coronavirus

  • Japan prohibits international spectators for Olympics

    The header photo shows cherry blossoms in Japan. (Photo courtesy of Kanenori on Pixabay)

    Japan (MNN) — As cherry blossoms bloom across Japan, the country has barred international spectators from the rescheduled 2021 Summer Olympics due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. 600,000 people bought tickets to watch the games in-person.

  • Kintsugi and the Gospel: Remembering the 10 Year Anniversary in Japan

    kintsugi illustration

    But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
    — 
    2 Corinthians 4:7

  • Survey says: no Tokyo Olympics in Summer 2021

    courtesy of Tokyo Organizing Committee

    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.

  • COVID-19 surge puts Tokyo under state of emergency

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    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.

  • Looking Back on 2020, Praying Forward

    looking back praying forward 600x190

    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.

  • 2020: Dark Clouds. Silver Linings.

     2020 clouds silverlinings simone viani 9ikL6XaUlG4 unsplash

    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.

  • Suicide killing more people in Japan than COVID-19

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    Pandemic challenges Japan’s group-oriented culture

    Japan (MNN) — While other countries battle rising COVID-19 cases, Japan is seeing a different kind of spike – suicides.

    More people in Japan have died by suicide in 2020 than from COVID-19. In fact, their suicide numbers in October alone outnumbered the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths in the first 11 months of the year.

  • US and other countries begin COVID-19 vaccine rollout

    Header image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay.

    Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective at preventing someone from catching COVID-19.

    Japan (MNN) — This week, the company Pfizer will deliver an estimated 2.9 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to locations around the US. The UK has already begun using the vaccine, which was developed by the German company BioNTech.

    The vaccine was developed in under a year and uses new technology to vaccinate people against viruses. It needs to be kept at very cold temperatures, at least 70 degrees below zero Celsius.

  • Upended

     psalm77 clouds

    2020 turned into an unexpected, unwanted mishmash of uncertainty, anxiety, cancellations, frustration, fatigue, exasperation, anger, exhaustion, disappointment, a kind of seeming unending ethos of dashed hopes, spiraling fears, sadness and grief.

    Now I have an enhanced appreciation of the Psalms that so eloquently express the same range and depth of emotion we are experiencing. The writers honestly pour out their hearts to God, and in the process of persistently calling out to Him, they come around to see and experience God as our refuge and strength, our rock, fortress, deliverer, a very present help in time of trouble. I’m so thankful for God’s redemptive work in the midst of the miry mishmash. God takes us to deeper levels of resilience, resourcefulness and refinement.

  • Asian Access overcomes pandemic restrictions, launches new programs

    South Asia (MNN) — So far, 2020 has been a memorable year for all the wrong reasons. Global events like the COVID-19 pandemic create an unpredictable atmosphere for ministry. But Joe Handley of Asian Access says there’s a bright spot amidst the chaos. Asian Access equips national church leaders to multiply churches and make disciples. “We had been planning for several years to do a digital media initiative to equip younger generations, as well as where the persecuted Church lies” in South Asia, Handley explains...

  • Important health updates from Takeshi and Dorrie

    Takeshi & Dorrie TakazawaWatch Joe's interview with the Takazawas

    Yesterday, we posted a video clip from Takeshi Takazawa (Takeshi talks Crisis, Danger, and Opportunity) in 2016 where he shares about the two Chinese characters for "crisis" which are made up of "danger" and "opportunity". He was applying it to the Great Japan Disaster (3.11.11). He reminded us...

  • Takeshi talks Crisis, Danger, and Opportunity

    Takeshi Takazawa 2016 headshotEvery crisis is a time of dangers and opportunities

    Takeshi Takazawa is VP for Strategic Engagement for Asian Access. He is a gifted leader who has served our movement since 1988. Among his many strengths, he sees things well before others see them and he helps us understand deep things. The A2 Community all across Asia dearly loves Takeshi. In this clip, Takeshi shares about the two Chinese characters for "crisis" which are made up of "danger" and "opportunity". This topic has been referenced quite a bit recently because of COVID-19. "You've probably heard this," Takazawa starts out...

  • Times of danger bring increased opportunities to share God's love!

    bauman crisis keekee 600pxI read dozens of missionary prayer letters every month and this one by my colleagues Barbara and Gary Bauman really impressed me. Why? While many are mentioning the Japanese word and Chinese characters for crisis (see picture here), and how it means both danger and opportunity, I was particularly impressed with how Barbara and Gary are seeing this flesh out in their own life and ministry. They reported on some recent ministry activity that I hope we can share in the future. It’s an exciting story of how the Gospel is being manifest before those they are reaching out to in their sphere of influence. Barbara and Gary have this crisis idea down! As they shared...

  • Isolation Makes Way for New Connections in Japan

    Asian Access has been training pastors in Japan for over 40 years, largely through gatherings of cohorts who come together as a learning community, grounded in deep relationships. The current pandemic, which requires social distancing and a period of shutdown, has challenged this model. In the process, it has accelerated our development of online learning platforms and opened the door to new opportunities and even greater reach. As Japan was dealing with the outbreak in April, churches across the nation were increasingly limited in how they could meet. Much like the persecution of the early church, which resulted in the gospel spreading around the world, our A2 Japan National Director, Rev. Joshua Hari, saw this “shut down” experience as...

  • Connecting for Ministry in a Socially Distanced World

    Manga MessiahGlobalization—and the current pandemic—have tied together intercontinental personal relationships and socially distanced ministry in ways we would have found difficult to imagine not so many years ago.

    The following true story from one of our Asian Access Japan staff highlights how intercontinental friendships and digital media can partner together in ministry even in a “shelter in place” world. Thank you for your prayers for our Asian Access family as our members share God’s love through every means possible. Here is their story I wanted to share with you...

    A Japanese university not far from our current home in Japan has had a sister school relationship with my alma mater in the USA for over 50 years. Decades ago...

  • Japan: Online church, first A2/Japan webinar, and more

    hari joshua 2017 headshotCreativity started before COVID-19 now deepening in Japan

    God is clearly doing something new these days… While we mourn the deep losses of people and our sense of community living in isolation, there are signs of promise. We hope a solution comes soon for the coronavirus but during this season, something fresh is stirring. This video interview with my colleagues Joshua Hari and Jeffery Sonnenberg highlights some of what God is doing. In fact, as Joshua shares, it seems that God was preparing things in advance as well as setting the stage for fulfilling our longer-term vision for Japan. Watch and see what God is doing…

  • Japan finally social distancing after April COVID-19 wave

    Novel Coronavirus Expert meeting in Japan. This was the first meeting on February 16. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Japan (MNN) — Japan faces a new wave of confirmed coronavirus cases as the government starts testing more people. Many have referred to the April uptick as a second wave, the first happening in March, but Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access views it as a delayed wave. Up until the beginning of April, Japan had not seen many cases, even though the virus first arrived in January. Read our full COVID-19 coverage here. Takazawa says of active cases, “I think the number has been... 

  • When things go wrong, God shows up strong!

    pink flower in snowGreetings on Good Friday. When it looks dark, that's when God shows up.

    The year I joined Asian Access was the year the economy last collapsed. I was responsible for raising more money than I had ever dreamed of before and suddenly, the stock markets dropped to the floor. We had come to the end of the year and had set up a special meeting to begin closing major portions of the ministry. The same day of that meeting, I had a lunch appointment with a pastor and told him, “What was God thinking calling me to this post? I knew he... 

  • We are in this TOGETHER!

    A2 in this together 1024x690 GI 1093166844Dear Friends, One of the hallmarks of Asian Access is our belief in community. In fact, one of our three core values is “We LIVE Community!” In light of this, several of our countries are saddened that they cannot be meeting at this time due to the coronavirus impact. Despite their loss of meetings, they have expressed more concern for the people in their communities and for you than for their ability to meet. Herman Moldez, our director in the Philippines said, “Please pray for us as Metro Manila is now on lockdown… Pray for us as we seek to bring help to our communities.”

  • Coronavirus and How You Can Help

    coronavirusA few weeks ago, the coronavirus hit, and the world seems to be in an ever-growing cycle of media barrage. I’m sure most of you by now are taking necessary precautions and being wise in how to stay safe. You may be asking, how is the affecting ministry and what can I do about it? Some have asked, are you safe there in Asia (to me and my many of my colleagues)? The coronavirus was announced just before I was flying to a conference in SE Asia primarily focused on... {addthis off}

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