L'Abri Newsletter, July 2015
July 18, 2015
Dear L’Abri Praying Family,
I greet you with the Lord’s peace. This is JinSeong Kim, and I have been studying at L’Abri since last November with my wife Sul-Ah and our three children (Ain, Rua, and Ian). We are enjoying a fruitful time here – a time of learning what it is like to live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit day by day, moment by moment. It is also an opportunity to learn what it is to live a life of obedience, letting go of our arrogant thoughts.
Many things happened over the last month or two. The worst drought in decades scorched the river banks and cracked up the fields that should normally have been lush with crops. The sun burned up the hearts of farmers as well as what remained of the crops. Increasing food prices made everyone anxious.
Moreover, the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in June made the whole country tremble in fear. Here at L’Abri, we were also concerned that those who really need our help might hesitate to try community life because of the risk of disease. Financial hardship threatened us just as much as the weather and the virus did. However, we managed to wrap up our June term having learned some important lessons. Most of all, the situation reminded us of the true meaning of faith mission.
Despite the MERS scare, some brave souls still visited L’Abri and stayed with us at length. Despite the self-imposed inconvenience of having to check their temperature and general physical conditions twice a day, they talked, debated, and prayed about life’s questions. We were greatly challenged by these young people. In addition, right when we couldn’t pay our electric bill, people from all sorts of places sent us money out of the blue, turning our financial crisis into prayers of gratitude. I vividly remember our prayer meetings every Monday, giving thanks to the Lord who gave us the sweet rain of His Grace in our time of desperation.
There was a special event last term. Julia received her baptism at L’Abri. It was a graceful day not only for her but for all of us. She had studied with us on multiple occasions during the last year, but in preparation for the ceremony she studied especially about baptism and catechism. I carefully prepared the chapel and gave a sermon; ChunSeong played the piano; InKyung conducted the ceremony; and KyungOk prepared a feast for everyone. We all had a wonderful time. InKyung says that a long time ago, when he was in college, he dreamt of going to Communist countries such as North Korea and China as a missionary. Now that people from formerly Communist regimes have come to L’Abri, he feels amazed and honored.
Our helper, MyeongIn, worked hard despite his physical challenges, especially when the weather aggravated his conditions. He helped us digitize documents that had been stacked up for decades, and prepared warm tea for guests. He also led our film discussions with the director, Mr. InSeok Jeon. Among the guests were Seul-Gi, who knows how to listen to others quietly and carefully; SeongIn, who is interested in Christian communities; and YunSeok, who’ve read all the books of Schaeffer and is coming back next term for more discussion. I also remember those who visited us briefly: JinYeong and JiEun, and last but not least, our former helper JinHyeon, who came to rest a bit while preparing for his college entrance exam. It was also great pleasure to meet Dennis, an American linguist working in Afghanistan, and his student John, who is studying in Handong University.
YeongJin came to L’Abri after being discharged from military service, wishing to establish solid foundations for a Christian worldview. He studied very hard, even extending his stay by another week. MinWoo, an ER doctor, visited to collect his thoughts on true faith and some other issues. YeHee and SangHee enjoyed picking snails in the nearby stream while studying at L’Abri. We have also met DaeWoong, a TV director, and his wife NamHee. DaeWoong showed us a panoramic view of L’Abri with his drone camera. JeongWoo, a doctor of laws, has ambitions to do missionary work like Os Guinness’s Trinity Forum. We have been very happy to be with all these people.
Our film director InSeok and his wife HyeWon spent a very busy month. The pastor had to take care of the Community Children’s Center by himself while HyeWon travelled to Kenya to meet their daughter ChaeYeong. In order to help him out, I went to the Children’s Center to cook supper twice a week for the month. It was not easy to prepare meals for thirty children in addition to L’Abri’s own busy schedule. Still, I had fun, and I learned a lot about cooking food that would delight the picky taste buds of children. A certain helper (actually, we only had one helper this term) was very happy to have food that suited his admittedly childish palate.
Please pray especially for InKyung and KyungOk. As you are well aware of, summer terms here in Yangyang are hectic and physically demanding. Please pray for their health as they prepare delicious physical as well as spiritual food for our guests, without any chance for rest. Even during the two-week break, we received so many calls and an endless queue of guests, who often arrived unannounced. The supposed break turned out to be a continuation of our last term. Because of the incessant need to speak with people, InKyung continues to suffer from a sore throat despite long medical treatment.
ChungSeong is spending the heated summer with an ardent passion. As a chef, he wholeheartedly prepares meals for our guests; as a barista, he splits his busy schedule to roast coffee beans for the L’Abri family; and as a carpenter, he’s been building a small pavilion together with me. We are using old pieces of leftover wood to build a small resting place for people on the way to the tree house. ChungSeong is also an attentive friend to our guests. He is an excellent workman and a well-rounded person. Please pray for his health during the summer.
In the blink of an eye, the tourist season has come. The increasing number of visitors to Yangyang’s mountains and beaches shows that the MERS scare is gradually fading away from people’s hearts. Many people have already registered for our second summer term (July 20 to August 12). Please pray that God will send us those who truly need our help. Please pray that lifeless souls will be born again, and that the hurt and wandering will find strength and recovery. Without your prayer, we cannot bear to perform this mission. We at L’Abri also pray that you will live a life full of grace and peace.
Translated by Haejin Sung