Joe Handley

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

pink flower in snow

Greetings on Good Friday. When it looks dark, that's when God shows up.

Economic Downturns

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 wanted me to step out in faith, and raising funds was a big part of that, but I had no idea the funds wouldn’t come in.” I would likely have to cut staff and perhaps close a lot of ministry.

That same lunch hour, a call came in letting me know that a $500,000 check was in the mail. When I called our team later that afternoon, I told them “God showed up—we don’t need to worry!”

A few years later, during a similar episode, I simply called a friend asking him to pray. He said, “Interesting that you called. The stocks in my country actually went up and I felt the Lord calling me to send an additional $200,000 to Asian Access.” Again, God showed up strong.

tsunami2011 Triple Disaster in Japan

You may recall that in 2011, Japan faced a triple disaster of the magnitude that rivaled few disasters before. It was devastating. And yet, God showed up strong once again. The Japanese and global Church rose to the occasion to bring the hope of Christ to Japan. And, one day after the triple disaster, I got a call with a gift offer to match $1,000,000 to help the Japanese people.

2015 Earthquake in Nepal

Nepal earthquakeJust a few years later, a terrible earthquake hit Nepal. It was overwhelming. The country was not prepared for such a horrible quake and people were in turmoil with the loss of lives, homes, communities. They were shaken to their core. Once again, when things went wrong, God showed up strong! The global church came alongside the Nepali church to bring hope and life amid the pain and devastation.

Just after that quake, I was visiting a church in Fukushima, Japan, the area of the nuclear meltdown. The church there had to abandon their church property, and many had to abandon their homes. Over two-thirds of the church could not return to the town.

As the church was re-grouping, they invited me to their new facility to help encourage the people. In their deep loss, they handed me a check for US$10,000 because they knew I was leaving for Nepal the next day. Wow! That blew me away! Even amid their horrendous loss, they wanted to help their brothers and sisters in Nepal that were so downtrodden.

A Flower Blooming in the Snow

The other day I was fasting and praying for the world given the coronavirus pandemic. I was praying for you. And, it was snowing that day. I looked outside, and there on the snowy ground, flakes falling from the sky, on a cold day—a day on which we all were worried about what was going to happen—was a flower blooming in the midst of the snow.

God was reminding me of his faithfulness and that when things go wrong, He shows up strong! He reminded me of his promise to make all things new (Rev 21:5) and He gave me hope.

A Global Pandemic

Coronavirus pandemicHow timely! During our most challenging global crisis in over a decade—some say all the way back to the Great Depression—God is there for us. He is faithful. And, he shows up strong. Hope is around the corner.

This week we celebrate Easter and right before Easter was a dark day—Good Friday—when we recall that Jesus died on a cross. Three days later, he rose from the dead to bring us life, hope, and peace eternal.

When things go wrong, God shows up strong! He will see us through this global pandemic and hope is around the corner.

Easter on Your Own, Together

sermon to empty pews; courtesy https://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/This Easter season is different than any I remember. You are likely in the same situation as Silk and me—Easter Sunday will be celebrated in your living room with a computer or tablet. I can only imagine how else this coronavirus pandemic and corresponding market fluctuations have impacted you, your family, your church and perhaps your job or business.

Praying for One Another

During it all, I want you to know that we are praying for you. And, if you need someone to talk to, please contact me via the email below. Silk and I would be happy to spend some time together on a call if we can schedule it with the time difference in Japan. If you don't have time for a call, please send us an email with any prayer request you have. We would be honored to pray for you more specifically.

And of course, I do appreciate your prayers for Silk and me and for Asian Access. This week I’ve been in touch with all the country leaders. Many of their stories are heartbreaking: numbers of pastors who have died from the virus already, believers living in isolation and fear, not trusting their government to give them proper information, and doing their best to share face masks, hand soaps, and to visit shut-ins when possible.

Pray too for Asian Access as we try to find creative ways for our cohorts to meet since we cannot meet in person like we normally do.

Reconnection During Isolation

While I am experiencing the loss of connection, especially as I call family members back in the US and my colleagues around Asia, and the deep losses that are so devastating in the reports I am hearing, I am reminded of how when things go wrong, God always shows up strong.

It may be Friday right now, but Sunday is coming.

With His peace that passes all understanding,

joe sig blue
Joe Handley, President

P.S. I am grateful for you and your prayers are crucial. And don’t forget—we are praying for you!

Joe Handleyemail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
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All Stories

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... 

Read more...

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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www.go2japan.org

 

 

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