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. Christian minority feels safe under martial law

    Philippines (MNN) — The Filipino military declared a brief ceasefire Sunday, allowing Muslims to peacefully celebrate the end of Ramadan. The lull in the fighting also allowed for the rescue of six civilians trapped in the city of Marawi.

    map & flag image, courtesy Voice of the MartyrsGovernment forces are forging progress toward peace, but it’s slow-going. Earlier last week, about 200 suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) took hostages and holed up for hours inside a school, then took five civilians with them after fleeing. Some say the attack could be a diversion for the Islamic State to gain more ground in Marawi.

    “That is a common perception because the BIFF is sympathetic to the radical group,” says Herman Moldez with Asian Access, an organization that trains and equips Christian leaders throughout Asia. “In fact, there had been some effort for reinforcement coming from Salou and these areas, and so one of the reasons for the declaration of martial [law] of the entire [island of] Mindanao is for the military to be able to respond quickly and not to complicate the whole matter in Marawi City.”

    Moldez recently visited Zamboanga City on the island of Mindanao. He says that for the most part, violence isn’t affecting Christians or impeding their efforts in spreading the Gospel.

    “It’s very, very safe. Christian communities are very safe. [The violence] is only in Marawi City, really,” Moldez says. “They feel safe because the military is just there to protect and to monitor people coming in and going out.

    “It’s not interfering, because they are minorities, and they’re up on the mountains. So we are not yet feeling or experiencing what ISIS is doing in other countries.”

    people wading through the water outside the hospital [in the Philippines, earlier this year]. (Photo, caption courtesy of World Mission)They may be safe for now, but Moldez says it would be unwise for Christians to let down their guard.

    “The previous government tended to deny the presence of the ISIS in the Philippines, but it’s beginning to come out that they have been operating for quite a while and have gained influence, especially through some of the young people,” Moldez says.

    “So pray for vigilance. That’s our prayer, that not only the Christian community, but even the Muslim community, will continue to be vigilant. I think the majority of the Muslim communities want to have the peace process with the government to be established.”

    Can you come alongside this country with your prayers? Moldez asks that you pray that situations like the BIFF school attack would not be repeated and the government would respond quickly to violence. Pray also for safety and quick recovery for those affected by the violence.

      

    Listen to the broadcast: (story starts at 1:42)
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  2. Meet Prasanna Vuppula, A2/India Alumnus

    pras-and-company.png

    Recently, we had the opportunity to meet with an Asian Access graduate who has seen God use his Asia Access experience to prepare him for his new ministry.

    Prasanna Vuppula (who goes by Pras) is based in Hyderabad, Telangana, in south-central India. A long-time pastor, he realized several years ago that while on the outside his ministry looked good, inside, he was struggling spiritually.

    “By 2011, I had to face the fact that I was struggling spiritually,” Pras told us. “Unfortunately, I did not feel free to share my struggles with the church community where I ministered. In India, the Church can often be a legalistic place where we are afraid to reveal our true selves.”

    It was at this time that Christopher Uputuri, who helps to lead Asian Access/India, approached Pras with an invitation to join the upcoming South India cohort.

    “Christy told me, ‘If you want to grow spiritually and grow as a leader, Asian Access is the place for you.’ How could I turn down such an invitation?”

    takeshi-teaching-outsideA Truly Transformational Experience

    Pras found the Asian Access learning-community experience truly transformational. “I still remember a teaching presented by [Asian Access faculty] Takeshi Takazawa,” Pras shared. “Takeshi outlined the progression laid out in John 15: 5 - 8—that first, we abide with God; then, we bear fruit. In the ministry, we so often get that backward—we concentrate on the fruit and ignore abiding in Christ. Takeshi showed us the integration of God’s approach:  abiding, fruit, pruning, rest. This truth hit me hard.”

    Another powerful aspect of Pras’ Asian Access experience was the life-sharing opportunity offered to each participant.

    “Sometime during the two years, each of us was given the opportunity to share the story of our lives with the rest of the group, holding nothing back. The chance to share feely, to be ourselves, and get the support, prayer, and caring of the rest the group, was life-changing. I began to see that a holistic leader is someone who can be true to God without having to pretend before God and try to be someone that they’re not. In a legalistic environment such as one can find in India, this is an amazing truth.”

    Pras’ time in Asian Access confirmed his calling: “God has gifted and challenged me to empower local leaders from other churches—to come alongside and mentor other leaders. After I graduated from Asian Access in 2013, I was invited to take a mentoring role with a church-planting organization working with leaders in several Indian states.”

    While this opportunity proved fruitful, within a few years the organization began to struggle with financial and other issues. “In December 2016, I was surprised by a call from my USA boss telling me about a mentoring opportunity with an organization called Leader Source. I was aware of Leader Source, but did not know about the opportunity.”

    This call eventually led to a chance to interview with Leader Source. In May 2017, Pras began his new role with Leader Source, a world-renowned leader-development ministry.

    “I can see the direct connection from my experience in Asian Access and the role God has placed me in with Leader Source,” Pras told us. “I am able to apply what I learned in A2—Living in a Love Relationship with God, Growing as a Christ-like Leader, Reproducing Disciple-Making Leaders,and Planting Multiplying Churches—directly into the lives of the leaders I am investing in. They are growing spiritually, and in ministry competence, by leaps and bounds.”

    a2 outcomes sml

    Asian Access’ vision is to Identify, Developand Releasekingdom leaders for life-changing ministry, wherever the callings these leaders receive from God takes them. We are thrilled to see how Asian Access has equipped Pras Vuppula to empower so many wonderful leaders through his work with Leader Source.

    “The way that Asian Access made the teaching so real and relational made a significant impact in my life. The transformation I experienced, and the long-term friends that I made in Asian Access, have given me the maturity and the tools to effectively build into the lives of the leaders God has entrusted to me in my role at Leader Source.”

    Amen.

    Noel Becchetti

     

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  3. Indian Christians face increasing persecution in recent years

    India (MNN) — India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced he will be meeting with United States President Donald Trump later this month to discuss bilateral relations. While that doesn’t necessarily include religious freedom, it will hopefully shed some light on the uptick in pressure on Christians.

    A2 participants interactingAccording to Open Doors USA, radical Hinduism is the main source of persecution in India, and Christian converts are often physically assaulted if they don’t return to their old beliefs. Joe Handley with Asian Access confirms reports that the situation of Christians has worsened in recent years.

    “Churches are feeling pressured out of their places that they weren’t pressured before,” Handley says. “They pretty much have freedom in certain sectors or areas of the city, but now you’re finding pressure put on them by the business owners, that maybe they rent a facility and are [experiencing] skyrocketing rent all of a sudden; no parking, limited time zones that they can serve, and then in certain areas of the country you have outright persecution.”

    Situations like this force ministries to strategize new ways of carrying out their work. Through its A2.business initiative, Asian Access is working to develop a sustainable, locally-funded ministry.

    “We have launched a business side of what we do, adapting what we’ve done successfully with pastors for the business community, and they are super excited about it,” Handley says. “The first two or three sessions they’ve held now, the enthusiasm is off the charts. So they’re not only thrilled about what’s happening, but they’re also owning this vision of wanting to sustain ministry within the country themselves.”

    Persecuted ChurchYou can play a part in this initiative as well. Asian Access is looking for Christ-minded businesspeople to teach and mentor Asia’s next generation a couple weekends out of the year. You can learn more by clicking here.

    Also, Handley asks that you pray for Asian Access’ leaders as they think creatively about the future of their ministry. You can support their work financially by clicking here.

     

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Jun16-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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    a2 dot business tag 450x87

  4. Our capstone day for Asian Access Jubilee in Jakarta focused on the perfect theme: The Future is Now!

    Dr Ajith Fernando led us in another in-depth devotional focusing on one of the core components to the fruitfulness of Asian Access. He called it "Spiritual Parenthood" but others may call it mentoring or discipleship. It was a powerful metaphor for me given the history and trajectory of our week. You see, Asian Access holds something unique for an organization. Every leader we’ve had within the movement invests in me as the next generation leader. They stand beside me, behind me and support me along the way.

    Our life with Christ is the same. We need him and we need one another!

    The day showcased many of the present generation ministries that are now flourishing because of the great pioneering foundation that was laid years ago and the careful gardening of our movement during the days of initial expansion. Today we are serving in 13 countries with a few thousand leaders who are part of the Asian Access alumni family and countless others downstream from them. It’s a mighty movement of the Lord! 

    Future Countries Now Opened

    We opened with Adrian De Visser highlighting our two newest countries: the Philippines and another I cannot name publicly for security reasons. And he spoke of several that are on the horizon!

    Future Leaders Now Leading

    From that entry, we moved to the next generation showcasing first the Adair family (below, left) as a picture of the next generation. Robert and Roberta represent a new type of emerging leaders, working with a league of A2 missionaries in Japan.

    Next, we made a prayerful gesture of passing the baton from one generation to the next in publicly announcing Rev. Joshua Hari (below, right) as the next National Director in Japan. It was a beautiful experience seeing how the generations prior are investing in, empowering and commissioning this current generation of leaders. I am so stoked about them!

    A250 2017 Adair Robert Roberta Portrait    00055 00066

    Future Marketplace Ministry Now Launched

    The morning concluded highlighting our new venture: A2.business where we now come alongside senior level marketplace leaders for missional advance in two countries, soon to be four. It’s such a joy to see all of these new developments occurring!

    A2 banner korea biz 17 03 23a

    The Future Is Now

    The whole week concluded with a dinner celebration where we focused on where God is taking us in the future. It was so cool as every country gave a gift to Asian Access to signify their appreciation of the movement and what it has meant to their country.


    And, we cast a vision for the future calling our community to dream together! While we have a plan and goals for 2020, we are now looking beyond to taking Asian Access Global and being in 50 countries by 2030! 

    Eastern Voices

    As part of this look to the future we showcased the first volume of a new series called Eastern Voices:Insight, Perspective, and Vision from Kingdom Leaders in Asia In Their Own Words. If you haven’t order the book, go to smile.amazon.com and get a copy. Every purchase helps Asian Access, especially if you use Amazon Smile. And you’ll learn a ton of what God is doing through key leaders in Asia today.

    Eastern Voices, Vol. 1

    Finally, it wouldn’t be a fitting end without Rev. Paul Ariga shouting and jumping saying “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” He captured our movement so well with three key phrases from our long-standing presidents: 

    My vision is to empower your vision!

    With God ALL things are possible!

    Dream with Me!

    I hope you’ll join us at one of our upcoming dinners in Knoxville this September, Los Angeles in October or Japan this November as we continue celebrating all that God has done and looking to the future for where He will be taking us! 

    From Him and Through Him and For Him,

     

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemail jhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter @jwhandley

     

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    Here is a slideshow from Day 3 of our celebration in Jakarta...

     

    Ajith Fernando: "The Way of Spiritual Parenthood" [A2|50th Day 3 Keynote] — video coming soon!

  5. Day 2 • Jubilee in Jakarta

    Each day at our Jubilee in Jakarta highlighted a different theme. On Day 1, we focused on our pioneering days, originally as the Language Institute for Evangelism in 1967 and later LIFE Ministries in the mid-1980s, which was focused on Japan. Our theme for Day 3 was aptly titled Pioneering Life.

    Day 2 took us into a new season in the life of the global church, an era where fresh paradigms were being touted as new ways forward in ministry. Our theme for the day was Expanding Access

    It was during this era our name changed from "LIFE Ministries" to "Asian Access" and the day began with a perfect reflection from Dr. Ajith Fernando highlighting the importance of unity. He led us in an in-depth devotion walking through the New Testament with keen attention on the book of Acts showing the importance of staying united in the development, growth and challenges for the Church.

     

    Expansion beyond Japan

    Several key stories were shared, first by Doug Birdsall and Adrian De Visser talking about expanding Access from exclusively Japan into other nations across Asia. They shared a very funny story about their first trip to Mongolia and if you haven’t heard it, you’ll have to ask them or JM (see below) about it later.

     

    Transition to National Leadership starting with Hiroshi Kawasaki

    Rev. Hiroshi KawasakiThis introductory transition story shifted to one of the more notable transitions in our history, where we moved from foreign led programs to national directors. We showcased the important contribution of Rev. Hiroshi Kawasaki as being the first national leader for what is now our core program.

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    Bruce & Mary Johnson, Interim President

    Following Rev. Kawasaki was a chance to interview Bruce and Mary Johnson. Bruce led us through these transitions first as vice president for leadership development and later as interim president. Two of his most strategic contributions to Asian Access were helping us with strategic planning and summarizing what we do through explaining the Essence of Asian Access.

    Click here if you don't see the video player...

     

    JM's Contribution

    A series of national leaders were then interviewed about one of our most treasured partners JM. Probably the statement that struck me the most was by Wesley (below, left) who said, “[JM] makes Jesus come alive in my heart!” JM brought a keen focus on something that is now what we consider central to our ministry: “A Love Relationship with God”. Surprisingly enough, this stands out as what may be the single most important milestone in Asian Access history. Everything depends on our relationship with Christ!

    A250th 3 leaders honor JM day2

     

    Rod Denton, Significant Faculty Member

    Finally, we highlighted the important role Rod Denton played in the development of our ministry. Rod was one of the keen curricular developers having studied under Bobby Clinton who wrote the original curriculum with touches of influence from Donald McGavran and Peter Wagner.

    Click here if you don't see the video player...

    These were pivotal years in the life of our ministry as we went from a Japan focused ministry to growing across Asia and launching a new focus on the empowerment of national leaders. What a joy to see all that God has accomplished over our 50-year history!

     

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemail jhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter @jwhandley

     

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    Here is a slideshow from Day 2 of our celebration in Jakarta...

     

    Ajith Fernando: "The Way of Unity" [A2|50th Day 2 Keynote] — video coming soon!

  6. The countdown began, and Asian Access' Jubilee in Jakarta was underway. It was a spectacular beginning with the crowd counting down to the opening session… 10, 9, 8, 7… The international or multi-cultural worship team led by Ian Nagata (lovingly called "Ian and the Multi-Nationals") from Evergreen Church – San Gabriel Valley (near Los Angeles) showcased his new album leading us in worship. Check it out: Where You Go!

    Ajith Fernando - Keynote Message 1: Confession & Repentance

    The morning devotion followed led by Dr. Ajith Fernando, Teaching Director for Youth for Christ – Sri Lanka and world renown bible teacher. He led us on “The Way of Repentance” as key to any movement. He even referenced Bobby Clinton, a key shaper of Asian Access core curriculum, saying it’s more important that we finish well than we start well. And, he mentioned that all the great revivals of Asia started with humility and repentance.

    A250th ajith speaking day1

    Our Founders

    This theme underlined our opening day together as we celebrated Pioneering Life, the early days of what was originally Language Institute for Evangelism, later LIFE Ministries, and today Asian Access. Each day we showcased key people as examples of models of many within our movement who helped shape our movement. And, what a joy it was to focus our attention on our founders Ken and his wife Jan, pictured here with me. 

    A250th joe kj day1

    Ken laid the foundation on solid ground with a keen focus on Christ-like leadership and a famous story from our history of asking Pastor Murakami his vision for Japan. After Pastor Murakami shared for sometime, he turned to Ken saying, “What’s your vision as the missionary God sent to Japan?” And, Ken quickly added, “My vision is to empower your vision!” That foundation laid the groundwork for the deep seated values of Asian Access: empowering indigenous leaders for the vision God had given them!

    Jerry & Cathy Hardy

    We also were able to highlight the contributions of Jerry and Cathy Hardy, who partnered with Ken the first 25 years of the mission. Jerry actually mentored our current (and second) executive vice president, Elliott Snuggs (left). It is amazing that an organization five decades old has enjoyed such stable committed leadership.

    A250th elliott jerry cathy day1

    Dee Wirz

    We honored the enormous contribution of longest serving missionary, Dolores "Dee" Wirz, who faithfully, wrote and led evangelistic bible studies in Japan, even to this very day! Dee first went to japan in 1975 and has continued serving for 42 years. See Dee pictured here with Doug Birdsall, Ken and me!

    Steve & Eloise Hoke

    In that same pioneering spirit, we highlighted the work of Steve and Eloise Hoke who helped ensure that Asian Access would move from a startup to an actual organization. Without Steve’s contribution, Asian Access may not have transitioned to the movement it is today.

    A250th early exec leaders 1989 

    Doug & Jeanie Birdsall

    Finally, the morning closed with the significant contribution of Doug and Jeanie Birdsall. They lived out the values originally embodied by Ken and Jan focusing our mission on “Life on Life” Ministry. It’s all about relationships and the relationships that Doug and Jeanie have fostered kept the momentum alive and still shape us to this day. Doug then envisioned the pioneering of taking Asian Access beyond Japan and today we are a thriving movement across 13 countries with a significant footprint in Japan!

    A250th birdsalls sm

    Doug also carried the value of Vibrant Community and often quoted Rev. Chida who said, “If you have just three churches, it can be done easily.” Thus, our keen focus on collaboration in ministry!

    Thus the pioneering days were launched with the core values we live to this day:

    What a joy to celebrate the pioneering spirit of Asian Access! Next, we’ll post about Day Two: Expanding Access!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemail jhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter @jwhandley

     

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    Here is a slideshow from Day 1 of our celebration in Jakarta...

     

    Ajith Fernando: “The Way of Repentance” [A2|50th Day1 Keynote]

  7. What a joy it was for me to participate with Bishop Efraim Tendero at the World Evangelical Alliance gathering of Associate Members to brainstorm the future of the movement. I was so inspired by Bishop Ef’s style of leadership: so humble, so gracious, so serving. And, he invited us in to see the inner workings and problems the WEA is facing. He asked us to speak into their life and growth. Very few leaders do this! I was impressed… 

    You may know that Bishop Ef was the key person to help us begin getting connected in the Philippines so I credit him with opening the doors and networks and today, Asian Access/Philippines is off to a great start!

    One of the highlights of our week with the WEA was being hosted by Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM who hosted our meetings on their Kona University of the Nations campus. The last time I saw Loren was December 1989 when I coordinated Conquest ’89, one of the first Urbana like missions conferences for high school aged students. What a joy it was seeing him again!

    Bishop Ef invited Loren to speak into our lives and he shared some amazing stories. I believe all of us were ready to sign up as YWAMer’s following his inspirational sharing.

    Aspen trees

    Aspen Trees

    What caught my attention was the metaphors he used to describe YWAM. The first day he described YWAM like the Aspen Tree. When you plant one Aspen, it becomes a grove within a short period of time. Why? Because the roots go down and start new trees. It’s really a network of one, living, breathing tree rather than a bunch of separate trees growing on the mountain side.

    I loved that picture of the growth of YWAM because it so reminded me of the growth of God’s kingdom! It also reminding me of another picture that I’ll share later…

    The next day, one of the leaders who was with us asked, “How do you keep YWAM thriving as an organization?” This leader was clearly perplexed with the growth of YWAM and how the organizational side of leadership, governance, etc. could keep up with such tremendous growth.

    Banyan trees 

    Banyan Trees

    Loren had another brilliant story and example to share that illustrates where I’m heading in this blog. He said, “Have you ever seen the Banyan tree?” They are all over Hawaii. The Banyan grows but as it grows it sends its branches down and they start new trees. Again, it’s another network of trees without a centralized control system. In fact, the Banyan trees sometimes outlive their original core stump! 

    What another brilliant model for us to learn from… You see, I’ve learned over the years that for things to grow you must have an open hand when it comes to controlling things. When you have a closed fist, nothing can grow. It stifles people and they can only grow to the size of your fist. But, when you lead with an open hand, people can develop their own sense of how things can move forward retaining the original DNA or footprint of the movement. 

    That’s YWAM. Everywhere you go today, you can find YWAMer’s who carry that ethos. In fact, Loren said, “Once a YWAMer, always a YWAMer!” Even if they leave the organization, that same spirit is alive!

    Similarly, Asian Access has a similar spirit. Yes, we have a core DNA we call our Essence. But beyond that core, there is a lot of freedom!

    Strawberries

    Strawberries

    One Japanese pastor and key member of Asian Access expresses this so well, Pastor Chida. In describing one ideal evangelism model for Japan, he uses the metaphor of the strawberry. That fits us so, so well. You see, Asian Access is small but it’s influence is remarkable. Why? Because the strawberry, once planted, acts very similarly to the Aspen and the Banyan trees. It sends shoots out to start a new strawberry plant and soon you have an entire field of strawberries. It’s tough to stop!

    We at Asian Access say: Small is Big! And, if you change the few, you will change the many!

    It was so inspiring watching this principle embodied by Bishop Ef and then shared in such powerful fashion by Loren. May we all live to be like Aspens, Banyans and Strawberries for Christ and his Kingdom!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemail jhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter @jwhandley

     

  8. You may have already noticed but since the beginning of the year it seems like there has been an explosion of reports about persecution and violence related to religious issues in the world. It’s something I predicted would be happening the last few years as I watched the various country elections surge with nationalistic fervor.

    Not long ago, I was with my colleagues from more than 12 countries many of whom face pressure and outright persecution on a weekly or monthly basis. More than a third to half of my colleagues live under constant pressure! Several of them live under death threats and in situations where violence could erupt at a moments notice.

    One of my colleagues in meeting with a few of them recounted this story that I thought you might like to review. I hope that this will stir your hearts to pray for the persecuted church worldwide.


    Four pastors from my classes in ______ were there, one with his wife as well, and we had a marvelous time talking together about the progress of the work in the country since my expulsion. In Pastor Z’s case where he lives in ______ province,they have perpetuated what they learned in Asian Access classes through what they call B2 and C2 ministries. ______ pastors journey down to help him with the teaching, and pastor Z, a graduate of my third class in ______, reproduces the leadership development learning experience by training other house church pastors in his locality. The participants in the B2 level are ______ pastors with less experience and training than himself, yet are geographically near and therefore fellow colleagues in the work; then, those more junior in age and further out geographically, constitute ring C2. Thus, those in ______ who have received are passing it on. This they do without western participation and without western money. I was greatly warmed in heart as I listened to him talk about how it has gone with him.

    Then, they wanted to hear from me more details about my expulsion in 2010, and in addition, what happened to me five years later in 2015 when I tried to attend an A2 meeting in Cambodia by transiting through ______ airport on a very cheap flight with ______ Southern airlines. On that occasion, the immigration officers stopped me at the plane door, took my passport, and made me wait for 14 hours in the examination room on the immigration floor before escorting me back onto a plane headed back to JFK airport in New York City. They gave me no explanation for their actions. The brothers had not heard that story. They were stunned, laughed a lot, but also were not surprised! All of these men have been stopped, interrogated, and even incarcerated many times by authorities for their ministry activities, so for them, it is part of the professional calling!


    On the one hand, this story was deeply encouraging. Asian Access footprints are spreading like wildfire. On the other hand, this is a simple story that happened to a westerner. The Asian colleagues we serve face far more severe situations: bomb threats, death threats, calls in the middle of the night saying their children will be abducted, etc., etc.

    As the dynamics of our world become increasingly intolerant and as the world tends to respond in man-centered ways, will you join me in praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ who face monthly, weekly and sometimes even daily pressure. Recently we had to pull a news story in one country because of the backlash it faced in one country and the potential harm it could do to our national director but also to other believers and churches.

    We covet your prayers! Pray for these brothers and sisters as they endure. And, pray for us that we could encourage, empower and support them well.

    God bless you for standing with them and with us during this heightened season of persecution!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemail jhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter @jwhandley

     

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  9. It was an honor co-convening the Leader Development Consultation last week in Chiang Mai Thailand!

    Asian Access came alongside of LeaderSource and several other organizations and movements to help “catalyze advances in thinking and practice in leader development around the world.”

    We led an all-day intensive called “A Taste of Asian Access” and several of our colleagues led other workshops. In addition, we were an active player in the formal/non-formal theological education dialog where we are trying to find synergy for leader development specifically through theological formation.

    The highlight for me though was both getting together with many from our A2 Community and meeting Fregy John, the Asia Continent Director, from The Timothy Initiative. Here’s a few pictures of our A2 family (missing many from South Asia who came) and a picture of Fregy and me.

    joe and fregy 500px

    What was so thrilling was to hear Fregy say:

    “I so appreciate Asian Access. Three of your alumni are on my team and they keep giving us ideas from Asian Access on how we can make The Timothy Initiative better!”

    Why did this inspire me? Because it means we are truly living out our values and objectives. This reflections our third outcome of Reproducing Disciple-Making Leaders! As we invest in others, they then go and reproduce what they are learning in their circles of influence. As we often now say, “We change the few who change the many!”

    In addition to Fregy, one of our alumni, Pras from India (pictured in the yellow shirt), has been chosen to be a key leader for LeaderSource. Pras will now be sharing the wisdom he gained from Asian Access along to another one of the more substantive leader development organizations in our world.

    By investing in a few key leaders, Asian Access is having a profound impact across Asia. What a joy it is to simply lean into Jesus and see how He uses us for His kingdom advance!

    How are you making disciples? Are you reproducing disciple-making leaders?

    I’d love to hear from you!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemail jhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter @jwhandley

      

  10. Nearly 200 killed, over half a million displaced in flooding

    Sri Lanka (MNN) — Sri Lanka is facing its worst flooding in over a decade. Torrential rains in the southwestern part of the country have left about 180 dead and over half a million displaced.

    Sri Lankans“You can’t even reach some of the places down south and in the center,” says Adrian De Visser, a partner of Asian Access, which provides training for Christian leaders across Asia. “And so it is the government with the use of the helicopters and the naval vessels that they are reaching all the people who are out of reach.”

    While neighboring countries have responded by providing immediate humanitarian assistance, Asian Access is taking a more long-term approach. They want to make sure that once the floodwaters have cleared, the vulnerable aren’t forgotten.

    “Our strategy has not been always to rush when a disaster takes place, because there are lots of people who will rush in immediately, and then they are forgotten,” De Visser says. “Asian Access and our church always picks up at that point. When people really need to settle down, that is the time we respond to these crises.

    “The immediate survival mode, everybody wants to respond and the government is trying to respond. But give it a week or two, they will completely forget about these people. Even after the tsunami, that’s how we responded. And because of it, we have a better plan, we have a better way of responding to the needs of the people. We help them to settle down, and we connect with them as individuals, not just a person who is waiting in line to get a handout from us.”

    De Visser and Asian Access are planning to respond by rebuilding homes and providing humanitarian aid. He asks that you pray for those who are suffering, and that God would bless their work.

    devisser adrian 2016 300x300px“Obviously, right now I would ask you to pray, because things are in a very, very bad shape,” De Visser says. “People are living in refugee camps, and our fear is that there can be sicknesses soon after the floods recede. But also, you can be praying, because our church will definitely be responding to the needs of the people in building their homes, repairing their homes, [and] coming alongside [them]. We would love to see churches come alongside who can help us to do it better.

    “Just pray for us, because at a time of disaster, people are so desperate, and as a church, we don’t want to take advantage of that by presenting the Gospel. But what we want to do in a moment like this is to show that we really love and care.”

    Interested in how you can support Asian Access’ work? Click here for ways to pray, serve, or give financially.

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-May31-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  11. After a brief lull, fighting in Marawi continues

    Philippines (MNN) — Just when it seemed like things were settling down in the Philippines, conflict between government soldiers and ISIS-linked fighters reignited.

    Phillippines ReservesOn Thursday, the Philippine army launched an air strike in the southern city of Marawi to flush out up to 40 fighters hiding in the city. At least 20 people have been killed in the conflict, including soldiers, police officers, and civilians.

    “I really don’t know how it will go on,” Herman Moldez, the Philippines Country Director for Asian Access, says. “I think this is the reason why the president declared martial law, so that he can really pursue them very well.”

    Fighting erupted Tuesday after a failed attack on the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, the leader of the terrorist group Abu Sayaaf, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law the same day for the southern island of Mindanao.

    Wednesday saw a brief lull in the fighting, which the majority of Marawi’s 200,000 residents saw as an opportunity to leave the city. But despite the situation’s uncertainty, many believers are choosing to remain for the sake of sharing the Gospel.

    Philippines mother and daughter“I think the situation as far as thespread of the Gospel just continues on,” Moldez says. “Those who are in the mission activity and the church activity, they’re just continuing on as if nothing is happening because this is not widespread; this is localized and contained.”

    Not everyone, however, including believers, are on the same page regarding the government’s tactics.

    “The reactions and responses are not united as far as the believers are concerned,” Moldez says. “So those of us who are staying in Luzon and the Basilan island would be different in our responses compared to those who are actually living in Mindanao. The overwhelming things we are hearing from the Mindanao believers, they welcome the creation of martial law.

    Philippines“So what we need to pray for is more unity among us, and that we will be more discerning in terms of trying to understand the situation. You know, there are many things being posted in the social media. That requires a lot of discernment. Continue to pray for safety and that this will not escalate to more violence and so on.”

    Moldez also asks that you pray that churches in the Philippines would be watchful as to how martial law progresses in the country, and that everyone, including God’s people, would be kept safe.

    “This is not politically motivated,” Moldez says. “This is just to respond to this terrorist attack. And that’s why even Congress is not taking this discussion. But we need to watch that, because the president is saying he may declare martial [law] to the entire island, the whole Philippines.

    “So we need wisdom to be watchful and vigilant, to be prayerful of course and continue to pray that there would not be any attack to churches that will create another reaction and the whole situation would be out of control.”

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
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  12. The Secret Sauce of Asian Access?

    Sometime ago I was asked about the secret sauce of Asian Access… I’ve written previously about this on other blogs:

    A2 Leader Development ModelThat said, the other secret sauce corresponds to a question that I am frequently asked, "What is your curriculum?". While we do have a curricular model, the most powerful part of Asian Access learning is actually the learning community.

     

    Nurturing a Thriving Learning Community

    Leaders with potential, not potential leaders, learn more from one another than they do from any particular content or lecturer. In fact, our faculty are at their best when they are facilitators of this communal learning. The leaders in our cohorts already have the experience and as the faculty members light the matches, the conversations ignite! They learn from one another and they form a community bond that is quite powerful. Some call them bands of brothers.

    praying for one another

    Here’s our description of these vibrant learning communities:

    We create dynamic, total learning environments that are in-country, in-service, in-community, intensive, and ongoing. Asian Access is also committed to helping them develop tools, tactics, resources, and strategies for equipping the churches and movements they lead.

    Learn more about our focus here!

    As the leader of the Drucker Academy in Hong Kong once shared with me,

    “Joe, Asian Access is like Ashoka. No other leader development effort that I’m aware of has the power of the alumni networks that Ashoka and Asian Access have.” 

    He told me that Ashoka was the single most influential social enterprise network in the world! What a powerful endorsement of Asian Access!

    As these secret sauces come together, powerful things emerge! Living in a Love Relationship with God coupled with Living in Vibrant Community together in dynamic Learning Cohorts leads to remarkable movements of God. The stories you hear us share at Asian Access trace back to these ‘secret sauces’ and most important to them all is a deep, abiding relationship with Christ.

    As we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit!

    joe sig blue
    Joe Handley

    Joe Handleyemail jhandley@asianaccess.org
    twitter @jwhandley

      

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  13. Sometimes ministry means facing uncomfortable situations

    Southeast Asia (MNN) – As Christians, we are called not just to spread the Gospel, but to care for the vulnerable as well. And sometimes, that requires us to confront uncomfortable situations.

    Adrian De VisserThat’s something Adrian De Visser, a pastor from Sri Lanka and partner with Asian Access, says Christians often have a hard time accepting. On a trip to Cambodia, De Visser says he witnessed women, including young girls, being sold for sex. He says the Church must be willing to confront these types of issues, not turn a blind eye to them.

    “I had to take some of the pastors over there, because you know, in Asian cultures we are very shamed-based, so people are ashamed to even admit what happens in our part of the world,” De Visser says. “But for me, it is a sin of my nation, and I need to address that. It took a lot of teaching, debating, to get them on board to realize that this is a problem the Church must address.”

    De Visser has taken it upon himself to respond to this issue. He is partnering with a local pastor in Cambodia and the surrounding community to build homes for girls rescued from human trafficking. They plan to help send the girls back to school and provide them with a sustainable means of income.

    “I think I have just opened a can of worms,” De Visser says. “I don’t know where this will end. I have done this in Sri Lanka. We have children’s homes, we have centers for young ladies who have lost their husbands. To me, a very integral part of Christianity is to love and to care. And who else can love a vulnerable girl than a man and a woman who has been touched by the love of God?”

    De Visser says he hopes Christians in North America recognize the severity of these types of issues and begin to grapple with them. The future of the Church, he says, depends on its dedication to the poor and hurting.

    Asian Access: DEVELOP. MULTIPLY. TRANSFORM.“I’m concerned for the Church in North America,” De Visser says. “The younger generation, they’re looking for a different form of Christianity. Young people are postmodernists, and they’re also living in a post-Christian era. My interaction with the young community in the U.S., they’re looking for tight communities, they’re looking for causes to be involved in.

    “I feel if the Church can open the doors for causes and the young people to champion these causes, we might retain the young people in the Church.”

    Asian Access is dedicated to identifying and raising up leaders in Asia to serve their home country for Christ. You can learn more about this ministry by clicking here and can find ways to pray, serve, and go here.

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
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  14. (believe it or not)

    phil timeline triad 1

    If you spend any time in the Philippines, you will learn quickly that basketball is amazingly popular. Filipinos love to play, watch, and talk about the sport.

    So when we set up the schedule for Asian Access Philippines Class One, we made sure to build in afternoon time for our leaders to enjoy their favorite pastime.  What we hadn’t counted on is how much our leaders were invested in sharing, and hearing, one another’s life stories.

    The second full day of an A2 first session focuses on developing and sharing a timeline—a poster-sized template that allows each leader to map out their personal, spiritual, and ministry journeys.  The morning is spent developing the timelines, then everyone breaks for lunch.

    Upon returning from lunch, the idea was for our Filipino leaders to break into groups of three and have each leader share their story with their other two groupmates.  We figured that this would take everyone through to tea break, then on to the basketball court.

    We knew that the leaders were excited about the chance to share with one another.  But we began to realize just how excited they were when they blew through the tea break, then continued into the afternoon activity time!  “No time for basketball,” one leader came over to tell me.  “We want to share!”

    phil timeline triad 2

    The best news is that they were able to do both.  After completing an extended time of sharing, the group broke with enough time for some on-court action.  (In fact, they are shooting hoops even as I write.)

    God has graced A2 with 12 veteran leaders for Philippines Class One, led by veteran pastor, parachurch leader, and mentor Herman Moldez.  It is something to see how quickly these leaders have gone (as we like to say in A2) ALL IN on developing a learning community marked by caring relationships.

    Who knows what Day Three will bring?

    Noel Becchetti

  15. wesley at 50thOn May 1st, Asian Access released a brand new series called, Eastern Voices: Insight, Perspective, and Vision from Kingdom Leaders in Asia In Their Own Words.

    We'd like you to meet Wesley...

     

    An Asian Pastor's Journey from Career to Calling

    For decades, Wesley Kyaw Thura misinterpreted "calling" as building a ministry career. Then God used dramatic circumstances to inspire him to resign his pastorate and denominational positions to become a zero—a "nothing man". In the process, Wesley discovered his calling and found his soul.

    From Eastern Voices, Vol. 1: "Losing My Face to Find My Soul" (chp 1)

    https://youtu.be/W94Q-ErZEE0


    One of the Names of God is Servant

    In another clip, Wesley Kyaw Thura describes his journey from prestigious senior pastor in a male-centric culture to his current role as serving his wife in her ministry as senior pastor for "New Life In Christ' church.

     

    https://youtu.be/T0G0EndYifY

     

    kyawthura wesley headshot 2016About Wesley

    Wesley Kyaw Thura is national director for Asian Access/Myanmar.

    See Wesley's recent blog post: Being Stretched for the Kingdom

     

     

    EV1 final title slide 2017 04 25 flat 700pxAbout the "Eastern Voices" series

    Eastern Voices Volume 1 is compilation of 14 stories from 15 different Asian authors. The book is available in paperback and in digital (ePub) format. It can be purchased through Amazon and other book resellers. Order your copy of Volume 1 today!

     

     


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  16. Ahok imprisoned on blasphemy charges, prayers needed

    Indonesia (MNN) — In a surprising turn of events, Jakarta’s former governor, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy. Ahok was Indonesia’s first Christian governor running for re-election.

    AhokThe blasphemy charges were leveled against him by extremist Muslims during the election. After Ahok lost the election, prosecutors moved to drop the blasphemy charges for a lighter charge that would only put Ahok on two years of probation. However, Jakarta judges ignored the prosecution’s advising, and moved ahead with Ahok’s blasphemy trial and sentence.

    Asian Access’ Joe Handley explains, “In terms of the sentence itself, it’s a blasphemy charge because Ahok had quoted the Quran in what was interpreted to be out of context by the more radical side of interpretation of Islam. The moderates said he had no problem in what he said, but the more radical elements definitely had trouble with the way he quoted the passage.

    “He lost the election probably because of this situation… He was a strong believer and a strong witness for Christ in the midst of a very difficult country. So it’s a sad situation.”

    The anti-blasphemy law in Indonesia has been in place since 1965. The utilization of Indonesia’s anti-blasphemy law rose in 2004 and has become an increasingly popular charge. 

    “It just shows you the need for really keen leadership within a country to be able to address problems like this. You know, [Ahok] did a fabulous job as a governor. But over and above that, when you have false charges that are levied against you, you need the type of environment created where people can speak truth in the midst of court systems; and unfortunately, he was taken out because of the…more radical elements of Islamic society in Jakarta.”

    jakartaIndonesia touts Pancasila as an inclusive, multi-religious ideology they embrace. The country is comprised of multiple ethnic groups and over 700 spoken languages. However, Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim nation with the largest concentration of Muslims in the world — 87 percent of the population. While most are moderate Muslims in the secular society, extremist nationalism seems to be on the rise.

    Analysts have remarked that Ahok’s case is disheartening because it showed that even someone who is the governor of the capital city and good friends with the Indonesian president can be targeted by religiously motivated attacks.

    Handley adds, “I think it says a lot, not only about Indonesia, but the entire world. Everywhere we go where you have this kind of hard-right nationalistic approach to governance, you have these kinds of problems. So we’re seeing it worldwide with nationalism on the rise, which exacerbates the hard-line Islamic or other religious fronts. So in this ecosystem in which we now live politically it’s going to be harder and harder; and therefore, believers who are persecuted for their faith, I predict it’s going to be that much more difficult in these conditions.”

    So what can the Church do? Handley says, “In these societies where you have radical Islamic or radial Hindu or radical Buddhist societies or elements within the country, we’ve got to be very wise and very judicious in how we lead the Church, in how we talk publicly about our faith, and how we address problems in society.”

    Asian Access was recently in Jakarta, Indonesia celebrating 50 years of ministry throughout Asia. And Handley says they hope to have a deeper investment in the country through Gospel witnesses.

    Indondesian man“When it comes to Indonesia, while we were there, we were able to meet some key leaders who are showing keen interest in the work of Asian Access — and what a better time. When you need Christ-like leadership in the marketplace, in the public sphere in the broader way, this could be a perfect opportunity for Asian Access to come in and do what we do well. We come alongside a few key leaders and help invest deeply in their lives so they can change the many in society.”

    Please remember Ahok and Indonesia this week, and lift this case before the Lord. “Pray for Ahok as he’s facing the two years in jail. Pray for the country of Indonesia. There is a vast growing Christian population that is mostly underground, and in the midst of this kind of inflamed situation, they’re more at risk,” asks Handley.

    “Then please pray for Asian Access as we discern our capacity and ability to move into the country and help serve the needs of that society. Pray that the right leaders would come to fruition for us, that God would open the doors for us to go in and serve, and then finally that the funding would come just in time for us to open that country and begin to invest deeply in the lives of key Christian leaders. It’s a key period of time for Jakarta, for Indonesia, and for the world at large.”

    And if you’d like to support Asian Access as they ‘change the few who change the many’, click here to give at their website! The best thing that could happen in Indonesia is spiritual revival in the name of Christ, and Asian Access’ ministry partners are working to see God’s name made great throughout Asia.

    Handley adds, “I just want to say thank you to Mission Network News and all the listeners out there who have come alongside of us over the years and supported the work we do. We’re deeply grateful for that.” 

     

    Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
    {mp3remote}https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-May10-2017.mp3{/mp3remote}

     

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  17. We as the Church need each other

    Asia (MNN) — There’s a reason why when we share stories of persecution, we ask for the Body of Christ to get involved in the solution. It’s because a key ingredient to perseverance of Christians under attack is encouragement from other Christians.

    While on the road with Asian Access last week, Ruth Kramer spoke with a pastor from a closed, creative-access country in Asia. The pastor says Christians do face persecution in his country, but it’s not always easy to pinpoint.

    Asian pastor prayingHe says, “It depends on the location area. Nowadays, for most of the big cities, it seems the government, [has slightly] opened the door for churches to do activities. But for most of the churches in the highlands and remote areas, they are still facing persecution.”

    For example, he shares the story of a house church in a rural area. The congregation was growing too big to fit into the pastor’s house for Sunday sermons and worship.

    “The pastor offered his piece of land for the church, and the church donated money, offered money to build the chapel. Right after they finished building the chapel, the local authority came with policeman and they locked the doors. They made a paper with the promise of the pastor, they are not allowed to use the new building for the church activities or worship services.”

    It remains locked to this day. Persecution here is on a spectrum, but what the pastor describes is mostly coming from the legal sector. Sometimes, he says, churches are closed and their leaders are arrested.

    But other times, he explains, local authorities leave churches alone. They recognize their good work for the community and aren’t bothered by their activity. But overall, there seems to be a reluctance to let the Church grow here.

    “In my opinion,” the pastor says, “they are afraid of the influence of the Church in the communities because as the pastors, when we speak, when we talk, people listen and follow.”

    A growing threat

    It’s hard to say whether or not things will get better in this country, or worse. But a new law that will take effect the beginning of next year seems to suggest things will get harder. The pastor told us that churches will be required to be licensed.

    “In that case, if the church doesn’t have [a] license, they will use the law to oppress the church and stop the church.”

    So, from now until the end of the year, churches are scrambling to get licensed so they can continue worshipping together. However, he says some local authorities who dislike the local churches will refuse to hand out licenses.

    A vibrant community

    Despite the challenges this Church faces, there is still hope. The pastor says Asian Access has been helpful for many spiritual leaders in the country. Before Asian Access, the Church had programs to equip and train pastors, but the ministry has brought them together to redouble the efforts and share resources.

    Asian AccessHe explains, “Asian Access brings us together as a vibrant community. In this community, we can love each other, and we care for one another, encourage one another, especially during a time of persecution. So we encourage one another and grow together in the faith in Jesus Christ.”

    Here’s how to pray:

    “Please pray for the Christians in my country to be united. And pray that God will raise up more people, more pastors, more leaders of the Church to lead the Church. And pray for revival.”

     

     

     Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
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  18. They didn't trust each other,  even within the Church

    PUBLISHED ON 3 MAY, 2017 BY JULIE BOURDON

    Cambodia (MNN) — There’s a slice of land in Southeast Asia about the size of Oklahoma. It’s surrounded by Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. While you’ve no doubt heard of Cambodia, you may not know much about the country. Meng Aun Hour of Asian Access says what most people do recognize is the phrase, “killing fields”.

    map/flag of CambodiaWe shared a couple of years ago howGod is bringing healing to the nation after the 70s massacre of Cambodians by their four-year leader, Pol Pot. The Gospel is a shining light of hope after such a deep and painful scar that continues to characterize the country.

    Aun Hour gave us an update on how the Cambodian Church is doing.

    Challenges

    He says, “Most of the Cambodians who are believing in Jesus, they mainly live in the countryside. Most of them, I think, the challenge is they cannot read, cannot write, [and are] uneducated.”

    Meng Aun HourWithout literacy, they are not able to read the Bible, or study helpful texts. Because of this, Aun Hour says it’s difficult for them to grow in their knowledge of who God is. Additionally, these communities in rural areas spend most of their time farming. They don’t have time to attend Bible studies and prayer hours.

    And there’s another challenge when it comes to church leadership. You see, the pastors of the community usually end up being the first believer. Aun Hour says when someone is saved, they share it with their community. And, the community comes to that first person with questions. And so, without any training, and with the same farming responsibilities as the rest of the community, these young believers find themselves in a challenging new role.

    “Most of our Cambodian pastors [did not go] through any training. Some of them, they go to Bible school or some other training.”

    But, Aun Hour says he estimates about 80-90 percent of the pastors at least do not start with any sort of training. They just find themselves leading a group of people.

    For that reason, he says, “I think the most need for the Church in Cambodia right now is discipleship and also leadership development, training leaders, [and] equipping leaders.”

    A ministry helps church leaders find common ground

    Though it’s been decades since Pol Pot’s hand of horror ruled the land, the trauma that came from that period had lasting effects. Aun Hour says it was difficult for people to trust each other, especially strangers. This was true even of the Church community.

    “But Asian Access has been a big blessing for us, coming to Cambodia,” he says.

    The ministry brought senior pastors together to learn — about God, about leadership — and to pray for each other. And the benefits of this gathering continues to this day.

    “By spending time together like that, learning together, Asian Access helped to break the barrier of ‘untrust’ so we come to trust one another, [and] get to know each other better in harmony and unity. That, I see, with my eye, [we even] come from different denominations, different churches. Now we start trusting one another and start working with each other for the Kingdom. I feel that that is a big blessing for our nation.”

    The nation has been open in recent years to religious freedom, meaning Christians like Aun Hour can freely share their faith. Churches can grow, meet together, and plant new churches. But even though persecution does not come from the government, Aun Hour says, “We have some persecution from our own family.”

    buddhist monksHe explains that sometimes, a family will have such strong Buddhist beliefs that they will turn their back on a family member who gives his life to Jesus. Not all, Aun Hour assures us, but some. Christians make up a very small percentage of Cambodia — about 1.2 percent (evangelical), while Buddhism makes up 95 percent of the population.

    It’s with these things in mind that Asian Access continues to serve Cambodia. They are helping Cambodian Christians work through the unique challenges found here.

    Aun Hour says thank you to those who have taken the time to learn more about Cambodia, for those who have been praying, and those who have helped support ministries like Asian Access bring transformation to his nation. If you’d like to continue to help, click here.

     

     Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
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  19. Tragedy brought them to a deeper level of ministry

    Nepal (MNN) — Nepal just marked the second anniversary of devastating twin earthquakes that killed 9,000 people and made a million others homeless.

    The government has been criticized for the slow pace of rebuilding, and did not officially hold any commemorative events April 25th. However, survivors held memorial services in Kathmandu and other parts of the country.

    Pray for NepalAlthough it has faded off front page news, the reality is that Nepal is still in tatters. Less than one-fifth of the destroyed homes have been rebuilt. Asian Access, a ministry that helps train, develop, and network church leaders, had already started connecting believers to help respond to the quake needs. It was a unique moment for these Christians.

    Perhaps what makes this more interesting is how the Japanese Church lived out the idea of ‘walking a mile in another man’s shoes’. Who better to understand the needs in a crisis zone than those who have lived through a similar disaster?

    Japan to Nepal teamAsian Access (A2) sent two short-term mission teams from Japan’s tsunami and quake zone to Nepal to encourage their counterparts there. Robert Adair led the teams. He observed the shift in thinking from pre-disaster days to what it has developed into today.

    “[In the past], it was mainly focused on proclamation ministries, so we could get a big group of people together and share their testimonies or something else. It was built around people understanding the Gospel. They didn’t really interact with people’s felt needs. The disaster in 2011 changed that. We were meeting the Japanese people’s felt needs because, for the first time, we were getting our hands dirty mudding out their houses, helping them get back on their feet…and because of that, that gave us the credibility to talk about Christ.”

    Nepal earthquake devastationIn Japan, for the five years following the disaster, as ministries got their hands, dirty, people saw the investment made in long-term recovery and meeting needs, rather than following a formulaic agenda. In short, the A2 Japan team focused on building relationships as much as building the literal community. “I think it took the pressure off that ten-day period that everybody needs to know Christ, and everybody we meet needs to have a 30-minute discussion about the Gospel, or whatever it is — this kind of ‘superman’ approach to short-term missions, [instead of] seeing the role of the short-term missionary as support of the long-term worker.”

    For whatever reason, the Nepal earthquake struck a chord with the Japanese Church, says Adair. He goes on to say that while there have been several disasters in Asia since 2011, God created a resonance between believers in Nepal and Japan.

    “With Asian Access right now, we kind of have two streams that are going. We have the teams that have been your standard short-term mission trip, where I’ve been involved, where you take your Japanese Christians. We also sent over a pastor care team to help the long-term workers, to encourage them and make sure they’re doing all right, and processing everything all right and whatnot.”

    Those relationships will see more fruit. There are plans for future Japanese short-term trips to Nepal. Adair says coming alongside the Church in Nepal is not limited to Japan. The opportunity is there to communicate the love of Christ, regardless of where you are.

    “You may not have the language, as a Westerner, to be able to share Christ, but in everything you do, in all of your interactions, whatever you do, trying to make sure Christ is in the center of your interaction.”

    Anyone is welcome, providing they have these three qualities: “We encourage them to have three main attitudes when they come: one is to have a cheerful spirit, the second is the willingness to do anything (so you’re not going to always understand why you’re being asked to do whatever it is you’re being asked to do, and trust that we’re not going to waste your time, and that it has purpose), and then also, have what we call a ‘dendo’ spirit — a desire to see Christ known.”

    Click here to see A2’s short-term mission opportunities!

     

     Listen to the broadcast: (top story)
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  20. Takeshi wants "Eastern Voices" to introduce Asian leaders to the West and to promote dialogue

    Takeshi Takazawa video screengrab

    On May 1st, Asian Access released a brand new series called, Eastern Voices: Insight, Perspective, and Vision from Kingdom Leaders in Asia In Their Own Words.

     

    "I want you to listen to Asian leaders' voices."

    In part 2 of his introduction, Takeshi Takazawa expands on how the reader can best engage "Eastern Voices"—getting to know the writers as people, hearing their stories, and thinking of questions that could be asked of their brothers and sisters in Asia that would help to build and deepen the conversation. 

    {youtube}https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFE3DW1DA7U{/youtube}

    takazawa takeshi headshot 2016 300pxThe concept of Eastern Voices is the brainchild of Takeshi Takazawa who has long felt that leaders in the West and those in the East should dialogue together. His desire is to promote ongoing discussion which leads to greater mutual understanding and appreciation:

    "I want Eastern Voices to communicate our image, our expression—how God inspired us to express the global universal Church in each of the situations. We would like to dialogue so that we understand God's heart together. So I'm not saying that this Eastern voices is a replacement of Western motif. We need both... North, South, West and East. So I'm very excited that this book will be a small attempt, but it will help us to understand God's global vision for the Church and His mission." 

      

    EV1 final title slide 2017 04 25 flat 700pxAbout the "Eastern Voices" series

    Eastern Voices Volume 1 is compilation of 14 stories from 15 different Asian authors. The book is available in paperback now and in digital (ePub) format in the next 48 hours. It can be purchased through Amazon and other book resellers. Order your copy of Volume 1 today!

     

     


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