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News and notes from around the A2 Community

Official blogs from Asian Access

Christian minority feels safe under martial law

map & flag image, courtesy Voice of the MartyrsPhilippines (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. Government 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...

Meet Prasanna Vuppula, A2/India Alumnus

pras-and-company.pngRecently, 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...

Persecuted ChurchIndian 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. According 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...

Doug & K holding JoeOur 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...

Adrian and DougEach 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...

A250th early exec leaders 1989The 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! 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.

Aspen treesWhat 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...

persecuted churchYou 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...

joe and fregy 500pxIt 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 was...

Nearly 200 killed, over half a million displaced in flooding

Sri LankansSri 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.

“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...

After a brief lull, fighting in Marawi continues

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

A2 sessionThe 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:

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That 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... 

Sometimes ministry means facing uncomfortable situations

Adrian De VisserSoutheast 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. That’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... 

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From the President blog by Joe Handley

A2 Community blog with posts from a variety of contributors around Asian Access

Stories about Asian Access published by Mission Network News, a mission news service dedicated to keeping Christians informed on evangelical mission activity around the world. In doing so we hope to educate and motivate Christians to prayer, participation, and support of missionary work to help further the Great Commission.

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