Joe Handley

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

 

Stories from Joe Handley,
president of Asian Access

What a joy it was for me to participate with Bishop Efraim Tendero at the World Evangelical Alliance gathering of Associate Members to brainstorm the future of the movement. I was so inspired by Bishop Ef’s style of leadership: so humble, so gracious, so serving. And, he invited us in to see the inner workings and problems the WEA is facing. He asked us to speak into their life and growth. Very few leaders do this! I was impressed… 

You may know that Bishop Ef was the key person to help us begin getting connected in the Philippines so I credit him with opening the doors and networks and today, Asian Access/Philippines is off to a great start!

One of the highlights of our week with the WEA was being hosted by Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM who hosted our meetings on their Kona University of the Nations campus. The last time I saw Loren was December 1989 when I coordinated Conquest ’89, one of the first Urbana like missions conferences for high school aged students. What a joy it was seeing him again!

Bishop Ef invited Loren to speak into our lives and he shared some amazing stories. I believe all of us were ready to sign up as YWAMer’s following his inspirational sharing.

Aspen trees

Aspen Trees

What caught my attention was the metaphors he used to describe YWAM. The first day he described YWAM like the Aspen Tree. When you plant one Aspen, it becomes a grove within a short period of time. Why? Because the roots go down and start new trees. It’s really a network of one, living, breathing tree rather than a bunch of separate trees growing on the mountain side.

I loved that picture of the growth of YWAM because it so reminded me of the growth of God’s kingdom! It also reminding me of another picture that I’ll share later…

The next day, one of the leaders who was with us asked, “How do you keep YWAM thriving as an organization?” This leader was clearly perplexed with the growth of YWAM and how the organizational side of leadership, governance, etc. could keep up with such tremendous growth.

Banyan trees 

Banyan Trees

Loren had another brilliant story and example to share that illustrates where I’m heading in this blog. He said, “Have you ever seen the Banyan tree?” They are all over Hawaii. The Banyan grows but as it grows it sends its branches down and they start new trees. Again, it’s another network of trees without a centralized control system. In fact, the Banyan trees sometimes outlive their original core stump! 

What another brilliant model for us to learn from… You see, I’ve learned over the years that for things to grow you must have an open hand when it comes to controlling things. When you have a closed fist, nothing can grow. It stifles people and they can only grow to the size of your fist. But, when you lead with an open hand, people can develop their own sense of how things can move forward retaining the original DNA or footprint of the movement. 

That’s YWAM. Everywhere you go today, you can find YWAMer’s who carry that ethos. In fact, Loren said, “Once a YWAMer, always a YWAMer!” Even if they leave the organization, that same spirit is alive!

Similarly, Asian Access has a similar spirit. Yes, we have a core DNA we call our Essence. But beyond that core, there is a lot of freedom!

Strawberries

Strawberries

One Japanese pastor and key member of Asian Access expresses this so well, Pastor Chida. In describing one ideal evangelism model for Japan, he uses the metaphor of the strawberry. That fits us so, so well. You see, Asian Access is small but it’s influence is remarkable. Why? Because the strawberry, once planted, acts very similarly to the Aspen and the Banyan trees. It sends shoots out to start a new strawberry plant and soon you have an entire field of strawberries. It’s tough to stop!

We at Asian Access say: Small is Big! And, if you change the few, you will change the many!

It was so inspiring watching this principle embodied by Bishop Ef and then shared in such powerful fashion by Loren. May we all live to be like Aspens, Banyans and Strawberries for Christ and his Kingdom!

joe sig blue
Joe Handley

Joe Handleyemail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
twitter @jwhandley

 

Japan in the News

Christians unite amid ongoing hardship
Japan’s deluge continues Japan (MNN) — Yet another severe tropical storm is expected to roll through southern Japan this evening. According to Accuweather.com, the storm is expected to skirt

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Christians unite amid ongoing hardship

Japan’s deluge continues

Japan (MNN) — Yet another severe tropical storm is expected to roll through southern Japan this evening. According to Accuweather.com, the storm is expected to skirt just south of areas saturated by July’s constant rainfall. Along with the typical destruction, this summer’s typhoon season brought...

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Strawberries, Pomegranates and Convenience Stores

One of the principles in Asian Access is that healthy churches grow. It’s why we spend so much time investing in key leaders’ personal walk with God and their growth in him. Because, when we are deeply embedded with Christ, we are naturally very fruitful. Many of those leaders were on display in Tohoku (Northeast Japan) for a few days at Vision Festa, a gathering of pastors, missionaries and NGO leaders coming together to share God’s vision for Japan. I was deeply touched by them and many pictured in these photos are key partners of Asian Access/Japan. They shared about Strawberry Patch Evangelism. That even small little strawberry plants are quick to reproduce because they shoot stems into the soil nearby and next thing you know you have an entire patch. And, they shared about Pomegranate church planting where a single fruit has hundreds of seeds to spread around and start new fellowships...

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Aspens, Banyans, and Strawberries?

What a joy it was for me to participate with Bishop Efraim Tendero at the World Evangelical Alliance gathering of Associate Members to brainstorm the future of the movement. I was so inspired by Bishop Ef’s style of leadership: so humble, so gracious, so serving. And, he invited us in to see the inner workings and problems the WEA is facing. He asked us to speak into their life and growth. Very few leaders do this! I was impressed… You may know that Bishop Ef was the key person to help us begin getting connected in the Philippines so I credit him with opening the doors and networks and today, Asian Access/Philippines is off to a great start! One of the highlights of our week...

Read more...

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Why Plant? - Japan Needs YOU!

I’ve been inspired by pastors in Japan when 70 or more gathered in Northern Japan for a movement called Vision Festa. It’s a movement of people with a passion for church planting and I’m eager to share their stories… Those will come later though. For now, why is church planting so important? When so many people are down on the local church these days, why would I believe church planting is so important and why are these leaders coalescing around this fresh vision? Missiologist Peter Wagner once said, “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” Pastor Tim Keller picked up on this theme as well. Check out his post on the same subject, Why Church Planting? Everywhere I have gone, I’ve seen these truths displayed...

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Be Ambitious for Christ

A few weeks ago, Dr. Nelson Jennings from Onnuri Church took me on a historical tour of some of the Christian history of Japan in Hokkaido. What a treat! Dr. Jennings and I were there for Onnuri Church’s Love Sonata evangelism gatherings which was fabulous, by the way. The conference, praise rally, and seminars revolving around the Love Sonata outreach were amazing and the gathering itself was filled with remarkably talented artists and musicians, sharing the story of God’s love. Pastor Jaehoon Lee, a good friend, shared a wonderful message that evening that I’m sure will stay with people for many years.

On one of the days though, Dr. Jennings took me around Sapporo and we toured Hokkaido University where Dr. William Smith Clark made a profound and lasting impact...

 

 

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Takeshi Takazawa discusses Japan's flood crisis

Takeshi Takazawa's follow-up interview: July 19, 2018

Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access shares the latest updates about Japan’s flooding crisis with MNN’s Ruth Kramer. Here how we should be praying...

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Japan floods: heat wave heightens despair

Asian Access responds as misery compound

Japan (MNN) — “When it rains, it pours.” In other words, when something bad happens, more trouble is right around the corner. Such is the case in Japan. Earlier this month, a typhoon brought record-breaking rainfall to southwest Japan. Last week, flooding caused by the rainfall triggered massive mudslides and left people stranded on rooftops. Now, says Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access, a heat wave is complicating recovery efforts and the death toll keeps on climbing. More than 200 people have perished so...

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Asian Access Channels Funding to Japan’s Hard-Hit Flood Zone

Asian Access is announcing that it is receiving donations for the current flooding crisis in Japan and is directing those funds to provide relief where most strategic in terms of long-term impact. In response to this crisis, Asian Access has decided to help Japan in important ways consistent with our mission. Our first priority is always the nationals. Asian Access prioritizes its response based on the three types of people/organizations involved in disaster relief...

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Love Sonata

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending my first Love Sonata in Sapporo. It’s an evangelistic event held 2-4 times per year here in Japan inspired and led by Onnuri Church from Seoul, Korea. It was inspiring as you’ll likely see from the pictures posted here. And, if you’d like to watch the entire event, you can on...

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Record rainfall submerges Japan

Asian Access equips believers to respond in Christ’s name during a flood crisis

Japan (MNN) — Large sections of Japan are underwater following a typhoon and record rainfall over the weekend. The storm has claimed at least 100 lives and dozens are still missing. Two million people are under evacuation orders. Asian Access is equipping Japanese Christians to respond. “It’s getting difficult to find out all the information, but each time we have a disaster, [the] Japanese Church is getting more equipped, more prepared,” says Takeshi Takazawa, VP for Strategic Engagement...

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