Just a few short weeks ago my family and I had traveled from LAX to JFK and for the first time ever we stepped into New York. Having lived in both Europe and Asia I can’t count the times that people have asked me, “Are you from New York?” Many times I would laugh and reply, “I’ve never actually been to New York before!”
We’d landed there for a short conference; many pastors of Chinese and Taiwanese churches were attending. We’d been asked to report on what the Aroma is doing in Taipei and our roles within the cafe and church. We were met with enthusiasm and lots of excitement to see and hear of what God is doing in Taiwan, but our sharing was just a small part of the conference.
The theme of the conference focused on passing on the baton from first generation immigrant pastors to second generation Chinese American pastors. Needless to say, as a white male and neither a pastor nor participant of a Chinese American church, I felt a little out of place. The first night of the conference I remember praying for God to open my heart to what He had to say despite me not fitting in. As you can imagine, God didn’t let me down.
Growing up a missionary kid, I had the opportunity to visit many churches during my parents furloughs. Similarly, for the last six weeks, I’ve attended a different church every weekend during our own furlough. Having attended so many churches, I can safely say that no church is perfect. Just like people, churches have their flaws; they too, are broken.
This conference opened my eyes to a particular need in the Chinese American church. The need wasn’t what blew me away, though; rather it was the answer. Some of the pastors attending came full of life and ready to roll. Others… not so much. Some came with their heads down and their spirits weak. Yet together, they were able to talk about their weaknesses and how they could tackle them… together as brothers in Christ.
Living in Taiwan and being part of the Aroma community is great. We are part of an amazing team that is spreading the Kingdom throughout the Wanhua district, but being away from it all has definitely left my family feeling alone at times. That’s when God uses occasions such as this conference to remind me that we are not alone. Not only is he always with us, but He’s puts beautifully imperfect teams around us so that, together, through Christ, we can fight our brokenness and that of the world around us.