L'Abri Newsletter, March 2009
Dear Praying Family,
Jireh & Maepsy, our dogs, look blue these days. I wonder if they miss students who would sneak cookies or foods out for them during this winter. After each term, they might be going through something-like postpartum depression. We are no exception. As the wash machine churns out laundries once stacked up to the ceiling, fresh and new, our memories of students may be fading. As we prepare shipping students' luggage left behind, we wonder if they would come right back to L'Abri if we just sit on them. In one hand we are glad to recover the tranquility at L'Abri, on the other hand, we dearly miss them all.
During this winter we had about 200 students and visitors. If it had been just KyungOk and I, it would have been certainly impossible to serve all of them. It was possible owing to your prayer, gift, lectures and movie presentations by local pastors and Dr. GyaeWon Bang, and the dedicated Helpers - MoonKyu, MoKyung, JungWon, MinHyun, and BoKyung. To help your prayer, I'd like to introduce excerpts of letters from the students during the winter term.
JungWon sent us a letter, “Questions of students were very precious like delicious chocolates and shining jewels. I was indeed intoxicated by the scent and colors of the questions. Many of them, I couldn't answer, but their questions gave me the chance to think through and to pursue in-depth understanding. However, at the beginning of the term, I tried to give answers I even didn't understand; that distracted me from my focus. Eventually, I had to admit that I don't have every answer.”
Among the students, HyunJin studied the Inerrancy of the Bible, BoHee checked the basics on her Faith, YoungNam studied Communication, Chansong studied Political relations and HaeHyun studied the objectivity of Christian truth. JungWon has studied at L'Abri in the past one year to accept Christianity as the Truth. When she first came to L'Abri, she said, “When I was naive, I was dragged by Dualism. Then during the college years, I was captivated by Mysticism - for example, hearing so called the voice of God. After college, I became Cynical to everything, including Christianity. All these happened in just 7 years.”
MinHyun & BoKyung sent this, “The three weeks we spent at L'Abri was a great joy and gift to us. I would never forget the birthday party KyungOk and students put together for me. It was particularly impressive because of the talks in the party on our daily lives. To me it gave more impact than any theological or doctrinal discussions. It was more real to talk about what's happening in everyday life than all those church jargons. ... It occurred to me that I would like to share the abundance of Christian life despite how little we might own.”
It was their second term at L’Abri for MinHyun & BoKyung, with HaEun, their youngest. They mingled with students so well that I couldn't believe that they were in their mid-50s. MinHyun was good at mature jokes that we all laughed our heads off. Owing to their enthusiasm, we celebrated the end of the term with songs and dances, for the first time since L'Abri Korea started. Yet they need our prayer for their business and their tasks at their church. They plan to start home schooling for HaEun, this spring.
Last winter, applicants from Ghana could not make it due to visas. However, Kevin and Taryn both Americans stayed with us. Taryn, a high school English teacher, called us back saying, "I had my best time at L'Abri, since I came to Korea." I pray that Taryn may be able to stand firm as a Christian, though she is a sojourning African-American in Korea. Please pray for her that she may enlighten students that a foreign language is not just another coursework but 'a door leading to another culture'. And we had very special moments with Ellis Potter who came from Basel for 3days since he had visited in 1988.
ChanSong shed joyful tears while reading Schaeffer’s, and found out fragmented knowledge or intellect can be integrated into one - faith and daily life, faith and study, etc. He wrote us, “Since I've been to L'Abri, conversation with people became so easy and comfortable.” He is very active as a staff for the International Affairs Research Institute, a Sunday school teacher for disabled students, and an activist against the legalization of euthanasia. He needs your prayer as he just learned how to talk with other people that he may be able to reach out to unbelievers.
“A month at L'Abri was a reality than a dream; a daily life than a romantic event. When I came home, I was able to actively participate in conversations with my family. It was the fun that I hadn't experienced before. I used to just nod during table talks, locked inside my own world. But I started asking questions to my family, one by one, and started to talk about my thoughts as well. The same thing happened at school. I started talking with Christian and non-Christian friends. I had deep conversation on evolution, atheism, destiny, and humanity, etc. I was surprised by my confidence.”
I think this is an immediate example of “partaking in the divine nature.” “... you may become partakers of the divine nature, ... Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:4-8)
“The divine nature” in this passage 1) can be ‘image of God’ or ‘spiritual fruits’; 2) is something that starts from tiny faith but gradually grows into and is completed by Love; 3) is something that requires elaboration that can't be achieved spontaneously. Especially, “all diligence” is to encourage us to make up our minds to grow into spiritual maturity. “Applying ~ in ~” has the original meaning of ‘supplying logistics abundantly for theatrical performance’. It is my desire that we all would bear abundant fruits.
With the encouragement of the Word, we are ready for the spring terms (March 6 ~ April 2; May 8 ~ June 4). Two college students and a graduate, a missionary trainee couple who are going to Japan this summer, an American English professor, a pastor's family, and three Ghana officers have registered. And EunChul and EunHa will join us as Helpers this term. Please pray for those who need to come to L'Abri may be connected with us if God's willing.
EunChul and EunHa had been working for the Korean Church ShangHai in the past nine years. Unfortunately, EunChul was expelled from China after KOSTA (Korean Students Association) conference and MK (Missionary Kids) Camp, recently. EunChul was a director for the meetings. They had stayed with us May to December 2007 while they had a sabbatical. Please remember his family in your prayer, EunHa, his wife, and GaHee (9 years old) & HanHee (5 years old), their daughters. They are seriously considering working at L'Abri.
Young adult group from Sarang Community Chruch (Rev. JeongHyun Oh) is running their 5th Christian Worldview School (March 21 ~ April 25). Please pray for the speakers, ChunSung Lee, HaeWon Yang, and myself. EuiJin finally decided to take a qualification test for high school diploma on April 12. Please pray for the wisdom and preparation. Members’ Meeting will be held at Dutch L’Abri, April 14~21. Please pray for the meeting and the travel. As always, we owe your prayer and love.
Translated by OhIg Kwoun