Joe Handley

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

 

Stories from Joe Handley,
president of Asian Access

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How would you like your church to be called “Mr. Christ”?

That’s what people are calling the Church in action in Kumamoto, Japan following the devastating disaster that occurred earlier this year. As the collective Church sprung up and has been serving the community, people have not seen them as cults or different denominations, but rather simply by the name of Jesus. How cool is that!

Pastor Yoji Nakamura shared this week at Asian Access Japan National Conference his journey of living through the disaster. His story extends way back though, starting with the Kobe quake through the Tohoku quake of 2011 and then this past year in his city, Kumamoto. 

You see, his daughter was born in Kobe, Japan the day of the devastating earthquake that hit that city over 20 years ago. It made him worry, as you can imagine. Think about it. If a devastating quake hit your city when your child was being born in a hospital, how would that affect you? 

Fast forward sixteen years and the horrific triple disaster hit North Eastern Japan. Just a few weeks after that quake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, Pastor Yoji’s father died in that very same region! He asked himself,

“Why God? Why me?”

His church mobilized 100 bicycles to take to Tohoku (NE Japan) after the 2011 disaster and then continued by helping a little town rebuild its fishing industry. The primary business of that town was oyster farming, and the town was deeply impacted by Yoji’s church. In fact, it was so touched that the non-Christian mayor of the city called Pastor Yoji shortly after the quake hit Kumamoto, Kyushu (in SW Japan) this past Spring. He wanted to help out. Long story short… That mayor brought tons of shelled oysters to Kumamoto to donate to the people doing relief work in the city.

He had been so touched by the love of Christ through Yoji’s church over the past few years, that he wanted to return the favor! I later learned that the value of those oysters was probably nearly half a U.S. base monthly salary. That type of generosity is stunning, especially after the primary business of your local economy collapsed just a few years ago!

Today, as they reach out together—church with church, nonbeliever and believers standing together; they have a tremendous reputation in their city. They are known as "Mr. Christ," and when they come to serve the people, the people say,

“Christ. Christ. Christ.”

What a testimony and what a blessing for someone who often hears Jesus’ name shared like that in a totally different context!

Pastor Yoji shared with us,

“Kyushu (his area) still needs a lot of help. But, they are not in the news anymore.”

Please pray for them, and if you’re able, please do send a gift to assist them in their time of need!

Today, let’s be Mr. Christ to our neighbors, our communities and to the world! I’m inspired; are you?

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Joe Handley

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