L'Abri Newsletter, July 2009
Dear Praying Family,
I wish you had wonderful days! This is my first letter for you. My name is EunChul Seo, a new staff of L'Abri since April. I spent the whole day yesterday working on a computer to prepare L'Abri's financial report as a book keeper. I was totally surprised by the numbers, the manifestation of our Lord's provision. As my family joined L'Abri, many people expressed their concern regarding L'Abri's financial situation, because of the economic turmoil of these days. I had experienced His meticulous provision during my service in China; and even after my family was expelled from China, we didn't lack of food or clothes.
However, I have had lingering doubts that who would extend their hands all the way to this backcountry if we don't actively seek help. As I flip through all bills and receipts over the past two months, it turned out that my concern was groundless. Indeed, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, is the God of myself; I think Francis A. Schaeffer must have had the same experience to start his journey into the "Faith Mission" leaving America to start Swiss L’Abri to serve people throughout his life.
Burning midnight oil in gloomy days
While we have been experiencing His intervention, the whole country had been going through a lot; to our shock, the former president of Korea committed a suicide; North Korea launched nuclear missile and carried out underground nuclear test while announcing their intention to descent JongIl Kim's power to his son. The economy seems to be at its worst bottom; yet, experts warn against optimism of fast recovery. These days, it is indeed full of uncertainty and confusion, politically, socially, and economically. However, at L'Abri, visitors, students, and staffs would frequent to our library even at late night, to find out that only God's word is the Truth, and only God is our master, despite all these circumstances.
Students and visitors in May
DongMin is a biology graduate student and has been a Christian since his childhood following his Christian parents. He decided to visit us to find answers to his question, "does God really exist?" He studied "True Spirituality" and "Mere Christianity." On the last day, he read his paper called "True Christianity & Mere Spirituality." KyungMin had been a secretary of an international mission organization and she stayed with us for a month. She skillfully cultivated all garden because he grew up as a farmer's daughter. She enjoyed reading "Being Human."
We had the first Christian worldview class for the high teens at L’Abri; EuiJin, DaSeul taking a leave of absence from her foreign language high school in TaeJun, and HaEun taking a break before starting her college in America, joined the class. InKyung led the class with "How to be your own selfish pig" and "Turning my worldview upside down." I hear that they all enjoyed the class very much.
Nathan from America stayed with us during his first trip with his grandmother. He studied on the issue of "Kingdom of God and Justice" for a week. BoKyung, an English teacher, visited us during her vacation time. YeonSoo, a staff of an international NGO, stayed with us for three days.
JungWon especially worked hard as a helper last term, and is now went back home. She has made a lot of progress in her study in the past two years. She wants to sort out her career path. Let's pray for her that our Lord may provide her with His wisdom in discerning her way of life.
The highlight of this term was visitors from England, Rev. BukKyung Kim and Cynthia. They stayed with us for a week. They shared with us many of their life stories. Kim visited Swiss L'Abri, 40 years ago. When he fell in love with Cynthia who was a staff, their love story made quite news back then. He also told us about their life with Korean Church London, Ezra Bible Institute. Their journey as Christian and their philosophy made a deep impression to all of us. Kim tried real hard to say jokes at the table, in vain, which made Cynthia busy with a make-up story.
During this time, parents of InKyung came up to meet Kim and Cynthia as well, for three days. At his 80, Mr. Sung cleaned all bushes around L'Abri while he was staying with us. We were amazed for his hard work because many of us wouldn't even dare to start it. I contemplate that InKyung's leadership and passion inherited his father; and KyungOk's meagerness may be learned from her mother-in-law.
Pursuit of the Truth
In May, the staffs have been really busy to serve meals for the visitors and students, to join the table discussions, to work together, and to study. Many times, our discussion that started at the table would extend into the labor session. Even then, during brief breaks, our question and discussion would continue. Through the process, our thought would become clearer and add depth into that. We consider this generation as a mindless generation; but some students would comment that they have been thinking their brain out at L'Abri. Nicodemus had questions on the truth that he came to Jesus in the middle of a night; has he not been a thinking person, would he be able to meet Jesus to reach to his salvation?
Our discussion continued into the movie nights. Rev. InSeok Jeon hosted it on Tuesday and Sunday evenings. "Dead Poets' Society" which I watched about 20 years ago, was controversial enough to heat up our discussion. Cynthia would continuously bring up the movie to lead discussions on education, until she left for home. Another movie was "North Face" produced by Philipp Stolzl. I was about mountain climbing. One of the members got injured; in an effort to save him, all of the team members one by one sacrificed themselves that no one made out of the mountain. We had long discussion on the subject of sacrifice after the film.
Now that those times have past and we are looking forward to summer already. I'm hoping that we can enjoy delicious fruits from the garden. In spring, many people saw & poured out their sweat; though they are gone, now new visitors and students will be enjoying their fruits. Likewise, from what we do now, we may not see the fruits; but the next generation should see the fruits. That encourages us to do our best, which is the will of our Lord.
Staffs and prayer requests
InKyung has been busy with lectures and seminars at Seoul & GunSan, even during the breaks. He has to drive due to his foot problem. I request your prayer because, at times, he has to drive long hours and his car is over 10 years old and its performance is unreliable. KyungOk has been extremely busy to serve unexpected visitors. One time, we were informed of two or three visitors; what a shock it was when a bus-full of people showed up, instead. Please pray for her that she may have the heart of Abraham who served angels without knowing, that she may have a willing heart even under this kind of circumstances.
I presume that EuiJin was excited to study with girls of his age, last term. He's been practicing Okarina to surprise all of us at the outdoor service. EuiJin had passed the high school graduate equivalency qualification test in April and currently contemplating about his next step. KiJin finished all course works and is working on his dissertation. HaeJin is with her brother studying the History of Arts.
EunHa, my wife, is getting used to the life as a staff; she is new to this role of a team member as she has been pastor's wife for last 10 years. Yet I’m thankful that she has been able to manage the new situation without being burnt out. My daughters are doing well in YangYang; HanHee, the confident baby, has made many friends at the kindergarten; GaHee, the older one, is yet a little shy with classmates and teachers. Please remember them as they learn how to enjoy their life in YangYang.
The rainy season has arrived that we are getting frequent precipitation. Please pray for the building safety throughout this rainy summer. There are several students requesting financial assistance. Please pray that their needs will be met abundantly. This summer we expect numerous students and visitors; please pray for us that we may joyfully serve them with given staffs and helpers without burning ourselves out. To all of us, today, "hope" cannot be found anywhere; yet we find the hope in the prophet Amos' confession:
"For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind and declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness and treads on the high places of the earth, The LORD God of hosts is His name" (Amos 4:13).
Please help us by remembering us in your prayer, as we prepare for the summer term. (July 3- August 6)
June 17, 2009
Yearning to live by faith as you've been praying
Translated by Oh-Ig Kwoun