L'Abri Newsletter, April 2015
March 26, 2015
Dear L’Abri praying family,
It is spring, the season of resurrection. We have spread manure on our recently thawed garden in preparation for another year of fresh vegetables. Nearby fields are alive with the sound of tillers, welcoming new life into the world.
Having lived in the city for many years before moving to Yangyang, I find it puzzling that people in this rural town have so much difficulty believing in the death and resurrection of Christ. After all, they experience death and rebirth every year in the fields they sow with their own hands! Isn’t it ironic that city folks, who live so far away from the cycles of nature, seem to be more open to the good news? Perhaps, I suspect, our wretched society is even more effective than nature is in reminding people of the reality of death and making them yearn for true resurrection.
As Paul said: “How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies... So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable... As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.” (1 Corinthians 15:36-49)
One of the best explanations of resurrection that I’ve read can be found in Francis Schaeffer’s True Spirituality. Schaeffer tells us that the Christ died in history and lived again in history. When we accept Christ as our Lord and savior, we become one with Him and die in history like him. But when He comes again, we will be resurrected, in history, just like he was. Therefore, we should live our lives in faith as befit those who had already died with him, and as if we have already been born again with him.
Schaeffer’s words touch me because he emphasizes that resurrection is not merely a philosophical concept or psychological effect, but a true event that is part of our history. He also teaches us that the death and resurrection of Christ not only has an effect on us at the moment we first believe, but also guides our daily lives and thoughts. We should live as if we had already died and were returned to this world! How meaningless, then, are the prides and powers of this world when we stand before God in Heaven? We shall live by faith alone, as we have personally been there and back again.
We tend to assume that a person who has been a Christian for a long time will have changed his thoughts and life. But this is often not the case. A long-time believer can actually be even more confused, because he has too many conflicting thoughts and worldviews. None of us is able to have, and live according to, a perfectly Christian worldview. Yet it pains me to see so many young men and women give up the task altogether, shun the heavenly wisdom, and resort to following the trends of this visible world. Instead of living the life of someone who has died and lived again with Christ, they are too busy keeping up with a world that doesn’t even know that death is upon it. They need our help, but how should we help them?
In our branch, March is usually the month with the fewest visitors. We’ve had many short-term guests this term, but a few people managed to stay with us a bit longer. NamYe, a schoolteacher, spent a part of her sabbatical at L’Abri. Please pray that she will use this opportunity to learn what the Christian worldview has to say about education. MyeongIn came to think about his career while battling many illnesses. Please pray that he will not let his physical handicap dissuade him from living a full life as a born-again Christian. Inju, our valuable helper for quite some time, has now returned home. Please pray that he will not also return to loving the world more than God.
ChungSeong Lee will join us as a full-time worker from April. He became a Christian a few years ago at L’Abri, and has since graduated from college (he majored in philosophy) and worked as a barista. He says he applied to work with us because he wanted to help people like him. Only now do we realize that all the construction we had to do in the old gas station building last year, which we blamed on a leaking pipe at first, was in fact God’s preparation for ChungSeong to live and work there. Please remember him in your prayers from now on.
JinSeong and Sul-Ah are enjoying their time at L’Abri. Their eldest daughter, Ain, started elementary school and Rua is in kindergarten. Ian, the boy, has grown a lot, too! The children are excited to try their hands at gardening and care for Ireh’s newborn puppy. Please pray that they will make many happy memories in Yangyang while their parents study here.
InKyung and I will be attending the Members’ Meeting in Dutch L’Abri from April 8 to 13. Please pray for the expenses and a safe trip. Please especially pray that God’s will, not human plans, will prevail throughout the proceedings.
Please continue to pray for our finances. Our family has grown, but money remains tight. Recent changes in the Korean tax law seem to be discouraging people from making gifts. Nevertheless, we are thankful for all the help that we have been getting. Duri, who rents the upper floor of the old gas station building, is busy planting trees and flowers all over L’Abri. Mr. Ko, our friendly neighborhood carpenter, has put his skills to the unfinished tree house to finally make it nice and cozy.
We love you who help us with your prayer, gifts, and volunteering, but God loves even those who disobey and oppose his great plans. For such people Jesus volunteered to die on the cross, and for such people – for us – the Father brought Him back from death. God planned our salvation and carried out his plans with meticulous care. But not all of God’s plans are epic in scale. He also looks after the tiniest details. For L’Abri he prepared not only your prayers and gifts but also the house, the flowers and trees, and even the dogs and cats who slumber on our doorstep on this warm spring day. For a single lost lamb, God prepares all of this. Unlike us who always fret about efficiency, God pours overwhelming love into his plans and does not stop at anything. We are so thankful that we have such a great Father.
I pray that this history of salvation will play out in the lives of each and every one of you, so that you may mature in your faith and bask in the glory of being used as a part of God’s plan. I pray that you will enjoy the new life that God has given us, in the choice you make every moment, in your thoughts, and everything you do.
With the warmth of spring in Yangyang,
Translated by Kijin