Joe Handley



Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

 Road to far-reaching vision

Joining Forces in Japan Toward a Far-reaching Vision

Asian Access plans to greatly expand ministry in Japan by aggressively developing its church multiplication movement. We plan to accomplish this goal by sending more church planting missionaries, as well as identifying even more emerging Japanese leaders to multiply churches at an accelerated rate.

In my posts about these plans, we have mentioned our pursuit of a new Vice President for Church Multiplication/Japan and the concept of seeking to form a strategic partnership with another mission organization. 

Paul McKaughanPaul McKaughan, Ambassador-at-Large for The Mission Exchange, recently completed a survey of more than 500 mission executives ("New Directions") that gives a glimpse of the future of mission advance. He concluded that mission organizations should sharpen their focus and hone in on areas of expertise rather than trying to be all-purpose missions. One of his recommendations was to align with new missional movements to share resources for mission advance.

Now I want to highlight some of the "nuts and bolts" issues we have faced over the last eighteen months in pursuing this expansion.

Reviewing our Model for Ministry

For over a year and a half, Asian Access has been actively seeking to discern how to best maximize the resources God has given us. Our desire to strategically leverage strengths has led us to review our vision, mission and values in addition to our ministry business model. Our staff has gone through a year of conversations to re-examine who we are and how we can best pursue the vision that God has given us.

This review highlighted for us the complexity of having two distinct ministry models. First, we are a missionary sending agency focused solely on Japan. Second, in Japan and eight other Asian countries, we are involved in a unique leadership development ministry.

We are currently praying to send more missionaries to Japan who can help foster church multiplication movements. However, research has revealed the challenge of being a small missionary sending agency focused on only one country. While we continue receiving compliments for our missionary sending philosophy and approach, we have struggled to maintain the financial infrastructure necessary for this model. We want to be wise kingdom stewards here. Yet it is apparent that our ministry business model as a sending-agency simply does not have, even at optimal levels of missionary units, enough "economy of scale" to truly be effective into the future.

Partnership that Leads to Alliance

Therefore, Asian Access is currently exploring the formation of a strategic partnership intended to lead to a strategic alliance of ministries focused on leadership development and church multiplication in Japan. In addition, we believe this partnership and eventual alliance will also serve as a synergistic catalyst for the ministry we run in leadership training across Asia.

Asian Access approached twelve sending-agencies to see if mutual synergy and interest could be beneficial to both parties. Now we are initiating deeper discussions with three of these potential mission partners, and intend to spend the next six months discovering which organization would be best positioned to partner with us.

How it Might Look

We are convinced that a strategic partnership will help us reach the goals of seeing churches multiplied in Japan. As Asian Access champions the vision and leads the work in Japan, the partner agency will serve to power the missionary sending engine. Asian Access/Japan missionaries would come under the sending umbrella of the partner agency and be seconded back to Asian Access/Japan for the purpose of church multiplication. The partner organization would be the primary recruiter and mobilizer for the church multiplication effort in Japan.

How You Can Help

  • Please keep us in your prayers as we pursue partnering with the organization that God wants us to work with. For more info, read these posts.
  • Consider if God might be calling you as a missionary to help plant churches in Japan. Find out more at:
  • Prayerfully consider if God is calling you to help provide the funding needed to advance the Gospel.

I'd like to hear your feedback. What do you think about the strategic partnership we are pursuing to advance the work in Japan?

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Reposted from A2 Blog Centre - full online now...

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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