reflections

  • The Gift of Giving

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Joe Handley 

    "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
    — James 1:7

  • Making Room for Jesus

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Silk Handley 

    "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
    — Luke 2:6–7

  • Jesus Christ: Missionary Incarnate

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Jeff Johnston

    "The angel said, "Don’t be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
    —Luke 2:10–12 (MSG)

  • The Privilege of Participation

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Mary Jo Wilson

    The image of the young Mary being interrupted in the course of her day by a heavenly invitation to bear God’s son is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story. I am always amazed to consider how this young girl so completely trusted God and seemingly gave little thought to her personal future and planned engagement. She seemed so ready to say "yes" without hesitation to God and to this amazing proposition.

  • Paradigm Shifts

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Sue Plumb Takamoto

    Christmas in Japan is one of the busiest times of year for A3 missionaries. It is the season when Japanese are the most open to hearing the Gospel because of their interest in Christmas and its origin.

  • Christmas Lights

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Emi Hibino Miller

    What do you think of when you see Christmas lights? Growing up in a pastor’s family, Christmas time was always very busy with my dad preaching, and my mom directing the Christmas program. Our family also hosted a large Christmas Day gathering for church members who did not have family in the US or in the area.

  • Darkness and Light

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Gary Bauman

    The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
    —Isaiah 9:2

  • Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Eric Takamoto

    A crack in the sky appeared. A sliver of neon blue light poured out from it...

  • Leaving Home

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Jeffery Sonnenberg

    Thou didst leave Thy throne
    And Thy kingly crown,
    When Thou camest to earth for me . . .

    "I love Christmas. I think that being in Japan at Christmastime helps me understand what Jesus coming here was like."

  • Advent in a Japanese Hospital

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    A3 Advent Devotional Entry • Dolores "Dee" Wirz

    As the Advent season began one year ago I found myself in a six-bed room on the cancer ward of a Japanese public hospital. From my human perspective as a person who had enjoyed a previously healthy, hospital-free seventy years of life, it was an unlikely, unexpected, unwanted, unpleasant, unanticipated venue.

  • Advent is Underway

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    Dear Friends of A3, 

    As we look forward to a meaningful Christmas season this year, I find myself reflecting on memorable Christmases of the past. Two stand out for me: December 1996 and December 2004.

  • A3's Advent Devotional available as free download

    A3 advent devotional coverAdvent Has Come

    Following a tremendous time of thanksgiving for God's blessings, the Advent season is upon us once again (Sunday, Dec. 3 – Sunday, Dec 24, 2023).

  • My Encounter with the Land of the Rising Sun

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    By Nicole

    Truth be told, Japan was never a country that was on my radar. I had always known that at some point in my life I wanted to explore East Asia, but for me that meant South Korea.

  • Decisions, Decisions

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    By Linda Koyama

    Which Mission Organization Should I Choose?

    If you’ve considered being in some type of formal ministry abroad, you’ve probably also been on the decision-making trajectory of “which mission organization should I go with?” This was us back in late 2019, early 2020.  

    At the end of my last post, “New, But Not: Our Journey to Japan,” I shared that we returned to the US in June of 2019. We needed time to debrief our five-year stint in Japan—and also to figure out if God was keeping the door open to Japan or closing that chapter for us.

  • New, But Not: Our Journey to Japan

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    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...

    Tia stands in front of a Japanese shrine

    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...

  • Living a "Relevant Life"

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    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.” 

  • 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."
  • The Handleys' 2022 in Summary

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    As we reflect on 2022 and prepare for 2023, several highlights come to mind: 

  • Lessons on Brokenness & Business

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    Reflecting on the Ten Years since Japan's Triple Disaster

    By Sue Plumb Takamoto

    PART 2

    In Part 1: "Looking Back on Ten Years: Finding Beauty in Brokenness", I highlighted the unimaginable damage and challenging aftermath from Japan’s March 11, 2011 Triple Disaster—a 9.0 earthquake that triggered a tsunami and caused a nuclear power plant meltdown.

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