By Nathan Conklin
Returning to the States is always bittersweet for me. America is most definitely home, but after living in Taiwan for the past two years Taipei is also definitely home. As it turns out, Taiwan is becoming home even more as I commit to an additional four-year term after accepting an associate position with Envision this upcoming summer. But regardless of my conflicting emotions, I was still very much looking forward to my three-week trip in the States over the Chinese New Year holiday. While I was back in the States, I had the opportunity to speak at a number of churches about what God is doing in Taiwan. The theme of my messages was that fulfilling the Great Commission requires every follower of Christ to be actively engaged in the grand Mission of God, regardless of where God has planted him or her. I encouraged those listening to ask God where their mission field is and then actively pursue sharing Christ in those areas God showed them—no matter the cost.
As I was encouraging them to do this, though, I felt my heart resist that part about “no matter the cost.” I wondered if I had really heard God correctly when I agreed to this new position in Taiwan. Was God really asking me to commit to another four years Taiwan? Was this really the place where I was supposed to spend the majority of my 20’s, away from friends and family? Even as those doubts entered into my thoughts, however, I heard the words of God coming through my own mouth. “Why do we need to sacrifice for the Cause of Christ? Because the world around us desperately needs to hear the Good News of Jesus! Every day in Taiwan, 432 people die without knowing Christ. Our world needs to hear the message we have!” It was almost like I was feeling the call to international ministry all over again! Even as I was speaking, I felt God reaffirm His call for me to return to Taipei. I could return with confidence knowing that this truly is where I am supposed to be.
Yes, it sometimes hurts to be away from friends and family. Yes, sometimes it’s hard not to envy other peoples’ “normal” life in America. But when I compare the normal with the supernatural, there is no comparison. Participation in the Mission of God does not require an international mailing address, but rather requires the sacrificial pursuit of the path God has set before us. While I was in the States, I was tempted to take back control of my life and pursue the things I wanted in my life. But God gently, yet clearly, reminded me of the reason why He was calling me back to Taiwan: not for my own benefit or enjoyment, but because He had asked me to go and because of the vision He has given to our team at Aroma. I am in Taiwan “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 Wanhua, Taipei, Taiwan, and the world will be reconciled to The Father.” I am so honored to be doing so!