Joe Handley



Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

A2 celebrating 2020 vision fuji 686149876

The 2020 Vision:

To deploy 100 church multiplication teams:
  • to establish 1,000 reproducing congregations...
  • to enfold 1,000,000 new followers of Christ...
  • who will, in turn, send 1,000 missionaries from Japan to the cities of Asia...
  • that will be home to 1 billion people by the year 2020 AD.

Passing the Baton in Japan

pass the baton gettyImages 1264068326 300pxRecently the A2 international board and A2 Japan board held a historic joint meeting. At this gathering, we solidified our commitment to Japan by officially passing the leadership and legal "shukyo hojin" (religious corporation) to the leadership in Japan.

In the new agreement, A2 still keeps missionary management responsibilities but the overall vision and leadership sits with A2/Japan.

Celebrating the 2020 Vision

visionWe took the time to celebrate the completion of the 2020 Vision together. We highlighted the many achievements accomplished over the last 35 years. I want to personally thank every person since 1986 for their part in helping achieve those milestones. Many of our missionaries were part of the church multiplication teams that were sent to help fulfill the vision. Praise God for them and the diligent, faithful work they have been doing!

A few of the milestones celebrated included seeing reproducing churches become part of the mindset of many in Japan, something that was not widely adopted prior to casting the vision. In addition, various ministries were sparked like church multiplication networks, mission networks, and Barnabas ministries, just to name a few.

At our last joint board meeting in Tohoku a few years ago, Pastor Jiro Chida felt that we had achieved our focus of the vision in that 1000 churches have been mobilized to reproduce. While all the metrics embedded in the vision may not have been completed, the focal point of seeing 1000 reproducing churches was something Chida sensei felt confident has occurred. The other parts of the vision in many ways were perceived as in God’s territory because they were beyond the capacity of men and women and, for that matter, beyond what one particular mission could achieve on their own.

Peter Thompson, former field director shared this about the 2020 Vision recently:

The 2020 Vision served as a significant catalyst to:
1) propel the mission forward to plant churches in areas with few churches,
2) strengthen partnerships and collaboration with the national church,
3) bring together cross-denomination teams to serve together,
4) equip and release a new generation of church planters (missionary and national) with new, unique and concrete tools,
5) recognize the priesthood of all believers for doing ‘ministry’ and celebrated the accomplishments of everyone, and
6) allow A2 to radically love Christ’s bride and those who are yet to know him in Japan.

These are achievements worth praising Jesus over. As for the numerical goals, they were not achieved. But having those ambitious goals led us to a place where we were forced to think completely outside the box and push ourselves in new ways, knowing that it would take something completely new and original to even make an attempt. I don’t want to dismiss the numerical goals as insignificant, nor downplay that we didn’t reach them, but what we did accomplish because we had them is much more significant.

Early in my tenure as president, there was a shift in ownership (perhaps even before my time) where it was Japanese leadership assuming the responsibility for the vision. And, with that, there was a keen focus on seeing the 1000 reproducing churches mobilized. This focus also sparked collaborative innovations such as Vision Festa where new approaches across Japan were highlighted to large groups of leaders hungry to see breakthroughs in their local setting. A2 leaders have also been key speakers at Church Planting Institute (CPI) training and had a significant role at the JCE6 Congress in facilitating training and conversations in the first-ever church planting sessions within the program.

With all vision, the real metrics come through the mission and the strategic plans being implemented because a great vision is larger than anyone can possibly fulfill. It’s a preferred picture of the future ideally and the mission and plans help us move toward seeing them come to fruition in concrete ways.

A2Japan 2022 May OFI group

Looking Ahead

For me, the most exciting part of this era of our ministry together is seeing the vision expand to reach 2% of the country and someday see 50,000 churches planted. That is enormous! And, one might even say that without the 2020 Vision, the groundwork would not have been laid preparing for the ideation of this new vision.

I praise God for enabling us to get this far. May we all strive toward our part in seeing the Christ-following population double in the coming decades.

The perseverance of our missionaries serving Christ in Japan—a place with the toughest Gospel soil on the planet—is to be commended. I am so proud of our people and excited to partner together in fulfilling God’s vision for Japan!

I'm looking forward with eager expectation to what God will do in Japan!

With Jesus, 

joe sig blue

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

Joe Handley emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


More Information


All Stories

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!”


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. 


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.


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...


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.


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.” 


Asian Access takes new name as ministry expands to the Middle East and beyond

International (A3) — Asian Access, known widely as A2, is expanding its ministry into some of the most dangerous and volatile parts of the world.


And Our New Name is...

February 3, 2023

Friends of Asian Access,

I am thrilled to announce today that Asian Access has a new name. I have been waiting a long time to tell you, and I have simply been bursting to get this out there!


2023... New Name and Encouraging Developments

This week Asian Access will be making a significant announcement and we want you, our friends, to be the first to know.

February 3 (2.3.23) is the day we have targeted to share the news of the ministry's expansion which is also driving the moment for a new name for the organization. I think you'll agree it's a wonderful connection to the past and a bridge to the next era of ministry to which we're called. Stay tuned for this exciting news!


Making sense of Urbana and your own personal journey

Because Urbana '22 has just concluded, we thought it would be especially helpful to repost an article written after a previous Urbana by Asian Access missionary Sue Takamoto, who first attended Urbana '84.

Decision-Making and God's Perspective

  • "Oh no… It's been several weeks since Urbana, but I haven't signed up with a mission agency yet. Am I out of God's will?"
  • "How will I ever decide?!"
  • "I think God and my parents have very different ideas about what's best for my life…"
  • "Urbana still doesn't make sense to me."


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