Coronavirus

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turmoil benjamin davies vd8DbM 5pDg unsplash 640pxLike you, all of us at Asian Access are facing the challenges surrounding our world from these tumultuous days. The pandemic has forced most of the countries we work in to either go on lockdown or at least practice social distancing and the economic conditions have been immense. Many of our partners shared basic survival needs that are overwhelming. I have a needs list from them for well over $100,000 alone just for food to feed the poor. Many have lost friends and colleagues to the coronavirus and the pandemic seems to have no end in sight, or at least is pretty unpredictable. Add to these the racial and political polarization rising in several countries...

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India (MNN) — There’s an adage as old as time: “While the cat’s away, the mice will play.” It implies group laziness or misbehavior when an authority figure is not present. A similar scenario is taking place in India right now. While police focus on COVID-19 restrictions, Christian Post reports, Hindu extremists are launching more attacks on Christians. The first half of 2020 saw 135 cases, but experts say the real number is probably much higher.“ Persecution has become a reality in most of rural and semi-rural India. But...

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Asian Access has been training pastors in Japan for over 40 years, largely through gatherings of cohorts who come together as a learning community, grounded in deep relationships. The current pandemic, which requires social distancing and a period of shutdown, has challenged this model. In the process, it has accelerated our development of online learning platforms and opened the door to new opportunities and even greater reach. As Japan was dealing with the outbreak in April, churches across the nation were increasingly limited in how they could meet. Much like the persecution of the early church, which resulted in the gospel spreading around the world, our A2 Japan National Director, Rev. Joshua Hari, saw this “shut down” experience as...

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Joshua HariLast week I learned some encouraging news: During COVID-19 emergency suggestions here in Japan, churches in Japan are seeing some intriguing growth. We have shared previously about a monthly webinar Asian Access has been hosting for pastors: 1) Japan: Online church, first A2/Japan webinar, and more, and 2) Isolation Makes Way for New Connections in Japan. It’s been a tremendous experience as everyone is learning from one another, seeing ways to experiment with new ways to reach their communities, and learning from the global church (especially other countries in Asia) about how they are navigating these unusual times....

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FreshMove george desipris PRKfGLxskJc unsplashSome months ago, just before the entrance of the coronavirus, I began reading a book on my shelf that had been in my possession, unread, for a few years. The author is John M. Barry, and its title is The Great Influenza. It is a New York Times Bestseller. Barry tells the epic story of what he says is the deadliest plague in recorded history. The US experienced 650 thousand deaths; worldwide some 50 million died. Somewhat ominously for us now, as we are hoping for an end to the present crisis, there was a second wave during that influenza that was far more deadly than the first. While a little long, it is a good read. The timing of the read for me is most... 

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South Asia (MNN) — So far, 2020 has been a memorable year for all the wrong reasons. Global events like the COVID-19 pandemic create an unpredictable atmosphere for ministry. But Joe Handley of Asian Access says there’s a bright spot amidst the chaos. Asian Access equips national church leaders to multiply churches and make disciples. “We had been planning for several years to do a digital media initiative to equip younger generations, as well as where the persecuted Church lies” in South Asia, Handley explains...

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breakthrough clint mckoy 093ymJ5AgE4 unsplash 1200pxbreakthrough / ˈbreɪkˌθruː /

noun “a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.” – Oxford English Dictionary

At the end of 2019, Silk and I felt led to choose a word that would be the focus for the new year. I had just completed a quasi-sabbatical to finish my dissertation and we were looking forward to what was in store for 2020. And, 2020 was sure to be spectacular: Asian Access was...

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The last few months I have been fairly regularly attending bible reading sessions hosted by the Grace and Mercy Foundation in New York City. They hold sessions three times a week and I can attend their Monday evening program since it aligns with my Tuesday morning. It’s been a rich experience, listening to God’s word together and seeing people from many parts of the world. I shared about their grand opening here in Tokyo a few months ago but now with the pandemic, these sessions have been growing. There are a few hundred people on my call alone every week. Reading scripture in community is a rewarding experience and I hope...

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uniting the church across asia screengrab“That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” – John 17:21

Our planet is in a period of sustained grief: a season hit by a global pandemic, it’s corresponding recession/depression, and the tensions rising from emergency lockdowns and shelter in place orders and advisories. In addition, we are struck with racial tensions flaring, and the mistreatment of ethnic minorities by many and the killing of African Americans by police officers gone bad. Now the lockdowns have turned into curfews across the nation because of the reactions of rioters and looters on a scale like we have not seen in decades. While my friends in the US are seeing this ongoing saga play out day in and day out, my colleagues across Asia are feeling its implications even within the church...

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How do you envision using digital technology into the future in ways that you did not do before COVID-19?

editing video3 20200321 WA0004The new future is the present! The world has gone digital. Few were ahead of the curve; most are adapting quickly. What do people need? 1.) Need customized/customizable platforms and applications that are versatile; 2.) Need user-friendly tools. What do we need to do? ... 

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CARES act smallCARES Act Charitable Donation Provisions

Did you know? Even if you do not itemize deductions on your federal taxes, you can deduct up to $300 of charitable gifts made in 2020. If you do itemize deductions, you can deduct up to 100% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for charitable gifts made in 2020. If you are at least 59½, you may take a distribution of any amount from your IRA or 401k, give the same amount to a qualified charity, and avoid paying any federal income taxes on the distribution.

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How has digital technology changed how you do life and ministry in this season of COVID-19?

hubert rajiv 2020 4x3When people ask me this question, I share my approach to the change. There are three big needs during and post-COVID times:

CONTENT: People have a lot of time during this COVID season and are hooked onto the internet most of the time. And so, I see that there is a need for relevant content to flood the net with.

ENCOURAGEMENT: People are living in fear and panic as they are engulfed and bombarded with news reports of this pandemic resulting in hopelessness. Therefore, they need encouragement and hope to pull themselves through this time... 

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family of Jason Richard TanGod's Work Cannot Be Quarantined

As ministry front-liners in the Philippines, we could literally see how the landscape of pastoral ministry is changing before our very eyes. This health pandemic is bringing to an end the era of the corporate church model, and it is fast being replaced by the house-church model. Allow us to share to you what has been happening in our part of the world: 1) 40,000 small church pastors have had no pay for the past two...

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aporna 500pxEvery day, new COVID-19 patients are being added in Bangladesh, my home country. Family members and close friends are suffering from the illness. Many patients live next to my building. People diagnosed with coronavirus are facing social ostracism; many people are losing their jobs. People cannot earn enough money to meet their daily needs. We are learning that people in Bangladesh are dying not only from COVID-19, but from additional mental and physical issues. It makes me cry when I hear and see a mother cannot provide food and medical supplies for her child. I just cry out to the Lord, “Give me Your provision to stand beside them in a tangible way.” But I am not afraid. I fix my eyes to the Lord who is the author of our life.

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Story about Virukshan Perera, graduate of Asian Access leader programme in Sri Lanka

Greetings, CTCAP [City To City - Asia Pacific] family! We hope these stories have been encouraging us to press on towards what God has placed in our hearts for our cities. Today, we are pleased to bring you a story of generosity, resilience and service in the face of persecution and need from Colombo, Sri Lanka!

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In 330 BC, Alexander the Great had conquered the Persian Empire and in the process had become ruler of most of the known world. With the greatest army ever assembled he decided to continue his push eastward. His vision was unrelenting. He wanted to rule the entire world. But when they reached the Himalayan Mountains, his leaders came to Alexander with a serious concern. They had gone beyond the boundaries of their maps. To go further would mean that they would march off the map. They were suddenly faced with two options. They could return to where they came from and stay within familiar territory, or they could bravely march off the map into new and unknown territory. The first option would result in retreating to the comfort and security of the past; the second option would result in embracing the opportunities and challenges of a new order...

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digital platform fuelingrevival may2020 800x800 b 1$200,000 matching gift will help Asian Access build a secure digital platform to fuel revival

I trust you are doing well as we all continue facing the coronavirus challenges. I’m writing you to ask you to give toward a match so our brothers and sisters under persecution can enjoy meeting, like we do, by video conferencing without fear of government intervention. Asia is still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our friends are especially suffering from the pain of isolation—and none feel it more than those who live in countries where Christians are persecuted, where they cannot trust their governments to give them accurate information about COVID-19. As in North America (and in Japan where I live), churches in persecuted countries are connecting by video conferencing . . . for now. But it’s just a matter of time before governments shut them down and go after the church leaders. What these countries need is an ultra-secure digital platform that will allow them to meet, worship, and have fellowship away from the prying eyes of their governments.

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