L'Abri Newsletter, March 2012
February 15, 2012
Dear Praying Family,
Around L’Abri, at the outskirts of Mt. Seorak, we are finally getting a break from the long freezing winter. Even though there is still snow on the mountains, the last few days have been getting significantly warmer. Farmers are on the fields preparing for the spring thaw, and our friend Ms. MoDuRee came over to trim the pear trees and to clean up the pepper fields.
KyungOk and I are also looking forward to the spring. We are waiting for the warm weather and for the fresh and delicious mushrooms that our workers planted last year. We also dearly wish that we could hear the spiritual growth of all the visitors and guests that we had throughout the winter.
As Jesus said: “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” (Luke 8:5-7)
Jesus emphasizes the different attitudes of listening to the Word of God through the parable of the four soils. I would like to reflect on our experiences last winter in accordance with this parable. I believe that the same things definitely happen to all of us.
1) “Some fell beside the road” implies that if a person is not attentive to the Word, then Satan will rob it away from him so that the Word wouldn’t have a chance to root itself in the listener’s heart. We feel that several visitors who braved the cold winter with us at L’Abri ended up wasting their precious time. Our workers were able to persuade them to listen to the Word, but we couldn’t do anything with their heart.
2) “Seed fell on rocky soil” means that a person initially accepts the Word with joy; however, as soon as the Word sprouts in him, Satan throws a curve ball at him and the sprout withers. We frequently observe that some people leave L’Abri with confidence, expressing their determination to live a changed life. Unfortunately, after only a few weeks, we hear that some of them are already losing confidence. However, adhering to our policy, we can only reach out to guests and students while they are in L’Abri. Please pray for those who have visited us and left us but who now encounter all sorts of challenges that might lead them astray from the Word.
3) “Seed fell among the thorns” means that, even though the Word sprouts and grows, it stops growing due to the worries of the world and the temptations of material and pleasure. Most of our visitors and guests have now returned to their schools and workplaces, fighting temptation every day. Some could have already fallen aside, giving themselves up to the world. This saddens us, but we trust in God, because even though we plant the seed and water it, it is God who makes it grow. Please pray that these people will prevail in the struggles against the world.
4) “Seed fell into the good soil” means that a person holds fast the Word so that it may not be taken away, that he endures difficulties, that fights against temptation, and that he enters into salvation. Many people – pastors and young adults, as well as Korean immigrants from America and Australia – visited us for 6 weeks last winter. I believe that they all were led to L’Abri by a special choice of the Lord, because we didn’t invite or advertise to anyone. We pray that everyone who visited L'Abri may bear abundant spiritual fruit.
There was a young man who has been attending church for many years, but who only recently accepted Jesus as his Savior and Lord. A young woman also finally encountered the truth of the Cross and the resurrection. A man flew over from China looking for his wife. Please pray with us for their long road to recovery.
An interesting episode: InYoung Jung, a schoolteacher, brought us a group of people named “The Narnia Expedition”, composed of 7 teachers and 10 students who were camping in YangYang. KyungOk greeted them with a presentation on “Worldview and Fairly Tales.” One of the teachers shared with us her unofficial 8th book of the Chronicles of Narnia, a love story about Prince Caspian that even C. S. Lewis didn’t manage to complete.
We have prayer requests for our staff. ChunSung stopted working and preparing English test for his next step. His wife Suyeon is keep helping us as part time worker. Please pray for our Helpers, MinHyun and BoKyung, for their son’s career decisions and for their work helping local churches and the YangYang Children Center. We thank Barnabas from Hungary, JiHun from Keimyung Univ, and MyungHae from Gimcheon Univ for their tremendous assistance during the winter term. Please pray for InSeok and his wife HyeWon for her health; they have been leading the weekly film sessions at L’Abri and have helped us by providing dinners on numerous occasions.
As the two of us are the only full time workers left, KyungOk and I are planning to take a short sabbatical until May 10. Even though there is no specific illness, KyungOk is barely managing day-to-day life and desperately needs some rest. During this time, we are hoping that we can find new staff; please pray that God may send us the right person(s).
Meanwhile, the Board of Korean L’Abri is planning to go ahead with a couple of renovation projects to prepare residences for new staff. It may cost up to $15,000 to renovate BaekAmDang, the small house, and approx. $30,000 to convert the old library into a residence area. Please pray for God’s provision.
Leading one person at a time to our Lord is our ultimate joy as L’Abri workers. Please pray for us that our hearts may remain determined in this task over the coming years.
Translated by Oh-Ig Kwon