The 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!

Ajith Fernando - Keynote Message 1: Confession & Repentance

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.

A250th ajith speaking day1

Our Founders

This theme underlined our opening day together as we celebrated Pioneering Life, the early days of what was originally Language Institute for Evangelism, later LIFE Ministries, and today Asian Access. Each day we showcased key people as examples of models of many within our movement who helped shape our movement. And, what a joy it was to focus our attention on our founders Ken and his wife Jan, pictured here with me. 

A250th joe kj day1

Ken laid the foundation on solid ground with a keen focus on Christ-like leadership and a famous story from our history of asking Pastor Murakami his vision for Japan. After Pastor Murakami shared for sometime, he turned to Ken saying, “What’s your vision as the missionary God sent to Japan?” And, Ken quickly added, “My vision is to empower your vision!” That foundation laid the groundwork for the deep seated values of Asian Access: empowering indigenous leaders for the vision God had given them!

Jerry & Cathy Hardy

We also were able to highlight the contributions of Jerry and Cathy Hardy, who partnered with Ken the first 25 years of the mission. Jerry actually mentored our current (and second) executive vice president, Elliott Snuggs (left). It is amazing that an organization five decades old has enjoyed such stable committed leadership.

A250th elliott jerry cathy day1

Dee Wirz

We honored the enormous contribution of longest serving missionary, Dolores "Dee" Wirz, who faithfully, wrote and led evangelistic bible studies in Japan, even to this very day! Dee first went to japan in 1975 and has continued serving for 42 years. See Dee pictured here with Doug Birdsall, Ken and me!

Steve & Eloise Hoke

In that same pioneering spirit, we highlighted the work of Steve and Eloise Hoke who helped ensure that Asian Access would move from a startup to an actual organization. Without Steve’s contribution, Asian Access may not have transitioned to the movement it is today.

A250th early exec leaders 1989 

Doug & Jeanie Birdsall

Finally, the morning closed with the significant contribution of Doug and Jeanie Birdsall. They lived out the values originally embodied by Ken and Jan focusing our mission on “Life on Life” Ministry. It’s all about relationships and the relationships that Doug and Jeanie have fostered kept the momentum alive and still shape us to this day. Doug then envisioned the pioneering of taking Asian Access beyond Japan and today we are a thriving movement across 13 countries with a significant footprint in Japan!

A250th birdsalls sm

Doug also carried the value of Vibrant Community and often quoted Rev. Chida who said, “If you have just three churches, it can be done easily.” Thus, our keen focus on collaboration in ministry!

Thus the pioneering days were launched with the core values we live to this day:

What a joy to celebrate the pioneering spirit of Asian Access! Next, we’ll post about Day Two: Expanding Access!

joe sig blue
Joe Handley

Joe Handleyemail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
twitter @jwhandley


More Information

Here is a slideshow from Day 1 of our celebration in Jakarta...


Ajith Fernando: “The Way of Repentance” [A2|50th Day1 Keynote]