A summary from three blogs: A2 Community + From The President + A2 Stories on Mission Network News
Asian Access is a silver sponsor of the Eagles Leadership Conference, held at Singapore's Suntec Convention Centre from July 23-25, 2015. The theme of ELC 2015 is The Art of Partnership: Collaboration – Creativity – Community.
Our own Takeshi Takazawa is one of the speakers. Takeshi is the Vice President for Strategic Engagement for Asian Access, as well as the National Director of Asian Access Japan. Takeshi was born, raised and lives in Tokyo. He helped pioneer and develop a Church Multiplication Network throughout Japan. He is involved in leadership training for pastors in eleven Asian countries. Currently he is also involved in various special projects in Japan and Asia, including disaster relief and leadership renewal and development.
Takeshi's workshop is entitled, Partnering Church and Corporations: Making Community Impact and he will share from his experiences in forging partnerships between church and marketplace. Listen to Takeshi's introduction...
Partnership between Church and Marketplace organizations seem so remote and difficult. How do we navigate through obstacles and forge a meaningful partnership? Come and join Takashi Takasawa, VP, Strategic Engagement with Asian Access and Chew Weng Chee, Senior Pastor, SIB KL in their respective efforts and strategies.
1. Have you seen this new logo?
2. Have you visited this new website?
3. Have you read any of these articles?
If not, perhaps you should check it out right now? If you work in the marketplace and could use some encouragement, take a look...
Pastors throughout Japan are experiencing a new level of intimacy with their spouses. As The Marriage Course DVDs from Alpha International have recently been produced in Japanese, courses have been launched specifically for pastors with the hope that these leaders will then run the course at their own churches.
One pastors' course was held at Kobe Union Church. Over 100 local pastors were invited, but just four couples signed up—and just two of the four were pastors. But both had great need. One shared with me that he and his wife were looking for help and found just what they needed in The Marriage Course. They'll start running the course at their church in September and already have eight couples signed up; they're beginning to plan their second course as well.
The other pastor told me he and his wife want to have the kind of marriage that glorifies God. Through The Marriage Course, they have gotten onto a much better path—and will start running the course at their church August 2.
The DVDs make it easy for any church to begin running The Marriage Course right away. I'm grateful Asian Access and others chose to give generously to make this costly, but greatly-needed ministry tool possible.
I was able to work with German missionaries in Nagoya to introduce the course to 25 pastors and lay leaders on July 13. Many pastors responded enthusiastically saying, "Not just our church members and their friends but my wife and I—we need this course." This event will probably lead to our largest Vision 100 course starting soon. Pray marriages throughout the region will be deeply impacted by God through His Church in years ahead.
A solid foundation for far-reaching growth is being laid.
One pastor who just completed the course told me:
"Every year several couples marry at our church. We've looked and looked for a program to support them after their weddings. At last, we have found The Marriage Course to meet this need. We expect to see much more of Lord's redeeming work among our church's families through it—and know this will become a great testimony throughout our community."
At our small church plant here in Sagamihara City we completed the course July 18. I asked a friend how the course was for him and his wife—non-Christians who had no regular involvement with any church before The Marriage Course. "We're in our sixth year of marriage," he said, "and have never had conversation like that. It was really helpful. I think it might be good if many in Japan, especially young couples, could join."
We agree—and pray that many will join! Please join us in praying this ministry will rapidly grow to where the Church is equipped in a new way to deeply impact society.
Tim with Nicky and Sila Lee, creators of The Marriage Course
Tim and Wakako Clark
Tim and Wakako Clark have been with Asian Access since 1990. They live in Tokyo with their two sons. To join them in equipping Japanese churches for ministry to families, go to http://www.sim.org/giveusa and click on “Support a missionary.” Their staff number is 39491.
As Reverend Toshio Maehara retired from our board a few weeks ago, the one word that kept coming up in reflecting about his life and service was "Dignity". There were several other words expressed: faithful, focused, determined, steadfast, passionate, dependable, servant, humble, peaceful, and prayerful... perhaps a few I've missed. But, over and over again, the word "Dignity" arose.
Toshio and Mutsuko, his wife, have led a life full of dignity. It's with honor that he is not only retiring from full time service to our board of directors, but also accepting a new position as Senior Advisor to Asian Access board chairman and president, specifically in regard to our 2020 Vision for Japan. Pastor Maehara's resolve for us to complete the 2020 Vision is nothing short of inspiring! He kept the flame lit over many years when numbers of leaders thought the vision was simply impossible. Toshio never lost heart, and he inspired us to stay the course.
Toshio came to our mission at a critical juncture 21 years ago. When things looked dire, he resolutely stood with the board and made some courageous stands, especially bold given his cultural background. I am proud of him for this legacy and for his determination to see the 2020 Vision come to reality. Now, after many years of little progress and significant naysayers, most Japanese leaders see the 2020 Vision in sight and achievable. They are now even dreaming bigger dreams for the future!
Toshio immigrated from Okinawa, Japan to the US via university in Hawaii, and then attended both USC for an MBA and Fuller Seminary for Divinity. He led a successful business for many years and simultaneously pastored a Japanese congregation, Gospel Venture Church. As he steps into his new post as senior advisor to me, he continues with huge vision for partnership between Asian Access and Gospel Venture, which looks very intriguing! May the Lord give us wisdom as we "venture" together!
Toshio is also the author of two books:
Today, I honor my Sensei, Reverend Toshio Maehara for his 21 years of faithful and dedicated service. He was my champion when I joined the board and my ally in keeping Japan at the center of our mission focus! I'm so proud of him! And, I'm delighted to have him continue serving as our senior advisor.
Join me in honoring him by writing him a special note on this grand occasion:
God bless you,
Why? According to the IMF, the April 25 earthquake killed more than 8,600 people and destroyed over 500,000 homes. However, the IMF determined that the damage to the infrastructure did not cause enough economic damage for Nepal to be eligible for funding from the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust.
Their rules state that the disaster must impact at least one-third of the country’s population and either destroy 25% of the nation’s productive capacity or cause damage equal to the size of the country’s economy. Nepal met the first condition, but apparently, according to the IMF, not the second.
Aid groups are in disbelief, given the scope of devastation in the country, especially in the rural areas. About two-thirds of the $6.7 billion that was estimated to rebuild came in aid pledges from around the world.
Asian Access president Joe Handley says he’s seen firsthand the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and Japan’s triple disaster. By comparison, “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.”
He says there’s good news too. “In spite of all of the challenges, the work of Christ is alive and well.”
Asian Access Nepal leaders say they’ve reached 13 earthquake-devastated districts, reached out to 6500 people, and built two schools. The ministry plans to provide long-term help for partners in Nepal. Right now, they’re focused on the assembly and distribution of Family Rebuilding Packages.
You have an opportunity to provide basic assistance, encouragement, and most importantly, the love of Christ to the people of Nepal. For just $130 per package, Asian Access colleagues can provide the following to help a family of 6 get back on their feet:
If you’d like to help provide Family Rebuilding Packages, you can give here. Just click the Nepal Earthquake Relief designation.
Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:46)
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)