Coronavirus

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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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"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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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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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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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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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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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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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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armyIn 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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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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