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News and notes from around the A2 Community

Official blogs from Asian Access

Pastor Alex and familyTransformation on so, so many levels

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Pastor Anthony Alexander, his wife Dr. Chandni and their beautiful family. Pastor Alex as everyone calls him is a graduate of Asian Access/India and does he have a story! You see Pastor Alex and his wife come from different castes. He was raised Catholic and she was raised Hindu. It’s amazing that they ever got together in the first place given the caste system and religious milieu that exists in India. For some time, they were ostracized by Dr. Chandni’s parents because of the religious issues; but over time, her parents began to see how much Alex cared for them, especially during times of great need. Today, they see Alex as a favored son. It’s truly amazing! Several years ago, Pastor Alex from Zoe Dharampuri Ministries was introduced to Asian Access. He joined the batch, and today, he notes the profound difference the cohort made in his life. Today, he has a fellowship of other pastors that he didn’t have before. Now, in times of great need, he has a ‘band of brothers’ to call upon and they rally around one another. He says this was the single greatest outcome of...

Joe and friendNot long ago, I was with Pastor Qua (not his real name) who serves on the working team for Asian Access in his country, a country that we also do not mention for security reasons. We were having an alumni gathering that day because they wanted to maximize the opportunity to visit with the president of Asian Access. I don’t believe I’m all that special but this is what happens every time I’m in town. I’m honestly just another average Joe! What really encouraged me, though, was Pastor Qua (pictured here with me). As the alumni were sharing with me, Pastor Qua said that he was one of the most educated pastors in his country and that his bible school and seminary degrees were considered top tier. One was in the country and another was in a well-known and developed Asian country. But Pastor Qua said, ...

tree with roots“He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jer. 17:8

I was like a tree without roots and on the verge of burning out. Life and ministry felt like a desert until Pastor Richard Brohier shared with us about having deep roots. I thank God for Pastor Richard and for Asian Access. You have brought new life to me and to my ministry.

I was invited in to share a little at one of our SE Asian countries, a country that faces significant pressure, and we were in the region where the most persecution of pastors and churches occurs. After sharing that day, one of the pastors came up to me and shared this wonderful report of how Asian Access had refreshed his life and how Pastor Richard Brohier, one of our core faculty and country liaisons particularly influenced him. Ministry is a marathon not a sprint and life is the same. It’s important...

Joe with friendWhen I joined Asian Access just over 9 years ago, one of the motivating factors was their focus and success in reaching the unreached people groups of the world. That’s why I so enjoyed spending time with a colleague in one of our sessions recently in a country that must remain unnamed due to security concerns. My colleague wrote this follow up report that so encouraged me. I trust it’ll encourage you as well:

“One of the most exciting things for me about the pastors in these two classes is the dedication that they show toward reaching the unreached tribal groups in the mountains close to their country borders in addition to pastoring their own churches in the plains or the cities. The Gospel first came to this country in 1910 with the arrival of CMA missionaries. But it was not until the 1970’s that it made progress toward the 120 unreached groups in the highlands and along a famous Trail. Pastor L and his wife have expanded their tribal ministry to 11 people groups now, and in the K village to which they first went three years ago, where no one was a believer, and where he was incarcerated on his first trip, now almost everyone is a believer. In the other class...

Dee Wirz's postNot long after our 50th Anniversary Gathering in Jakarta, Jubilee in Jakarta, I received this note from my colleague Dee Wirz:

While the history of what has become Asian Access mission began exclusively in Japan 50 years ago, our outreach has now expanded to eleven countries in Asia. During the A2 Jubilee celebration held in Jakarta recently, I had my first opportunity to get to know many of our extended mission family pictured above. After the presentation of a twelve-minute video featuring my ministry in Japan, one of the country leaders asked me to come and teach some sessions at the A2 leadership development training scheduled for July 24 to 27 in Sri Lanka. This is a rare opportunity to invest in developing fourteen carefully selected trainees, who can have a significant influence on their own people in the country of Sri Lanka for years to come, since the majority of this group is in their twenties and thirties. After much prayer to discern God’s will, I agreed to...

 

kyushu relief group 2017Nurturing Resiliency through Emotional and Spiritual Care 

“I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”  Psalm 16:8 ESV

Need for a Compass

I am directionally challenged. If I tell my wife while driving to ‘turn right,' I really mean left. I am not the most reliable navigator. At times I find that I can be 'directionally challenged' in my walk of faith and ministry path as well and must intentionally put the Lord before me, as my compass and stabilizer. When I do that, I experience resiliency even in times of crisis. How does this work out in ministry in Japan? Here are a couple recent examples of being on the right side of a crisis…

The Medici Effect book coverNot long ago, one of my doctoral committee members suggested that the core of my dissertation research was very much in line with some new thinking related to the concept of the Medici Effect. You can learn more about this through Frans Johansson’s book of the same title linked above. Wikipedia describes this approach as:

“In the book, Johansson argues that innovation comes from diverse industries, cultures, and disciplines when they all intersect, bringing ideas from one field into another. He also recommends assembling diverse teams of people to collaborate on innovation.” Check it out here.

I’ve enjoyed digging into this concept as I review a new theory for mission leadership in my studies: Polycentric Leadership. Hopefully someday, after the dissertation, I’ll publish more on this topic. 

Ajith Fernando, teaching at A2|50th Day 2Day 2 • Homothumadon: "The Way of Unifying Passion"

Here are a few brief, but poignant quotes from Dr. Ajith Fernando's tremendous message:

"A genuine Christian is committed to unity, to teamwork, and to mission."
— Ajith Fernando

"Truth is more important than personal honour. Truth is more important than politics within the Church."

"We are committed to Truth and to God's glory. And we strive for unity."

"One of the principles of a happy marriage is that there are no winners in a battle.

Ajith Fernando: "The Way of Unity" [A2|50th Day 2 Keynote]...

00063 00099The story of this lady was amazing. She lived just 1.5 kilometers from the ocean (about a mile) and the tsunami took everything. Soon after, the gentlemen standing next to her, started a house fellowship not too long after retiring from work. He was inspired by his church to start another church after he retired from a great career. Did it matter that he is not a pastor? No. Did it matter that he had received no significant theological training? No. Rather, his pastor saw his gifts and invested in him for years. From the Asian Access training, he developed a plan to empower lay leaders to start churches so that they could reach the Japanese people. He knew there was no way you could reach Japan through just the clergy alone. So, he raised up several business leaders to begin starting house churches in his region.

Mongolia’s church may be young, but they have big plans

Mongolian gerMongolia (MNN) — Mongolia’s Church is younger than most. Many pastors have only been ministering for just over 20 years, but they’re already facing challenges on a national scale.

“In our country, materialism is kicking in so people are more interested [in] having status in society. They want to have all the privileges that mainstream people would like to have,” says Chinzorig Jigjidsuren, the National Director for Asian Access in Mongolia. He’s worried that more interest in earthly treasures means less interest in spiritual ones, and he wants Mongolia’s pastors to unite to reignite hunger for the Gospel. Because so many pastors are young and spread out, it’s easy for believers to feel alone or abandoned. ”The DNA of Asian Access keeps that from happening,” Jigjidsuren says. “A lot of lonely pastors would be burdened with all of their personal and ministry issues, but they have a community where they can openly share their struggles.” But that doesn’t mean Mongolia’s Christian leaders don’t face challenges. “Sometimes you depend on people, you open your heart and invest into people, and you do not see the fruit you were envisioning,” Jigjidsuren says. “There can be a lot of...

strawberriesOne of the principles in Asian Access is that healthy churches grow. It’s why we spend so much time investing in key leaders’ personal walk with God and their growth in him. Because, when we are deeply embedded with Christ, we are naturally very fruitful. Many of those leaders were on display in Tohoku (Northeast Japan) for a few days at Vision Festa, a gathering of pastors, missionaries and NGO leaders coming together to share God’s vision for Japan. I was deeply touched by them and many pictured in these photos are key partners of Asian Access/Japan. They shared about Strawberry Patch Evangelism. That even small little strawberry plants are quick to reproduce because they shoot stems into the soil nearby and next thing you know you have an entire patch. And, they shared about Pomegranate church planting where a single fruit has hundreds of seeds to spread around and start new fellowships...

woman sharingThe lady sharing in this picture was saved by a bridge in her local fishing village. She was driving back to her home where her husband’s family has led a fishing business for several generations. As she drove onto the bridge, the tsunami swept away most of her friends, their homes, and their cars. The town was devastated and all she could do is sit there and watch her friends get swept away. Her husband, just a few minutes earlier was able to marshal a few people to several boats he owned and fled into the sea before the waves crushed the village. He’s standing in this picture to her right. He was gone for three days at sea and she had no idea where he was or if the tsunami took his life. They were both saved that day… For a purpose! God had a plan for them and their village. Pastor Kishinami, who...

rapid reproduction E 500pxA few weeks ago, I was in a SE Asian country teaching as part of our two-year cohort. It was such a joy spending time with the pastors and seeing how eager they were to learn. One pastor, whom I’ll call NV to protect his identity, quickly came up to me sharing that he had already taken what he learned in the first session a few months prior and was sharing it in several contexts. Here’s what he later shared with me:

“All the lessons of the first session were really significant to me and others whom I reproduced it. My purpose is to contribute for the revival at the very heart of the capital city, so, since 2008, I have 2 trips each year on May and October for pastoral training for all pastors and church workers for churches of 8 denominations, including the government sanctioned church in three large cities (they came from many cities at N region). Last May I trained SHAPE and TIMELINE for over 120 pastors and main workers. They all said that it was so good and they will continue to retrain at their local churches. I plan to retrain the session "the heart of the ministry" next Oct.”

Subcategories

From the President blog by Joe Handley

A2 Community blog with posts from a variety of contributors around Asian Access

Stories about Asian Access published by Mission Network News, a mission news service dedicated to keeping Christians informed on evangelical mission activity around the world. In doing so we hope to educate and motivate Christians to prayer, participation, and support of missionary work to help further the Great Commission.

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PO Box 3307  Cerritos, California 90703 USA

email:  info @ asianaccess.org
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