Jeff Johnston

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Indian Christians say "enough" to violence against women


2020 violence in india 250pxIndia (MNN) — The Indian government is taking steps to punish violence against women. Most recently, four men were sentenced to death for the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old female student in New Delhi in 2012. However, not much has changed at the societal level. Joe Handley with Asian Access says many Indian women still suffer marginalization, domestic abuse, and sexual assault. “Gang rape is a huge problem in India,” Handley says.”... Read more...

“We’re small; but then again, we’re slow.”


2020 small slow 250pxI was addressing a group of leaders, the first cohort in a country where Asian Access was beginning a new program. My goal? Explain why Asian Access takes an approach to leader development that runs counter to everything else these leaders have experienced. Throughout Asia, one of the consistent realities for the lives of the leaders we work with is the fast, even frenetic, paces of their lives... Read more...

God has brought us through major disruptions before...


doug-and-joeDear Joe: Thank you for your note. Though we were eagerly looking forward to being together in Portland, we certainly understand. Hopefully, our online meeting will allow all of us to be together.You and the needs of the mission have been on my mind in light of the uncertainty brought about by the virus and the turbulence of the markets.I have been thinking about 5 significant disruptions that have profoundly impacted the life of our mission over the years... Read more...

When things go wrong, God shows up strong!


2020 when things go wrong 250pxGreetings 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? ... Read more...

Out of Calamity, Compassion—and a New Vision for Ministry


2020 vision 250pxUpdates from National Leaders in Asia: “We are experiencing 'Forceful Sabbaths' – time to slow down, be with our families, recalibrate the focus on our ministries. God is causing us to rethink how we can serve the people in our communities in new ways.” ... “We are seeing a shift in how we do church, how we minister to our congregation and others; this lockdown is causing us to connect in new and different ways.” ... “There is a new spiritual hunger in our country,...  Read more...

To Unite the Church... in a Polarized World


2020 polarized 250pxOur planet is in a period of sustained grief: a season hit by a global pandemic, it’s corresponding recession/depression, and the tensions rising from emergency lockdowns and shelter in place orders and advisories. In addition, we are struck with racial tensions flaring, and the mistreatment of ethnic minorities by many and the killing of African Americans by police officers gone bad. Now the lockdowns have turned into curfews across the nation because of the reactions of rioters and looters on a scale like we have not seen in decades... Read more...

House Gatherings Multiply in Japan


2020 hari joshua 250pxLast week I learned some encouraging news: During COVID-19 emergency suggestions here in Japan, churches in Japan are seeing some intriguing growth. We have shared previously about a monthly webinar Asian Access has been hosting for pastors. It’s been a tremendous experience as everyone is learning from one another, seeing ways to experiment with new ways to reach their communities, and learning from the global church (especially other countries in Asia) about how they are navigating these unusual times. Joshua Hari, Asian Access/Japan national director gave us a very encouraging report... Read more...

When God does something new


2020 philnew 250pxIt has been six months since the lockdown began in Manila and to this day churches have not been allowed to operate fully. Restrictions on mass gatherings have severely crippled what we call “corporate churches” or churches that manages the ministry like a corporation, with paid pastors, board of elders, and facilities (rented or owned). For months we cried out to God to intervene so that we can go back to the way we used to do worship, but what if God has a new agenda for his church? A few months ago we reported that our house church network has grown from 0 to 50 house churches. Today, we already have 85 house church groups... Read more...

Learning from the Valley of Baka...


2020 baka 250pxA few weeks ago, Asian Access held our annual fall national directors gathering virtually due to travel restrictions from COVID-19. While not ideal for us, it was such a rich time of fellowship given the limitations of in-depth relational connections via digital formats. Nevertheless, most were delighted to see one another, commune together, and grow in Christ. We spent a great deal of time resting in the public reading of scripture, especially meditating on Psalm 84:5-7... Read more...

My Journey toward Ethical Awareness


persecuted leaderTrue Confession: Even though I am the founder and director of one of the very few social enterprises in Japan for women, I have not been very aware of the issues surrounding the fashion industry and ethical sustainability. That all began to change two years ago. After some deliberate consideration, my husband and I canceled our planned seaside vacation to instead go as a family to Cambodia. Upon arrival, we were hosted by wonderful Cambodian friends also working with Asian Access. We told them that our goal was to see and experience “real life” in this developing country... Read more...

2020: Dark Clouds. Silver Linings.


2020 silverlinings 250px2020 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... Read more...

 


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