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The Aroma of Christ Spreads Throughout Taiwan

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Have you ever been called to a vision that feels too big to handle? That seems to be the way with God’s plans, doesn’t it? Our vision began years ago with a belief that God has great things in store for Taiwan—and that what He starts, He finishes. We just had no idea what He was starting or how He would use us to help finish it.

In 2008, my wife, Jamie, and I were considering several post-college careers when we received a phone call from the C&MA National Office with an opportunity to move to Taiwan to launch a new program for hosting short-term teams while building a long-term ministry on the ground. This vision resonated with us, and after a time of processing and prayer, we had clear affirmation from the Lord. Two weeks after graduation, we bought one-way tickets to Taipei.

The space we had purchased for ministry was unlivable. Most of our budget was spent remodeling—and we had to do it quickly because we had five interns set to arrive a few weeks later. It wasn’t what they had expected either, so by Christmas, some of our team had quit. The rest of us got jobs at English schools, took Chinese classes four to six hours a week, and tried to build relationships with people so we could share the gospel.

We decided to pray together regularly, huddled on the fifth floor of the building and asking God for a name for our new ministry idea: an English outreach. After a few sessions, we came up with “The Aroma,” based on 2 Corinthians 2:15. We desired to have a space where we could journey with people as they discovered how Jesus was working in their lives; to have our newly believing friends join a church and grow; and to see them share the good news with their friends and family members. It was a hopeful attempt.

Vision Becomes Reality

During these times, I wondered what we’d gotten ourselves into. But when I got to that place of desperation and relearned to wait on the Lord, He renewed our strength (Isa. 40:31). In 2010, we decided that our Aroma Coffeehouse (with two liters of coke, hot chocolate, and pots of black coffee) should become a real café. We didn’t know anything about coffee and didn’t have a full-time manager. We didn’t even have a location. We had nothing but this crazy dream of people coming in to smell, become, and spread the Aroma of Christ.

We had been holding church services in our apartment, and the neighbors weren’t happy. We wondered, “What would it look like to meet in the café?” So we returned to prayer, asking the Lord to help us partner with Him. And God started answering. We found a place and started the remodeling. We invited many to join us, and surprisingly, we had a lot of support. We finally launched January 12, 2012, just a few days after Aroma Church had its first official service in the same location.

Multiplying Connections

We look back on that season warmly now—but it was often overwhelming. On a particularly frustrating day in the café, I was crying out to God and felt led to Exodus 3, about Moses’ encounter with the burning bush. “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush” (Exod. 3:4).  God takes note of what we do—and when we intentionally turn toward Him, something great happens. He calls out to us; His words create. Rather than imagining the worst, I desire to see God’s best at Aroma.

Since then, we’ve started Aroma Café, launched Aroma Church, and hosted hundreds of people through teams and internships. Aroma has always thrived on connection. It’s who we are. From the beginning, we have been connected and helped others connect to God. We exist so the world can be connected and reconciled to the Father as people smell, become, and spread the Aroma of Christ.

That connection is what made all the difference for XiaoYe. Through Coffee Talk—the English outreach that hasn’t stopped since 2009—XiaoYe joined our community and made great steps in his journey to Jesus. We even baptized him last year. He has begun to share his faith through his art. XiaoYe is a great example of someone who, through connection at Aroma, has been connected to God and is in the process of connecting others to Him as well.

A New Opportunity

At the same time, we see a growing opportunity available in Taiwan as legislation is being passed to make English an official second language. A group of people around the age of 18–40 will emerge who have not learned English but are also not advanced enough in their careers to ignore the shift to a more English-focused professional market.

We hope Aroma can continue to be a leader in this context and are planning to launch an education center where we can help people encounter Christ through connections to skills, people, and God. We want to put Coffee Talk and other related ministries on “steroids” and get the message out to Taipei as efficiently and effectively as possible. We believe 2021 is the year for us to launch this education center. We believe the Lord is giving us a God-sized dream of 100,000 people hearing about Jesus; 10,000 people being trained and equipped; and 1,000 people being sent out through Aroma’s ministries in the next 10 years.

In the last 13 years of ministry, God has orchestrated each step and provided amazing people to serve with us. The service and generosity of hundreds of people on teams, as interns, through partner churches, and donors have been the ones who made it possible. We can’t do this without you! You can make an unprecedented impact on the island of Taiwan and around the world. Would you join us in participating in this ministry? You are the Aroma of Christ, and it’s time to spread that Aroma around the world together!

Multiplying the Work in Taiwan

What would it be like if thousands of people could be in a place where they can find a vision for their lives, discover God’s calling, and get trained, equipped, and sent out? Partnership with people like you will allow the Aroma ministry center to help finish the work God started in Taiwan. We invite you to join us in this amazing endeavor! To put your generosity into action, visit cmalliance.org/give; select “a project you love/Find a project;” and type in “Envision Taipei English Training Center.”

Learn more about Alliance strategic projects throughout the world by requesting a copy of the 2020–2021 Strategic Giving Opportunities Gift Catalog by email or by calling toll free at (866) 443-8262.

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