Malaysia (MNN) — It started in Japan in 1967 as the Language Institute for Evangelism. It later became Life Ministries. Now it's known as Asian Access.
Asian Access has gathered more than 150 of their workers from across Asia to celebrate what God has done. Speaking from Malaysia, the President of Asian Access Doug Birdsall says the growth has been phenomenal. "Over the course of the past 40 years the ministry has grown from Japan to reach across Asia. And we've got all of our people here from Japan across to India, from Mongolia in the North to Sri Lanka in the south."
While they're excited about the number of people turning to Christ and the number of churches planted, Birdsall says challenges in the form of persecution are growing, especially in areas like Sri Lanka. "We do believe in the providence of God, so no matter how grim the situation appears to be or how open it may be, we realize that God is using these circumstances for the accomplishing of His purposes."
Birdsall says the mission of Asian Access is straightforward. He says they want to "identify, develop, and release emerging kingdom leaders who will be used of God to unite the church as well as to multiply congregations and extend the transforming power of the Gospel."
However, challenges accompany incredible growth. Birdsall says the church becomes very wide and not very deep spiritually, which causes problems with unity, discipleship, and healthy growth.
The meetings this week are not only about celebrating the past but preparing for the future. Currently Asian Access is working in 20 countries. But their leadership training is limited. "Currently we're established in eight of those countries. And, in the coming six years, we plan to establish two programs a year in each of the following 12 countries."
The additional training should help develop healthy, deeper growth.
While Asian Access personnel are talking about their future, they are also concerned about the future. They had an opportunity to share the Gospel with their taxi drivers in Malaysia. Birdsall says at least one taxi driver began asking questions. "'What is it that you people have? I need to know. I've been driving people back and forth for a day and a half… I've seen people meeting at the airport and hugging each other and people from across Asia, Australia, North America –United States and Canada.' It wasn't just a curious cab driver making conversation."
Funding and personnel are needed to help the ministry grow. Pray for safety of believers working in difficult circumstances.