L'Abri Newsletter, December 2011
December 17, 2011
We are deep into the winter, covered with snow all around us. Ireh, our dog, is happily jumping around the sparkling blankets of snow. The morning sun has painted a masterpiece on our window with the deepest blue sky and the whitest snow. This is a picturesque morning, unusually quiet in the absence of guests and students. We just finished our last term yesterday. Now it is time for some overdue rest.
Last month, we had an urgent prayer request for repairing the floor heating system that failed in the student dormitory. Gifts came in toward the repair costs, $10,000, including $5,000 promised for January. The heating system has now been fixed we are waiting for the concrete to cure. We have yet to install a new boiler, build new walls around the boiler room, finish up the floor surface, and redo the wall papers. We are hoping to finish all of these before the New Year starts. Please pray for us that we may be ready for the anticipated guests and students. A student said that he had never before seen a specific prayer get answered in detail, despite having been a life-long Christian. I am grateful that even this untimely failure of the heating system can demonstrate to somebody that God exists.
Here, I’d like to share with you a few prayer requests as I look back upon the past year.
(1) Students and visitors are becoming more diverse in nationality and age. In Korea, young adults or “singles” range from the 20s through the 40s these days. As such, our students now come from a much wider age group. Retirees planning for their next step in life often visit us as well. In our School of Christian Worldview last summer, we had a group of women in their 40s and 50s who were Ph.D. candidates in theology. Most foreign visitors so far have been English teachers in Korea, but recently, we’ve had visitors from the U.S., Hungary, Nepal, and Singapore. We face significant barriers of language and culture. This wide spectrum of visitors causes us great concern because we are not properly equipped for this type of situation. Please pray for wisdom from the Lord.
(2) We have numerous construction projects. Particularly this year, we’ve had many repair and maintenance projects. In the spring, we extended the roof over the southern wall to improve protection of wood pillars and walls. Walking around the house became much easier on rainy days. In the summer, the roof was also extended over the west side and a new heating system was installed in the “Narnia” flat. In the fall, Ji-In Jung built us a tree house for free. The house does not have a heating system so it is closed during the winter; we are planning to use it as a prayer house when spring comes. The heating system for the dormitory is currently being repaired. We had not planned for any of these projects at the beginning of the year; it is surprising how God supplied for all these whenever they were needed. It is my feeling that when God provides us with housing, He brings people along with it. Please pray for my health that I may have enough energy and strength for the next term. I am concerned because I’ve been barely surviving all year round without getting enough rest between terms.
(3) More groups are visiting us. Professors and students of Handong University visited us three times since last spring. Professors Cordell Schulten and Jeremy Knapp, with a group of non-Korean students, visited us for 3-day programs. I hope that this type of visits would increase. The young adult group from the Light & Salt Church has been a regular visitor each year, and the youth group and teachers from the local Sokcho Joong-Ang Church also visited us a few days ago. Please pray that God would send those who need to come and send us daily bread to feed them as well as ourselves.
(4) Workers: ChunSung Lee will be leaving for overseas study in February. Our elderly helpers, MinHyun and BoKyung Baek, who joined us early this year, will continue to stay in YangYang. Barnabas returns to his home in mid-February. Last month, JungWon returned from America and spent her first month home with us. We appreciate her help. It seems that only when our coworkers leave do InKyung and I realize that we could have done better and regret; may the Lord have mercy upon us. We urgently need additional workers. Please pray that our Lord may send us good workers.
(5) Someone asked me for news of my children. I realize that they are not just my children but all of our Praying Family is with them. Kijin hasn’t had a chance to visit home in more than 5 years. Haejin, despite her back problem, has managed to continue her study so far. I request your prayer that Kijin may be able to write his doctoral dissertation with a clear Christian worldview and that Haejin may be able to find her next step when she graduates next year. Euijin has been helping at the YangYang Children’s Center while preparing for college; please pray for wisdom as he struggles to figure out what to do next.
I would like to ask you for a small favor as I close this letter. We appreciate it when you stop by when you happen to travel near us. We believe that your love and concern for L’Abri draw you to visit us. But some of you seem to try too hard not to bother us, and just visit without any notice. We feel sorry when you visit us when we are not home, and even sorrier when we have to send you back quickly because of programs or other appointments. If possible, please give us notice beforehand when you intend to visit us. We’d love an opportunity to sit down with you, have tea, and thank you for your tremendous help.
This year has been a very frustrating year for Christians in Korea. Several famous church leaders were involved in ethical scandals making national headlines, inflicting spiritual confusion among believers and non-believers alike. Please pray for us that we could help those who come to L’Abri, to be a calm refreshing wind to their disillusioned minds. InKyung and I often say that “L’Abri should be the last sewage treatment station of the Korean church,” cleaning up the mess that they leave behind. Thank you, Lord, for coming to us in this dark, disappointing world.
May the blessing of the Lord be with you on this Christmas and New Year!
Translated by Oh-Ig Kwoun