L'Abri Newsletter, October 2014

October 5, 2014

Dear L’Abri praying Family,

As InKyung and I returned from Seoul after a two-week lecture tour, we were surprised to find that most of the rice fields in Yangyang had already been harvested. As an itinerant lecturer in the concrete forest of the city, the turn of season is barely perceptible; in the countryside, on the other hand, it really does feel like autumn. How relieved I am to be back home in the comfortable self of a country woman!

We met people in six different churches and missionary organizations, telling them about the Christian Worldview. It was a tight schedule, but we learned a lot from the all challenges that we encountered. As we settle back in L’Abri for another regular term, we pray that we had been of help to those who attended our lectures.

Shortly before our lecture tour, on the 17th of September, my mother YoungJa Choi passed away. She had been diagnosed of undifferentiated thyroid cancer about a year ago, and in several prayer letters over the last few months, we have asked you to pray for her. Regrettably, the cancer prevailed. It must have been a very difficult year for her, but even in our grief we are also thankful that her suffering did not last too long. We also thank God that my mother’s faith in Him did not falter until the very last, and that I was given the wonderful opportunity to care for her along with my brother and sister. My brother SungMin stayed beside her almost every day for the past year, and my sister KyungSook took two months off from her job in L.A. to nurse her.

My mother was born in Japan. After independence, she returned to Korea with her mother, only to suffer the Korean War shortly afterward. Later, she married my father, ChangYoung Park, a man from North Korea who had fled to the South during the war. I was their first child, followed by my sister KyungSook (now married to Oh-Ig Kwoun) and my brother SungMin (married to HyeJin Seo). Around the time my brother was born, my family became Christian.

Many years later, when InKyung and I started Korean L’Abri, my mother let us use her mountainside house in Huamdong, Seoul. She gave us the whole house and retreated to a small room in the corner. It must have been terribly inconvenient, but she never complained about it, only thanking God for using her house for His work. L’Abri would not have been able to stay in Seoul for 12 years if not for my mother’s faith and generosity.

After L’Abri moved to Yangyang in 2001 and after my father passed away, my mother refused to depend on her children and began to serve a new spiritual family at a small church in Bucheon, about an hour away from Seoul. The people at her new church called her “the mother of prayer”, an honorable title that she tried very hard to live up to. She prayed for each and every member of her church, for missionaries in faraway countries, and for us, L’Abri. Over the decades, she paid particular attention to single women who worked as missionaries, praying for and attending to their every need as best she could.

My siblings and I wished to keep the funeral quiet and private, so we did not invite anyone other than family and my mother’s church members. We were very surprised at the amount of gratitude that the church members expressed in memory of my mother; for over ten years, she had loved and prayed for her church, effectively her second family, no less than she did for her first.

At my mother’s funeral service, a pastor from her church said: “I saw her praying when I went home in the evening, and she was still praying when I came back the next morning. This happened many times. It is a tremendous loss for our church that our mother of prayer is no longer with us, but I take solace in the fact that she will be happier than ever before, now that she is with the Lord.”

My mother rests in peace beside the footpath around L’Abri, for which she spent so many hours praying. We followed the “natural burial” guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, so there is no mound, no gravestone, and barely any markings; only the memory of her untiring prayers remains with us. I have lost my mother, and L’Abri has lost one of the most precious members of its praying family. But we believe that we will see her again, too, when we see Jesus again.

I would like to close with a hymn that my mother liked to sing in her bed:

Jesus, the very thought of Thee With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see, And in Thy presence rest.

Our autumn term begins on the 10th of October. JinHyeon, recently discharged from the army, will work as a helper, as will SeoYeong, who helped us last summer. Pastor JinSung Kim and his wife Seul-Ah, from Canada, plan to stay, study, and help us for the next 1-2 years with their three children. We thank God for sending us people to share our burden.

Students and young adults from Korea as well as several other countries are planning to visit us this term. We are especially excited that Professor Cordell Schulten of Handong University and students of his Carmichael College will stay with us for a weekend later this month; this visit has been a long time in the making. Please pray that we will serve with love and wisdom each and every person that God sends us our way, and that their faces will shine with the joy of God’s truth as they leave our doorstep.

With love,


Translated by Kijin Sung

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