L'Abri Newsletter, January 2016
January 19, 2016
Dear L’Abri praying family,
It has already been three weeks since the New Year started. I seriously decided to keep my New Year’s resolution this time, but all of my resolutions seemed to run far away from me as time went by. Before too late, I made up my mind again to catch up with them, and thought deeply about what it means to live relying on the blood of Christ and asking for the Holy Spirit’s help.
While studying at L’Abri for a year and two months, I served meals to guests and shared a variety of life stories with them, sometimes laughing with them, and at other times crying with them. These experiences helped remind me how precious each soul is. I also worked with other workers and guests to maintain and fix every part of the building; whenever something broke unexpectedly, we worked in unison to deal with the crisis so well that we learned many important lessons from the community life. It is impossible to explain how deeply I was moved when I saw what an honest life, lived in spirit and truth and truly free, looked like. My stay at L’Abri with my wife and three children has been a great present from God.
A lot of guests have visited us during the winter term that started on December 29th. We had a particularly wonderful time reading C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity together from the 11th to the 15th of this month, led by Mr. InYoung Jeong. We had more visitors than L’Abri could accommodate, so we had to rent some rooms in the village nearby. We spent the mornings cutting firewood and cleaning every nook and corner, and concentrated on reading and discussion in the afternoon and at night. Literally, we worked during the day and studied at night for five days. We read aloud one by one, pausing whenever someone had a question. Sometimes others answered the question, but we often also had a lengthy discussion about the issue. It was a great experience of the power of so-called collective intelligence.
Every term, God seems to bless us with a different color of grace. Some terms are blessed with wise messages to impress everyone. Some terms let us enjoy freedom in Christ. This winter, I could feel that my heart is much warmer than ever before. L’Abri now seems to be full of the warmth of the Holy Spirit that words cannot describe, revealed through our lives in the shared space that we call home.
That warmth got so hot one day that the stove pipe caught fire one day; we had to empty one of our big red fire extinguishers to put it out! It might sound funny now, but we were so frightened at that time. I am thankful that all of us stayed calm and dealt with the accident appropriately, each of us carrying out our responsibilities. After tidying things up, we prayed with tears that we were thankful to God for keeping us safe and not allowing the incident to turn into a disaster. Then we all wore a big smile on our faces and encouraged one another, showing how much we appreciated each other’s efforts. We will need to have some discussion regarding the use of the stove from now on, but anyway, even such an unexpected incident could not cool down the warm atmosphere at L’Abri.
Here’s another story, fresh from this term. We had a visitor who had just finished his university entrance exam. He found answers to several questions he had kept so far, and he said, “Now, I have no reason to hesitate to believe in the truth of Christianity.” He finally accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Like him, so many youths are still looking for honest answers to honest questions. Please pray for them.
As I reflect again on God’s grace, I can feel the power of all your prayers. I think God has poured such abundant grace upon us this winter because of the prayer that each of you has offered for L’Abri at your own place. Thank you so much.
We are open until January 30th. We are going to have eight teachers and students from a small group named ‘L’Abri’ at Vision Classical Christian School. They will visit us for lectures, film, and discussion. As we have asked you to pray before, we are going to co-host this year’s School of Christian Worldview with the Christian Worldview Studies Association of Korea at the 100th Anniversary Memorial Church in Seoul from January 28th to the 30th. We would be delighted if you could come personally or encourage young people around you to attend.
After this term, there will be construction in February. We are going to renovate the unused library into living quarters for more visitors and workers. We have always needed more rooms at L’Abri, as we saw even during this winter. Thankfully, a generous gift from a deaconess has allowed us to make plans for four more rooms. We ask you to pray that God gives the architects wisdom to make the rooms both creative and practical, that workers and other cooperators should be safe during the construction, and that all the work be finished in time so that we will not have any problems next term.
Last but not least, there is some good news about sister DuRi Mo, who has been renting the second floor of the old gas station. She was appointed as an evangelist for the church in the welfare facility for severely disabled people near L’Abri. So far, L’Abri workers and some pastors from around Yangyang have taken turns preparing for service at the center every Sunday, but it was hard to help and take care of church members under this arrangement. Now, since Christmas, DuRi has taken full charge of helping the church and its very special congregation. How thankful we are! As it is a special ministry, DuRi will face many difficulties and much burden. She may not be able to handle all of her responsibilities without your prayer. We sincerely ask you to pray that members of her church will be consoled, encouraged, and experience the grace and love of Jesus Christ through her.
Please don’t forget to pray for InKyung and KyungOk. As you know, since we have many guests, especially during the winter, they are so busy and easily get tired. We ask you to pray for InKyung and KyungOk who are committed to take care of each and every soul despite the heavy burden of schedule and leadership. Furthermore, we ask you to pray that all of us can serve L’Abri with wisdom from God, and that all the workers cooperate well whenever something unexpected happens.
Although it is freezing cold in Yangyang, we see surfers on the beach wearing winter suits and fixated on the waves. They have fun in the strong and harsh winter sea, giving themselves to a surfboard. On the other hand, people keep coming to L’Abri even against the cold weather to rest their bodies and minds for a while. Please pray for them to depend on the Lord throughout their lives and to learn to fly through the wild waves of this world. Without your prayer, we would not be able to manage the ministry. We will also pray here, at L’Abri, for your lives to be full of grace and peace.
Translated by EunHa Kim