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Reflections on China: Joe's thoughts following China Challenge 2011

16 November 2011 (15:59) | posted by jhandley |

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of serving with China Challenge 2011. As you probably know China is at the center of global activity these days and the country faces a number of changes in the coming year: one of which is a significant change in their overall country leadership. These changes and activities have thrust them into the center of much thought and discussion including the 2012 U.S. political presidential campaigns.

As I sat through various presentations by some of the leading China watchers and professionals, I was reminded of the key role China will face in the future of the world. It reinforced my conviction that investing in key Chinese leaders is paramount for this era of Christian faith and practice.

I worked with a team to both facilitate the event and lead a special track on Leader Development and the learning was significant. Together, the implications for ministry and the development of leaders are profound.  Of particular interest to me were several challenges for the next 30 years presented by an Asian Access/China alumnus. He mentioned the following and then personally encouraged the American Church to partner with them in engaging these most pressing issues:

  1. China has the greatest potential both for and of World Mission: With many unreached people groups remaining in country as well as one of the fastest growing church movements worldwide, China is both a sending and receiving nation when it comes to global mission.
  2. There will be a breakthrough in Church/State relations which will facilitate a new wave of revival and growth.
  3. As society changes, the role of believers will be significant as Christians engage the most pressing social issues the country faces.
  4. Pastoral ministry is facing a particularly unique challenge with the fast paced changes affecting the country. Investing in them is paramount for the future of the Church.
  5. The development of leaders is of paramount importance.

These challenges highlight the work done over the course of the 3 days, especially in the area of leader development. Brent Fulton's comprehensive study on this topic in 2006 proved a terrific catalyst in this regard in addition to a few additional insights during our time together. Dr. Fulton's excellent study is available from ChinaSource for $90.00 and is well worth the price for those interested in learning more and engaging the major issues.

Where do we go from here?:

Throughout the event, the need for leader development was presented as critical in all sectors of Christian faith, church and society. Whether it be the emerging needs of younger generations, the development of Godly business leaders, or leaders within the society or church at large; all were of paramount importance as noted in one of the top six challenges above.

Core to the future are the following key issues:

  1. Mentoring – Life on life relationship investment to help people grow in their roles as believers and engagers of society is of crucial importance. Training that does not include this type of investment is missing the primary need.
  2. Women in Leadership and Ministry – There is a significant need to invest in women as they carry a significant mantle of leadership within society, church, and business.
  3. The challenge to provide quality training (that takes time) and the fast paced growth of churches and leaders. 
  4. Learning in Groups – Chinese society and broader Asian culture often grows more through a group dynamic than an individual dynamic. Thus, the importance of cohort models of learning will be core to the future growth of leaders.
  5. The need for servant leaders within a society that values hierarchical models of leadership.
  6. Character and values are critical to the development of leaders. Too often, leadership training has focused on skills and abilities and not on the most pressing issues Christian leaders face today, as noted in the recent Lausanne Study: How to build a new generation of Christ-like leaders.
  7. Leadership selection was seen time and time again as foundational to the development of capable leaders.
  8. The process of leadership development needs more hands on training rather than just lecturing. Models that include the processes of situational leadership as leaders grow and develop will prove most helpful.

Two suggestions coming from our time together include the following:

  1. An update to the 2006 study would be of great help in given the dynamic changes facing society.
  2. An example of leadership selection process would be very beneficial to ministries as well.

If you'd like to learn more, join ChinaSource for their upcoming webinar: Building Godly Leaders in China: Looking at the Dynamics that Effect Mentoring Relationships, on November 30th/December 1st.

Thanks to Dr. Brent Fulton and the entire ChinaSource team for their leadership in helping those of us serving in China.

For His Kingdom,

Joe's blue web signature

Joseph Handley
President, Asian Access


A new collaborative era for North American missions

15 November 2011 (09:15) | posted by jhandley |

My interview on the A2/SIM Strategic Partnership for Japan

Mission Network News interviewed me lastMission Network News Friday (11.11.11), which was the day we announced our new strategic partnership with SIM.  You can read the MNN article here...

During the interview, I shared that there were numerous factors in our decision to partner with SIM. Over our three-year journey, God was confirming this direction in many ways. Here are just a few:

  • The need for more church planting missionaries in Japan is phenomenal.  The earthquake.tsunami/nuclear disaster only magnified this need.
  • Japanese pastors have tremendous vision to plant more churches, and they have asked Asian Access to help by sending more missionaries to come alongside them in their work.  SIM USA increases our capacity to send many more missionaries.
  • We're in a different era for North American missions—it's a time of synergy for collaborative endeavors.  We believe it's the shape of things to come.
  • One of our core values is networking; partnering is what we have already been doing throughout our 44-year history.
  • Partnership can help us do mission more effectively and efficiently—to be better stewards, leverage our strengths, and hopefully increase our ministry results.

Please be praying for this strategic partnership for Japan.  Listen to the interview so that you can be informed and know how you can pray for us as we enter this new era in missions.

I hope you enjoy listening to my full interview (10 minutes), conducted by Elisa Talmage at MNN.


Joe's blue web signature

Joe Handley, President
Asian Access

p.s. - If you don't see an audio player, click here...


Changing the way we do missions for Japan

11 November 2011 (13:46) | posted by jhandley |

Asian Access logo (red with tagline)

A2 launches a strategic partnership with SIM USA to bolster the work in Japan

The last few years, many of you know, that Asian Access has been exploring a strategic partnership to strengthen our ministry base, leverage our resources and catalyze a fresh move of God in Japan. If you are new to our journey, you can learn more from the partnership posts listed here.

After nearly three years of intensive review, we are excited to announce the formation of a strategic sending partnership with the U.S. division of the international mission SIM. SIM brings the stability of operational support that we needed and the mobilization horsepower to help us fulfill our vision and mission for Japan. In addition, SIM is so kingdom-minded and humble, that they see tremendous value in letting Asian Access run the mission on the field.

Thus, this strategic partnership is not a merger or simply a sharing of back office functions, but it is truly a new way of doing mission togethereach bringing their strengths and committing to a common Kingdom vision.

SIMWe believe that we are stronger together leveraging our resources and strengths to fulfill the vision God has called us to in Japan.

This bolstering is all the more important given the triple-disaster that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. This is a 'kairos' or God-moment for Japan that requires our best efforts to influence the country for the beauty of Christ and His Kingdom. We are thrilled to be working with such a strong mission like SIM and are eager to see the Lord work through our strategic partnership to fulfill his mandate for the people of Japan.

PDF FAQs - frequently asked questions on our strategic partnership

PDF Press Release - Asian Access' public statement

Pray for us as we venture together on this new journey! More importantly pray for Japan and the Japanese people who are looking for hope during such a challenging year. There may be no greater hour for the whole Gospel in Japan than this very hour!

Will you travel with us on this journey? How can you join us?

Joe's blue web signature

Joe Handley, President
Asian Access

go2japan logo

p.s. - Together we are utilizing the website www.go2japan.org to engage people who are interested in serving as missionaries in Japan. We are beginning to adjust the site to reflect this exciting partnership. Please tell others about this website.


un-Mission

20 October 2011 (14:29) | posted by jhandley |

The last few months I've read several books reflecting a core truth we hold at Asian Access. This truth is that all fruit in life stems from healthy relationships: first a healthy relationship with Jesus and second with one another. Thus, while it is true that Asian Access is a mission; the reality is that our purpose flows only through relationships. So, you might call Asian Access the un-Mission! What fuels our fruitfulness is a dependence solely on Christ, not on our own merits or efforts.

Thus, we say our first and primary outcome is that "a pastor for a lifetime lives in a love relationship with God." We realize that all ministry flows out of this essential relationship as it says in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

I've enjoyed this collection of resources where this essence is deeply embedded. I trust you'll enjoy them as well:

Dan Woolley - Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Haiti's Hotel Montana
This is the first book I began reading in this stream as Dan, a former student I supervised and mentored, gave me his book about being trapped in the Hotel Montana for nearly three days following the earthquake that hit the country of Haiti. The story is gripping and delves into even deeper territory as Dan wrestles with God and reveals the challenges in his own marriage. At the end of the day, you'll find how God meets us in the midst of our deepest pain.

Dallas Willard -  The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship
In this book, Willard outlines the importance of discipleship in the Great Commission. Willard notes that what brings Christ-likeness, fruitfulness and the fulfillment of God's mission is rooted in a direct personal relationship with Jesus. This is an essential that is often overlooked or assumed in the life of a believer. It is easy to fall into the trappings of what we can do rather than relying on Christ and living in the flow of His Spirit.

R.B. Theime - The Faith Rest Life
This book is much older than the other two, but a gem that's well worth reading. Theime walks through scriptures and encourages us to rest in God and trust in Him for everything. God promises to be there through the severest of challenges and all we need to do is rest in Him by faith.

Finally, all these themes came together when Skye Jethani spoke at a recent conference. Skye was reflecting on "our life with God who loves us". He further went on to suggest that "this communion is what leads to mission".

What profound truth! Mission is best when it is un-Mission: when it is communion with the God of the universe who loves us deeply. For as we live in our love relationship with Him, it is there that we "bear much fruit".

For His Kingdom,

Joe's blue web signature


The Antioch of Asia

28 September 2011 (13:33) | posted by jhandley |

I just spent a few days with one of Asian Access Country Directors following our Leaders' Gathering in Singapore. During our brief visit, this leading pastor confirmed a comment he hinted at this past June on my last visit. He shared with me that he was convinced one of the regions in his country would soon become "The Antioch of Asia" - the place where people from Asia would be sent to reach the continent for Christ.

For many years, churches across his country have shared a vision to finish the task of world evangelism by taking the Gospel back to the city where King David reigned. However, many have said that this vision has yet to gain any real traction for a variety of reasons.

Now, however, hope is on the horizon and this region is ripe for a missions movement. Please pray for the churches, pastors, and people of this great country and this particularly critical region. They have fresh vision, creative energy and are preparing to birth this new movement which my good friend and Asian Access Country Director says will become "The Antioch of Asia".

 For His Kingdom,

 Joe's blue web signature


Engaging! Interactive!

22 September 2011 (10:27) | posted by jhandley |

LEORI just met with A2/Bangladesh country leader, Leor Sarker, here in Singapore. As you may have heard Asian Access launched our first leader development session in his country a few weeks ago and he is very encouraged about what is happening.

These two words "En
gaging" and "Interactive" were the ones he used to describe the first session with Adrian De Visser, Vice President for Partnership Development, and Richard Brohier, A2 faculty member. Leor said that typically leader development in-country involves one-way communication: the faculty tell pastors what to learn. However, he pointed out that this session was unique in that it involved a significant amount of two-way communication.

This highlights an important aspect of the Asian Access model: We create a 'Vibrant Learning Community' because the pastors chosen for the sessions are already capable leaders. As they come together in a cohort with other pastors, they grow from the interaction with both the faculty and one another. From this they build a vibrant community that holds a kingdom perspective for the work of the Church in their country and the expansion of God's work across Asia.

Pleas pray for Pastor Leor as he leads the Baptist Union in-country and as he partners with Peter Mazumder in leading Asian Access/Bangladesh. And please pray for the country of Bangladesh. It is a country where prayer is greatly needed.

 For His Kingdom,

 Joe's blue web signature


"Grandma, Jesus is here...Jesus has brought us food"

1 September 2011 (15:01) | posted by jhandley |

Shortly following March 11th's Triple Disaster in Japan, Steve Moore from The Mission Exchange called this "Japan's Hour" in a special webinar entitled Global Status of Japan Disaster where Asian Access was interviewed in light of the horrific tragedy impacting the country.  Surely enough, this moment is proving to be "Japan's Hour" for Christ. Churches and missionaries have provided relief and comfort week after week throughout the affected areas and continue serving to this day. It is amazing to watch and see…

One church that formerly had only ten regular attenders (all in their later years of life) has seen their average attendance skyrocket to 30-50 people on a consistent basis since Easter Sunday and is now gearing up to baptize 10 new followers of Christ.

As believers have been providing aid throughout the region, local people are saying, "Grandma Jesus is here!" and "Jesus has brought us food!" What a wonderful expression of the love of Christ as churches and missionaries reach out to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

The crying need we keep hearing is, "We need more churches!" In order to meet the needs of the people, we need more centers to be the 'hands and feet of Jesus': churches launched to be a light to the community and sources of hope and healing in providing aid to their neighbors.

  • Will you pray that more churches would be started?
  • Will you consider going to help us come alongside pastors and assist them in starting new churches?
  • Will you give to provide the means of fueling this "Japan's Hour for Christ"?
For His Kingdom,

 Joe's blue web signature


Strategically Positioned to Respond

2 August 2011 (14:42) | posted by jhandley |

From Stu Lynch, Asian Access Resource Developer/South East Asia:

Asian Access is strategically positioned to respond to the following critical needs and opportunities among leading pastors in Asia:


The One-Degree Drift:

Busy, successful pastors can drift—to varying degrees—apart from their first love, Jesus. Asian Access (A2) weaves the centrality of a lifelong love relationship with Jesus into the entire training program, stirring motivation and providing tracks leading to intimacy with Jesus and faithfulness to His word.

Lonely at the Top:
Leadership in Asian culture is typically top-down and authoritarian, often leaving influential pastors with few close friends, if any. Asian Access provides a safe place for pastors to go deep with one another, and encourages leaders to develop lasting Christ-centered friendships for encouragement and accountability.

My Silo’s Better than Your Silo:
Leaders tend to be focused on their particular church, group, or denomination. Asian Access intentionally brings together leaders from all different denominational and theological stripes, helping promote trust and unity among the broader body of Christ within a particular region or country.

What’s the Fruit of an Apple Tree?:
Healthy apple trees reproduce more apple trees. In the same vein, healthy Jesus-followers reproduce more Jesus-followers. We have found that many leading pastors teach about discipleship, but don’t actually invest in one-on-one relationships that lead to reproduction of disciples. Asian Access challenges leaders to reproduce by investing in a few other leaders—just as Jesus did—and gives them ongoing support to keep reproducing.

Rock My Paradigm:
One pastor came into Asian Access with a vision of growing his church to 1,000 members. One of the A2 trainers gave an illustration of "elephant versus rabbit" reproduction—basically there would be millions of rabbits before there were a dozen or so elephants. This pastor dropped his idea of a 1,000 member congregation and decided to start planting rabbit churches—with a vision for every single town and village in his country. Asian Access doesn't endorse a particular model of church, but challenges pastors to think biblically and strategically about church within their cultural context.

The Asian Access Model:

The primary ministry of Asian Access in each national or regional training center is an in-service leadership development program for pastors. Each training batch brings together 10 to 20 prominent Asian pastors, 3 to 5 times a year, for 4 to 6 days at a time, over a 2 to 3 year period. Asian Access aims to see both the lives and ministries of participating pastors transformed; fostering a deeper love relationship with God and love for His word is essential to that transformation.

What people are saying:

“My husband has changed a lot since the Asian Access training. He has more to teach in the church. The flock likes his leadership style more. He has a big vision for church planting in all the provinces that he didn’t have before A2. He has a bigger heart for Jesus.” —Wife of A2 training participant in Cambodia

“Last month we held some training in our mission field among Buddhists and Muslims. We also visited many of our churches there. We taught what we have learned from Asian Access and from your family while we were with you in Singapore last year. Our churches are growing slowly but we need to learn much more to have multiplying churches.” — Asian Access leadership team member in limited access country

“I really want to attend the leadership-coach training you invited me to in Singapore. Please confirm that I only have to pay $100 out of $1,200 total cost. I’m asking because it’s like a dream for me!” (Your generous gifts helped this pastor’s dream come true!) —A2 national program coordinator in limited access country

“How are you? We want you to know that pastor A and B are now are reconciled with each other and forgiven each other. I invited them to come and meet to talk about their issue face to face. We had a long talk and praise God now they chose to forgive each other. We had a big party for both of them, and pastor B came for last Asian Access session as a trainer.” —Meng Aun, A2 national program coordinator in Cambodia

“I am fine and my family is fine too. My church is good. I did half day off with my wife two times already for reflection and evaluation. It is really helpful and very necessary in times like this. Up to now, time together with my wife for reflection had been very few and not intentional. This time, we both are blessed because of doing that. Thanks for your advice and encouragement.” —A2 leadership team member in limited access country


Pressure

24 July 2011 (16:36) | posted by jhandley |

The last few months I have visited with pastors in a few countries where pressure and persecution happen on a semi-regular basis. These pastors feel 'the heat' on a sometimes daily basis. Their plight reminds me of Jesus words from Matthew 5:10-12:

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Pastors

Most recently on one trip, the leader of Asian Access, a pastor who has been closely monitored for several years (nearly 24/7 for six months last year), shared how many of the pastors we work with have been in prison and now are under house arrest. In other areas, some of the people we work with have even hit the press as noted in this Wall Street Journal article on "Theology of Repression".

The pastor mentioned above thanked me for the work of Asian Access in investing in them and encouraged me to continue investing and encouraging them through the pressure. Ultimately he said, "The skies may be cloudy but the sun is always shining." The inference was that despite this pressure, Christ is supreme and that He will prevail.

As Jesus tells us to rejoice and in the midst of their pain, I join them; their reward will be great in heaven.  Thank you for coming alonsdie them with your prayers and support.  They want you to know how much they appreciate you.

 Joe's blue web signature


Tsunami Update: Asian Access Provides Relief in Japan

11 July 2011 (23:12) | posted by jhandley |

Thank you so much for the prayers and support for Japan following the March 11 triple disaster. Below is a brief report sharing what Asian Access has had the privilege of participating in due to your contributions, prayers and service teams.

PHASE ONE: The last few months (Much of this in partnership with several churches and ministries)

1) Helped deliver over 30 tons  of relief supplies— food, diapers, hygiene products, soap, toilet paper, bicycles, clothing, blankets, water and bedding. [Our staff purchased and delivered more than 2 tons of supplies the first week after the disaster alone.]

2) Even larger amounts  of relief supplies have been facilitated in cooperation with major international Christian aid organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse and Food for the Hungry.

3) Facilitated several advance teams totaling over 100 volunteers mobilized into the disaster areas doing assessment, delivering supplies, shoveling mud out of homes, performing light demolition work, engaging in emotional care, praying with exhausted pastors, and countless  other acts of simple kindness.

Boots used by volunteers to help clean out the mud from homes in the Tsunami stricken areas of northern Japan.

4) Helped coordinate more than 300 volunteers involved either part-time or full-time at CRASH headquarters answering phones, receiving and shipping relief supplies, preparing counseling resources, establishing communications channels for remote teams, updating the  website, developing media resources to mobilize Christians worldwide, cooking meals for workers, etc.

5) Help launch regional bases for volunteer operations have spanning from the north to the south of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor zones;

Partnered with Churches Helping Churches, Billy Graham Association and Alpha/Japan in hosting "Oasis," a retreat for pastors and their spouses from the affected regions.

PHASE TWO: This Summer

1.  We are looking to assist the work of several regional bases run by local churches throughout the summer months. These bases include the following key churches and networks:

Iwate Prefecture

Rev. Yoshiya Kondo
Morioka Bible Baptist Church

Iwate  Network - http://311.ichurch.jp/

Miyagi Prefecture

Rev. Yukikazu Otomo
Shiogama Bible Baptist Church

Makito Matsuda
Oasis Chapel/Rifu Christ Church

Rev. Nobuyoshi Nagai
Tohoku Central Church/Kakudai Institute for Mission/Gospel Town

Pastor Nagai is also the leader of Alpha/Japan

Be One/Hope for Tohoku

Asian Access Missionary Staff and Summer Teams

2.  Sending relief teams from churches around the world. These teams are currently serving primarily in Ishinomaki where some of the greatest needs have arisen. They will be in Tohoku over the course of the summer. For a terrific overview of what our Asian Access missionaries are involved in, go to this fantastic 9-minute video.

PHASE THREE: The future

Pastor Chida, who serves on our board in Japan, has shared some keen insight into how God is calling the Church of Japan to move toward an Acts 8:1 ministry philosophy: a scattered rather than a gathered model of church planting. He is highlighted in this video report praying for revival: "A Tsunami of Love"

Asian Access/Japan is preparing to partner with churches across Japan to be the hands and feet of Jesus and developing a longer term plan for holistic church multiplication. Various church groups are thinking of planting several churches:

  1. Pastor Nagai (listed above) wants to see 100 new  churches in the affected communities.
  2. The Conservative Baptist Churches, inspired by Pastor Hiroshi Kawasaki – director of our work in Japan – JCGI Networks, is hoping to plant 50 new churches in the region
  3. Pastor Kondo (listed above) is hoping to see churches planted in the essentially unreached coastal areas of Iwate
  4. Pastor Masamoto Higa of International Family Church in Takasaki wants to see a church for all 86 communities that have been completely washed away.

Soon, we will be sending out a summary of what God has been doing in Japan but for now, we wanted you to know how much we appreciate your prayers, your support and the teams you've sent.

This is indeed a unique moment for the Church to rise up and be the hands and feet of Jesus during Japan's crucial hour of need. For ways to get involved, join us here.

Thank you for your continued prayers for the Japanese people.

Joe's blue web signature

Joe Handley, President

 


An Oasis From The Storm

14 June 2011 (12:49) | posted by jhandley |

Several weeks ago, I was introduced to Thomas Kim from Churches Helping Churches. From the moment we met, we knew there would be great synergy and collaboration. Why? Because we share the same ideas about ministry. We are both committed to coming alongside of pastors and churches in the midst of the chaos they face following a disaster; which in this instance is the triple disaster that hit Japan on March 11th, one of the worst disasters in world history.

Currently, we are partnering together to provide an Oasis – a retreat for pastors and their spouses following the March 11th earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. The flyers on the Churches Helping Churches website show our partnership with their organization, along with the Billy Graham Association, and Alpha Japan, to provide a place of respite in the midst of the challenges facing NE Japan (the Eastern Tohoku region).

Join us in praying for this retreat and for the people of Japan!

For His Kingdom,

Joe's blue web signature


My Japan update interview with Mission Network News

24 May 2011 (18:39) | posted by jhandley |

I just wanted to post my full 10-minute interview with Mission Network News. The fine folks at MNN are doing a story to update everyone about the needs in Japan. So they connected with me from Fukushima, Japan via Skype. This is the recording from MNN...

I trust you find the interview informative and encouraging. Most of all, I hope it will motivate you to continue praying for the nation of Japan and the full gospel's advance among the Japanese people.

Listen to my interview with Mission Network News...


(10 min.)

 Joe's blue web signature

More information...

 


Treasures in Jars of Clay

18 May 2011 (15:37) | posted by jhandley |

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may always be manifested in our bodies." 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (ESV)

We carry this hope, a treasure in our jars of clay, which shows up strong in the midst of despair.  Japan's triple distaster in March of this year brought distraction and despair.  Yet in the midst of the pain, God shows up strong and hope is on the horizon.  I couldn't be more proud of our Asian Access staff who have actively reached out to provide hope, care, and relief in the midst of one of the worst disaters in our history.  The stories of pastors and our staff reaching out will inspire you.  You can read their incredible reports by accessing them through our A2 Blog Centre.

I am presently in Japan and recently returned from a restricted access country where I was with our first graduating class of pastors in that country.  Again, hope in the midst of despair is the story of the hour.  Pastor after pastor spoke of horrific persecution and pressures, some living through the war and also living through horrendous tragedies.  Most have faced the pressures of the communist government.  Yet, in the midst of all the pain, hope shines bright in their hearts.  The joy of the Lord is clearly their strength.

What  joy it is to journey with these pastors and our staff in bringing hope through our small, broken clay jars.  Meditate on the surrounding passage with verses above and see the hope that God is bringing.  For in the midst of great pain and great loss, the Lord brings tremendous hope.

Thank you for being a bearer of hope in your partnership with us in "extending the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

For His Kingdom,

Joe's blue web signature


"For such a time as this" - $1M Matching Challenge for Japan

14 April 2011 (04:14) | posted by jhandley |

Desolation in Sendai

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and
the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters
roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Psalm 46:1-3

Dear Friends,

Thank you for the generous outpouring of love and support towards Japan and our mission family at this hour of great need in Japan. As you may have heard, most of our Japan staff along with my wife and I were in Nagano on March 11th when the earthquakes and corresponding tsunami struck the country. Not only were we personally concerned, but also our hearts broke for the people of Japan as we watched the news of the devastating impact of this triple crisis.

We took solace in Psalm 46 knowing that God had prepared us "for such a time as this" to reach out in the love and compassion of Christ at this difficult hour. My predecessor whom many of you know, Doug Birdsall, wrote the following and this is something that our founder, Ken, has also been emphasizing:

This is the greatest time of opportunity for the Gospel in Japan since World War II.  My namesake, Douglas MacArthur, called for 5,000 missionaries to go to help re-build a devastated and disillusioned nation.  Unfortunately, only a few hundred missionaries went at the time and an historic opportunity was lost.  I trust that this time there will be an outpouring of love, prayer and support.  Just as Japanese have been waiting for nearly one hundred years for the "the big one" to hit, the church has also been praying for decades for the time of "major breakthrough" for the Gospel.  Thus far, Japan has been resistant to thegospel.  There is no country in the world where the church has sown the gospel so generously, yet reaped so sparingly.

In light of the tremendous needs, Asian Access received a $1,000,000 matching gift challenge to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people. For those who have already given, be assured that your gifts for tsunami relief will be matched. We created this special video message to thank you for helping. Also, if you haven’t heard about the challenge, would you prayerfully consider helping us meet this matching gift and share the news with your church and friends at this crucial hour for hope in Japan?

To learn more about what Asian Access is doing and how you can get involved, join us online. You can also follow The Mission Exchange's recent Global Issues Update which features Asian Access on the Global Status of the Japan Disaster.

A few verses later in Psalm 46, it says this:

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

Resting in Christ as we seek to serve the people of Japan and exalt His Name there,

Joe's blue web signature

Joe Handley

More information...

Thank You Video from Joe:
http://www.asianaccess.org/a2blog/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=334&blogId=6

Ways that you can help
http://asianaccess.org/japan

Global Status of Japan Disaster
http://asianaccess.org/downloads/affiliates/globalIssues_japan.wmv

$1M Matching Gift
http://asianaccess.org/A2-Japan-Tsunami-Matching-Gift.html

 


Joe's Interview on Moody Radio Network

10 April 2011 (18:00) | posted by jhandley |

Moody Radio Network interviewed me recently about the latest Japan Tsunami Relief situation. Please take 11 minutes to listen to the interview:

If a player does not appear, click here...

On their online special section called "Hope for Japan," Moody Radio Network posted these prayer requests for Japan:

  • Pray for bereaved families.
  • Pray for those who are searching for missing family members.
  • Pray for the children who will struggle with the devastating memory of this tragedy.
  • Pray for the wisdom and strength of the rescue workers.
  • Pray for collaboration between relief agencies and the government.
  • Pray for aid to go unhindered to the people that need it most.
  • Pray for rescue teams as they deal with the immediate and unshakable horror of this situation.
  • Pray that the nuclear situation would be addressed and lives would be spared.
  • Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.
  • Pray about how you can help Japan.

In addition to this list, I would ask that you pray for Asian Access as we try to set up relief teams this summer.  More can be found at:
http://go2japan.org/tsunami-forum

 Joe's blue web signature
Joe Handley, President
Asian Access

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