L'Abri Newsletter, December 2008
Dear beloved L'Abri Praying Family,
Everyday our worries add up with the evening news. It is awakening to realize the limitation of human wisdom and the endless greed and sins of human being. The divine intervention is all the more yearned in the current situation. This is the time for prayer. YangYang L'Abri is hanging in there owing to your prayer. Your prayer reaching to the Lord is the incredibly important in the conversion of a man and changing the world. Our prayer for the present time is not in vain and will surely be used to change the history.
Recently we have been reading the Revelation 5:8. "When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." There are two items that are dedicated to the Lamb - a harp and the incense. The incense is the prayers of the saints. It probably is offered to the Lamb as He is the Mediator.
In Rev. 8:3, it says, "Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne." In this verse, "a golden censer" is added to the "prayers of all the saints". Your prayer, whether it is for L'Abri, for churches, for a country, or for an individual, remains to the end to be offered to the Lord. Thinking of the glorious day your precious prayer will be presented to our Lord, how wonderful it is! We are deeply grateful of your prayer.
Good news is waiting for you. Our former worker ChunSung Lee is coming back to join us. He is married to SuYeon Kim, a primary school teacher, while at L'Abri. He left L'Abri for his seminary study. Now they have a boy (JiHo) and are expecting a girl next year. As they come back in January 2010, ChunSung will resume as a full time worker and SuYeon will be a part time worker while teaching at a local school. We appreciate all your prayer for the staff shortage at L'Abri.
JungWon who has been a Helper in the past year is coming back as well. She has been taking care of her health during the L'Abri's sabbatical and has been actively leading a couple of study groups in Seoul. This experience will be very helpful to our work. During the winter term, MinHyun & BoKyung Baek and their daughter HaEun will come as Helpers for a winter term. They have been operating a textile factory and a part of our praying family and students for a long time.
There are other helpers the Lord prepared for us; MoKyung, a staff of the Asia and Europe Scholarship Foundation, will join us to cook for the students for a week and MoonKyu, a seminary student, will help us as well for two weeks in the beginning of the this term. Please pray for us that we all will diligently serve our students.
The construction of the retaining wall is almost completed. There is still a heave of rocks in the front yard. The hillside, collapsed about 6 years ago, has been a present danger on any rainy days. Owing to the gift from Sarang Community Chruch (Rev. JungHyun Oh) enabling the construction, now we can sleep sound even on a rainy day. We are very grateful of their generous gift. The construction continued throughout the spring term. Female students were the majority unlike other terms. They endured thundering noises from construction machinery and managed unprecedented physical labors. Due to their hard works, the mud on the front yard was cleared. We are grateful to S.M. Housing (SamYoung Han, CEO) who took the contract without any profits. Due to the rising material costs, we still owe him about $5,000. Even though he said “pay back late on”, would you please pray for God's provision?
Since this summer we had 6 months Sabbatical. It was simply a very special gift from the Lord. We were yet busy with building maintenance, writing, reading, giving lectures, and entertaining visitors. Except for that there is no resident student to feed; our routine was just the same as non-sabbatical. I found that we might not find a fulfilling rest until we will be in the heaven.
A special activity initiated during our sabbatical. It is the pastoral bible study for pastors and their wives around the region from various denominations. Six couples including us joined the bible study. Caleb Shin (a missionary of ANN) would join us from time to time. Meditating the Words, discussions, and fellowship, all these have been a great recharging opportunity for us. We all small churches got together for the Christmas service; I wish it had been a joyful service to Him as well.
Our children, KiJin and HaeJin, are both at Queen's University, Canada. They are doing well owing to your love and prayer. KiJin is in his 2nd year for his Ph.D in Political Philosophy. He is busy with reading books and working as a T.A. Would you please pray for him that our Lord may provide him the wisdom to perceive the underlying trends of the days and to find godly alternatives. KiJin also had to do a lot more extra works to take care of HaeJin from cooking for her, to riding her to doctor's office, and to numerous chores to help her settle down at Queen's from U of Toronto.
I feel sorry for him that he had to be literally a parent to HaeJin; at the same time we are thankful that he is there to help her. May both of them abundantly experience our Almighty God and his Wisdom during their school years; if I ask how they are doing in the midst of the financial difficulties, KiJin would say "I’m okay with scholarship" while HaeJin would say "I'm somewhat accustomed to doing without". Last summer, you prayed for HaeJin's registration. We deeply appreciate all of you who sent supports for her needs.
When she just started the school, she called home sobbing. She wanted to come home because, even though her tuition was almost ready, she couldn't walk or sit on chairs due to severe back pain. She sounded like experiencing the same nightmare that I had about 30 years ago. I had such a severe back pain that I couldn't sit or walk; I had to leave the school for treatment in vain. I came back to the school and barely finished my college degree. My college days were full of despair. For me, my parents were doing well that I didn't worry about tuitions. My first reaction to her call was "Oh Lord, not my daughter again..." No mom would want her pain to be inherited to her daughter.
But our Lord changed our thought. We can make a different choice that we can still live our life joyfully despite daily physical struggles and pains. We got together for wisdom and advised HaeJin to take reduced number of courses. She just finished two classes on art history and taking a winter break. Though she is diligently taking treatments and exercising, she needs to spend on bed most of the time. Would please pray for her that our Lord may cure her back problem and, in the mean time, HaeJin may learn to be joyful despite her pain?
EuiJin, our youngest, has brightened up during the sabbatical. Even though he grew up amongst the visitors, the sabbatical meaning no visitors no resident students was very beneficial to him as well. With the new term starting, I'm concerned if he can handle the unavoidable situation all over again. In the past months, he survived owing to your prayer. Once again, I rely on your prayer as I have been. Would you please pray for EuiJin that he may be able to accept situations in L'Abri and he may find answers to his way of life?
There is a story I would like to share with you; it was so frustrating for both EuiJin and me at the time but now we can talk about it. One Thursday afternoon in October, we were about to take a break around 2:30 PM after the pastoral bible study. I thought I heard dogs barking; all of a sudden a group of people was already at the door. There were about 15 people of kids and adults. They were already inside the house even before we would guide them in. It took quite a while to serve teas for them including those arrived later.
Then it occurred to me 'how is EuiJin handling the situation? 'The unexpected visitors' were sweeping through all over the house. EuiJin's room was no exception. The unruly kids were coming in and out of EuiJin's room. As you know kids get immediately out of control if they visit a new place. In his room, only his pants were found. Because of the unexpected visitors, he didn't have a chance to reach his pants from the hall in the 2nd floor. He must have been completely embarrassed and had to rush to a hideout. I thought to myself, 'Isn't this why we needed a sabbatical? This kind of intrusion is the very thing EuiJin couldn't bear any more. (If it is unbearable to adult, how much more it would be to a kid!) Everyday has been like this and even the sabbatical makes no difference!' I still get upset if I think of those visitors.
It was the day of EuiJin's Story Time for school children at Suri Regional Children Center. He was well prepared and had been excited about his story line and the opportunity. Now everything is ruined. He just vanished. The whole house was going crazy due to the visitors. InKyung was barely keeping himself under control answering to the visitors' questions. It was getting close to four o'clock that EuiJin had to go to the Center. I prayed quietly that I may not get angry with the situation. I picked up his pants and looked for him all over the place in L'Abri.
Then I realized that there is an attic in the 3rd floor. I passed across the visitors to come to the attic. There, I found him in his underwear only and practically locked in for an hour and half - it must have felt like forever to him. He took the clothes I brought him. He was very upset, walked across the middle of the visitors in hall, and headed out to the Children Center. The visitors left us only almost by the time EuiJin was to come home. In these occasions, I had to treat him with his favorite dishes. Since we even didn't have the time for cooking, we decided to eat out despite our thin wallet.
When EuiJin arrived home, he was still upset. Only after several persuasions, he reluctantly agreed to head out for dinner. His mood had finally changed while savoring one of his favorite dishes - the pork cutlet. I asked him, "How did you come up with the idea of hiding in the attic?" He said, "In L'Abri, there's no place hidden from me. I thought they would leave soon but they were sitting at my gate to downstairs. I didn’t want to perform a nude show in front of the intruders." We deeply felt sorry for him that he had to go through all sorts of these surprises because L'Abri is "open" to anyone.
Now a few words regarding the international L'Abri; Every L'Abri fellowships worldwide are suffering from economic turmoil. For example, a few branches could not be paid already. Let's pray that, in the midst of this world wide trouble, the truth of Living God may be even more clearly revealed to all of us.
Mrs. Edith Schaeffer is already 94 years old. She recently fell from her bed and has shown symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. She has been suffering and barely keeping herself up. She needs a care giver 24 hours because their children are already old for the task.
Do you remember BukKyong Kim? A group of his acquaintances is preparing a book to donate for his 70's birthday. The editorial board is composed of some of the pastors and elders of IPC Koreans (YungJun Yang, Rev. is the chief editor). They are looking for your stories on him and his wife Cynthia. We believe it’s good to remember their unique life for next generation that they have lived an exemplary Christian life and were a pastoral role model.
I wish I could believe by Wim Rietkerk is now published in Korean. We’re very glad that my people could read it in their language. Do you know that we have been waiting for this book about 10 Years.
Please pray for students and for the winter term (Dec. 26, 2008 ~ Jan. 22, 2009). We are thankful that the winter term is fully booked. We pray that the students who have gone through all the troubles and failures may regain their hope and strength. We feel a lot of burden because we are the same sinners as the students and they are staying here such a short period. However, just as the apostle Paul said, God is the one who causes the growth and we merely do our best to plant the Gospel and to diligently water it.
Non-Korean students are increasing. Please pray for our communication and that we may properly serve them with Christ's love. Two American English teachers would stay with us for a week or two. There have been several applicants from Ghana who wanted to join the winter and spring terms. Would you please pray for them that those who have to join the study may not be interrupted by their Visas.
I pray that we all spend some time to find out our Lord's wisdom in the midst of the economic turmoil from this Christmas throughout the New Year. There is no shortcut in passing through a pain. Otherwise it is not a pain. David said, "Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You", during his difficulties, in Psalm 16:1. But he later on concluded, "I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 16:8), with joy coming from God. Just as David was able to go through his difficulties owing to joys coming from God, I wish the same for all of us. Whether it rains or snows, whether we are high spirited or under the weather, I pray that we do press on for the Kingdom of God in the New Year as well.
Translated by Oh-ig Kwoun