Hosting the Aroma

While most of us were celebrating Thanksgiving with family eating turkey and cranberry sauce, across the Pacific ocean was a gathering of believers who shared a chicken meal with a salad side as they gave thanks for each other and their Creator. This isn’t part of the culture they grew up in. They don’t watch football after the meal…, but together they’re creating a culture in which they hope others will want to immigrate to. A culture that hosts the wonderful aroma of Christ.

If you hadn’t clued in yet, I’m talking about the Cafe and Church my family are a part of; The Aroma.

The Aroma exists to help people smell, equip them to become, and send them to spread the Aroma of Christ with excellence and urgency, through kingdom businesses and Spirit-filled communities, so that, Taiwan, and the world will be reconciled to the Father. (Aroma’s vision statement)

Instead of their usual Sunday service, last week the Aroma hosted a Thanksgiving event for it’s congregation. While my family and I can’t be there, it’s awesome to see the ministry continue on and do what it’s set out to. This event encompassed the Aroma’s slogan, ‘Smell, Become, Spread’, to the fullest! Our housemate, Emmi, summed up the experience perfectly in this social media post.

Our Thanksgiving outreach was a huge success! First we heard a good word from Mark Cheng (Our Missional Growth Leader), then we met new friends like Wendy (top right picture, to the left of Emmi and Mark) doing outreach, enjoyed a meal together, prayed with a friend who accepted Jesus, and shared our leftovers with homeless. I love serving our God!!

Prayers of the Saints [Live]

What do you think of when it comes to road trips? Gas station fill-ups? Your favorite snacks for the road? In my mind, what truly makes a road trip is the music.

For the last few weeks my family and I have been singing along with a new album. I only heard about it because a good friend from my former band was asked to be a guest vocalist on this album. I’m talking about Sovereign Grace Music’s new album, ‘Prayers of the Saints Live’.

One song I appreciate in particular is We Look to You. It’s themes of perseverance while at the same time trusting in our sovereign God have become a focus during our family worship portion of our bedtime routine. Give the song a listen below!

Sovereign King of all the earth
We look to You, we look to You;
In Your strength we will endure

NOVEMBER

November has been such a busy month! It’s been filled with road trips, friends, family, celebrations and lots of food!

We left Sioux Falls on November 11 to travel to Chicago. There we spent time with friends we haven’t seen in a while and got to visit Uptown Baptist Church,  where more than 21 countries and cultures are represented! It was so great to see so many people worshiping together. It reminded us of Taipei, although of course UBC was much more diverse. We also tried our first authentic deep dish pizza – yum!

Next up we visited a couple friends from college in Indiana – both of which we haven’t seen since we moved to Taiwan in 2015!

On November 13 we arrived in Ohio  – just in time for Brittany’s dad’s birthday! We did gifts and had ice cream cake!

That whole week was filled with wedding prep for Kristyn, Brittany’s sister. We helped steam linens, bake mini pies, and make [LOTS] of flower arrangements! All of our hard work paid off though – the wedding was BEAUTIFUL! Kennedy loved her first experience being a flower girl, and she was so good at it.

 

After the wedding, we had a day or two of down time before we headed to Pennsylvania to celebrate Thanksgiving with the rest of Brittany’s family. We smoked ham and turkey and had too many side dishes to count. Our pie table was pretty impressive too – pumpkin, mincemeat, peanut butter, Nutella and pecan pie cheesecake! Needless to say, this was a huge treat. The last two Thanksgivings we spent in Taipei usually featured Kentucky Fried Chicken since there’s no way our small oven could ever fit a turkey!

The day after Thanksgiving, Kennedy turned FIVE. On Saturday, we had an airplane themed birthday party. We thought it was fitting given the last few months we’ve had! Kennedy was able to run around with cousins and friends and eat way too much sugar. I think it was a pretty successful birthday party!

Here we are on Monday. We’re back in Ohio with Brittany’s parents. We have a short trip to Tampa planned for next weekend, but then we’ll be back in Ohio again. We’re excited to still have a couple weeks left with them and her sister (and Adam, her now husband!) before we head back to Sioux Falls for Christmas!

我好想台灣 (I miss Taiwan!)

This past week has had it’s ups and downs. We’ve seen so many friends, but I can’t help but miss the brothers and sisters that we’ve been working with in Taiwan.

I am such a relational person that to some degree, going from place to place and talking with person to person has been pretty taxing. Not because I can’t handle so many relationships and meeting new people, (although I will admit I need to be better with names) but because a relationship can only go so deep within 12-48 hours.

Luckily I am reminded that there are no state lines or vast seas that can separate me from my God. Just like He promised to Jacob, God promises to stay with us!

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28:15

My relationship with my Creator can always go deeper, whenever and wherever I am. Until we return to Taiwan I will just have to hold fast to that.

Blessings,

Justin