Japan (MNN) — Years before Japan agreed to host the Olympic Summer Games, Asian Access (A2) was praying and planning for Gospel transformation in 2020.
Stepping stones for hope
After the triple disaster in 2011, Japanese Christians were encouraged by the responses from around the world. Renewed hope seeped into their hearts for their country. Japanese pastors began sensing and sharing the call of God on their country in new ways.
The mission field in Japan has been challenging for a long time. Hearts were hard toward the Gospel. But suddenly Christians began to sense God opening new doors for His Word.
Joe Handley president of Asian Access says, “For years Japan has been known as a missionary’s graveyard. Missionaries would come and serve and get discouraged and go home. But now we’re seeing local leaders with incredible passion. The leader of Asian Access Japan is shooting to see the Church be at 2% of the population by 2023. That’s enormous because right now, it’s just under 1%. And then another one of our pastors within our network, Pastor Ikeda, has a vision for 10% just the year after! That’s amazing!”
Using the Olympics to expand missions
When the Olympic destination was announced, these ambitious visions began to grow. Once again people around the world would focus on Japan.
A2 prays that this attention would bring interest not only from sports enthusiasts, but also for the Church. They are ready to help the local Church turn Olympic attention into God-honoring evangelism.
Leaders are praying audacious prayers. They are seeking a Church that is as widespread as convenience stores. Instead of staying at 8000-12000 churches, they want to bring that number up to 50,000 churches across the country, a similar number to the convenience stores dotting the country. But for that vision to be realized they need help.
That is why these large events taking place in and around Japan are crucial. Asian Access is asking God to use these events to build passion in people so they come to the mission field short or long-term or begin praying big prayers for Japan.
Partnering for greater effectiveness
Asian Access is not the only group that sees the opportunities afforded with such a large event. Japan International Sports Partnership is planning to utilize the traffic that will be brought in through the Summer Olympics, Rugby World Cup, and other events to spread the Gospel. They are gathering like-minded Christian organizations to strategize how to bring God’s Word to Japan.
Handley says that Asian Access is stepping up to support that mission, “Asian Access is involved by coming alongside the International Sports Partnership and seeing how we can leverage our networks and influence to assist them. You know our vision from early on in our history was, ‘Our vision is to empower your vision.’”
How do you get involved?
“This is really the season to invest, get involved, and pray. We definitely need your prayers. Prayer is the momentum builder for ministry. So I beg the North American Church and the global body of Christ to be praying for Japan.”
Currently, A2 is also planning to receive teams throughout 2019 and 2020 with the help of their partner SIM. They are looking for churches with interesting sports ministries, a passion for sports, or who just want to serve. If your church is interested contact them through Go2Japan.org.
Join the A2 as they seek to build the Japanese Church.