Interview with Aaron Koh
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Aaron Koh, a missionary serving in Taiwan, who was due for a home assignment back in Sydney around this time of year. While COVID-19 has changed everyone's travel plans, we still have the privilege of hearing from Aaron here in this interview he did with me. In addition, Aaron will be our guest speaker this weekend, and we will get to hear a bible talk upload from him progressing our new series through the letter to the Ephesians.
1. Aaron, can you remind us about your connection with Eastwood Baptist Church?
Both Amy's parents and my parents are part of Eastwood Baptist. Many people who pray for us are also from Eastwood Baptist, although sadly some have passed away in recent years. Amy actually used to attend Eastwood Baptist when she was little before the Chinese and Australian Baptist Church plant started.
2. What is OMF International, and what do they do?
OMF International works in East Asia and was once called China Inland Mission. Our vision is to see indigenous Biblical church movements among all of East Asia's peoples. We hope that there would be reproducing churches which are suited for the local culture and peoples. OMF workers are involved in church planting, missional business, student work, medical services, and more.
3. What is your role, and what does that involve?
Our main role is with church planting in a team in Donggang - a small tourism and fishing town in southern Taiwan. I'm the team leader which involves helping other team mates to flourish as God's workers. As a church planting team, we go out and meet people who would not go to a traditional church. We aim to start house church style church plants. We tell Bible stories, pray with people, read the Bible, sing - and we hope that as people come to believe, they too will go out and share the good news of Jesus with their friends and family.
I also have a smaller role with videography and communications for OMF Taiwan. I manage our website and Facebook page and occasionally travel for filming.
Check out our OMF Taiwan Facebook page: http://fb.me/OMFTaiwanPage
4. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work?
The main impact has been delaying our home assignment. We were scheduled to come back to Sydney this year but we will have to do that next year.
In Taiwan, life is mostly pretty normal because the COVID-19 situation has been managed well by the Taiwanese government. Shops and schools have remained open the whole time, but large gatherings have been cancelled. For our ministry, it has meant we can continue to meet with people but many of our friends have had their businesses impacted by lower tourism (both domestic and international).
5. Can you share a story of what you’ve seen God do where he’s sent you?
We stumbled into a coffee shop in the wet markets when we first moved to Donggang. A couple run the coffee shop and the boss isn't a Christian but the wife is. Over time we've had the opportunity to get to know them and other customers. Amy and our colleague Linda have been regularly meeting with the wife and other customers to read the Bible and pray. More recently, another Christian they meet with has been involving other unbelieving customers in their discussions about the Bible.
All this has progressed in an organic manner and God has created opportunities for these women who do not yet know Jesus and would not attend a traditional church to hear from God's word each week.
6. What are some ways we could be praying for the work that you and your team do in the coming weeks?
We have a house church style group running at our place each Friday night. It is small but regular and has a really good vibe. We are hoping that others will host and lead the group in the future. We've been asking God to help us think about how to train some of them to lead the discussion and also for the other members think about hosting the meeting.
7. How’s your family going?
The kids seem quite settled. We've had a lot of changes with moving cities and countries in the last few years so it's good to see them settled. They're also quite involved in what we do like the Friday night group. It's great to be able to share that with them and talk about the practical things involved in sharing the gospel, teaching the Bible, and church planting. We keep asking God to keep them and us close to him and to be living sacrificial lives for Jesus.
8. You’ve heard of the plan for the revitalisation and rebirth of Eastwood Baptist. Do you have any comments or encouragements for us as we moving into this season of change?
We used to live in Denistone East and shop regularly at Eastwood. Our kids attended Denistone East PS while we were in Australia, and some SRE teachers were from Eastwood Baptist. So hearing that Eastwood Baptist has plans for a revitalisation is exciting to see that a church with a long history in the local area as well as a strong tradition in missions can look forwards in new ways. With the ever changing nature of the Eastwood area, I can see God use Eastwood Baptist to grow people in Jesus and go out with the word of God into the community and the world.