Joe Handley



Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

joe and silk christmas2022 800px

Dear Family and Friends,

Joy to the World… This season is one giving us pause to reflect on the most important gift the world has ever seen: the Lord has come

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth… — Psalm 98:4a

We shout for joy because our savior has good news for you and for me. In a world of bad news, Christ, the savior, has come bringing Good News! (Luke 2:10)

This joy that Jesus brings shines in the darkness of our world and His fingerprints show throughout our lives.

handley christmasletter1For Silk and me this year, our 32nd together, we celebrated with a special 30-year anniversary trip (delayed due to COVID a few years ago). We visited Silk’s family and heritage in Macedonia, which was complemented by the launch of our new Macedonian Call to take Asian Access into North Africa and Europe. As I write this, our team is working with North Africans in Southern Europe. Praise God!

Adding to our family’s delight, our son John graduated with a master’s degree from Oxford University and is now working in London as an analyst assessing media polarity. We praise God for John’s accomplishments. And, as you likely know, our daughters are married and living nearby us, both also having careers in journalism. Who’d have imagined they’d all end up in some form of journalism? In their own way, they are following the family heritage of wanting to make a difference in the world.

As for ministry, it’s so neat to see the Asian Access community emerging from the pandemic that has restricted our activity for several years. We’ve seen several country graduations and our first global summit in 3 years was a powerful blend of celebration of being back together along with appropriate lament from the losses everyone faced since our 2019 gathering.

Asian Access Global Leaders' Summit 2019
2022 Global Leaders' Summit (many people not shown due to security reasons)

Joe was particularly enthused by the recent Japan National Pastors’ Congress where the average age of the pastors was early-to-mid 40’s. In a world where that number is often 65+, this is a great sign of things to come, and we praise God as they aspire to double the Christian population.

So, as 2022 draws to a close, we praise God for the Good News Jesus brings to our world. Joy to the world indeed! The Lord has come, and we are seeing signs of new birth throughout our lives and ministry heading into 2023.

We praise God for you and your faithful friendship with us these many years.

We send you this brief Christmas greeting...

Hi! It's Silk and Joe Handley with Asian Access. And we want to wish you a Merry Christmas! Joe would like to read a passage right now.

You know as I was thinking about our love and care for you this Christmas season, I'm reminded of the Gospel of Luke, and it says that the angel said to them:

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people for today in the town of David a Savior is born to you. He is the Messiah the Lord."

Christmas is good news because it's about Jesus.

And we are so excited to take that good news all across Asia and now into other parts of the world. Thank you for your partnership and we trust and pray that you have a very Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas! God bless you!

joe sig blue

Joe Handley
President, Asian Access

Joe & Silk HandleyemailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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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