Smoke of paper-burning barrels stings my nostrils if I breathe too sharply, and unseen cannons shoot off thousands of fireworks behind 18-story buildings and meticulously decorated temples. Red door signs are everywhere and families are making their yearly exodus from the city to their childhood homes for a two-day journey from father’s to mother’s side. It is Chinese New Year.
I returned to Taiwan on January 17th just in time for the last push of preparations for Chinese New Year, and Today is the day! Happy New Year, all 🙂
The past two weeks have been filled with a busy orientation schedule put together for the interns to help us make healthy transitions into life in Taiwan. There are four new team members, including me, who are starting this January, and on Thursday we met with our leaders to create a ministry plan. “We” are:
Aimée M., from Northern Ireland, staying for two months; her focus is on experiencing missions in Taiwan, helping at the Aroma Cafe with admin and the English classes we host called Coffee Talk.
Jay W., from Minnesota, staying for two years; his focus is on discipleship, a little business at the Aroma, and teaching English. He will also be helping teach during Coffee Talk.
Michael G., from Minnesota, staying for two years; his focus will be on the IT part of church–running sound and visual stuff for worship. He will also be doing some things around the coffee shop, do a language exchange, and teach for Coffee Talk.
So what am I doing?
For Aroma church, I will be working under the Taiwanese pastor Cloud S. to help train Taiwanese believers to disciple other Christians and playing piano for worship. For the Café, I signed up to help prep for baking in the mornings, teaching the coffee shop workers, and Coffee Talk teaching. A big chunk of my time will be taken up by my Chinese classes–15 hours a week plus a daunting 4 hours/day of homework, so I have been told.
Lots to be a part of! But I am excited to interact with the people of Aroma more since I will not be teaching English this year. I am looking forward to seeing believers at Aroma deepen their faith in Jesus and for many more to step out of the darkness of burning paper money for their ancestors or their idols, out of the darkness of praying to demon spirits, out of the darkness of the fear of ghosts that prompts the annual fireworks, and the constant striving for nothing, and into the light of Christ.
- Please pray for the Taiwanese. Coming back to Taiwan this year is so different for me for some reason. I feel the weight of the souls. I see the brokenness so much more. I hear the streets crying for freedom from fear and for true life.
- Please pray for the four of us new interns, Michael and I returning and Aimée and Jay just beginning.
- Please pray for good housing for me–I will be looking for a place to live after Chinese New Year is over where I can have some space of my own.
- Please pray for the renovations of the Aroma– it’s getting a whole makeover right now! Pray they can open on schedule and that the lowered prices bring more people in to smell the Aroma of Christ! 🙂
Until next time,
Keep the Faith!