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.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
— 1 Thess. 5:16-18
For Asian Access, I thank God for his faithfulness and you for your partnership, prayer, and support. The following Silver Linings are definitely worthy of praise!
- Despite the worst economy since the Great Depression, Asian Access giving was up 10% from the previous year. That is a remarkable testimony to God’s provision and your generosity.
- Over 5 years ago, we wanted to launch a Digital Platform to help train the next generation and 2020 both kick-started and accelerated this initiative.
- Because of that initiative and your generosity (you matched a $200k challenge), we were able to do a soft-launch in Pakistan, Turkey, and Singapore. That puts Asian Access serving in 18 countries, just two shy of our 2020 goal. If a few countries had the bandwidth to begin, we might have actually been in all 20.
- We even did a soft-launch for Young Professionals – a brand new initiative engaging next-generation leaders.
- In several countries, we are hearing reports of near revivals: China and the Philippines are seeing digi-, micro-, and house church movements grow by leaps and bounds. We are even seeing significant growth in Japan and India as well.
- Seeing new generations engaged in Japan (under 40-year-old pastors and under 30-year-old) inspires us as even aging societies show promise for the future of the Lord’s church.
- We were invited to participate in The Last Mile Initiative which is taking leader development, disciple-making, and church planting to the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). This is a huge honor and a tremendous opportunity for Gospel advance. Asian Access has been exploring invitations from several countries outside of Asia and this is a logical next step for us as we follow opportunities the Lord provides.
As our board met, we praised God for the way he has been working. One of the members leaned over to me and was stunned implying he thought this was going to be a challenging meeting to navigate. Who could’ve imagined that God would be doing such great things amid such horrible conditions our world has faced.
We even had three members of our board rejoin with great enthusiasm for another term of service. It could’ve easily been a year to pull out, noting the financial and health challenges many are facing, but their commitment and passion stayed strong. I am grateful to each of them.
Join me in praising God, amid the challenges, for the way he has worked during 2020. I keep praying for a breakthrough and trusting that God has great things on the horizon as we enter 2021.
And, thank you for your partnership in advancing the Gospel across Asia and beyond!
Rev. Joseph W. Handley, Jr., Ph.D.
President, Asian Access
- The Last Mile Initiative
- "Silver lining" cover photo by Simone Viani on Unsplash
- A2 Community reflections amidst Coronavirus