Coronavirus

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Japan (MNN) — The world’s most populous city is now under a state of emergency thanks to soaring COVID-19 infections. Japan reported 6,100 new cases on Thursday, with roughly half coming from Tokyo. The emergency declaration began Friday and will end on February 7.“

Over the Christmas into New Year’s holidays, we couldn’t change the trend of steep [infection] increases, especially in the bigger cities. Hokkaido and Osaka requested ‘state of emergency’-type restrictions; however, Tokyo never went into that stage,” Takeshi Takazawa explains.

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2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. COVID-19, the global economy, and polarizing politics have left their marks. The 2020 Olympics were delayed and countless people have suffered and hundreds of thousands have died from the pandemic. It all certainly made for a tough year for you and me.

Amid the Dark Clouds though, I was able to report several Silver Linings during our recent Asian Access board meeting. For these, I praise God and am reminded of the importance of giving thanks, even for the challenges we have faced.

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"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." — Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV

It has been six months since the lockdown began in Manila and to this day churches have not been allowed to operate fully. Restrictions on mass gatherings have severely crippled what we call “corporate churches” or churches that manages the ministry like a corporation, with paid pastors, board of elders, and facilities (rented or owned).  For months we cried out to God to intervene so that we can go back to the way we used to do worship, but what if God has a new agenda for his church?...

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Header image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay.

Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective at preventing someone from catching COVID-19.

Japan (MNN) — This week, the company Pfizer will deliver an estimated 2.9 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to locations around the US. The UK has already begun using the vaccine, which was developed by the German company BioNTech.

The vaccine was developed in under a year and uses new technology to vaccinate people against viruses. It needs to be kept at very cold temperatures, at least 70 degrees below zero Celsius.

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digital platform fuelingrevival may2020 800x800 b 1$200,000 matching gift will help Asian Access provide secure online tools for persecuted leaders

"We are facing shutdowns and jail time almost daily here. We are reluctant to share with the news because of the repercussions it may entail. Please pray for us."

That quote is from an Asian Access national director in one of A2’s most dynamic country movements.  Please do pray for them as...

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2020 turned into an unexpected, unwanted mishmash of uncertainty, anxiety, cancellations, frustration, fatigue, exasperation, anger, exhaustion, disappointment, a kind of seeming unending ethos of dashed hopes, spiraling fears, sadness and grief.

Now I have an enhanced appreciation of the Psalms that so eloquently express the same range and depth of emotion we are experiencing. The writers honestly pour out their hearts to God, and in the process of persistently calling out to Him, they come around to see and experience God as our refuge and strength, our rock, fortress, deliverer, a very present help in time of trouble. I’m so thankful for God’s redemptive work in the midst of the miry mishmash. God takes us to deeper levels of resilience, resourcefulness and refinement.

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Jay KumarStory about Jay Kumar—graduate of Asian Access leader programme in South India—highlighted by City to City - Asia Pacific

Greetings! We’re excited to gear up for the upcoming Faith & Work Roundtable on the topic of Financial Struggles in the Pandemic. To paint a backdrop for it today, here’s the story of Jay Kumar—a pastor, entrepreneur, and strategic leadership trainer from Chennai, India. Jay attended the City to City Asia Intensive 2019 in Taipei, Taiwan...

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Pandemic challenges Japan’s group-oriented culture

Japan (MNN) — While other countries battle rising COVID-19 cases, Japan is seeing a different kind of spike – suicides.

More people in Japan have died by suicide in 2020 than from COVID-19. In fact, their suicide numbers in October alone outnumbered the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths in the first 11 months of the year.

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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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thermometer 200k match 2020 Fall METPhase 1 of Matching Gift Challenge Has Been Met!

What a joy to learn that we have matched the initial phase of our digital platform initiative. So far, just over $200,000 was given allowing us to enable connections across Asia on a stronger basis. We praise God for your part in helping us reach this milestone. With this giving, we have opened three new countries, some in limited access countries, and enabled at least 1/3rd of our countries to run sessions via digital technology. It also allows us to meet monthly as a global family sharing concerns and praying for one another. It’s been so powerful...

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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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joe and silk masked on plane 640pxHi there, friends! It's good to see you again, and we just want you to know how grateful we are for you this Thanksgiving season. Well, we know it's been a year of a lot of anxiety. And I'm sure many of you have been feeling that, whether it's the pandemic or the economy, or this week, the U.S. election, and we just want you to know we've been praying for you...

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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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screenshot of prayer meetingLast night our global community met for our monthly prayer gathering and I was so impressed as we prayed through the passage listed below from the prophet Joel. While our world has been through so much, Pastor K reminded us that we have been meeting repenting and praying, seeking the Lord’s direction. He challenged us that now is the time to pray for the healing of our nations from the pandemic and for revival. So, we prayed and the prayers were...

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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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Screen Shot 2020 10 01 at 2.44.57 PM 640pxA2 Goes on a Digital Spiritual Retreat

A few weeks ago, Asian Access held our annual fall national directors gathering virtually due to travel restrictions from COVID-19. While not ideal for us, it was such a rich time of fellowship given the limitations of in-depth relational connections via digital formats. Nevertheless, most were delighted to see one another, commune together, and grow in Christ. We spent a great deal of time resting in the public reading of scripture, especially meditating on Psalm 84:5-7. 

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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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