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  • Happy Easter Week from Warsaw, Poland

    joe warsaw 1

    Hello Friends!

    It is Easter week here, and I am in Warsaw, Poland where we've been meeting with leaders representing the Persecuted Church.

  • Asian Access greetings from Poland?

    warsaw skyline night kamil gliwinski xcPw1 5OHTk unsplash

    Hi, this is Mary Jo Wilson with Asian Access, and I just wanted to give you a quick update. This week we're in Warsaw and you're wondering, "What's Asian Access doing in Poland?".

  • Your gift—DOUBLED—could help reduce the jail time of pastors in Asia

    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...

  • Criminal charges brought against online churches in China

    China (MNN) — Concerning accounts are pouring from China that have nothing to do with a physical virus. Many local believers are reporting crackdowns on the underground Church’s digital presence in China in the form of arrests and criminal charges. Restrictions on digital Christian content are nothing new; some local believers already change their websites and programming on a near-daily basis. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the game for two reasons. First, the online Chinese Church has experienced explosive growth since...

  • Providing Secure Tools for Persecuted Leaders - $200k Matching Challenge

    Helping the Persecuted Church by providing online tools for leaders

    Needed: a secure digital platform providing leaders with a safe place

    Give toward a match so our brothers and sisters under persecution can enjoy meeting, like we do, by video conferencing without fear of government intervention. Asia is still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our friends are especially suffering from the pain of isolation—and none feel it more than those who live in countries where Christians are persecuted, where they cannot trust their governments to...

  • Needed: a secure digital platform providing leaders with a safe place

    digital platform fuelingrevival may2020 800x800 b 1$200,000 matching gift will help Asian Access build a secure digital platform to fuel revival

    I trust you are doing well as we all continue facing the coronavirus challenges. I’m writing you to ask you to give toward a match so our brothers and sisters under persecution can enjoy meeting, like we do, by video conferencing without fear of government intervention. Asia is still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our friends are especially suffering from the pain of isolation—and none feel it more than those who live in countries where Christians are persecuted, where they cannot trust their governments to give them accurate information about COVID-19. As in North America (and in Japan where I live), churches in persecuted countries are connecting by video conferencing . . . for now. But it’s just a matter of time before governments shut them down and go after the church leaders. What these countries need is an ultra-secure digital platform that will allow them to meet, worship, and have fellowship away from the prying eyes of their governments.

  • Empowering the Persecuted Church

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    $167,000 Matching Gift will Help Asian Access design Persecution Curriculum

    “Joe, what is being done is not enough. Given the fruitfulness of Asian Access leadership approach, can we add this component to our overall leader development?”

    This is what the leader of one of our countries asked as he begged me to better empower leaders as they face increasing levels of persecution. This is someone who is deeply connected to the groups who work to help the Persecuted Church. Indeed, persecution is on the rise! Ten of the 16 countries Asian Access works in face persecution. We’ve seen recent reports from India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. In the first few months of the year, the same types of things have occurred in China as well.... {addthis off}

  • Why would you even consider doing Asian Access in your country if you know your life is in danger?

    00346 00575 blurOne of the highlights of our recent Global Leaders’ Summit as meeting our latest coordinators for Asian Access in new countries. In this case, the pastor pictured here we’ll call Pastor S to protect his identity as he serves in a country that needs to remain unidentified for security reasons. Pastor S faces ongoing pressures and real-life threats. In fact, recently he was asked, “Why would you even consider doing Asian Access in your country if you know your life is in danger?” – He said, “It’s too important that we equip our leaders to not face this kind of threats. We must proceed and if I die, I die.”... {addthis off}

  • Terror’s aftermath: Sri Lanka, Christians, and hope

    Sri Lanka recovery from terrorism brings with it hope and prayer

    Sri Lanka (MNN) — On May 19, Sri Lanka marked the 10th anniversary of the end of the war with the Tamil rebels. Even amidst celebration, the specter of a new terror threat prompted the president, Maithripala Sirisena, to remind people that defeating the separatist guerrillas a decade ago meant Sri Lanka would meet the challenge from extremists now. He also vowed to crush the militants responsible for the Easter bombings that claimed 258 lives... {addthis off}

     

  • A Personal Message from Sri Lanka

    flag of Sri LankaDear Friends, Church was different for us today. A week after the Easter bombings that devastated our nation, and ongoing threats of a second wave of attacks, the island is under high-security surveillance. A curfew has been imposed every night allowing the security forces to check every house. As they do so they continue to uncover more bombs and plans of the extremist terrorist group. We are still quite shaken by the drastic turn of events in our little nation. Just a week ago Sri Lanka was a peaceful tropical Island, dubbed the top tourist destination of 2019 (according to Lonely Planet). Today, all Christian churches were advised against meeting in our usual places of worship. Our network of churches across the Island met in... {addthis off}

  • Coming alongside Sri Lanka & other persecuted countries

    sri.st anthonys.jc (photo courtesy Joshua Clayton)A Tragic Easter in Sri Lanka

    By now you have seen the tragic news about Easter Sunday from Sri Lanka. 3 churches were bombed during Easter services as well as three prominent hotels, one safe house and another location where police were stationed. At least 258 people have died and more than 500 people have been wounded. Later I learned that two Islamic centers also saw attacks in the northern part of the island. Our colleagues heard the bombs going off during their church services: "We heard of the explosions during our Easter service. We were on lockdown but proceeded the service and sent the believers home ASAP. We were unaware of the gravity of the situation… It is difficult to understand, but we are holding on to God. We are grieving with our people. We are safe. But we are absolutely devastated. Scared. And overwhelmed." They thanked us for praying and asked us to specifically pray that this act of terror could be a turning point in their nation... {addthis off}

  • Increasing Persecution: How You Can Help

    WWL2019 Map 700px

    Every time I turn around these days there are reports of increasing persecution of believers and churches in various countries. It seems that persecution is on the rise as nationalism becomes the political whim of the moment. 10 of the 16 countries Asian Access serves have seen persecution expand. Here are a few glimpses from just this past week: “One of our Bible college alumni is beaten by people, accusing of converting people while he was returning with friends helping people with relief material.”... In another Asian nation, our national director shared this... {addthis off}

  • The Pressure is On: Please Pray!

    ODM chinaPrayer requested as persecution increases

    Reports are coming out every few days about the persecuted church and it appears that a new wave of this type of pressure is rising. Just yesterday, several news stories released about China and these are just the tip of the iceberg:

    And, I can verify these and many more. Recently, I...{addthis off}

  • It's getting tough out there...

    ancient antique architecture 879359 500pxIt seems like every day, I’m hearing more reports about persecution happening in the world. I recently left a country that is under significant duress. The week we were there, a crackdown occurred in one of their most famous towns – a town known for having one of their national symbols. The pastors, alumni of Asian Access, had gathered together for a city-wide gathering of churches, only to be harassed by their local community. It seems that everyone is after them: government officials, religious authorities and even the neighbors. It’s sad to see and many lives are often at stake. This type of situation is on the rise in many of the countries we work in. We see this type of harassment happening in more than half the countries we work in and so we could use your prayers. More importantly, they need your prayers! {addthis off}

  • Religious restrictions reach new high

    Pew study reveals heightened pressure on Christians and Muslims.

    A nationalist is defined as “a member of a political party or group advocating national independence or strong national government.” Photo by Mike from PexelsInternational (MNN) — According to the latest Pew study, Christians and Muslims faced more religious restrictions than any other group in 2016. Christians faced governmental and societal pressure in 144 of the 198 countries studied. Furthermore, international religious restrictions reached the highest levels since 2007. A nationalist is defined as “a member of a political party or group advocating national independence or strong national government.” In many countries, restrictions were a direct result of nationalist agendas. As just one example, nationalist parties in approximately one-third of European countries targeted religious minorities in their political statements. This was up from 20% of countries in 2015...

  • It's a miracle I'm alive today!

    persecuted pastor imageRecently during our national directors meeting in Thailand, one of Asian Access directors said the following: “It is very difficult to run our programs in our country because of political pressure and persecution. It's a miracle that I'm alive today given these dynamics!" Increasingly we serve a world where this type of situation is reality. When I began with Asian Access over nine years ago, several of the countries we serve were facing pressure and persecution; but today it seems that at least half of the countries we work in are under some form of duress if not outright persecution...

  • Church in Southeast Asian country faces mounting pressure

    (Representative photo courtesy of Asian Access)New law ramping up pressure on churches

    Southeast Asia (MNN) — In many communities, the local church exists to serve people and be a beacon of Christ’s love. But not everyone sees it that way. In many countries, the government sees the body of believers as a threat to their way of life. That’s what one pastor who’s been trained by Asian Access says is happening in a country in Southeast Asia. In one case, a congregation meeting in a pastor’s house raised enough money for a church building, only to have it shut down by authorities. “Right after they...

  • Christians in Mindanao mostly unaffected by violence in Marawi

    Christian minority feels safe under martial law

    map & flag image, courtesy Voice of the MartyrsPhilippines (MNN) — The Filipino military declared a brief ceasefire Sunday, allowing Muslims to peacefully celebrate the end of Ramadan. The lull in the fighting also allowed for the rescue of six civilians trapped in the city of Marawi. Government forces are forging progress toward peace, but it’s slow-going. Earlier last week, about 200 suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) took hostages and holed up for hours inside a school, then took five civilians with them after fleeing. Some say the attack could be a diversion for the Islamic State to gain more ground in Marawi. “That is a common perception because the BIFF is sympathetic to the radical group,” says Herman Moldez with Asian Access, an organization that trains and equips Christian leaders throughout Asia. “In fact, there had been some effort for reinforcement coming from Salou and these areas, and so one of the reasons for the declaration of martial [law] of the entire [island of] Mindanao is for the military to be able to respond quickly and not to complicate the whole matter in Marawi City...

  • Pressure on Christians rises in India

    Persecuted ChurchIndian Christians face increasing persecution in recent years

    India (MNN) — India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced he will be meeting with United States President Donald Trump later this month to discuss bilateral relations. While that doesn’t necessarily include religious freedom, it will hopefully shed some light on the uptick in pressure on Christians. According to Open Doors USA, radical Hinduism is the main source of persecution in India, and Christian converts are often physically assaulted if they don’t return to their old beliefs. Joe Handley with Asian Access confirms reports that the situation of Christians has worsened in recent years. “Churches are feeling pressured out of their places that they weren’t pressured before,” Handley says. “They pretty much have freedom in certain sectors or areas of the city, but now you’re finding pressure put on them by the business owners, that maybe they rent a facility and are [experiencing] skyrocketing...

  • Growing Reports of Violence and Persecution

    persecuted churchYou may have already noticed but since the beginning of the year it seems like there has been an explosion of reports about persecution and violence related to religious issues in the world. It’s something I predicted would be happening the last few years as I watched the various country elections surge with nationalistic fervor. Not long ago, I was with my colleagues from more than 12 countries many of whom face pressure and outright persecution on a weekly or monthly basis. More than a third to half of my colleagues live under constant pressure! Several of them live under death threats and in situations where violence could erupt at a moments notice. One of my colleagues in meeting with a few of them recounted this story that I thought you might like to review. I hope that this will stir your hearts to pray for the persecuted church worldwide. Four pastors from my classes in _____ were there, one with his wife as...

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