Bethany Ho

BETHANY'S REFLECTIONS

 

Articles by Bethany Ho

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Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020 Team Going to Japan 

A3 (formerly Asian Access) began decades ago with a thriving short-term summer program called Scrum Dendo. Every summer, multiple teams would come to Japan, partner with Japanese churches, and create bridges to each community through English language outreach. 

At the beginning of 2020, we had high hopes of reviving these summer mission teams, partnering with churches who wanted to do major outreach work surrounding the Tokyo Olympics. 

We had no clue what was coming that year.

I was on my home assignment with plans to return to Japan in March. Unfortunately, the doors for returning were shutting faster than I was able to leave, and I was put on extended home assignment in the States. 

One of the projects I had the incredible privilege of picking up during this time was leading monthly Zoom calls with our Japan 2020 Summer Olympics team members. All of these individuals had applied for the summer outreach and been accepted. Several were well on their way with support raising. We hosted these Zoom meetings in hopes that Japan would open up to visitors when they held the Olympics in 2021. 

Meeting faithfully every month that year, we forged a community, learned from partner pastors and missionaries, and even taught a little bit of Japanese language. After a year of waiting and preparing, however, our plans officially ended when Japan decided to host the Olympics without spectators

 

Last Japan 2020 Zoom Call LI

Our last call together in 2021, doors still closed

 

In October 2022, Japan finally dropped travel restrictions on tourism, and we prayerfully started making plans for a 2023 summer team. 

Now we are preparing to leave, with less than a month before our departure. 

Our trip and our team look different. Instead of working with churches in Tokyo and across the country, we will be focusing on new church partnerships in Yamagata prefecture. And instead of the 30+ applicants, we have seven people total including me as Team Leader. Four of these individuals have been waiting since 2020. 

One of our team members, Samuel, told me, “It feels unreal almost, but I’m really grateful that patience is finally paying off. I’m excited to finally be able to have my questions answered of where God wants me to be.” And he's not the only one on the team going with these questions in mind. 

As Samuel shares, short-term teams are a great step in discerning if God is calling you to join our team long-term in the future. If you want to know more, reach out to us

Please pray for Samuel, Bret, Manami, Tim, Andrew, Nicole, and me as we depart at the end of the month and meet in person for the first time at the airport in Tokyo. Pray that we will be able to love one another and the Japanese church and community well. We believe God has big things planned. 

“I cannot wait to see what He has planned for this team and how the last three years have impacted our readiness,” Manami reflects. “His timing is always perfect.” 

Amen!

 

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Bethany Ho


Bethany Panian HoBethany first came to Japan in February 2011 to teach English at a school in Sendai. After experiencing the Tohoku Triple Disaster on March 11, she prayed and knew that God wanted her to stay. She taught at the school for four years and was also involved in a local church during that time. Eventually she felt God calling her to serve full-time with the church, and God opened up the doors for her to partner with Asian Access and the local church in Sendai. She served as a cross-cultural worker with the church in Sendai from 2016-2022, and she is now serving in the SIM Recruiting Department with a heart for multiplying the harvest workers sent to Japan.

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