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L'Abri Newsletter, March 2013

February 28, 2013

Dear L’Abri praying family,

How has God protected you throughout the winter? Finally, He has allowed us another spring, and I can feel it in the stairs, walls, and pipes that a deacon from a local church is helping us fix. The deep snow is nowhere to be found, and plants are already preparing for warmer weather. As the fierce winds of winter fade into gentle breezes of a new season, God’s providence manifests itself all around us in Yangyang.

Despite the unusually cold weather that we experienced between late December and early February, few beds were empty during our winter terms. Some were steadfast in their faith; others seemed lost in their search for truth. I have particularly high expectations of a young couple who are planning to get married and settle in the local area. I often challenge young men and women to try working in the lowest places, such as rural Yangyang, while they are young. I am glad that at least a few take up my challenge from time to time.

Please pray, first and foremost, for the workers. MinHyun Paik and BoKyung Park have been helping us with meals for two years now. MinHyun studied art and has been in the textile business for many years. BoKyung studied special education and works in counseling as well as a QT ministry. We have decided to give them the titles “Artist in Residence” and “Counselor in Residence”, respectively, in honor of the talents that they have shared generously with us. In addition, JunWon Shon and EunHye Park have been helping us since early winter, and we are taking steps to accept them as full-time workers.

Please pray for the Christian worldview to take root in every area of the lives of Christians in Korea. This winter, we held two sessions of our School of Christian Worldview (SCW) program, once from January 7 to 10 and once from February 4 to 7. The first was held in the nearby Chuyang House retreat, with 54 attendees. Some traveled to Seorak Mountain from faraway cities; some were non-Christians; and Dr. Hwang, Chairman of Erom Group and a member of our Board, gave lectures and stayed for three days despite his typically busy schedule. His visit and support were a great encouragement, both for us and for our students.

The second session was held at L’Abri with 12 leaders of the Kangwondo chapter of Disciples for Christ (DFC). Thanks to the smaller size of the group and the greater amount of experience that the leaders brought with them, all of our lectures were well understood and accepted. During work time, the DFC leaders also helped us with difficult tasks such as reorganizing the books in the library. One of the leaders even asked us for study materials to use in his own study group, which he is ambitiously planning to start in his campus. Please pray that our efforts and theirs will bear abundant fruit in the days and years to come.

The attendees and speakers of SCW also left us with valuable advice for improving the program. First, they recommended that we advertise the event much more broadly so that interested people can easily find it. Second, they asked us not to limit the conference to the size of the L’Abri house and instead use churches and other locations that are more accessible. Third, they challenged us to turn up younger speakers with fresher topics who can showcase Biblical approaches to the problems that young people face in their daily lives. Please pray that we will be able to follow the best advice and thereby serve the Korean church better.

Please pray especially for Edith Schaeffer, who is nearly 100 years old and suffers from critically ill health. Please also pray for the health of Professor Chi Mo Hong, who introduced Schaeffer to Korea while he taught at ChongShin Theological Seminary, and who helped our branch a lot during our early years. Please pray for Pastor Kim and Cynthia, who serve IPC Seoul Church, to lay the foundation of a good church.

Please pray for KyungOk and me to be renewed day by day in our faith in Him. I have had the privilege to give sermons and lead Bible studies in a small church in Sokcho for two months while the Pastor was on sabbatical. During this time, I came across Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7. Stephen was neither an apostle nor a Biblical scholar, but he offered an excellent analysis of the two things that Jews held most dear – the Temple and the Law – using examples of some of the most famous men in the history of Israel. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you what I learned through Stephen’s sermon about God and His house.

Stephen introduces us first to Abraham, who met the “God of glory” (v. 2) while he was deeply immersed in the idolatrous culture of Mesopotamia. Unlike idols that can neither speak nor think nor act with their hands, the God that Abraham met spoke to him, called him, promised him blessing and salvation, and showed Himself every time Abraham built an altar for Him. Without God’s glory, the altars were but piles of stone; with it, however, they became holy houses of God.

Stephen also draws attention to Joseph, so experienced the God who stayed “with him” (v. 9) even in the midst of a foreign prison. Stephen uses the word “Egypt” seven times in his sermon, emphasizing that God is everywhere, not just in Israel. Any place can become a house of God as long as there are believers who seek to be with Him. This includes not only churches, but every home, workplace, school, and prison.

Another Biblical figure who found God’s house is Moses. He met the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” in the burning bush, who told him to take of his shoes as he was standing on “holy ground” (v. 33). The patch of dirt on which Moses was standing was as holy as the inner sanctuary of the Temple of Jerusalem centuries later, not because of expensive ornaments, but simply because God was there.

Finally, Stephen talks about David and Solomon, who built the beautiful Temple of Jerusalem – “a dwelling place for God” (v. 46). However, the Bible again emphasizes that God “does not live in houses made by men” (v. 48). David and Solomon did not build the Temple for idols made of stone and marble; they built it for the true God who is in Heaven. Indeed, every offering, altar, tent, and temple that we encounter in the Old Testament was but a shadow or model of the Jesus to come. The physical models point us toward Jesus, the true Temple of God; Jesus is the God of glory, who is worthy of our praise, who shows Himself whenever and wherever believers suffer, who was and is and is to be, and who will never be limited to the artifacts of men.

Most importantly, God’s house is wherever we the believers come together, for God will be there always. God resides in your family, in your workplace, at L’Abri, and in you no matter what you do. I pray that you will meet Jesus in your daily life this year, and that God will give all of you the blessing of stacking yet another stone in the true Temple that is being built inside you.

Yours truly,

InKyung

Translated by Kijin Sung

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