From the President

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2020 is a pivotal year in the life of Asian Access.

In the early ’90s, Asian Access adopted a vision God had given my predecessor Doug Birdsall. It was a vision he had rested on for a few years but one that came into clearer scope by the time he became our fourth president. In many ways, it became an audacious goal, one which many told Doug was impossible. 

As he shared the discouragement from the feedback with our founder, Ken famously said,

“Impossible. Impossible. I love Impossible.”

Why? Because God makes the impossible, possible – Matthew 19:26.

Who could have imagined way back then the trajectory in mission history for Japan since that time?

The goals from the 2020 Vision included: 

  • Deploying 100 church multiplication teams...
  • Who would establish 1000 reproducing congregations...
  • With 1,000,000 new followers of Christ...
  • Sending 1000 missionaries from Japan to the billions of unreached across Asia.

This Vision became much more than just a set of goals though. It was an inspiration for hundreds of church planters who accepted the rallying call and strove toward higher heights.

Several years ago, in Matsushima, Japan, a few Japanese leaders said, in essence, we have already accomplished the goal as the key focal point was deploying 100 teams who would start 1000 reproducing churches. They surmised that through the various efforts and networks surrounding Asian Access that this part of the goal was achieved and the rest was up to God. As you know a vision is larger than any one group can handle and this was a God-sized vision.

That vision laid the groundwork for where we are today. Next year we celebrate the culmination of this 2020 Vision and the foundation of what is to come.

These days, Japanese leaders are sharing vision as I’ve never seen before in my lifetime. Our desire at Asian Access to come alongside and help them fulfill their vision is as strong as ever, just as our founder is famed for saying some 45+ years ago to Pastor Murakami.

What does God have planned for this year of celebration?

Who would’ve known then that the Olympics would be hosted here this summer? And that, along with the just-finished Rugby World Cup event, are being seen as key launching pads for the new vision that is emerging. See more about those outreaches here: Olympic Vision 2020 underway in Tokyo

The new vision entails reaching 2% of the nation over the next several years, and 10% not far beyond that. Finally, the plans are to see 50,000 churches planted across the nation. 

In reflecting on this pivotal year, our recent Japan board chair, Dr. Paul Ariga shared:

ariga 2527“Year of 2020, I do expect real revival come to Japan! This cover photo is from the first night meeting as I preached and people responded to the invitation to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior Tokyo 1998!!!”

(See the cover photo taken at the 1998 event.)

Let’s join Dr. Ariga in this great prayer for revival. May 2020 truly become the pivot point for revival in Japan!

Perhaps you want to help… Sign up now for a 2020 team to serve while the Olympic Games are happening –

For more on how to pray, check out this post from Prayer Cast:

The Greatest Threat to Japan’s Future

Japan is the third-largest economy in the world – but it’s facing its most serious economic challenges in years. Trade wars and slowing exports are weighing heavily on this once-booming economy.

Ongoing trade and political disputes with South Korea continue to linger, with wounds that date back over 100 years.

On top of all this, North Korea fired “unidentified projectiles” into the Sea of Japan last week –then threatened to send a “real ballistic missile.”  

Yet Japan faces an even greater crisis than these. 

The Japanese remain the world’s largest unreached people group. 120 million Japanese have yet to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Even so, the Japanese are increasingly open to the Gospel. And many believe Japan is ready for an unprecedented spiritual awakening.

Together let's watch and pray,

The Prayercast Team

Prayercast: A Prayer for Japan

Watch online:

Video used by permission from Prayercast [] a service of OneWay Ministries.

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Joe Handley, President

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JAPAN has been, and remains, one of the most orderly and admirable societies in the world. However, Japan is also at a point in its history where it is experiencing unprecedented social upheaval, which creates anxiety and uncertainty throughout the culture. Every segment of the population is impacted.



Joe Handley | My bio
JoeHandley-2013-150x150Joe joined Asian Access as president in 2008 and has logged many miles traveling across the Asian continent. One thing he has learned is to platform other leaders. In this blog, he hopes to share some of their stories that will encourage you to engage with Asian Access that strives to change the few, who change the many.

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