L'Abri Newsletter, May 2016
May 9, 2016
Dear L’Abri praying family,
Springtime in L’Abri is a “festival of life” – you probably know what I mean. Royal azaleas are in full bloom, surrounding our home like a traditional Korean folding screen. Pregnant cats sleep lazily on benches in our backyard; up the hill, squirrels run around all day, foraging for hidden acorns. In the mountains, water deer who have survived the long winter cry loudly day and night, saying “I’m here, too!”
Julia, who was baptized at L’Abri last year, brought us a real living present in March: 20 young people from 10 different countries – Korea, the United States, India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Argentina, and Russia – who are studying or working in the city of Wonju.
A pastor and his wife came to Yangyang all the way from Boseong on the south coast, with a case full of fresh chicken for our young visitors. We enjoyed not only chicken but their love and friendship that day. Another pastor’s family with 10 adopted children happened to visit L’Abri that day. We all shared our life and living faith with one other.
In addition, a soon-to-wed couple in their mid-twenties who had met in L’Abri visited us to take wedding photos. Not only the bride and groom but also their best man and bridesmaids were so beautiful that we thought fairies had descended upon us. Meanwhile, we also welcomed truth-seekers with many questions they had kept for years. Some studied so hard and had so many honest questions that they were reluctant to spend any time to sleep and eat. I would like to share with you a part of a letter that an elementary school teacher wrote us at the end of his stay:
While I was staying this time, I thought about “simplicity.” Simplicity makes us feel easy. It also helps us give up our greed. I have been obsessed with the idea that I should finish (all the work) “today.” I used to regard those who wanted to do something “manana (tomorrow)” as lazy.
So I was very impressed when the pastor said that I could do the next day what I couldn’t finish on that day. I thought to myself, wow, it’s acceptable to do it the next day! That realization made me feel so easy and at peace.
In his poem, “Prayer for Children,” Si-Cheon Kim talks about “the simplicity that teaches one thing the right way rather than the greed to teach ten things.” Like him, I will try to do one thing correctly instead of greedily doing ten. I want to build a road and leave the rest of the work for other people to take part in. I hope to live with a broader perspective, keeping calm.
Please pray that I live my life as real Christian, mortifying my sins. I also ask you to pray that I will have the courage not to indulge in spiritual laziness even as I keep my composure.
If such a humble teacher needs our prayer, how much more would the rest of us need? We engage as much in spiritual war every day as we enjoy the festival of life. Some days go by so fast with many happy moments, whereas other days are just like hell with time passing so slowly. Some days surprise us with so many exciting visitors while other days are slack with few guests. We are happy to serve meals and make beds for visitors, but sometimes the tedious and endless work bear down on us.
We were shocked a few days ago when a young man from Brazil broke his finger while working. Other times, I stay alone in the empty room after all the visitors have left and feel so lonely that I didn’t know what to do. Sometimes I even want to skip a meal just because I’m so tired and don’t want to see anybody. Generous gifts often surprise us, but there are other times when our finances run dry. Someone once said that community is where heaven and hell coexist. He or she probably realized the mixed feelings of joy and sorrow that we live every day in a community like L’Abri.
The Old Testament introduces to a woman named Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She was once anguished because she couldn’t have a baby, but then she became so delighted after giving birth to a lovely boy that she became even more arrogant than the other woman who used to taunt her for her barrenness. Suddenly, Hannah realizes that how shallow human beings (including herself) can be, and decides to keep her oath to offer her son to God who had answered her silent prayer.
“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed … The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up … The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:2-10, NIV)
Hannah calls the Lord “holy,” “Rock,” “a God who knows,” he who “brings death and makes alive” and who will “judge the ends of the earth.” These words show God’s character in a way that even Eli, the high priest at the time, had not realized. Especially considering the phrase “his anointed”, which seems to refer not only to a king but also to Jesus, the highest of priests, we could say that Hannah became the first woman who knew that “his anointed” in the Old Testament meant Jesus Christ. Her confession was a truly precious revelation and wisdom in an age when everyone did as they saw fit.
The harder times we face, the more we need the wisdom of God’s revelation and a feast of His words. During the long weekend, we are going to have two lectures: “The Centrality of the Cross’ by Pastor YeongJeon Yang in the evening of May 13 and “Refugees” by the lawyer JongCheol Kim in the morning of May 14. Please pray for young people who are wandering without knowing where to go, and for those who are spending the long weekend near Yangyang, so that they can join us and enjoy God’s grace.
Translated by EunHa Kim