Joe Handley

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

Stories from Joe Handley, president of A3

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...


00383 00662

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, before my husband and I responded to God’s call to serve overseas, we were a “friendship family” to four young women from this university who were involved in short-term studies at my alma mater.

The sister school relationship continues today, and every year dozens of international students participate in the USA study program. Thirty-five years ago, little did we know that we would (unofficially) become a “friendship family” again, and this time in the home country of two students in the program!

How did that happen? At the beginning of this year we met Mariko* and Kimiko*, who at the end of 2019 had just completed their USA study program. Even before they returned to Japan, a married couple at our home church in the USA contacted us about these two young women. The couple serves as volunteer InterVarsity staff reaching out to international students at my alma mater.

So when Mariko and Kimiko attended a Christmas outreach at our friends’ home last December, the wife was surprised to learn that Kimiko lives in our city! Mariko lives a bit further away, but she can get to our home within an hour by train. Both said they would love to connect with us and gave permission for us to have their email addresses.

We got in contact with them, but Kimiko was busy with family activities upon her return to Japan. So over the New Year’s break, Mariko, who is outgoing, loves meeting new people, and takes every opportunity to practice her English, came by herself for lunch and a fun afternoon hanging out. During her time in the USA, Mariko had heard the gospel several times. That afternoon, we found that Mariko seems to be noncommittal about faith in general, but says, “My family is Buddhist. I don’t necessarily believe in the traditions we practice, but they are important for me as a Japanese person.”

In February, both Mariko and Kimiko came for lunch. Kimiko was more reserved than Mariko, but she seemed to be more interested in spiritual discussions. Kimiko told us she had been reading the Bible that our friends had given her, but had many questions. At the end of the visit we gave both Mariko and Kimiko Japanese copies of Manga Messiah (a life of Jesus presented in visual book style that so far has been translated into 27 languages).

Manga Messiah

Our next planned meeting was in March, but as concern about the spread of coronavirus disease had begun to increase, Mariko decided not to come because of how many people she would come into contact with on her train ride to our house.

But Kimiko could get to our home in about fifteen minutes by bicycle, so she was happy to take her turn to come by herself. We were able to share the gospel with Kimiko that day and she seemed to connect intellectually with it. More importantly, she agreed to meet with us again to study more. But with the option of meeting in person no longer possible with the spread of COVID-19, Kimiko welcomed a weekly Bible study with us by video. We’ve already had three meetings with Kimiko, and each time she thanks us for this time of introductory Bible lessons explaining the gospel.

At the same time, we began weekly “keeping in touch” video chats with Mariko and Kimiko together—meeting more often than we would have in person! Amidst all that is terrible about this coronavirus disease, we’re looking forward to seeing how God will “work this together for good” in our accelerated relationships with these two university students.

*Not their real names


joe sig blue
Rev. Joseph W. Handley, Jr., Ph.D.
President

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

 

Content Original Link:
https://asianaccess.org/latest/blogs/from-the-president-blog/1720-connecting-for-ministry-in-a-socially-distanced-world

All Stories

CGNTV「クリナビ」の取材を受けました

CGNTV「クリナビ」の取材を受けました。I was interviewed by CGNTV "Kurinavi".

Read more...

Uncharted Obedience

Moving from Questions to Steps of Faith 

Will I ever be ready to walk the path that God has prepared for me? Will I ever be so sure that this is the path God laid out for me? Do I keep waiting for that green light to appear vividly out of nowhere?

Read more...

Japan, still shaking

Japan (MNN) — Rescue efforts underway in the wake of strong quake in west central Japan.

Read more...

Day by Day

Recently, I sprained my foot, which made walking unbearable. Yet, as the days went by, the pain subsided, and I was able to walk while limping.

Read more...

The Gift of Giving

A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Joe Handley 

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
— James 1:7

Read more...

Making Room for Jesus

A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Silk Handley 

"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
— Luke 2:6–7

Read more...

Jesus Christ: Missionary Incarnate

A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Jeff Johnston

"The angel said, "Don’t be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
—Luke 2:10–12 (MSG)

Read more...

The Privilege of Participation

A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Mary Jo Wilson

The image of the young Mary being interrupted in the course of her day by a heavenly invitation to bear God’s son is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story. I am always amazed to consider how this young girl so completely trusted God and seemingly gave little thought to her personal future and planned engagement. She seemed so ready to say "yes" without hesitation to God and to this amazing proposition.

Read more...

Paradigm Shifts

A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Sue Plumb Takamoto

Christmas in Japan is one of the busiest times of year for A3 missionaries. It is the season when Japanese are the most open to hearing the Gospel because of their interest in Christmas and its origin.

Read more...

Christmas Lights

A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Emi Hibino Miller

What do you think of when you see Christmas lights? Growing up in a pastor’s family, Christmas time was always very busy with my dad preaching, and my mom directing the Christmas program. Our family also hosted a large Christmas Day gathering for church members who did not have family in the US or in the area.

Read more...

Follow this Site

Get new posts by email:

Login