Joe Handley

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

This day will be a day I never forget.

Six years ago, in just a few short hours from right now, I was in Karuizawa, Japan for our annual Japan Staff Spring Retreat. It was a wonderful time together with our Asian Access/Japan family as always and as we were in chapel that afternoon, the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced hit: over 9 points on the Richter Scale. Even though it was centered several miles off the coast of Japan and many miles further from my location, it was still the single longest and strongest quake I had ever lived through. And, I’ve lived through some pretty strong quakes living most of my life in Los Angeles.

This morning as I awoke, I was reminded of being here in Japan that horrible day. Silk and I were in Japan and our thoughts went to many of the pastors and churches we know in the heaviest hit regions plus staff we have all over the country who were unable to make the retreat. We also were thinking of our children and families back home and what might happen to us.

As you know it was a devastating quake that triggered a massive tsunami that wreaked havoc on the shorelines of Northeast Japan. They call it a triple disaster because the tsunami also hit the Fukushima Nuclear plant which subsequently had a meltdown leading to the evacuation of the entire city, much of which is still a ghost town today.

To get a sense of how etched this is in our memories, take a look at this article by Asahi: SIX YEARS AFTER: 3/11 tsunami banner evokes the unimaginable in Tokyo’s Ginza. Notice the picture in the article posted here showing how high the waters rose impacting Japan. Up to the fourth story! 

highest watermark level from March 2011

It was an awful day for Japan.

A day that she and none of us who lived through it will ever forget. 

Many times I have preached and shared about the reality of Romans 8:28 following the disaster: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

As some of you know, recently I was able to travel around Japan seeing first-hand what God has done following this horrendous tragedy. You see God brings good out of the bad for those who love him! The local Japanese churches rallied to help their neighbors and the body of Christ became a beacon of hope that is still living and active today. Just check out a few of my posts and news reports following that recent visit to the disaster areas:

All these efforts have led to a new perception of the Japanese Church. It is more and more seen as a part of local society rather than some foreign religion. And, response rates to following Jesus rose to 5-7 times normal the last few years. 

And, that is just the beginning. Many feel that the soil has been prepared for a greater harvest still to come. So, please join me in praying! Learn more here: Prayercast: Japan

I’ll never forget this day. It is etched in my memories forever and it was God’s opportunity to teach me again the truth of his words: All things work together for good to those that love God. It may not always be rosy and in fact there may be devastating things along the way, but ultimately God works these things out for good over the long haul.

Join me in praying for Japan today!

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Joe  Handley
President, Asian Access

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