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  • Pastors providing relief in Japan, but tired

    Pastors tired in Japan, hundreds of missionaries neededHundreds of missionaries needed for Japan, along with community centers

    JAPAN (MNN)More problems plagued Japan's damaged nuclear power plant over the weekend. According to reports, 45 tons of highly-radioactive water leaked from the Fukushima power station into a gutter that leads to the...

  • Partnership to plant 1,000 churches by 2020

    Asian Access makes significant partnership just in time for responsive hearts in Japan

    A2/SIM Partnership announcedJAPAN (MNN) ― The 1st century church shared everything to accomplish Kingdom growth. Why shouldn't 21st century ministries do the same?

    A strategic partnership uniting Asian Access and SIM USA was recently formed with the aim...

  • Japan breathes sigh of relief with Typhoon Roke's near miss

    Typhoon Roke took a swipe at the disaster zone in Japan

    washed out road (photo courtesy Jeff Johnston)  

    JAPAN (MNN) ― It also brought evacuations, flooding and more worry to the country struggling to recuperate from the tsunami, quake and nuclear disaster in March. Although a fierce storm, it weakened on approach to Fukushima as a Category 1...

  • Secrecy, spies and suspicion: part of the history of the church in Asia

    Though their history reads like a mystery, the church in Asia writes a happier chapter

    Secrecy, spies and suspicion: part of the history of the church in AsiaASIA (MNN) - Secrecy, spies and suspicion: they are all elements found in a novel or movie of intrigue. You'd expect  to see such a storyline unfolding in connection with a mystery, but not the church.

    However, Joe Handley...

  • Church growing in Japan, relief continues

    Asian Access reports churches are growing in aftermath of tsunami

    Church growing in Japan, relief continues

    JAPAN (MNN) ― It's been nearly three months since Japan was torn apart by an earthquake and tsunami. The billions of dollars in damage sent the country into a deeper recession as many jobs were lost, businesses were left crippled, and in some...

  • Tsunami victims still in great need physically, spiritually

    Relief work slow, but significant

    Tsunami victims still in great need physically, spiritually

    JAPAN (MNN) ―Two months after the tsunami and earthquake that devastated Japan, relief work is ongoing.

    An Asian Access (A2) missionary says some areas have seen significant developments, including the restoration of electricity and shorter lines at the gas station.

    But other...

  • Seasons of change coming to Japan

    The winds of change drive new openness for ministry team in Japan

    Japan (MNN) ― Japan's opposition swept to a historic victory in elections Sunday, following the theme of "change."

    The new Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) promised to rebuild the economy and breathe new life into the country.

    As a result, the opposition swept 300 of the 480 seats in the lower house of parliament, ousting the Liberal Democrats (LDP). 54-years under the same rule has come to an end, but in that time, the government has acknowledged things have gone astray.

    According to Asian Access (A2), leaders in Japan have characterized their own nation as "a super power without a moral compass." This is a relatively new phenomenon in a country that was guided, for centuries, by a moral and religious ethic that came out of Shintoism and Confucianism.

    However, at the same time, disillusionment is running high. In a country known for its traditional ways, this could mean many open doors for the Gospel.

    Tim Clark with A2  says the election results are an example of that. "People of all ages are chanting, 'Yes, we can! Yes, we can!' I think that shows a desire for change. And then, this week's election is really very remarkable as decades of rule have ended, and political shift has been dramatic."

    More importantly, it signals a paradigm shift in thinking.   "Asian Access missionaries, along with Christians throughout the country, are hoping that this change will really come forward in a desire for change, spiritually."

    Clark says people are very open to the Gospel now, making it a ripe harvest for summer evangelism teams, called  J-Teams.These are teams of 3-5 people who work with a Japanese church to do community outreach through English classes, coffee houses, children's ministry, camp and other relationship-building activities. Team members' specific interests and abilities can usually be incorporated into the ministry as well.

    Clark says this year "teams were able to build relationships with many non-Christians who normally would not be at a church. But because of this new openness and this new search for hope and encouragement, they found their way to a church."

    Despite the needs in the church and the culture at large, the greatest need is for people who faithfully live and represent the reality of Christ and the power of the Gospel. The Japanese need the Life and hope that Christians can bring. You can help. Click here to read more about Asian Access j-Teams.

    More information...

    This article was originally published by Mission Network News. Click here to read.

    Listen to the broadcast, including a brief interview with A2 missionary Tim Clark:

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  • Alphabet soup equals growth in Asia's church

    Asian Access leadership development expands organically

    ASIA (MNN) ― Asia (MNN) ― Church leadership development in Asia is a challenge.

    A2 Leadership Development participantLeadership training for Asian Access started as the Japan Church Growth Institute and has grown to nine countries across Asia.

    The key to its effectiveness is the careful selection of twelve emerging leaders on an annual basis. These leaders are then invited to be a part of a class that meets four times a year, for a week at a time, over a two-year period.

    When the twelve meet together, they are working through an established curriculum that accelerates their growth as spiritual leaders, as well as organizational leaders.

    As word about this work in Japan spread across Asia, interest grew. Asian Access began to explore how to help leaders in other places in Asia.

    When the indigenous church began owning it, the growth was exponential in one of the largest countries in Asia. Joseph Handley, President of Asian Access, or A2, says, "'In the provincial capitals, we'll call it 'B2,'" describing how the enthusiasm for a homegrown A2 movement began spreading.

    What's more exciting, Handley says, "They've launched an entire movement of leadership training that follows this vision: to be a vibrant community of servant leaders with vision, character and competence, leading the church across Asia."

    Because the Gospel is making huge inroads, "Not only did they start a B2 movement--the country is so large and they want to impact more rural areas--they've now started a C2 movement," says Handley.

    In India, A2 leaders want to start their own B2 movement. Handley says prayer is huge, and a lot hinges on the identification of the right leaders. "As we look toward expansion in countries like India, one of the most critical components we have is finding the right pastor who will become a regional or city leader to lead the effort."

    You can find out more about how you can help. Click here for details.

    More information...


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  • Unprecedented growth in Asian church brings celebration and caution

    Asian Access develops training model for new Asian Christians

    Asia (MNN) ― Recently, Asia has seen unprecedented church growth. A chief model is a Buddhist country, whose number of believers has increased from 50,000 to 1.5 million in the last decade.

    Asian Access is in that country as well as others across Asia. Joe Handley of Asian Access said these unfounded numbers stem from people's dissatisfaction with the current systems they are under, as well as the movement of God within their hearts.

    "There's a spiritual hunger in many of the countries throughout Asia... and they realize that the religious value systems and cultural value systems that they hold are not providing the kinds of answers they're looking for," Handley said.

    With such growth, however, danger arises, as congregations lack proper leadership, and the leadership they do have can be corrupt for lack of guidance.

    That's why Asian Access has developed a training model for new believers, Handley said, focusing on a person's deep commitment to Christ and their character before they begin to disciple others: "We are focusing on four key outcomes:

    1. Living in a love relationship with God,
    2. Growing as Christ-like leaders,
    3. Reproducing disciple-making leaders, and...
    4. Planting and multiplying churches."

    A2 leadership development model focuses on 4 outcomes in the life of the pastor.

    This training is a two-year process whereby 12 leaders are mentored, just like Jesus and his 12 disciples.

    "The more you can focus on abiding in Christ and Christ-like character, the more you strengthen the church," Handley said, strengthening it enough to withstand such rapid growth and allow for even more rejoicing when more individuals find Christ.

    Pray for Asian Access as they continue this endeavor. Would you be interested in partnering with Asian Access as they mentor these future leaders? Visit the Asian Access Web site where you can also find out more about other aspects of their ministry.

     

    This article was first published by Mission Network News and can be read here:
    http://www.mnnonline.org/article/14212


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  • As Japan struggles, A2 readies a response campaign

    Asian Access addressing Japan's crisis

    Map of Japan

    JAPAN ( MNN ) ― Japan's debt crisis could mirror that of Greece. For the last two decades, the government has been spending more and borrowing more from its citizens to compensate. As a result, Japan's debt-to-GDP ratio is the largest in the world.

    A new report shows that the financial distress is having an impact on mental health and well-being. It reveals a 2.9 percent increase in suicides in 2007, which means Japan is the most suicide-prone country in the developed world.   

    The new trend: adults in the prime of their lives are most at risk of suicide. Why? Work-related depression is emerging as a significant factor, among others.

    A failing economy is pushing up the suicide rate to epidemic proportions. Couple this with a latch-key/shut-in children problem and a disintegrating family unit, and the future for this nation is grim. 

    Joe Handley with Asian Access says God has called them to respond specifically. "Ultimately, our vision is to expand the ministry, collaborate broadly with other churches throughout Japan, identify Japanese churches that have a vision for church multiplication, send more missionaries to the country, and finally, work in holistic ministries throughout the land." 

    Now that they've defined a problem and have a plan, there's a lot of excitement and hope. Handley says they're still working out the details. "We're just on the verge of launching a whole new effort, but we're not quite ready to announce our plan. That will be coming out over the next few months."

    It's a big endeavor that needs prayer. "Pray that God will provide the resources necessary to do this kind of expansion."

    Keep following A2's Web site and posts at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for more information.

    Updates can be found here:

     

    More information...


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  • New partnership could lead to an alliance to reach Japan

    A2 Expands in Japan to Plant More Churches

    Bamboo pathJAPAN (MNN) ― "God has us moving down an unknown path, and it's going to be exciting to watch it unfold." That's President of Asian Access Joe Handley.

    He says Asian Access is preparing for the future, and as a part of that plan, A2 has embarked on an 18-month discovery process to review their vision, mission, strategic goals and DNA.

    Handley says, "Could our goals be something so big that God is calling us to play a larger role in promoting the vision, mobilizing other allies, and growing the mission force?"

    A2 is sensing that God wants them to accelerate the advancement toward this cause: "To identify, develop and release emerging kingdom leaders to unite the church, multiply leaders and congregations, and extend the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

    In particular, A2's 2020 Vision for Asian Access/Japan:

    • To deploy 100 church multiplication teams
    • Who will establish 1,000 reproducing congregations
    • Which will enfold 1 million new followers of Christ
    • Who will in turn send 1,000 missionaries from Japan to the cities of Asia, that will be home to 1 billion people by the year 2020 AD.

    As they prayed about this goal for Japan, A2 started asking some other questions: "Could God be speaking to us through the trajectory of our history and heritage, the current global financial and mission realities, and the recent waves of missions endeavors?" We sensed, likely this was true," says Handley.

    He continued, "As we reviewed our history and heritage, we noted that God launched us 43 years ago with an entrepreneurial spirit that developed several different forms of innovative ministry. Over the years, He has taken us down a path of focusing our efforts to maximize the giftedness and fruitfulness of our ministry. Today our primary thrust is in developing leaders who multiply churches-among the most strategic and fruitful forms of mission for this hour of the Gospel's advance. "

    To add to A2's understanding, they looked at recent waves of mission movements like the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, the Alliance for Saturation Church Planting, World by 2000 (Radio efforts), the Disciple a Whole Nation (DAWN Ministry), the CoMission effort, the Vision 5:9 endeavor, and many other forms of strategic alliances. These examples reaffirmed that partnership is God's desire and plan.

    Asian Access has been a leader in partnering with nationals in Asia, but now it was time to "think outside the organizational box." Could there be others in the kingdom with a similar vision and calling?

    A2 concluded that in order to aggressively pursue their vision and strategic goals, the Lord was leading them to a greater form of partnership. As the A2 community prayed, they sensed that they needed something significantly different to make a quantum leap forward. 100 church multiplication networks launched, 1,000 reproducing churches planted, 1,000,000 new followers of Jesus, and 1000 missionaries sent from Japan to the rest of Asia.

    In order to propel A2 toward a higher trajectory of their 2020 Vision, they sensed God asking them to think well beyond themselves in order to achieve something greater--more fruit possibly, with better stewardship of God's resources.

    Thus, Asian Access has started exploring the formation of a strategic partnership with one of three mission organizations that could lead to a broader alliance toward launching a church multiplication movement for Japan. Under this potential strategic partnership agreement, Asian Access would champion the ministry and vision alongside the partner mission who would become the sending umbrella and engine to deploy more missionaries to help reach their joint vision and goals.

    Encouraging to A2 in this effort is their unique model of partnership with national pastors and churches. The national church in Japan is fully committed to achieving this God-sized vision. They want to work with missionaries, mission organizations, and local churches to see the vision accomplished.

    God has entrusted to A2 a significant vision and an ambitious set of strategic goals. Now they sense He is calling them to a whole new level of kingdom partnership to advance His cause across the most populated continent in His world.

    Listen to the Broadcast: 

    {enclose mnn/4-5min-Sep20-2010.mp3}
    (less than 5 minutes; if you don't see an audio player, click here.)

     


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  • World changers to meet in Cape Town to talk strategy

    Church leaders to meet in Cape Town for Third Lausanne Congress 

    Cape Town 2010CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MNN) ― There's a saying that goes: "The strength of your diversity is the strength of your unity."

    It means that many parts can function well if they are motivated under a common purpose. It's also a picture of the body of Christ, united in making His name central. That's a driving force behind Cape Town 2010, the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. It's a ten-day gathering that begins October 16.

    Asian Access is just one group of hundreds participating. A2 President Joseph Handley says, "This event is only held once every 15 to 20 years, so it's a significant event that will set the course for world evangelization for the next decade or two."

    What is the Lausanne Movement? It's a body formed from a movement aimed at "The Whole Church taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World." Lausanne III will take a cross-section of church leaders and help them figure out how to keep the Gospel at the forefront of their ministry.

    A little history:

    1966- The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in partnership with America's Christianity Today magazine, sponsored the World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin.

    1974 - 2,700 participants and guests from over 150 nations gathered in the Swiss Alps for ten days of discussion, fellowship, worship and prayer. The Congress achieved an unprecedented diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, occupations and denominational affiliations. Out of this meeting came the Lausanne Covenant. It helped set the stage for new collaborative efforts among Christians. To this day, the Lausanne Covenant serves as a basis for unity and a call to global evangelization. Organizers got a mandate to establish a Continuation Committee that would build on the momentum created at the Congress.

    1975 - The Continuation Committee held its first meeting in Mexico City. Committee members expressed a wide variety of viewpoints regarding the future of the movement.

    2010 - The goal of Cape Town 2010 is to re-stimulate the spirit of Lausanne represented in the Lausanne Covenant: to promote unity, humbleness in service, and a call to action for global evangelization.

    Handley says, "We'll be sitting down together--there will be 4000 global leaders and delegates at the congress--discussing several key issues, and kind of wrestling through the problems that we are facing and how can we address them."

    The issues run the gamut from bioethics to social justice to spiritual warfare as they relate to the future of the Church and world evangelization. Ministry leaders are hoping to draw on their strengths, work together united under Christ, and become more effective.

    While some leaders tend to shape their ministry approach after a business model, there are others who promote a more relational model within the context of the community. For everything there is a season. Cape Town 2010 will be a time for listening, building, helping, changing and growing. For some, it means starting over.

    It's a time for casting vision and figuring out how to make that a reality. There's a lot of anticipation about how this will look once the Congress concludes.

    One thing is clear, Handley says: "At the end of the day, at the end of this ten-day congress, we hope to come out with a greater sense of unity in the body of Christ worldwide, a great sense of clarity for the Gospel, and then finally, [a greater sense of] the top priorities of the task before us in reaching the world for Christ."

    There are challenges before Cape Town 2010. Some of them involve finances. Some involve spiritual warfare. Some are physical, with endurance tested in keeping things moving forward for the delegates.

    Momentous kingdom building strides were made at the last Congress. "Pray for a sense of our own centeredness in Christ; for peace and wisdom with all the things that are coming our direction. And then, for us, as an Asian Access family, we have our own financial and prayer needs as well."

    There are many ways you can participate. Not only can individuals watch proceedings on the Internet, there will also be 400 anchor sites providing global links in 60 nations. Participants at theological institutions, mission sites, and churches worldwide will be able to interact with those at the congress.

    There's a GlobaLink here.

    Listen to the Broadcast: 

    {enclose mnn/4-5min-Oct11-2010.mp3}

    (less than 5 minutes)



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  • A2 to provide leadership/direction to Lausanne

    Asian Access making key contributions to Cape Town

    Cape Town 2010 logo


    CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MNN) He was invited as a delegate from the United States. He will also be a table moderator. We're talking about President ofAsian Access Joe Handley and his participation inCape Town 2010.

    Handley says he'll not only be listening to God, "but also kind of engaging the critical issues that the world is facing today and how the church can best help address them."

    Joe Handley

    Handley says A2 comes alongside pastors across Asia and helps develop them for ministry. He says, "So, there are going to be many issues that we're covering in the next few days that will help develop the life of pastors, help them strengthen their congregations, and then as well help them facilitate outreach in their countries and beyond."

    These efforts are expanding the work of Asian Access. "We work in nine countries across Asia right now. And next year we're prayerfully going to launch our 10th country, as well as two new regions in a couple of the largest countries in the world," says Handley.

    Handley says one of the plenary sessions focus on Christ being our peace, "and how does that reflect on our lives and our ministries today and how does that affect the church. And we followed that with some powerful stories of reconciliation in various parts of the world and how the body of Christ can be agents of change and transformation in the world."

    According to Handley, he's expecting a great move of the Holy Spirit. "I really believe that the Spirit of God is going to speak in and through us, and at the end of the day we're going to come up with some significant sense of what God is doing for the next two decades in ministry for the church."

    You can follow Lausanne Live athttp://www.CapeTown2010.com  

    Listen to the Broadcast for several news updates* from Cape Town 2010

    * includes breaking news of a cyber attack against the Congress 

    {enclose mnn/4-5min-Oct21-2010.mp3}
    (less than 5 minutes)


    More information...

    Doug Birdsall of Lausanne at Cape Town 2010Doug Birdsall, an Asian Access missionary and member of A2's Board of Directors, serves as Executive Chair of Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. In addition, several board members, staff, faculty serve in key roles for Cape Town 2010, as well as the greater Lausanne Movement. 

    Lausanne logo

  • A2 appoints new leadership to steer bold outreach growth

    Asian Access taps veteran missionary for post in Japan

    mjwilson-2009-webJAPAN (MNN) ― In 2008--the latest year for which data are available from the Ministry of Labor, Health and Welfare, Japan's birthrate was 1.37 children per woman.

    The average life span is roughly 80 years (79.29 years for men, 86.05 years for women) which means that the children have longer to support more and more members of the older generation. However, in 1997, sociologists noted that the elderly outnumbered the younger generation, and that number is only growing. 

    Add to that rising unemployment and a flat job market, and younger people spend more time on the job making themselves indispensable. The combination has taken a fluid culture and created a clumsy replica of its former self. 

    Asian Access saw the tremendous social challenges, which included rising suicide rates, latch-key/shut-in children, and disintegrating families. They also saw the spiritual needs of Japan with less than 1% of the population following Christ.

    As a result, they understood God was calling them to expand ministry in Japan.   

    To do that, they needed someone with a heart for Japan to oversee the growth. Enter: Mary Jo Wilson. Today, she launches into her role as A2's new Vice President to Japan. "Of course, our focus is always church planting, church multiplication, and partnering with the Japanese pastors. So I hope to strengthen that and prepare for what God has in the future."

    Wilson sees her role as part inspirational, part counselor, and part director, as she develops the direction for the A2 Strategic Partnership. One of the challenges will be preparing the leaders. "In Japan, it's an aging generation, so the youth will be carrying that burden into the next several decades. I think we see that in the church our pastors are older and that it's a matter of passing that baton to the younger generation and seeing the younger generation reached."

    The mission of A2 is "to unite the church, multiply leaders and congregations, and extend the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." This will be especially important as the society responds to its stressors. Wilson agrees. "I've heard some say that it's a fatherless nation because the fathers have been very committed  to their work, and the children have not connected well with fathers; after this goes on for a generation or two, there definitely is some fallout."

    Wilson goes on to say the time is right to resource Christian communities. "I think the church is looking for practical ways to respond to that. We're seeing more emphasis on marriage issues, and I see just a more holistic approach to sharing the Gospel, ministering to individuals and families, and really transforming society in that way."

    Why Japan? It all started with Urbana. Wilson picked up some literature about ministry in Japan but was still hoping to be a part of medical missions on "a real mission field." 

    After Haiti, God reminded her about Japan. "Two years later, I looked at that, and God told me to turn that in. I thought, ‘This is one of those tests.' And I, in obedience, turned it in. I wound up going to Japan for the summer, and there was no turning back."

    Wilson learned what defined a true "mission field." She explains: "The spiritual need is just overwhelming. He gave me new eyes, I think, to see what a mission field is and to understand the need there. Yes, I just fell in love with the people and fully became committed to sharing the Gospel with them."

    Please pray for Wilson as she works to accelerate A2's church-planting work in Japan.

    Listen to the MNNbroadcast...(4 mins. 30 secs.)

    More information...

     

     

  • God's timing prepares team for quake

    JAPAN (MNN) ―Asian Access reports that their team survived the quake safely. 

    A2-spring-retreat-2011-crc3

    The mission group was gathered for their annual retreat, about 200 miles from the epicenter. 

    A group of visiting friends from the U.S. provided a calming presence and stability for the staff children during the early hours.  

    However, Asian Access does have several partners who have likely been severely affected, but communications are limited. 

    The team worked with a church in Sendai, which is the epicenter of the earthquake. While they successfully contacted a close friend from that church, this friend was unable to contact other friends from the church. Both the church and their old neighborhood are less than 2 miles from the coast, so the possibility ofdevastation is likely.  

    Still, they remain confident that God will use the faith ofthese believers to reach out to the hurting in the community. 

    A note of interest: six days ago, the leaders were part of an all-day training to help Christians in Japan be prepared to respond in case of earthquake. One of the team members was supposed to teach English that day, but they both felt that attending the training was more important. It is likely that one of them will be part of relief efforts. They are thanking God for His timing in preparing them to be able to help in practical ways.

    Pray with them as they move to respond. Pray too that God will quickly move and unite the Church to reach out during this terrible tragedy.   

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  • 30 years of ministry fruit celebrated in Japan

    Leadership marks three decades of growth 

    Asian AccessJAPAN (MNN) ― Asian Access (A2) observes an important anniversary this month. Their leadership development program in Japan just marked 30 years, and 189 pastors helped to celebrate.

    Asian Access President Joe Handley says ministry has come a long way since 1979. "The word on the street for Japan for decades has been 'it's a missionary's graveyard.'" 

    Not anymore. A2 picks a dozen church leaders to be a part of an accelerated two-year training program. The goal: to deploy 100 church multiplication teams.  

    When the twelve meet together, they are working through an established curriculum that accelerates their growth as spiritual leaders, as well as organizational leaders. Over the course of their training sessions, leaders in and outside of Japan resource them so they have what they need to grow.

    By the time they are ready to graduate, they have developed skills to equip their congregation for effective service. At the end of the program, these church leaders lay out their long-term vision and then begin to develop strategies for growth and multiplication.

    Handley explains that "over the next two to three years, we hope to double the amount of networks that we have in Japan. These networks are becoming a model for other countries as well." 

    As word about this work in Japan spread across Asia, interest grew. Mongolia was the first country to indicate interest. They adapted the Asian Access/Japan model and began training sessions in 1996.

    Soon, other countries were added. Asian Access has established leader development programs in eight countries thus far, with an ambitious vision for establishing work in 20 countries by 2010.

    An added benefit is that the strategy unifies the church body. As the leaders implement their plans for evangelism, discipleship and church growth, they share a common vision.

    From that, Handley notes, "You see remarkable fruit from church planting movements that have birthed essentially from this leadership development institute that launched in Japan." 

    Once these pastors begin church planting, A2 networks three or more of them so they can make the best use of their strengths. They meet together for a period of 3-4 years, during which each pastor aims to reproduce a congregation.

    The only thing holding back their growth is a lack of funding. Can you help? Click here.

     

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  • Hopeless souls turn to suicide in Japan

    As suicide rate increases in Japan, Asian Access responds with hope of ChristPastors pray for president Joe Handley 

    Japan (MNN) ― In Japan, suicide is on the rise. Nearly 34,000 people took their lives last year alone, according to USA Today. This number is the second-highest toll ever in Japan and ranks Japan at ninth for suicide rates worldwide.

    This has been the case for the last decade as Japan's economy continues to weaken and spiral downward. Since 1998, there have been over 30,000 suicides each year, reported the Japan Times.

    Takeshi Takazawa with Asian Access (A2) said two factors contribute to this.

    "This basically shows the hopelessness. They think killing themselves is better than continuing life, so they basically give up," he said. Also, many feel isolated, without anyone to talk to or show support.

    Asian Access in Japan is trying to turn this number around.

    Takazawa said the church in Japan needs to reach out to society, rather than waiting for the hopeless to come knocking on the church doors.

    "We're encouraging our Japanese pastors to become a true bridge to those people who desperately need hope and salvation of Christ," he said.

    One way they did this was by sending several pastors to the U.S. through the pastor's vision tour. These pastors visited Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, as well as Vancouver, B.C. and according to A2's Web site, "had a very fruitful time."

    Takazawa said Seattle area is one of the least-evangelized places in the U.S. Thus, the pastors observed the unique models and approaches evangelists used there and were taught how to use them in Japan.

    The pastors realized two main issues they needed to address in Japan as a result of the conference.

    First, Takazawa said, "[The] Church needs ears to listen to society. The answer is Jesus Christ, always, but what questions are they asking?"

    Second, they became aware of the need to create multi-site churches. Rather than keeping the church in one location, the church would go to the searching and allow them to connect on a deeper level.

    Pray for the church in Japan as they seek to reach out to lost and hopeless individuals. Pray that they will reach people before they feel the need to end their lives.

    To learn more about the ministry of Asian Access and how you can get involved, click here.

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  • Japan's divorce rate threatens the family unit

    Biblical discipleship program answers Japan's growing divorce rate

    Japanese buddhist wedding couple

    Japan (MNN) ― One in every four marriages in Japan now ends in divorce. The issue has been a source of concern for a society in which families are a core strength. The Japanese grow up following their society's emphasis on social interdependence---the concept of being members of the whole as opposed to the individual.

    Family responsibilities take precedence over individual desires, and familial relations provide the model for social integration at all levels. Furthermore, the family plays an important role in determining individual life chances. That's why the rising divorce rates have shaken the society to its core. The family unit foundation is falling apart for both this generation and the next, tearing at the fabric of their society.

    There are ways this is being addressed. Tim Clark with Asian Access is working with a pilot program called "The Marriage Course" by Alpha. However, some of the facilitators were concerned about how it would be received by the Japanese.

    It's a delicate issue because the Japanese are known for their sensitivity, propriety and privacy regarding marriage and families.

    That was soon overcome. Clark acknowledges that "many start the course with a little bit of skepticism and hesitancy, not wanting to go deep into discussion. But both Christians and non-Christians are finding it to be a great way to ease into discussing important matters that are crucial to the health of their marriages."

    The Alpha Course provides a comfortable environment topeople from all walks of life to discuss and learn about foundational issues of the Christian faith. The course is designed to serve those seeking to study the essential basics--new believers as well as seekers (those who have not yet come to a place of fully believing).

    From the course came a seven-week study for marriages. Participating couples are equipped with biblical tools for communication, conflict resolution and growth.

    Clark says interest is rapidly growing from the three marriage courses running now, and A2 is beginning the Japanese translation of the course materials. "There are very few resources in Japan for strengthening marriages and families. Many churches are recognizing this need, both for church members as well as for their friends and others who aren't a part of the church."

    More information...

    This article was originally published byMission Network News.Clickhere to read.

    Listen to the broadcast, including an interview withTim Clark:

    • 2-minute broadcast: 
    • 4-minute broadcast: 
    • 9-minute interview: 


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  • Documentary redefines access to Asia in missions framework

    A2 DVDSharing vision and hope for evangelism in Asia

    Asia (MNN) ― Asia is the world's largest and most-populous continent. Buddhism, Hinduism and a host of other religions compete for dominance, and most of the world's unreached live in Asia. Conflicting worldviews have led to a spiritual dissonance in many of these countries, which leaves millions open to the truth of Christ. So, who will take the Gospel to Asia? That question is answered in a documentary entitled, MISSIONS:REDEFINED. Craig Detweiler directed the documentary for Asian Access. "For those who want to see for themselves what it is like in Sri Lanka, Asian Access has prepared a documentary. It shows you what's going on in Mongolia, in Japan, and in Sri Lanka." The 35-minute documentary details a part of Detweiler's own journey as he returns to Japan 20 years after he was there as a missionary with Asian Access. Although aimed at missions professors, the purpose of MISSIONS:REDEFINED is to open eyes toward the difference the Gospel makes in Asia. The documentary also reveals A2's commitment to developing church leaders who can reproduce new leaders and build or plant churches...

  • Children's ministry team preps for Japan

    In answer to prayer, God provides a ministry team

    Japan (MNN) ― Last month, Asian Access offered an opportunity for volunteers to serve missionary kids in Japan. A team of 6 - 10 was needed to help shine the light of Christ in the dark country. A2 recently announced God's provision of a children's ministry team for this year's annual Asian Access /Japan Spring Conference.

    Ten candidates are currently in the screening process and very likely will be heading to Japan soon. The team will provide VBS-type programming for children of missionaries attending the Spring conference held March 5 - 9 in the breathtaking mountain ranges of the Nagano region.

    The purpose of the 5-day event is to refresh and equip missionaries serving alongside Japanese congregations, providing ample opportunities for fellowship and rest. The children's ministry team contributes to the A2 missionary team by serving their kids.

    Asian Access asks you to join them in prayer for this spring's team as they raise financial support and prepare quality children's activities. Pray that each team member remains healthy and grows in their relationship with God through the process.

    Asian Access holds conferences each year in the fall and spring. To learn more, visit their Web site by clicking here.

    This story was first published by Mission Network News.

    • Read the MNN article online.


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