bethany ho

  • This is Why We Go Together

    panorama of a group of people

    Our value for community and the importance of partnership 

    We often exhort one another at A3 with the proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” While the exact origins of this proverb are murky, the truth of it is undeniable: for sustainable ministry (and really, life in general), we need each other. 

    And just days before departing with our 2023 Summer Short-Term Team, I experienced this truth in a profound way.

  • After Three Years of Waiting, Finally!

    woman hiking in foggy mountains

    Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020 Team Going to Japan 

    A3 (formerly Asian Access) began decades ago with a thriving short-term summer program called Scrum Dendo. Every summer, multiple teams would come to Japan, partner with Japanese churches, and create bridges to each community through English language outreach. 

    At the beginning of 2020, we had high hopes of reviving these summer mission teams, partnering with churches who wanted to do major outreach work surrounding the Tokyo Olympics. 

    We had no clue what was coming that year.

  • I Come Bearing Gifts

    woman hiking in foggy mountains

    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.

  • How Not to Teach Middle School

    woman hiking in foggy mountains

    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

    woman kneeling in worship

    …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 Prayervery 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. 

  • Counting the Cost 3: The Shape of You

    andrew neel NsI0IffS1jo unsplash landscape

    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 haikuthat showcased our experiences during our first term. I wrote the above haiku for my church family back home in St. Louis.

  • Daily Diaries at Urbana #5

    Japanese woodblock printing picture of women drinking tea

    We Made It!

    I know us old folk serving as exhibitors and staff at Urbana 2022 were proudly declaring this at the very end of the year and rolling into 2023, the official end of a marathon of a conference. But on our last day in the Connections Hall, I was comforted by the fact that many of the students I was praying for were also pretty exhausted! Let's say it again: We made it!

  • Daily Diaries at Urbana #4

    Japanese woodblock printing picture of women drinking tea

    Diversity AND Unity

    The prevailing theme over Urbana today was this idea of unity across diversity, love across division. I was already experiencing stirrings of this on Wednesday, but like any good teacher, the Holy Spirit is patiently using repetition to drive the point home. 

  • Daily Diaries at Urbana #3

    Japanese woodblock printing picture of women drinking tea

    What is your one next step?

    Tonight at Urbana, when introducing Bishop Claude Alexander, Anna "ah-yee" Lee-Winans prefaced with this question: What is your one next step? Bishop Alexander then walked us through the story of Stephan in Acts, expounding a little further upon how we can discern the next step. That next step is often "accepting God's call to what is known."

  • Daily Diaries at Urbana #2

    diverse worship leaders at Urbana Conference 2022

    The feeling started to come over me even as I was browsing the bookstore at the back of the Connection Hall. Exhibitors had yesterday and today to get set up, and yesterday SIM finished in four hours. I got the chance to meander among the other exhibitors and the bookstore in the calm before the storm of thousands of students thundering through the conference halls. 

  • Daily Diaries at Urbana #1

    andrew neel NsI0IffS1jo unsplash landscape

    We have made it to Urbana! Boy, what a trip it has been so far. And we're only getting started...

  • Counting the Cost 2: Fighting FOMO

    andrew neel NsI0IffS1jo unsplash landscape

    It didn’t take long for me to start feeling my age. I moved to Japan just two years removed from university, and from there most of my learning “to adult” happened abroad. During my first term as an SIM/Asian Access missionary, I spent the summer mentoring short-term missionaries who came to serve through our internship program.

  • Wander Where He Leads

    Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-walking-in-beach-509127/

    “All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost,”
    ­— J.R.R. Tolkien

    From my very first chapter book I have been a re-reader of stories. My mom read Sterling North’s Rascal (funnily enough, a popular anime in Japan) to my little brother and me when I was in the first or second grade. When she finished the book, I loved it so much that I immediately wanted to go back into the story and experience it by myself. I have been voraciously re-reading ever since. Each story is as comforting as getting coffee with a dear friend.

  • Bethany Ho

    Bethany Panian HoBethany Ho first came to Japan in February 2011 to teach English at a school in Sendai. After experiencing the Tohoku Triple Disaster on March 11, she prayed and knew that God wanted her to stay. She taught at the school for four years and was also involved in a local church during that time. Her last year teaching, she felt God calling her to serve full-time with the church, and God opened up the doors for her to partner with Asian Access and the local church in Sendai. She served as a field missionary with the church in Sendai from 2016-2022, and she is now serving in the SIM Recruiting Department with a heart for multiplying the harvest workers sent to Japan.


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