L'Abri Newsletter, May 2010
Dear Praying Family,
We have already reached May since a new year just began. May has proven its title of “Queen of the Season” by spreading L’Abri with colorful carpet of azaleas in the front garden and red and white rainbow pinks waiting for adjacent purple chrysanthemums to blossom. Lettuce, sesame leaves, and corns, planted by workers for summer and fall harvest, are taking roots in the garden and strawberries, having endured cold winter, have blossomed to prepare ripe fruits. It is truly May as green spreads out through mountains little by little.
While trees and plants were sprouting and growing, L’Abri received many visitors. Employees of Häfele Construction Hardware Company were the main guests of spring semester. For them to discover the truth and to meet God, we regrettably had to turn away other people. Needless to mention selection and concentration, workers dwelled in the blessing of spending time together with these 43 attractive and precious non-Christians. We plowed, cut down trees and made ways together in sweat. We had meals and tea and talked into late nights. We watched movies and had discussions one day and listened to lectures and shared deep thoughts on another. As they took out and read unfamiliar bibles, we came face to face in heated discussions involving questions like “Does God really exists?”, “What was Jesus like?”, and “What does he have to do with me?” A lot of honest questions came out.
One unforgettable question sprang out among them; one person asked “How did you workers come to believe in Jesus?” While busying myself to find immaculate answers to every question, I became speechless to such a straightforward question. I have been explaining why we should believe in God and accept Jesus as our Savior using difficult terminologies. And then I was pinned down by a simple request to introduce personal God truthfully. Obviously, there were many who confessed they could hardly believe in God and bible logically or scientifically.
But some accepted that bible was not a book urging blind faith but the one explaining the world sensibly. There were people who thought God in the bible might exist and the bible might be true. Upon hearing their confessions, I was ashamed for doubting their ability to believe in Jesus. What Paul confessed 2,000 years ago became our confession today: We plant seed and water it, but it is the Lord who makes it grow.
I have come to learn new facts from non-Christians while staying together with them; they had this erroneous thought that God must hate them for not believing in Jesus. This may be a kind of original refusal. I was devastated to hear such a lie is told. Isn’t God the one who gives rain and sunshine to both believers and non-believers? I wonder if such an original refusal makes them turn their backs on the good news and creates negative feeling against Christians.
Another fact is that non-Christians yearn to listen to the truth in love. What they truly want is gospel delivered in humility without pretension and arrogance. This is an attitude we should be equipped with. Sometimes we as workers sit stiff-necked as if we have all the answers and tend to give one-way lecture at the dining table. We hope to deliver true gospel not missing their desperate cry of soul from their hearts as we give more room and opportunities for them to come up with questions about Christianity. Then wouldn’t they have attentive ears to hear the gospel and the truth?
It was truly amazing to spend the past 10 weeks with Häfele family. But L’Abri workers are at the brink of utter exhaustion serving them one by one. Without taking much rest, InKyung and KyungOk will depart to give outside lectures as soon as the semester is over. KiJin in Canada recently cracked 2 of his ribs and HaeJin studies lying on her bed due to her back problem. HaeJin, in God’s grace, was able to complete her junior year in college. But she is in want for another year of scholarship to complete her bachelor’s program. EuiJin has come back home after studying English in Canada and is preparing for college.
SooYeon is teaching children in a nearby local elementary school, and we hope she would serve local community well. JiHo and JiMin have finally got rid of their cold that lasted through spring and are happy. There are workers who are not in good health. MoKyung have hard time bending her fingers after having worked in severe cold winter. EunHa is not in her best condition lately, and I had to make several trips to hospital because my left ear went deaf last month. Fortunately, L’Abri children (GaHee, HanHee, JiHo, and JiMin), unlike their ailing parents, are in good health, and we thank God for it.
A few days ago, GaHee and HanHee planted flower seeds in pots, watered them, and placed them in the sun. In two days, we saw small sprouts. GaHee’s pots had many sprouts while HanHee’s had none in hers. I was sorry for her so I bought new seeds for HanHee’s pots. But finally, HanHee’s had sprouts as well. Now HanHee’s plants are thriving more than her sister’s that we expect to see pretty rose mosses soon. While I was watching those small sprouts, one small hope entered my mind. My doubt about what good it would do to serve a handful of visitors to L’Abri valley was replaced by God’s word: those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! I wish this small hope spreads throughout the world as far as beautiful flowers cover mountains and fields in the month May.
Translated by MoKyung