L'Abri Newsletter, December 2014
December 12, 2014
Dear L’Abri praying Family,
One day, I wake up to find that another year is almost over. I have hardly felt the passage of time; days have blurred into weeks and months in our struggle to help, or at least make sense of, the endless stream of people that God has sent us. There have been happy days as well as terrible days, but all of them look so small and insignificant as we look back from the edge of a new year. I wonder if God feels the same way. Didn’t He say that a thousand years is like a day to Him and vice versa?
As I wrote in my last letter, we’ve had an exciting autumn. People of all ages from various countries have graced us with a visit, from high school students who had just finished their college entrance exams, to a gentle couple in their 60s. Professor Cordell Schulten of Handong University brought us his students from Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Nepal; and we also welcomed Audrey, an English teacher from America, and Julia, a student from Russia. Together with our usual Korean guests, that means six nations have been part of our extended family at one point or another!
We also welcomed Pastor and Mrs. JinSung and Sul-Ah Kim to our community with their children Ain (7), Rua (6), and Ian (2). The laughter of the children as they explore the house and play with our cats brings new life to L’Abri, a taste of the Heaven that belongs to them. The girls are having a lot of fun at the local kindergarten, while Ian is busy pushing chairs around to reach hitherto unexplored shelves and closets. Please pray that the Kims’ three children will be safe, healthy, and happy at L’Abri. JinSung is on sabbatical from his missionary work among the indigenous peoples of Canada, and we are grateful to have a young couple with whom to share the burdens of our work. JinSung is especially skilled at building maintenance, having worked in construction. He is very helpful to InKyung around the house.
Meanwhile, a burst pipe prompted us to start fixing the old gas station, a task that we had put off for quite some time. We laid new pipes throughout, and also renovated the kitchen and bathroom. Pastor YoungHoon Kim, who has just as much experience (if not more) in physical plumbing as he does in the spiritual counterpart, helped us very much, as did JinHyeon, our helper, and several others who stayed with us through the autumn. Thanks to their work, Du-Ri who rents the upper floor of the old gas station now has hot water all day long.
Please pray urgently for InKyung’s father, Pil-Bang Sung. Barely a month after my mother succumbed to cancer, InKyung’s father was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. The unexpected series of illnesses in the family reminds us urgently of the problem of evil in this world. My father-in-law, even at 84, has been remarkably healthy until recently; he has been nursing InKyung’s mother for years, and none of us expected him to be the first to depart. Please pray for him just as you had prayed for my mother. Please pray that the power of the Cross will give him strength and unwavering faith in his final days, and that my mother-in-law, who now has to nurse him in return, will find strength in the Lord’s peace.
We are currently busy wrapping up the maintenance work in time for the winter term. Mr. Ko, a carpenter who has helped us much over the last couple of years, has come back to help us fix what needs fixing before it gets too cold. JinSung and InKyung are assisting him. A section of the eaves fell from the roof a few days ago because of high winds; as I write this letter, the men are putting it back on despite even colder winds today.
We plan to open the winter term with a modest Christmas party. We hope to show young people, who so often think of Christianity as boring and restrictive, how fun it can really be to celebrate the birth of our King. Please pray that we may do this with wisdom. Please pray for Julia, a foreign student who will return to L’Abri this winter in search of a better understanding of the foundations of Christianity. We are also expecting a few English teachers from America, as well as the principal of an English academy. I’m anxious to see what kinds of discussions we’ll be able to have with a principal, teachers, and students all in the same house. As usual, please pray that God will send us people who can benefit the most from their stay at L’Abri, and that we will be able to help them effectively.
According to the weatherman, it will be a rather wet winter this year in Yangyang. Please pray that the same God who protected us from 150cm (5 ft) of snow last winter will also keep us safe and sound throughout the storms and blizzards. Please pray for the safety of all who come and go upon the icy roads, and for the cost of heating.
This winter term will be designated as a School of Christian Worldview. Instead of running a separate conference for the SCW, we will incorporate the curriculum into the regular term so that study and life can become one. Please pray for dying souls to gain new life, for wandering souls to find a home, and for young Christians who have yet to cast aside their old habits and thoughts to find their strength of will at L’Abri. Merely staying here does not change people; your prayers do.
I thank you again for the prayer and fellowship that you have shared with us this year. Nothing in this world equals the worth of you who know God and His Kingdom; your prayers help make history every day, bringing God’s Kingdom closer every day, even as the days blur into years. So we dare ask you to stay with us another year, work with us, pray with us, and partake with us in God’s glory. May the power of faith be revealed, both in your prayers and in your daily lives.
Translated by Kijin Sung