Joe Handley

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

 

Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

And the walls came a tumblin' down!
3 Waves 3 Walls: Reflections following Japan's Triple Disaster

The last few months I've been listening carefully to pastors from Japan share their reflections post 3/11/11. Their learning is profound because their reflections are deep.

As you know, Japan was hit by a triple disaster on March 11, 2011 with three distinct waves:

  1. The 9.0 earthquake which did relatively little damage given the size and scope of the quake and following aftershocks.
  2. The tsunami which brought the most devastation, wiping out over 86 entire communities and destroying homes, businesses, churches and families.
  3. And finally, the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear facility.

As many have reflected on the spiritual condition of the country following the disaster, the following themes are surfacing. There are three distinct walls that have fallen:

  1. The separation between church and community: Churches across Northeastern Japan have been the center of providing shelter, relief, and supplies. Most notable are the voices of children heard in various regions saying:"Grandma, Jesus is coming… Mr. Christ is holding a BBQ… Jesus brought us food… Jesus brought us clothing!" Prior to this disaster the church was a fairly mysterious entity in the region but now it is known as the place where help is coming from.
  2. The walls between churches: Now denominations have banded together to work for the common good of the people and to share the hope that lies within. One church whose attendance has sky-rocketed and seen 10 new baptized believers has people attending who are so touched, that they have pledged to invite 2-3 people each for Christmas celebration. This includes mostly people who have yet to put their full trust in Christ. This same church cannot afford to purchase the land they lease so three different denominations have banded together to raise the funds and purchase the property. Praise God for this Brethren Church and the Evangelical Free and Presbyterian Church of Japan for rallying together to help one another. The common pledge across the denominational spectrum is 'we commit to work together and not build walls between us'.
  3. The wall between Japan and the world: The global church has rallied to Japan's side following this horrific disaster and the community and bonds that have been established will continue for many years. Of particular note was the work of the Haitian Church. In the midst of their own pain and loss, they raised about $3,000 to help the people of Japan – one lady even went so far to sell her wedding ring to stand by her sisters and brothers in Japan. What a powerful story of the community of Christ rallying behind one another… Rich and Poor alike, saying we are committed to helping one another through crises.

Finally, the point of greatest reflection: the cross of Christ.

3 Waves 3 Walls: Reflections following Japan's Triple Disaster

As one looks at the pain Jesus bore on Calvary, in human terms one cannot imagine something good resulting. Everything we know of the cross is bad: pain, torture, agony and ultimately death. The same can be said of the tragedy that hit Japan.

However, there is an unseen story behind both the cross and the triple disaster in Japan. Hope rises from the ashes as Jesus brought life from his death on the cross. Today millions of people have been helped and influenced by the model of Jesus and countless souls will live for eternity because of His great love for us. So too, Japan's triple disaster is now showing signs of hope and life following the horrible affects of the devastation. As seen in the stories above, churches across Japan and across the world have rallied to be the church and bring new life from mounds of destruction.

Thank you this Thanksgiving season for rallying behind Japan during their hour of greatest need! Please continue to pray!

Joe's blue web signature

Joseph W. Handley, Jr.
President, Asian Access


p.s. - The first photo was taken in Miyagi about 2 weeks after the tsunami hit. The second photo is of Pastor Minegishi and his wife, who left their church in Kesennuma for higher ground just 18 minutes before the wave destroyed their church and home. But the wave didn't destroy the church's cross or their hope.

 

3 Waves 3 Walls: Reflections following Japan's Triple Disaster3 Waves 3 Walls: Reflections following Japan's Triple Disaster3 Waves 3 Walls: Reflections following Japan's Triple Disaster3 Waves 3 Walls: Reflections following Japan's Triple Disaster

Read original post...

Email Subscription

Get new posts sent to your email inbox!

Step 1: Enter your email address:


Step 2: Don't forget to click the "verify" link in the email message from Feedburner.

All Stories

10 years after Fukushima disaster, 7.1 earthquake rocks Japan

Japan (MNN) — Nearly ten years ago, a powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake unleashed a massive tsunami near Fukushima, Japan. 20,000 people died and over 100,000 evacuated after three nuclear reactors suffered damage and melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the environment. Read more about the ongoing effects of the catastrophe here.

Read more...

What's the key to thriving in every season?

My colleague John Houlette just completed an outstanding book for Japanese pastors. And, the principles and stories are ones that will help you thrive in every season.

I encourage you to get a copy and learn, not only how Japanese church leaders can thrive but also how you can thrive. You can access a copy here:

Resilience:
How Japanese Pastors Can Thrive in Every Season

Read more...

Survey says: no Tokyo Olympics in Summer 2021

Japan (MNN) — Support for the Tokyo Olympics just hit a new low in Japan. The latest spike in Tokyo’s COVID-19 infections has 80-percent of Japanese residents saying the Summer Games should be rescheduled again, or canceled altogether.

“People have different feelings. Some [are] saying, ‘it’s impossible so let’s give up’; [the] government hasn’t,” Takeshi Takazawa explains. Takazawa is Vice President for Missional Engagement and is the former National Director for Asian Access in Japan.

Read more...

COVID-19 surge puts Tokyo under state of emergency

Japan (MNN) — The world’s most populous city is now under a state of emergency thanks to soaring COVID-19 infections. Japan reported 6,100 new cases on Thursday, with roughly half coming from Tokyo. The emergency declaration began Friday and will end on February 7.“

Over the Christmas into New Year’s holidays, we couldn’t change the trend of steep [infection] increases, especially in the bigger cities. Hokkaido and Osaka requested ‘state of emergency’-type restrictions; however, Tokyo never went into that stage,” Takeshi Takazawa explains.

Read more...

Looking Back on 2020, Praying Forward

Dear Friends,

As 2020 wound to a close, the Lord impressed on me the following passage:

"In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." —John 1:4

LOOKING BACK ON 2020

2020 was such a disruptive year. Yet the life of Christ is the light of the world. That gives me hope heading into 2021. I pray that your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations brought joy and the reminder of what is most important, even in the midst of the challenges from 2020, some of which continue to persist.

Read more...

2020 Highlights: God at Work During a Trying Year

God at Work During a Trying Year

2020 has been a very trying year for everyone. Yet God was at work in amazing ways. These stories help us remember His faithfulness through the past year as He continues doing a good work in us. Thank you for your partnership in prayer and giving that made these stories possible!

Now, out of the 128 blog posts from this year, here are some of our top stories from 2020...

Read more...

2020: Dark Clouds. Silver Linings.

 

2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. COVID-19, the global economy, and polarizing politics have left their marks. The 2020 Olympics were delayed and countless people have suffered and hundreds of thousands have died from the pandemic. It all certainly made for a tough year for you and me.

Amid the Dark Clouds though, I was able to report several Silver Linings during our recent Asian Access board meeting. For these, I praise God and am reminded of the importance of giving thanks, even for the challenges we have faced.

Read more...

New Life in Japan

Silk and I have had such a wonderful last few weeks in Japan.

Last week we were moving which brought several aches and pains, even after just day one of the move! However, the last four we were able to travel to many places in country and say farewell for this season of ministry.

Read more...

Takkyubin Church: Generation to Generation

I was so inspired a few weeks ago visiting my colleague Pastor Hideo Ohashi. He has served faithfully with Asian Access over several decades and his church is a remarkable testament to God’s faithfulness to Japan.

You’ll see him pictured here with his son and grandson: three generations of pastors! What a powerful image of God’s work from one generation to the next.

Read more...

Lost in Translation: Closing my Japan Post Account

“That is so cool!”

“Really? There’s no way!” – That is what Silk and I thought after using a mobile phone translation at the Japan Post the other day.

Here's how the story unfolded...

We went to close out my account as we are moving to America and thought the bank teller understood our request. She listened to me and took me to the right person who started asking for our documents. We pulled out my bank book, and then she asked for our cash card which we pulled out. Finally, she asked another question. I thought I understood her request, so I pulled out my residence card.

Read more...

CONTACT US...

go2japan
PO Box 3307
Cerritos, CA 90703 USA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.go2japan.org

FOLLOW US

Login