Joe Handley

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

Remembering 3.11

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Eight years ago, Silk and I were here in Japan during the horrific triple disaster that hit the country. In a matter of minutes, lives were ruined, the country was disrupted and it was a day that none of us will ever forget.

The spirit of "Ganbatte" — never giving up or it’s similar "Ganbare" – let’s do our best or together carried the nation through the deep personal and societal loss.

Iwate Tsunami Zone May2011 jj 048

It was a significant time for the body of Christ in Japan, as Christ’s Church rose to the occasion to help bring hope and healing to the nation. It was one of the most unifying expressions in modern Japanese church history and the hope that it inspired is still active today.

To get a glimpse of how this happened, take a look at this Lausanne article about the Japanese believers: The Story of an Earthquake and the Christians Who Stayed. It’s a beautiful example of the hope that Jesus offers our world. You might like to know that a few in the article are colleagues of mine with Asian Access.

jpn tsunami ganbare 2012 jj 017

"Ganbare" Spirit & Hope for the Future

This “Ganbare” Spirit continues to this day. Several Japanese Christian Leaders are casting a vision to double the Christian population over the next several years and eventually see 50,000 churches planted across the nation. They hope to see this year’s Rugby World Cup and next year’s Summer Olympics as catalysts toward the larger vision.

A2 - Jesus Film - Grace & Mercy

This past week, I hosted the Jesus Film here which is looking to join the effort. We met with key church leaders, the Japanese International Sports Partnership (JISP), the Billy Graham Association, the Alpha Course, and many others talking about how we can work together to see this vision come to reality.

During the upcoming games, the JISP is planning to have 500 festivals in every province of the country reaching 1,000,000 people. And that is just the beginning. All of this is being pursued with this spirit of cooperation to see God do a mighty work here in Japan.

tokyo olympics 2020 stadium kyodo 600px

As I look back on the horrible disaster and the lives that were so deeply hurt, and the pain it inflicted on this nation, I am mournful for the magnitude of loss. At the same time, I stand with the Japanese people saying “Ganbatte” and look at what has happened as we came together to bring hope and healing.

Pray for Japan today as she mourns the losses that occurred that fateful day. And, pray for a spirit of ‘Ganbare” as we look to be agents of hope in the future. May we see many come to know the hope of Jesus over these next several years. May the upcoming games of 2019 and 2020 truly be catalytic for the Gospel in Japan and may we see the number of believers double in the next several years.

courtesy Galen Crout, Unsplash.com

Praying for Japan!

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Joe Handley, President

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Important health updates from Takeshi and Dorrie

Watch Joe's interview with the Takazawas

Yesterday, we posted a video clip from Takeshi Takazawa (Takeshi talks Crisis, Danger, and Opportunity) in 2016 where he shares about the two Chinese characters for "crisis" which are made up of "danger" and "opportunity". He was applying it to the Great Japan Disaster (3.11.11). He reminded us...

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Takeshi talks Crisis, Danger, and Opportunity

Every crisis is a time of dangers and opportunities

Takeshi Takazawa is VP for Strategic Engagement for Asian Access. He is a gifted leader who has served our movement since 1988. Among his many strengths, he sees things well before others see them and he helps us understand deep things. The A2 Community all across Asia dearly loves Takeshi. In this clip, Takeshi shares about the two Chinese characters for "crisis" which are made up of "danger" and "opportunity". This topic has been referenced quite a bit recently because of COVID-19. "You've probably heard this," Takazawa starts out...

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Times of danger bring increased opportunities to share God's love!

I read dozens of missionary prayer letters every month and this one by my colleagues Barbara and Gary Bauman really impressed me. Why? While many are mentioning the Japanese word and Chinese characters for crisis (see picture here), and how it means both danger and opportunity, I was particularly impressed with how Barbara and Gary are seeing this flesh out in their own life and ministry. They reported on some recent ministry activity that I hope we can share in the future. It’s an exciting story of how the Gospel is being manifest before those they are reaching out to in their sphere of influence. Barbara and Gary have this crisis idea down! As they shared...

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Isolation Makes Way for New Connections in Japan

Asian Access has been training pastors in Japan for over 40 years, largely through gatherings of cohorts who come together as a learning community, grounded in deep relationships. The current pandemic, which requires social distancing and a period of shutdown, has challenged this model. In the process, it has accelerated our development of online learning platforms and opened the door to new opportunities and even greater reach. As Japan was dealing with the outbreak in April, churches across the nation were increasingly limited in how they could meet. Much like the persecution of the early church, which resulted in the gospel spreading around the world, our A2 Japan National Director, Rev. Joshua Hari, saw this “shut down” experience as...

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Connecting for Ministry in a Socially Distanced World

Globalization—and the current pandemic—have tied together intercontinental personal relationships and socially distanced ministry in ways we would have found difficult to imagine not so many years ago.

The following true story from one of our Asian Access Japan staff highlights how intercontinental friendships and digital media can partner together in ministry even in a “shelter in place” world. Thank you for your prayers for our Asian Access family as our members share God’s love through every means possible. Here is their story I wanted to share with you...

A Japanese university not far from our current home in Japan has had a sister school relationship with my alma mater in the USA for over 50 years. Decades ago...

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Japan: Online church, first A2/Japan webinar, and more

Creativity started before COVID-19 now deepening in Japan

God is clearly doing something new these days… While we mourn the deep losses of people and our sense of community living in isolation, there are signs of promise. We hope a solution comes soon for the coronavirus but during this season, something fresh is stirring. This video interview with my colleagues Joshua Hari and Jeffery Sonnenberg highlights some of what God is doing. In fact, as Joshua shares, it seems that God was preparing things in advance as well as setting the stage for fulfilling our longer-term vision for Japan. Watch and see what God is doing…

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Japan finally social distancing after April COVID-19 wave

Japan (MNN) — Japan faces a new wave of confirmed coronavirus cases as the government starts testing more people. Many have referred to the April uptick as a second wave, the first happening in March, but Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access views it as a delayed wave. Up until the beginning of April, Japan had not seen many cases, even though the virus first arrived in January. Read our full COVID-19 coverage here. Takazawa says of active cases, “I think the number has been... 

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A Family Opportunity in Japan | Missionary Perspectives, Ep 5

Miller family featured in 'Missionary Perspectives'

In this video from Jonathan Wu, Sterling and Emi Miller, missionaries in Tokyo, share about their work as a family in Japan. They also discuss the spiritual needs of the Japanese and offer advice on those going on short term missions trips. Missionary Perspectives is an educational series bringing insights from missionaries around the world. You can use this video clip as part of a Bible study lesson plan or curriculum...

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When things go wrong, God shows up strong!

Greetings 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? I knew he... 

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Asian Access adapts as Olympics officials reschedule

Japan (MNN) — The coronavirus dealt another discouraging blow this week. Officials are postponing the Summer Olympic Games to 2021. More details here. The Olympics have been cancelled three times but never postponed. “Japan as a society is disappointed that we’re having to delay. Likewise, all of us that are doing ministry related to the Olympics have a sense of disappointment. However, we also want the world to be safe,” Joe Handley of Asian Access tells MNN. “We realize what’s at stake so we’re trying to reach out in a different way...

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PO Box 3307
Cerritos, CA 90703 USA
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