.

    Following graduation from A2, Charya has been one of the few who changes the many. He’s gone on leading hundreds to Christ, raising up dozens of leaders. He’s even led many Khmer Rouge members to Christ. Charya has now planted over 300 churches!

    This is just one story among many highlighting our focus: changing the few who change the many, just like Jesus’ model of investing in a few key leaders. As we invest in emerging leaders, building their capacity as spiritual leaders, the Lord accelerates their call in mission. In this case, thousands of lives were changed because of your support. Thank you!

    You are the hero of this story. Why? Because you partner with us in changing the few who change the many! Your prayers and support are what encourages and empowers leaders like Charya. You foster their growth and help catalyze their mission.

    We closed out 2017, our 50th anniversary, with our largest matching challenge gift in our history. And now, $167,000 of that match challenge continues in 2018, and more in 2019! The great news is that we just need $12,448 more to meet this challenge for this second phase!

    A2 bless pastors 77749524 800x200

    Let’s Meet What Remains

    Would you prayerfully consider a gift to help us meet the remaining challenge? Your gift now of $75, $100, $150, or even $500 or pledge to give will be doubled to expand Asian Access to all Asian nations by 2020 so more pastors like Charya will be trained, each resulting in perhaps thousands following Christ.

    Thank you for partnering with Asian Access and God in seeing change like what we have seen in Cambodia. I’m grateful for you and I look forward to hearing from you on this match challenge as well.

    God bless you,

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     


    Give Now to Matching Grant lock

    A2 bless pastors 511777401 800x200

     
     

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

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

    Thank you for considering giving toward Asian Access' matching gift.

    Give Now!
    JPY¥

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

  6. A few weeks ago we asked you to pray for us as we went into our Global Leaders Summit. You may recall the post from my friend and colleague Adrian De Visser: Strongholds: A Call to Prayer.

    Lori Snuggs and Adrian led us in some very powerful prayer times in KL and these slides capture the essence of their sharing. We prayed through each country knowing the power of prayer.

    As Dr. Robert Coleman sharedthe key to breakthrough...

    “Prayer is striking the winning blow! Evangelism is the gathering of the harvest.”

    As you review these statistics on these nations (see slideshow below), I hope you’ll join us in praying for these nations we work in and several that we hope to begin in the near future.

    Slide22

    Link: Watch Slideshow

     

    And, remember the power of Father David Nash. Charles Finney saw his greatest success as an evangelist when Father Nash was praying before every rally. When Father Nash passed away and no longer led prayer efforts before the evangelistic rallies, Finney stopped his evangelistic meetings. Why? Because Finney knew that the real power was in connecting with God!

    Join the greater Asian Access family as we pray for the nations!

     

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

  7. Edmund Chan's Message #2

     Chinzo and Edmund Chan

    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

    Pastor Edmund Chan began his second message sharing with our Global Leaders sharing this verse suggesting the Church is losing ground in much of the world today. 

    Why? He quoted Pastor Joseph Tson who told Adrian Rogers,

    “The American Church has substituted commitment for surrender!”

    As Galatians states, we must be crucified. That means our entire lives – not just a portion of it! We must move from being committed Christians to being crucified ones.

    Edmund went on to share that surrender isn’t giving up. It is giving in! God wants us to come INTO his life. It is only as we surrender ALL and allow Christ to live IN us that we become His disciples.

    Have you surrendered all? Do you, as we say at Asian Access, LIVE in a Love Relationship with God? Does he permeate your entire being? Are you, like we often say ALL IN with God?

    I was convicted. How about you?

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

     


    rev-edmund-chan-200x150"I believe that the test of leadership is found in the third generation. It involves mentoring leaders who would reproduce leaders. This is why I thank God for Asian Access! It is an outstanding movement that's strategically committed to sustainable leadership development! Mentoring leaders. Multiplying disciples. YES!!!”

    Rev. Edmund Chan
    Leadership Mentor and former Senior Pastor, Covenant Evangelical Free Church, Singapore
    Founder of the Global Alliance of Disciple-Making Churches

     

     

    More Information

  8. Younger leaders are being equipped for the changing Church

    A2 PALD 1.1 Apr25 2018 24 jj

    Pan Asia (MNN) — Asian Access is expanding its leadership training program with plans to the launch its fresh “Pan Asia Leader Development Program”.

    New Development Program

    The new program helps develop younger leaders in a context that will help them best serve their churches and countries.

    thilini de visser 2018“Pan Asia is unique in that the cohort will be formed by participants from different countries, representing different countries and cultures. For an example, we will have two participants from Japan and [two participants from] other Asian countries, and we create one cohort,” Asian Access’ Thilini De Visser shares.

    The leaders joining this program, however, are individuals who are already effectively leading in their own contexts. In fact, all participants are graduates of Asian Access’ A2 Leader Development program within their given countries.

    But this new program gives these leaders the chance to interact with leaders from other countries, get a more global view of how God is at work in Asia, and provide different objectives than the core program.

    “And so by the end of it, you have participants with really an expanded worldview, and expanded theological understanding of how God is working in the world. And that is very exciting,” De Visser says.

    A2 PALD 1.1 Apr23 2018 14 jj

    Shifting Asia

    Plus, with technology, the world has grown a lot smaller. Not to mention younger generations seem more prone to global travel than previous generations. People are now more connected than ever. And this program focuses on developing the next generation of leaders specifically for this global context.

    “I think it’s necessary for church leaders to have this exposure, to have a more global understanding,” De Visser shares.

    bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan (Jeffrey S. Johnston)Furthermore, a lot of Asian countries are seeing their populations grow younger. Young people now make up a large percentage of the populations where Asian Access is operating. For example, De Visser says more than 50 percent of people are under the age of 35 in Cambodia.

    With changes both in technology, global accessibility, and larger younger populations, De Visser says the way people think and the conversations being had in churches are also changing. And leaders needed to be equipped to engage with these shifts.

    “I do think it’s really important that we really invest and give the next generation leaders a really good understanding theologically, and even providing necessary platforms for them to have the exposure that they need in order to interact with those conversations,” De Visser explains.

    Be Prayerful, Be Active

    As Asian Access helps train these leaders in a global context, pray for them. Pray for participants to be stretched, for opportunities, and for the countries which participants travel among to become their classroom.

    Pray also for the program since it’s relatively new and for protection of the participants.

    Want to get involved?

    Find more information about Asian Access’ Pan Asia Leader Development program here!

    Listen to the broadcast: (story begins at 2:11)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-May09-2018.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    More Information

     

     

  9. Edmund Chan's Message #1

    Edmund Chan speaking at A2 Global Leaders' Summit 2018

    "The most important reality we live in is the unseen world. Ultimate reality is the Kingdom of God."
    – Pastor Edmund Chan 

    Pastor Edmund Chan encouraged our global leadership community through several profound teachings on discipleship in Malaysia recently. And, he walked with us through meals, discussions, and even an outing to the city. What a beautiful example for us as we seek to live lives more rooted in Christ.

    His first teaching focused on Entering the Sanctuary from the words of Asaph in Psalm 73. 

    Asaph was the worship leader of the entire nation so his example was critical. Yet, he confesses in vv. 1-2 that he had fallen away. He proceeds to explain how he gave up but can’t give up and later to try to understand, but he admits he cannot understand! (vv. 13-16) 

    But, he learned a powerful lesson shared in v. 17: “I entered the sanctuary of God”. This proves to be the pivotal verse of the passage, where things start to turn around.

    As Edmund shared,

    “Some of the world’s greatest problems can’t be solved outside the sanctuary of God!”

    Asaph was consumed by a wrong perspective (vv. 18-20), poor desires (vv. 21-22) and the wrong hope (vv. 23-24).

    Ultimately, Asaph goes back to the pivotal truth shared in v. 17. He concludes the psalm by saying:

    "But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge."
    – Psalm 73:28

    You see, “Inside Out means Everything” as Edmund concluded. We must Enter the Sanctuary!

    I hope that, as we say in Asian Access, you are ALL IN with God. It’s only in this deep abiding relationship with Jesus that we can gain the kind of perspective Asaph gained.

    Praying for you,

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

     


    rev-edmund-chan-200x150"I believe that the test of leadership is found in the third generation. It involves mentoring leaders who would reproduce leaders. This is why I thank God for Asian Access! It is an outstanding movement that's strategically committed to sustainable leadership development! Mentoring leaders. Multiplying disciples. YES!!!”

    Rev. Edmund Chan
    Leadership Mentor and former Senior Pastor, Covenant Evangelical Free Church, Singapore
    Founder of the Global Alliance of Disciple-Making Churches

    More Information

  10. We met at 4 A.M. for our shuttle to the airport… Little did we know what God had in store for us that day.

    I traveled with Dr. Paul Ariga (pictured above) from our A2 Vision Council from Malaysia back to Japan following our Global Leaders' Summit and Vision Council meetings. Our shuttle was a Tamil Taxi driver who grew up in Kuala Lumpur. I noticed he had several Manchester United buttons hanging from his rear view mirror so began a delightful conversation. He told me all about his favorite sport and team and was surprised to hear that I knew a World Cup teammate of the renown soccer star Maradona. I also noticed that he had two idols and a statue of Dr. Strange on his dashboard.

    So, I asked him, “Why do you have a statue of Dr. Strange?” He said he liked the show and appreciated the colors of the statue. Of course, that gave me a bridge to ask about the idols which he said were two of the 1.5 Million Hindu gods. I asked, “How do you know which gods to pray to or protect you?” He said, “I don’t really know.”

    So began quite a conversation about faith. You see, he’s from Malaysia which is predominantly a nation of Islam. I asked how he got along in a majority Muslim nation given that he was a Hindu and he talked about how the education system in Malaysia prepared everyone to be tolerant and peaceful. I followed with, “How do you know which is true? The Muslims claim only one god but the Hindu’s have 1.5 Million.” He said, “I respect everyone’s religion.” He then talked about going to church with his friends because he enjoyed the messages.

    Of course, that propelled me forward,

    “What do you make of Jesus?” I inquired. The taxi driver responded, “I like him. His teachings are good.”

    I shared how a famous Oxford professor said that Jesus cannot be a good teacher because of his claims. C.S. Lewis surmises that Jesus can only be “A liar. A lunatic. Or, Lord.” The taxi driver understood.

    Then I said, my friend Dr. Ariga from Japan serves in a Shinto/Buddhist world and our driver seemed intrigued. So, I asked Paul to share his story. He said, we have 8 million gods but he ended up finding Jesus. 

    The more we shared, the more intrigued our driver became. He said...

    “I have never heard such things, even from my Christian friends.”

    We encouraged him that when he faced difficulties like the ones Paul shared about that he could approach Jesus and ask for wisdom or help. He was so delighted and said that he would try this. And, we offered to pray for him which he appreciated. He asked us to pray for his finances. 

    After our shuttle to the airport was over, he suggested that we had a divine encounter. Who would’ve thought that a question about Dr. Strange could lead to such a dynamic conversation about Jesus! Some might call it a strange encounter but I believe this Tamil Hindu was right: We had a Divine Encounter!

    Would you pray for this taxi driver’s finances? Would you pray that God would speak to him and lead him to others who can share more about Jesus? I have a feeling this guy could be a significant person of influence should he come to know Jesus so I’d appreciate your prayers.

    Hopefully, too, Dr. Ariga and I have modeled something simple to try in making a bridge to a conversation about Jesus. It’s just one small way to practice one of our core curricular topics of Asian Access: Expanding the Kingdom via Evangelism. I hope you’ll give it a try.

    May God bless you with Divine Encounters this month! 

    00308_00484.png

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

     

  11. What Does This Mean?

    At Asian Access, we say that we change the few who change the many. But what does this mean?

    Asian Access: changing the few who change the many

    It means we intentionally focus on a small number of proven leaders with potential providing a transformation process that then releases them to change the many throughout Asia.

    FOCUSING ON CHANGING A STRATEGIC FEW

    First, our model calls for a learning community of 12-15 leaders. We do not offer workshops for 200 people. Instead, Asian Access limits participation to a dozen or so leaders in one learning community. This provides a depth of relationship with others in the group. Life-on-life mentoring occurs naturally within these smaller cohorts.

     

    CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

    Next, the two-year learning community and core curriculum bring about a transformational process in their own lives, resulting in broader vision, deepening Christlike character, and greater competence. This leads to increased capacity to change their world. As the number of graduates grows, momentum gets rolling.

    We love getting reports of what A2 alumni are doing to extend the kingdom of God across Asia. There's a vibrant community of leaders changing the world for good.

    The A2 Leader Development model increases momentum over time by leveraging the right leaders and the right process for the greatest Kingdom impact throughout Asia. In other words, we sustain change through a proven process that takes the region’s most promising leaders and equips them to have a disproportionately significant impact in their countries, cultures, and continent. 

    Therefore, "we change the few who change the many" means finding the right leaders and using the right process to transform those leaders and their countries from the inside out.

     

    With Christ,

    00308_00484.png

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

     

    More Information

  12. Last December, Asian Access faculty member Daniel Fong (founder and teacher of Million Dollar Baby) taught for our opening session in India. He co-taught with pastor Skye Jethani over a weekend focusing on what we call the most crucial thing in mission: A Love Relationship with God. See our link on our core value: ALL IN with God.

    During that weekend, Daniel made a profound statement affirming this value:

    Life on earth is an epic battle between a focus on God or on us.” 

    Not long ago, Daniel was the featured guest on Dan Quiggle’s leadership podcast Garage to Goliath | Leaders Building Legacies. Daniel Fong’s testimony shared in these two interviews (episodes 21 and 22) were a powerful affirmation of Asian Access’ vision, mission and core values.

    Two things struck me in these interviews:

    • First, when Daniel said that his company focuses on creating value, doing things excellently and ultimately on Love.
    • Second, was when he was asked about legacy Daniel stated, I want my son and daughter to say, “I was a serious follower of Jesus!”

    I encourage you to read about and listen to part 1 and part 2 of Daniel Fong’s interview on Dan Quiggle’s leadership podcast at the links below:

    I’m sure you’ll be surprised by Daniel’s approach to business. And, I hope you’ll be encouraged in your life journey and in how you shape your company.

    May we all Love well and may we have our children and followers say, “I was a serious follower of Jesus!”

    With Christ,

    00308_00484.png

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handley00308_00486.png jhandley@asianaccess.org
    00308_00487.png@jwhandley

     


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    00308_00488.pngMillion Dollar Baby - Daniel and Maryann Fong founded Million Dollar Baby in 1990, just as their two children, Tracy and Teddy, were transitioning from cribs into toddler beds. While in the midst of raising his young children, Daniel read that it cost one million dollars to raise a child. He recognized the need for reliable baby products that came at a great value. Thus, Million Dollar Baby was born—a company dedicated to enabling parents to provide the best for their children, without compromising on quality, safety or design.

     

     

    00308_00489.jpgDan Quiggle:Author | Entrepreneur | Leadership Keynote Speaker

    Host of the leadership podcast Garage to Goliath | Leaders Building Legacies. On his podcast, Dan shares to shares leadership strategies and inspirational stories to motivate and encourage you on your leadership journey. 

  13. Pastor Yukikazu Otomo recently shared a book that we published in Japan. I hope that we can someday produce this for the English speaking world but for now, I want to share with you one of the ideas he presents.

    He talked about the history of the church in Japan and how the conservative and liberal streams of the church focused on different elements of the Gospel. The conservative church focused on evangelism while the more liberal-leaning churches focused on social ministry.

    Years ago, Dr. Otomo wrote a strategy paper when he graduated fromAsian Access leader development process. Previously he shared with me how important that paper ended up being after the disaster of March 11. He said that now he is seeing fruit from the focus of his paper. In this process, he realized the importance of having two wheels ofmission. You can see his chart here.

    As he explains it, when you only have one wheel, you simply travel in circles. Whether it be a sole focus on evangelism or social ministry, traction really doesn’t fully develop. But, now applying the principles of both sides of mission, he’s seeing progress for the growth of the church in Shiogama. Today, Pastor Otomo leads the Miyagi Mission Networks and they are seeing dozens of churches planted across the region. 

    When we deploy both wheels of mission, we see far more fruit. And, importantly, the bible as Pastor Otomo shares in his book, teaches both wheels in the growth of the Church.

    Pray with me that we can find a way to publish Pastor Otomo’s book in English. We have so much to learn from leaders like him! 

    How do you apply these two wheels of mission in your life, church and ministry?

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

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  14. A2 Match April2018 header 800x200

    Recently I met a mangled, old-looking pastor in one of the small Asian Access training cohorts in Cambodia. Charya’s bones were crooked, he was missing an eye, he could barely walk.

     

    Your Gifts Will Be Doubled!

    But before I get to his story in the next paragraph, I want to share some good news—the largest match challenge in Asian Access’ history is still not over. So your gift or pledge at this time can still be doubled!

    Now, back to Charya…

    Charya (not his real name for security reasons) was convicted during the session as they talked about the apostle Paul being chief among sinners. He later confessed to the director,

    “I’m worse than that man.”

    You see, Charya was a commander during Pol Pot’s reign of terror. He was known for his brutality and everyone feared him. He would even pull people’s hearts right out of their body while they were alive—and he raped hundreds of women.

     

    From Brutal Leader to Jesus Follower to Church Planter

    Following the Khmer Rouge brutal reign, Charya fled to the forest, met Jorani (also not her real name) and got married. He was terrible to Jorani which caused her to flee to a church. There she eventually found salvation through Christ. But Charya would beat her every week for going to church. That didn’t stop Jorani. Charya was perplexed that she would keep going despite the beatings so he secretly followed her one day. Soon after, he met the Lord, too.

    Surprisingly, Charya became a pastor in that remote region where the Khmer Rouge have been hiding to this day. He started leading people to Christ and started a church. His ministry became fruitful enough that he was one of the few chosen to go through Asian Access training.

    During the two-year cohort which I attended, Charya confessed his past to the director and said,

    “God could never forgive me.”

    But our director assured him that God can do the impossible and if he could forgive the apostle Paul, he would forgive him. His sins were more grievous than mine or yours… but Jesus paid the price for his sins on the cross, just as He did ours. Charya found freedom from the guilt and shame of his past sins.

    Charya came to Asian Access training broken—in every way imaginable. I’ve rarely met someone who looked so physically broken. As A2 helped build his understanding of God’s grace, he grew stronger in the Lord. He learned about making disciples and reproducing what God had done through him.

    Charya went on to graduate from Asian Access and today, he’s one of the few who changes the many. He’s gone on leading hundreds to Christ, raising up dozens of leaders. He’s even led many Khmer Rouge members to Christ. And since graduating from Asian Access, Charya has now planted over 300 churches. 

     

    Changing the Few who Change the Many

    This is just one story among many highlighting our focus: changing the few who change the many, just like Jesus’ model of investing in a few key leaders. As we invest in emerging leaders, building their capacity as spiritual leaders, the Lord accelerates their call in mission. In this case, thousands of lives were changed because of your support. Thank you!

    I see you as the hero of this story. Why? Because you partner with us in changing the few who change the many! Your prayers and support are what encourages and empowers leaders like Charya. You foster their growth and help catalyze their mission.

    A2 bless pastors 77749524 800x200

    As you may recall, Asian Access celebrated 50 years of ministry last year and we closed out the year with our largest matching challenge gift in our history. What a way to celebrate! Now, $167,000 of that match challenge continues, and more in 2019! And I have more good news—A2 just received pledges of $100,500 for both 2018 and 2019!

     

    Would you prayerfully consider a gift to help us meet the remaining $66,500 challenge?

    Your gift now of $75, $100, $150, or even $500 or pledge to give by the end of 2018 will be doubled to expand Asian Access to all Asian nations by 2020 so more pastors like Charya will be trained, each resulting in perhaps thousands following Christ.

    Thank you for partnering with Asian Access and God in seeing change like what we have seen in Cambodia. I’m grateful for you and I look forward to hearing from you on this match challenge as well.

    God bless you,

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     


    Give Now to Matching Grant lock

    A2 bless pastors 511777401 800x200

     
     

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

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

    Thank you for considering giving toward Asian Access this year.

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

  15. A2 50th group public web

    Next week, Asian Access is hosting our Global Leaders' Summit in SE Asia. While we are gathering, we are aware of the important spiritual battles we face. So, with that in mind, we ask you to be praying for us.

    Will you join us in prayer?

    To help you know how to pray, these words of wisdom about strongholds are from Adrian De Visser, our VP for Partnership Development.

    Blessings,

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     


    STRONGHOLDS

     

    Dealing with Strongholds

    "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete." (—2 Corinthians 10:4-6, NIV)

    Throughout the Bible, warfare and breakthrough took place in many different ways. There was no set formula to win a battle. The most important thing a leader could do is seek God and listen for God’s instructions unique to that battle.

    When God intends for us to engage in spiritual warfare, He will reveal specific insights as to what is happening in the spiritual and natural realm.

    The enemy is after the souls of people, but also wants to destroy specific attributes that our Father intends to release and redeem in the region.

    For example:

    • A spirit of division is robbing people of unity—and with it, the ability to achieve something great that can only be achieved when united.
    • Lust is robbing a people of purity—and by extension is seeking to destroy families, as well as enslave the souls of individuals through addiction and abuse.

    When we view these battles from the perspective of the Cross, we can see past the demonic stronghold to the Father’s intention and destiny for a region. 

    There are five key principles I would like to highlight as we seek to engage our spiritual battles through the power of the Holy Spirit:

     

    1. Deepen our Intimacy with God

    Our effectiveness in engaging with spiritual battles begins, and ends, with our relationship with God. When we develop, grow, and deepen our intimacy with our Creator, we are connected to His love and power, able to understand the battle through His eyes, and call upon Him for help.

     

    2. Release the Power of Praise

    The power of praise cannot be overestimated. Praise puts our focus on our Almighty God, where it should be—and it is also a powerful spiritual weapon (Psalm 149:6 – 9). In 2 Chronicles 20, we learn how a powerful enemy army was supernaturally routed when King Jehoshaphat sent out "praisers" ahead of his army.

    We also see the power of praise in the New Testament:

    • When the early church was confronted with opposition and threats from the leaders of the Sanhedrin, their immediate response was to praise and magnify God. From that prayer meeting, God’s power was released to further the Gospel (Acts 4).
    • When spiritual conflict in Phillipi resulted in the arrest of Paul and Silas, their response was one of praise and singing. The power of God shook the dungeon, opened doors, loosed chains, procured their release, brought salvation and enabled the continued advance of the Gospel (Acts 16).

     

    3. Move in the Opposite Spirit

    “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”(Ephesians 8:12-13).

    A principality over a region fortifies its position by obtaining agreement—and therefore power—over the hearts, minds, words, and actions of people.

    For example, nationalism can seem to be a harmless attitude, at least on the surface. But unchecked nationalism can give rise to a sense of superiority, mistrust, anger, hatred, and the willingness to go to any length to protect one’s national identity. Such a spirit can then become a stronghold, strangling even the Church in that country.

    By moving in the opposite spirit, we are used of the Holy Spirit to create a space where God’s Kingdom and its values are manifested. Light breaks into the darkness. The Holy Spirit helps us to shake off the influence an ungodly regional mindset may have had over our own lives.

    Moving in the opposite spirit is not something we do in our own strength; it is initiated and empowered by the Holy Spirit. For example, having identified a spirit of nationalism, the Holy Spirit may lead us to renounce nationalism and its way of thinking. We can ask the Father to release His compassion through us; He will give us specific strategies to do so.

     

    4. Declare the Father’s Intentions

    “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).

    Jesus spoke of binding and loosing. The word picture used by Jesus is one of tying up the enemy so that he cannot hold onto his possessions or carry out his plans (Matthew 12:29).

    This is not about speaking indiscriminate prayers of binding and loosing, but an invitation to see what Heaven is doing and to participate in God’s government. To loose means to allow, unlock and release what Heaven is permitting. To bind means to disallow and command to cease, what Heaven is disallowing.

    Power to overcome the enemy and break down strongholds is released when we speak, pray and prophesy in agreement with Father’s intention for a region or nation.

     

    5. Preserve the Unity of the Community

    God’s intention is that, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 3:10).

    God's purpose in our redemption is not simply to rescue us from hell, as great a work as that is. His ultimate purpose in our salvation is that, for all eternity, the Church might glorify God's grace (Ephesians 1:6,12,14). 

    The Greek word translated as manifold was often used in the First Century to describe the intricately embroidered patterns found on cloaks worn by the wealthy. Divine wisdom is incredibly rich, even colorful, and similar to the patterns found on these cloaks. Yet God’s glory is even richer, and evidencing it to other creatures displays His magnificence more fully.

    But there is another facet to this truth that must be explored. What are the evil angels learning from God's "mystery"? That their leader, Satan, does not have any wisdom! Satan knows the Bible, and he understood from the Old Testament Scriptures that the Savior would come, when He would come, how He would come, and where He would come. Satan also understood why He would come, as far as redemption is concerned. But nowhere in the Old Testament would Satan find any prophecies concerning the Church—the mystery of Jews and Gentiles united in one body…the body of Christ!

    The Power of God’s Grace, Expressed through Unified Community, will Give Us the Victory

    When the Church in Asia focuses on the volume and intensity of our prayer in spiritual battle, while paying little attention to a deeper walk with God and living in peace and harmony with one another (Hebrews 12:14-15), we risk making a fatal mistake.  

    How can we correct this mistake? By celebrating this amazing God-given gift through our gracious to one another as we build, strengthen, and preserve the unity of Christian community (Ephesians 4:1-6). 

    The unity of the Christian community is utterly essential to winning. 

    Adrian De Visser

     


    A250 devisser adrianAbout Adrian

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

     

     

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  16. Joe and Silk with friends

    Last week I had the privilege of visiting Pastor Youngsan Cho, a Korean missionary serving with Asian Access partner church Hongodai from Yokohama appointed to Ishinomaki. He’s the pastor I’ve been sharing about leading the Ochako “Tea” House in Ishinomaki. We’ve posted a few stories about him.

    This visit was quite profound for me. Cho sensei, as we call him, was his normal ebullient self. He’s the most optimistic joyful Korean missionary I’ve ever met. I love being around him!

    The profound portion of his sharing related to this chart which we have faded on purpose. Prior to the tsunami, there were five churches in Ishinomaki but today, as you can see from this list, there are 24 churches that have been started. That is a phenomenal growth rate! Praise God. And, the beauty of these churches is that they see themselves as one body. In fact, this list, if I recall correctly, was a listing of churches who are sharing a burial ground and working together for what Cho sensei calls one of the most important events in the life of Japanese people, their funeral.

    These 24 churches are points of light spread across Ishinomaki and they are spread out to be able to reach more people. Yet, they are one in Christ. They are working together not only for services like this one but for all sorts of BBQ’s and evangelistic gatherings. It’s exciting to see all that God is doing. 

    Many Japanese leaders keep telling me that this is a new season for Japan. Some have even said, they sense we are on the cusp of a breakthrough. The signposts are certainly there. Look at the growth of the number of churches in Ishinomaki alone! 

    Will you join me in praying for revival for Japan? We are desperate for your prayers!

    With Christ,

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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  17. Church leaders are asking for assistance

    cover photo (Header photo by Sander Wehkamp on Unsplash)

    Indonesia (MNN) – A major component for a healthy church is strong leadership. However, there are so many places around the world where church leaders lack access to leadership tools and training. That’s why Asian Access exists—to equip Christian leaders and to bring leaders together within a country so they can live as the Body of Christ.

    Noel Becchetti of Asian Access (A2) says it’s looking like an exciting new venture is ahead for Asian Access. Church leaders from Indonesia have invited A2 in to see if a leadership development program can be implemented there. They’ve held conversations for about a year now, and Becchetti and some colleagues recently visited some church leaders to assess the next steps.

    “Geographically our discussions have been focused in the Jakarta area because Asian Access is really small. We work with one group of 12-18 leaders at a time over a two-year period. So, realistically you start somewhere and then over time things grow so we’ve focused on Jakarta as a place to begin.

    Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 Islands and the population is comprised of several different ethnic groups. Christians make up just over nine percent of this nation.

    Safe logo for high-risk countries.

    Sometime this summer, A2 will be holding a meeting in Indonesia to see who should be a part of this program, or if it should continue forward at all.

    “What makes Indonesia interesting is… there’s so much going on. On the one hand, there does seem to be a lot of positive Christian activity. I mean, a lot of people becoming Christians, a lot of interest in the Christian faith.”

    However, the growth of the Church is alarming to people of other faiths. Others are fabricating numbers of growth in order to raise the alarm even higher.

    “Things are happening, nobody’s sure about the numbers for a whole lot of reasons, including the fact that a lot of the Christian leaders are trying to kind of keep things down to not unnecessarily alarm everybody,” he says.

    An interest in Christianity is certainly not a problem in A2’s eyes. But it makes strong leadership that much important. And there is another issue that A2’s leadership development program comes against time and time again:

    “The key is getting the right leaders for that first group. Because we’re so small, and we move so slowly, and we’re committed to real life transformation that then we believe over time will have some significant impact, getting the right people together is critical.

    “And Indonesia faces the same issues that many countries face—maybe everybody faces—and that is even in the Christian community, there can be a lot of disunity, there can be a lot of barriers. You can have denominational problems, theological problems, cultural problems. We’re committed to trying to be a ministry that bridges all of that. But that means you have to have the right people who say ‘Yeah, we’re willing to enter into a group that’s committed to being diverse, to getting after knocking those barriers down.’”

    Prayer pixabayAdditionally, they need leaders who understand and accept the fact that knocking down these barriers can have consequences in their home communities if people disagree. That’s why this summer they will have an orientation to see if there are leaders like this, ready to jump into this leadership development project.

    “That’s where 25-30 prospective leaders are invited to get a taste of the program, with no obligation, and then it’s kind of a mutual decision-making process: Should this move forward? And if it should move forward, who are the right leaders that will come out of that group of 25-30 and become the 12-16  that’ll be part of that first group of leaders who will then be together for two years?”

    Will you take time to pray for this orientation, and the project going forward in Indonesia? Ask God to raise up the right people to be a part of this program. Pray that the leadership would know how to respond to opposing pressures from their society.

    If you’d like to support Asian Access’ leadership development program, consider a financial gift. Becchetti says it normally takes around  $100,000 to launch a new program for a period of one-two years. You can give, here.

    Listen to the broadcast: (story begins at 1:17)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Apr13-2018.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  18. Hi Everyone,

    We just want to wish you a Happy Easter from Shinjuku Park.

    It's cherry blossom season here in Tokyo. We want to say how grateful we are for your partnership. Happy Easter.

    He has risen. He has risen indeed.

    God bless you.

     

    Joe & Silk Handley

    Joe & Silk Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    emailshandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter
    @jwhandley

     

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  19. Large refugee population affecting the economy and nationals

    Bangladesh (MNN) – The discussions between Myanmar and Bangladesh for repatriating the nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees have been slow, creating issues in Bangladesh’s economy. However, the Rohingya people are not pushing for their return to Myanmar either.

    “The Rohingyas are not willing to go back because they are getting food here, they are getting shelter, and they say they are not willing to go back. But it’s a big issue because a huge amount, a population [around] one million are here. So, it’s a big responsibility for the Bangladesh government, as well as the Christian churches, and NGOs and international NGOs,” Asian Access’ *Pastor Peter says.

    Strain on Organizations and the Bangladesh Economy

    Many NGOs, the United Nations, and the Bangladesh government are providing food, water, medicine, and supplies to the refugees.

    (Photo by Adrien Taylor on Unsplash)

    Yet the large population of refugees relying on the aid organizations and the Bangladesh government is exhausting resources quickly. Prices in Bangladesh, which is one of the world’s poorest nations, are spiking because of it, affecting the nationals and hurting the economy.

    Pastor Peter says the price of food, medicine, and just about everything else has gone up. For example, he says the price of a liter of oil used to be comparable to one dollar. Now it’s equal to about five dollars. He says neighborhoods near the border are struggling and do not have the means to survive the situation.

    With even more refugees entering the country, the delayed repatriation discussions, and the upset in the economy, Eyewitness News says officials and aid workers fear that the welcome the Rohingya once received from the Bangladeshi people may be running out.

    There have been protests, which Eyewitness News says were peaceful, but nationals are blaming the Rohingya for the increase in prices and worry about possible diseases, drug trafficking, and military activity.

    Repatriation and Relocation

    In November, a deal was reached for repatriation to begin in two months but was delayed for fear of safety and document restrictions.

    Further, the Bangladesh government has stated they would not force any person to return to Myanmar. So far, out of the nearly 700,000 refugees, only about 400 people have said they would willingly return to their country.

    Bangladesh is now planning to relocate 100,000 Rohingya refugees to the uninhabited island, Bhashan Char, though they do not have a timeline for it, according to Reuters.

    Bangladesh’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Mohammad Shahriar Alam, said the country would pay $280 million to help build homes and stabilize the island from the weather.

    This could further drive up prices in Bangladesh.

    Respond in Prayer

    “We cannot do anything, but we can pray,” Pastor Peter says.

    Pray that the Myanmar government will take action and accept the Rohingya back, promising safety as they do.

    “We just need your prayer that this present [Bangladesh] government is dialoguing with the Myanmar government to take back their refugees to their country. But it’s tricky issues of political issues, so please pray that God may intervene the situation and that both governments will take such kind of initiative that the Myanmar government will be ready to take back their people.”

    Photo by Guilherme Romano on Unsplash

    Pray also for NGOs and the Bangladesh government as they continue providing aid to the refugees. Pray the Rohingya will see the love of Jesus in the love and care from churches and ministries.

    Asian Access is working with partners on the ground to continue providing food and supplies while showing the love of Jesus, which has deeply impacted the Rohingya people.

    “They just found that people are really, very much accept the Christians because the way they show the love of Jesus, which is much different than others,” Pastor Peter says.

    Finally, pray for the Bangladesh economy and for the provision of supplies for refugees.

    Help Asian Access provide food, medicine, and support to Rohingya refugees in the name of Jesus.

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Mar28-2018.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

    *Name changed for security reasons.

     

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  20. JapanLandOfTheRisingSun 131906563

    From Greed to Generosity

    On March 11—the 7th anniversary of the Triple Disaster here in Japan—I’ve been asked to preach at Tokyo Life Church, the church we attend most regularly. TLC is in a Lenten series, and the topics are The Seven Deadly Sins. The passage I’m to cover is Matthew 19:16-30. It is the story of the rich young ruler, and the deadly sin is greed.

    As I reflect on how to tie greed, the rich young ruler, and 3.11 together, vivid memories come to mind. I’ll never forget that day in the mountains of Karuizawa thinking, “It could be over.” Having grown up in Los Angeles, I was used to some of the biggest earthquakes you can imagine. But this quake just kept on going, minute after agonizing minute.

    Our team was filled with emotion as we saw the pictures of what was happening to the Northern Coast of Japan. The triple disaster—earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown--took their toll. Many were swept out to sea; homes were destroyed; entire communities were lost.

    Sendai tsunami disaster 29Mar2011 jj 044

    Shortly after the earthquake stopped, one of our leaders told me, “Joe, several of us just went through disaster preparation training last week in case something like this were to happen!” Another said to me, “Joe, Asian Access worked in that area with a summer program years ago. We are one of the more connected ministries in the region.” Immediately, I knew that God had called us to an Esther-like moment:

    “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” — Esther 4:14

     

    Signs of Hope on the 7th Anniversary

    Today, seven years later, it’s amazing to see the grace that God has showered on Japan since that devastating day. I continue to hear story after story of signs of hope in Christ. People seem to have a fresh vision of ministry for the future. Never before have I seen Japanese pastors with such enormous enthusiasm and vision.

    As I reflect on the passage of the rich young ruler, I’m reminded of the abundance of giving that came into Japan following the disaster: funding, people and prayer. It was nonstop! And I’m so grateful for the many people who came to serve, those who fervently prayed day after day, and those who gave so generously and sacrificially to help the people of Japan.

    busy Tokyo street crossing

    From Missionary Graveyard to Great Expectation

    Japan has always been known as a “Missionary Graveyard”. For many in the global mission community, there is little hope for Japan. But in the face of the 3.11 calamity, the global Church rose to the occasion and gave generously to help the Japanese people. Now, people here in Japan and throughout the world are excited about what God is going to do in the coming years. The Rugby World Cup is being hosted here next year, and the Summer Olympics will come to Japan the year following.

    I believe this is a kairos momentfor Japan—a special season for God’s favor. I pray, as I prepare to preach on March 11, that the same kind of generosity will flow as we head into these divine opportunities in the coming years.

    We remember with great sadness the tremendous loss of life and the cruel devastation of 3.11. And I pray that you’ll join me in generous fashion, forsaking the Seventh Deadly Sin of Greed, to be generous to Japan. Generous in your prayers. Generous in your serving. Generous in your giving. Come join us… God can use you as we head into this kairos moment in history.

    What many people thought was impossible, God has overcome. For the impossible is possible with God! (Matthew 19:26)

    joe sig blue

    Joe Handley, President
    Asian Access

    Joe Handleyemailjhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter@jwhandley

     

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