Joe Handley

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

Takeshi & Dorrie Takazawa 

Watch Joe's interview with the Takazawas

Takeshi Takazawa 2016 headshotYesterday, we posted a video clip from Takeshi Takazawa (Takeshi talks Crisis, Danger, and Opportunity) in 2016 where he shared 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...

"Every crisis is a time of dangers and opportunities."

Little did Takeshi know he was about to face the biggest crisis of his life; his health deteriorated so rapidly, and he began a long 4-year journey of treatment. And Dorrie faced a health challenge as well.

Well, four years later, I have just interviewed Takeshi and Dorrie... and I want you to watch this important update from this tremendous couple.

takazawa family

Watch video on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/410906136

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Joseph W. Handley, Jr., Ph.D.
President, Asian Access

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A Tribute to Dr. Reiji Oyama: A Legacy of Impact in Japan

BY DOUG BIRDSALL

Oyama-sensei was known and respected throughout Japan and across Asia—and beyond—as a brilliant scholar, prolific author, dearly loved pastor, and seminary professor.

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I Come Bearing Gifts

For over a decade, February 1, 2011, remained memorialized in my mind as my “Japanniversary,” the day God took me to Japan, one month before the Triple Disaster. Each passing year, I have acknowledged this date in some way—karaoke with friends, a Facebook post, or a quiet prayer to God. 

But 2022 was the year I wrapped up over a decade of life in Japan and moved “home.” In 2023, to recall my arrival date in Japan, I had to look at my 手帳 (techō, my pocket schedule book). I was too late! The day, March 16, had passed by me without so much as a wink.

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Decisions, Decisions

By Linda Koyama

Which Mission Organization Should I Choose?

If you’ve considered being in some type of formal ministry abroad, you’ve probably also been on the decision-making trajectory of “which mission organization should I go with?” This was us back in late 2019, early 2020.  

At the end of my last post, “New, But Not: Our Journey to Japan,” I shared that we returned to the US in June of 2019. We needed time to debrief our five-year stint in Japan—and also to figure out if God was keeping the door open to Japan or closing that chapter for us.

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Miso Musings

Splat! Thunk! Splat! 

I was having a great time throwing balls of sticky bean mixture into a container. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a grownup telling me to stop playing and giggling like a goof . . . or that this much fun could be had in getting beans ready to be transformed into miso.

How did I get started with miso making? In early 2022, a friend from church invited me to join her and a few other women to make miso. Miso is squashed fermented soybeans and used in a lot of Japanese cooking—most commonly miso soup, but it’s also used in marinades, stir fries, and vegetable dips. I usually cook with the stuff sold in a plastic tub at our neighborhood drugstore, and I hadn’t before considered myself to be fancy enough to make my own.

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How Not to Teach Middle School

Throughout the week, I share the story about my faith journey A LOT. As a mobilizer with SIM, I’m one of the first conversations people have with us as they seek to discern God’s calling for them in His kingdom work around the world. An important part of every conversation is getting to share my journey and inviting the person on the call to share theirs.

A favorite line I like to share in my story is “If you don’t have a firm sense of your identity in Christ, and you don’t have a firm sense of His calling on your life, then you probably shouldn’t try to teach middle school English!”

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Dear Brothers and Sisters at Asbury University

…and beyond: encouragement from a big sister

I first heard about what God was doing on your campus on Friday, February 10. At the SIM USA sending office, we take our motto By Prayer very seriously. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, we come together corporately for a chapel service to pray over each one of our fields and our missionaries. On Mondays and Fridays, we do the same, but this time we gather in smaller groups by our departments. One of my coworkers brought up what God was doing on your campus, and we began to pray for you. 

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New, But Not: Our Journey to Japan

By Linda Koyama

Hi, I’m Linda. Nice to meet you. I’m currently writing from Yamagata, Japan, where my family is partnering with a local church. You’ve probably never heard of Yamagata. Don’t worry, neither did I until it was presented as one of the potential prefectures we’d be serving in. 

So where exactly is Yamagata? Think north of Tokyo about 200 miles (300 kilometers), or a 4 1/2 hour drive by car. It’s in the southern part of the Tohoku region, closer to the Japan Sea side (rather than the Pacific Ocean side). It’s definitely not one of Japan’s hot tourist spots, but this region is known for its ski slopes, onsens, and delicious fruits.

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It's a Different World...

By Tia Blassingame

Okay, if you look like me you probably started singing that song title and know exactly where I got it from. Perfect, because it has been playing in my head all week! This is truly a different world. Right now, I am at a homestay with my onēsan (pronounced ohnay-sahn) and her family. That term right there is already different vocabulary for you I’m assuming. Onēsan is “older sister” and a “homestay” is when you stay overnight (or more than one night) with a family. In basic “Tia terms” (that’s me), I’m at a sleepover with my sis and her fam. Let me backtrack a bit...

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Counting the Cost 3: The Shape of You

Leaving what I’ve found:
You helped me find my true self.
Wishing you were here. 

During one of my first annual Asian Access retreats in Japan, Dr. Sue Takamoto led all of us first-term missionaries through a special training specifically designed for our experience. One of her warm-up exercises had us flexing some of our creative muscles: we were to write haiku that showcased our experiences during our first term. I wrote the above haiku for my church family back home in St. Louis.

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Living a "Relevant Life"

Rethinking how God's Word is "relevant" to our lives and ministries

By Kent Muhling

I sometimes pray Psalm 143:8 at the beginning of my morning devotions. It reads, 

“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, 
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go, 
for to you I lift up my soul.” 

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