Joe Handley

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

highest watermark level from March 2011This day will be a day I never forget.

Six years ago, in just a few short hours from right now, I was in Karuizawa, Japan for our annual Japan Staff Spring Retreat. It was a wonderful time together with our Asian Access/Japan family as always and as we were in chapel that afternoon, the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced hit: over 9 points on the Richter Scale. Even though it was centered several miles off the coast of Japan and many miles further from my location, it was still the single longest and strongest quake I had ever lived through. And, I’ve lived through some pretty strong quakes living most of my life in Los Angeles. This morning as I awoke, I was reminded of being here in Japan that horrible day. Silk and I were in Japan and our thoughts went to many of the pastors and churches we know in the heaviest hit regions plus staff we have all over the country who were unable to make the retreat. We also were thinking of our children and families back home and what might happen to us.

As you know it was a devastating quake that triggered a massive tsunami that wreaked havoc on the shorelines of Northeast Japan. They call it a triple disaster because the...

Nozomi のぞみ = Hopeimage

Last week I had the privilege of visiting the Nozomi Project and wow, I didn’t expect how powerfully God would move in my own life. As we were sharing together I heard the amazing story shared in this video about an autistic boy: https://vimeo.com/164225374

Thing is, I didn’t expect it to hit me personally. You see, I have an autistic sister so I shared a lot in common with the family in the video. As you’ll see in the story, the mom was encouraged through the Nozomi team, and particularly by my colleague Sue Takamoto, that her son’s life has...

Joe with NakamurasPastor Yoji Nakamura, who leads the Kyushu Christ Disaster Relief Center in Kumamoto, is an amazing pastor. You can learn more about him in this post from last fall: Mr. Christ… Christ, Christ, Christ! I had the privilege of spending a few days with him in Kumamoto following up on the earthquake that hit the region about nine months ago. He was so inspiring and as he shared in church that morning before I preached, he told the congregation another amazing story that brought tears to all of our eyes! As they’ve led the relief efforts, they have tried...

Muhling familyBeing with Kent and Yuko Muhling last week in Sendai inspired me. They are trying so many different ways to reach out to their neighbors, I was deeply impressed. You would be proud of them!

One story in particular captured my imagination. They shared about a man who has been watching the Christian relief teams not far from Sendai City. He lived through the disaster and has seen the relief teams come and go. But, he was particularly inspired by the ongoing efforts of the local churches, missionaries, and believers from all over the world who keep...

imageRecently, I experienced a great deal of joy at Asian Access/Japan National Conference. Story after story was shared that inspired me! One pastor who just graduated from Asian Access/Japan, Tomoaki Goto, shared an incredible vision. He wants his church to be known as the Joyful Church. And Pastor Goto lives out the essence of the word “joy”. Just look at his face pictured here with me. That says it all! Before he shared, several ministry strategists spoke about the needs of the church in Japan...

Japan in the News

Japan finally social distancing after April COVID- Novel Coronavirus Expert meeting in Japan. This was the first meeting on February 16. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Japan (MNN) — Japan faces a new wave of confirmed coronavirus cases as the government starts testing more people. Many have referred to the April uptick as a second wave, the first happening in Marc

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All Stories

Connecting for Ministry in a Socially Distanced World

Globalization—and the current pandemic—have tied together intercontinental personal relationships and socially distanced ministry in ways we would have found difficult to imagine not so many years ago.

The following true story from one of our Asian Access Japan staff highlights how intercontinental friendships and digital media can partner together in ministry even in a “shelter in place” world. Thank you for your prayers for our Asian Access family as our members share God’s love through every means possible. Here is their story I wanted to share with you...

A Japanese university not far from our current home in Japan has had a sister school relationship with my alma mater in the USA for over 50 years. Decades ago...

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Japan: Online church, first A2/Japan webinar, and more

Creativity started before COVID-19 now deepening in Japan

God is clearly doing something new these days… While we mourn the deep losses of people and our sense of community living in isolation, there are signs of promise. We hope a solution comes soon for the coronavirus but during this season, something fresh is stirring. This video interview with my colleagues Joshua Hari and Jeffery Sonnenberg highlights some of what God is doing. In fact, as Joshua shares, it seems that God was preparing things in advance as well as setting the stage for fulfilling our longer-term vision for Japan. Watch and see what God is doing…

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Japan finally social distancing after April COVID-19 wave

Japan (MNN) — Japan faces a new wave of confirmed coronavirus cases as the government starts testing more people. Many have referred to the April uptick as a second wave, the first happening in March, but Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access views it as a delayed wave. Up until the beginning of April, Japan had not seen many cases, even though the virus first arrived in January. Read our full COVID-19 coverage here. Takazawa says of active cases, “I think the number has been... 

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A Family Opportunity in Japan | Missionary Perspectives, Ep 5

Miller family featured in 'Missionary Perspectives'

In this video from Jonathan Wu, Sterling and Emi Miller, missionaries in Tokyo, share about their work as a family in Japan. They also discuss the spiritual needs of the Japanese and offer advice on those going on short term missions trips. Missionary Perspectives is an educational series bringing insights from missionaries around the world. You can use this video clip as part of a Bible study lesson plan or curriculum...

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When things go wrong, God shows up strong!

Greetings on Good Friday. When it looks dark, that's when God shows up.

The year I joined Asian Access was the year the economy last collapsed. I was responsible for raising more money than I had ever dreamed of before and suddenly, the stock markets dropped to the floor. We had come to the end of the year and had set up a special meeting to begin closing major portions of the ministry. The same day of that meeting, I had a lunch appointment with a pastor and told him, “What was God thinking calling me to this post? I knew he... 

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Asian Access adapts as Olympics officials reschedule

Japan (MNN) — The coronavirus dealt another discouraging blow this week. Officials are postponing the Summer Olympic Games to 2021. More details here. The Olympics have been cancelled three times but never postponed. “Japan as a society is disappointed that we’re having to delay. Likewise, all of us that are doing ministry related to the Olympics have a sense of disappointment. However, we also want the world to be safe,” Joe Handley of Asian Access tells MNN. “We realize what’s at stake so we’re trying to reach out in a different way...

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We are in this TOGETHER!

Dear Friends, One of the hallmarks of Asian Access is our belief in community. In fact, one of our three core values is “We LIVE Community!” In light of this, several of our countries are saddened that they cannot be meeting at this time due to the coronavirus impact. Despite their loss of meetings, they have expressed more concern for the people in their communities and for you than for their ability to meet. Herman Moldez, our director in the Philippines said, “Please pray for us as Metro Manila is now on lockdown… Pray for us as we seek to bring help to our communities.”

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Nozomi Project founder reflects at 9th anniversary of disaster

Sue Takamoto shares the story in an interview with Joe Handley

Nozomi Project started in 2012 as a response to Japan's terrible tsunami in 2011. And through this creative ministry, God is making something beautiful in brokenness. Sue Takamoto of Asian Access, through Be One Network, launched Nozomi Project (or "Hope" Project) to provide employment, dignity, biblical community and hope for women whose lives were broken by the disaster. Using broken shards of ceramic pottery, these workers create beautiful pieces of jewelry—not only as a way to make sustainable income, but more importantly to put their lives back together. The waves ruthlessly took away their loved ones, their homes and their hope; Nozomi Project is gracefully helping these women put the pieces back together... {addthis off}

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Hope is Rising on Japan's 9th Anniversary

March 11, 2020—This title may seem surprising to you in these days of fear and ongoing polarization in the world. – Hope Rising, really? The coronavirus impact seems to have the world gripped in fear: the markets have been in a free fall, businesses have closed, schools are shifting to online formats, and people are constantly thinking about washing their hands and whether or not they can buy facemasks. Certainly, the impacts have had a ripple effect and Asian Access is no exception. However…{addthis off}

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Fearing coronavirus, Japan closes all schools through beginning of April

Japan (MNN) Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has closed schools in Japan through the month of March amid concerns about the upcoming Olympic Games. The Northern Japanese island Hokkaido has also been quarantined due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and Prime Minister Abe asked citizens to stay inside during the weekend. The move has surprised many, including working parents who now have to care for their children at home. Others questioned the effectiveness of such a move since parents will still have to go out and work after having contact with their children. Asian Access’ Joe Handley says the decision makes... {addthis off}

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