Greetings on Good Friday. When it looks dark, that's when God shows up.
The year I joined Asian Access was the year the economy last collapsed. I was responsible for raising more money than I had ever dreamed of before and suddenly, the stock markets dropped to the floor. We had come to the end of the year and had set up a special meeting to begin closing major portions of the ministry.
The same day of that meeting, I had a lunch appointment with a pastor and told him, “What was God thinking calling me to this post? I knew he wanted me to step out in faith, and raising funds was a big part of that, but I had no idea the funds wouldn’t come in.” I would likely have to cut staff and perhaps close a lot of ministry.
That same lunch hour, a call came in letting me know that a $500,000 check was in the mail. When I called our team later that afternoon, I told them “God showed up—we don’t need to worry!”
A few years later, during a similar episode, I simply called a friend asking him to pray. He said, “Interesting that you called. The stocks in my country actually went up and I felt the Lord calling me to send an additional $200,000 to Asian Access.” Again, God showed up strong.
2011 Triple Disaster in Japan
You may recall that in 2011, Japan faced a triple disaster of the magnitude that rivaled few disasters before. It was devastating. And yet, God showed up strong once again. The Japanese and global Church rose to the occasion to bring the hope of Christ to Japan. And, one day after the triple disaster, I got a call with a gift offer to match $1,000,000 to help the Japanese people.
2015 Earthquake in Nepal
Just a few years later, a terrible earthquake hit Nepal. It was overwhelming. The country was not prepared for such a horrible quake and people were in turmoil with the loss of lives, homes, communities. They were shaken to their core. Once again, when things went wrong, God showed up strong! The global church came alongside the Nepali church to bring hope and life amid the pain and devastation.
Just after that quake, I was visiting a church in Fukushima, Japan, the area of the nuclear meltdown. The church there had to abandon their church property, and many had to abandon their homes. Over two-thirds of the church could not return to the town.
As the church was re-grouping, they invited me to their new facility to help encourage the people. In their deep loss, they handed me a check for US$10,000 because they knew I was leaving for Nepal the next day. Wow! That blew me away! Even amid their horrendous loss, they wanted to help their brothers and sisters in Nepal that were so downtrodden.
A Flower Blooming in the Snow
The other day I was fasting and praying for the world given the coronavirus pandemic. I was praying for you. And, it was snowing that day. I looked outside, and there on the snowy ground, flakes falling from the sky, on a cold day—a day on which we all were worried about what was going to happen—was a flower blooming in the midst of the snow.
God was reminding me of his faithfulness and that when things go wrong, He shows up strong! He reminded me of his promise to make all things new (Rev 21:5) and He gave me hope.
A Global Pandemic
How timely! During our most challenging global crisis in over a decade—some say all the way back to the Great Depression—God is there for us. He is faithful. And, he shows up strong. Hope is around the corner.
This week we celebrate Easter and right before Easter was a dark day—Good Friday—when we recall that Jesus died on a cross. Three days later, he rose from the dead to bring us life, hope, and peace eternal.
When things go wrong, God shows up strong! He will see us through this global pandemic and hope is around the corner.
Easter on Your Own, Together
This Easter season is different than any I remember. You are likely in the same situation as Silk and me—Easter Sunday will be celebrated in your living room with a computer or tablet. I can only imagine how else this coronavirus pandemic and corresponding market fluctuations have impacted you, your family, your church and perhaps your job or business.
Praying for One Another
During it all, I want you to know that we are praying for you. And, if you need someone to talk to, please contact me via the email below. Silk and I would be happy to spend some time together on a call if we can schedule it with the time difference in Japan. If you don't have time for a call, please send us an email with any prayer request you have. We would be honored to pray for you more specifically.
And of course, I do appreciate your prayers for Silk and me and for Asian Access. This week I’ve been in touch with all the country leaders. Many of their stories are heartbreaking: numbers of pastors who have died from the virus already, believers living in isolation and fear, not trusting their government to give them proper information, and doing their best to share face masks, hand soaps, and to visit shut-ins when possible.
Pray too for Asian Access as we try to find creative ways for our cohorts to meet since we cannot meet in person like we normally do.
Reconnection During Isolation
While I am experiencing the loss of connection, especially as I call family members back in the US and my colleagues around Asia, and the deep losses that are so devastating in the reports I am hearing, I am reminded of how when things go wrong, God always shows up strong.
It may be Friday right now, but Sunday is coming.
With His peace that passes all understanding,
Joe Handley, President
P.S. I am grateful for you and your prayers are crucial. And don’t forget—we are praying for you!