L'Abri Newsletter, September 2016

September 1, 2016

Dear L’Abri praying family,

It has been raining for days. The rain brought us autumn. It keeps raining as if it wants to wash out all the heat and traces of summer, so that a new season can come. Whenever the season changes, it feels like God uses wind and rain to clean all the residue of the previous season, preparing a neat path for the coming one. God must be very tidy. Thanks to the cool weather, we can now breathe more easily than in the boiling hot summer. The green leaves of summer yield modestly to the fresh, cool, and calm air of autumn.

I should say hello to you first. I am SamWon Lee, who has been a worker in L’Abri since last spring. I appreciate that so many of you have been praying for me with your whole hearts. I thank God that I have settled down very well in L’Abri which God loves so much and start a new life as a servant of Him. Thank you very much for your praying.

I am doing lots of things for the first time in my life here: serving meals every day for those whom I have never met before, work that feels strange and burdensome every moment, feeding cats, cleaning their droppings, and praying for God’s help in helping each person. I cannot do any of this without your prayer. When I think about the efforts of many who worked here before me, including InKyung and KyungOk who have been working for L’Abri for nearly 30 years, as well as all of you who are praying for us, and the Holy Spirit, I am encouraged to live a full life each day.

As I meet people with their own unique problems, struggles, and spiritual issues each term, I realize more clearly how God is working here and His plan for sending me here. Many visitors came to L’Abri this summer. Each brought their own problems, worries for their future, questions about life arising from spiritual conflict and confusion of values. We shared joys and sorrows with each other, had many discussions, cried and laughed together. I reflected that I have not thought deeply about many of the issues that other people face in their lives.

Many young students stayed with us during their summer holidays. A 16-year-old student, our youngest visitor so far, came to L’Abri at his father’s suggestion, and he accepted Jesus while here. I ask you to pray that he follows Jesus well and does not give up his faith. Some middle school students and teachers from Ilsan Grace Church (pastor KyeongMin Kang) visited for a short while. They enjoyed a lecture on ‘the paradigm of vision’ and helped to clean up the mountain trails. They were so energetic that it was a bit noisy while they were here, but they gave vitality to a usually quiet L’Abri. Please pray that these young students will live by faith, and that their teachers can teach them the Christian worldview well.

Elders also came to L’Abri to learn more deeply about God and to experience the life of community in person. I would like you to pray that they can live their lives fully with spiritual growth in this age of longevity.

A college student who had once fallen for heresy came back to L’Abri this term and learned the Christian doctrine more systematically. She overcame her spiritual war very well as she listened to lectures, was helped by her tutor, and took part in discussions during tea time and meal time. On the last day, she left a letter titled ‘Born in the Faith, but Believing Again.’ We were deeply moved by her confessions.

Her spiritual recovery let me think about Jesus, who came down to the world in order to save each person. I cannot imagine how delighted Jesus must have been to see her again. I could also better understand a former worker who was so happy to hear that a visitor who accepted Jesus at L’Abri went back to church and became a leader in the youth group. Please pray for young people who suffer from the false values, confusion, and heresies of the world. Most of all, please pray for those who just made up their mind to accept Jesus to follow Him well for the rest of their lives.

There were also a lot of young couples. Many faced the crisis of divorce because of their differences, but learned to build a healthy home based on a shared understanding of the biblical rules of marriage and family. Please pray for them so that they can keep their promises and that the power of the Holy Spirit will help them keep a healthy marriage for life.

We had many pastors, too. They were looking for good ways to teach God’s words in a world full of injustice, conflict, evil, and doubt. I could feel just how much they need our prayer. Pastor YeongBok Oh of Joseong Church traveled all the way from Jeollanamdo to help us cover the inner walls of the tree house and the old gas station with hinoki panels. He spent all his holiday working, even bringing his own materials and woodworking equipment. I appreciate all of them.

This winter from January 5 to 7, we are going to co-host the School of Christian Worldview in Seoul again with the Christian Worldview Studies Association of Korea. Please pray that we can glorify the Lord through this School and that the conference can be a good path to spread the Christian worldview in Korea. There will be a special discussion panel on the issues of refugees and terrorism with Dr. BongHo Son, the chairman of the Christian Worldview Studies Association of Korea, and Pastor Wim Rietkerk, the former chairman of International L’Abri. Please pray for the cooperation of the workers of both organizations who are preparing for the School, and that God will meet all the needs.

Last but not least, please pray for our families. Please pray that Julia, who is serving as a helper in L’Abri while studying Christian counseling in graduate school, will get used to her new surroundings and be provided with all her needs. Please pray for JinSeong and Sul-Ah, our former “missionaries in residence” who recently returned to Canada to serve a church there, so that they can settle down safely in their new home and do well what God asks them to do. Please don’t forget to pray for the evangelist DooRi Mo, who lives upstairs in the old gas station and helps the church in the nearby center for the disabled, so that she can lead her congregation with good spiritual discernment. ChungSeong is currently at home to spend time with his younger brother who is on vacation from military service. Please pray for him to have a great time with his family. Please also pray that InKyung and KyungOk can live by God’s words every day and that God will provide with all the needs of L’Abri.

I did not decide to work in L’Abri out of bravery, but I had never thought that the work would be so challenging, either. I applied for to become a worker because I really wanted to help those who are confused about the many different worldviews and values of the world; at the same time, I looked forward to a lot of other things I thought would happen at L’Abri. For example, I expected to learn more about God every day, store up knowledge, take a rest from the busy life that I had lived so far, and meet many people who are famous for their achievements in their own field. I also thought to myself that working in L’Abri would be easier than working for my career. It is true that I came here to console myself in many ways.

Before long, however, I realized that I knew so little about the work of L’Abri. L’Abri is a needy household, and working here is not that simple. If I become lazy just for a moment, dust accumulates here and there, pine needles and pinecones litter the yard, and the whole place becomes a minefield of cat droppings. Even spiders take L’Abri as their home and build surprisingly large webs in every corner. Even though it does not become messy in a day, L’Abri will soon look like a haunted house if I don’t take care of it.

This is not to complain about the work, but rather to share what I learned. Korean L’Abri is beautiful in appearance. It is surrounded by green pine trees all year around, the blue sky, and cotton-white clouds. It looks like a perfect, gorgeous picture. The green, blue, and white go so well with brown logs. But someone needs to take care of everything in order to keep it beautiful and comforting. Someone once told me that the reason a swan looks elegant is that it moves its legs so fast under the water. Without someone’s invisible effort, the beautiful appearance and welcoming atmosphere will not maintain themselves.

I have a responsibility to take care of my heart and mind, just as I clean L’Abri every day, and stand straight before God. When I saw dust in a corner, I could see my sins, too. Just like dust, if we stop dealing with it for a day, nothing might seem to happen. But at some point we end up facing hardened stains that are too hard to clean. We might not even be able to realize that it is sin, having become used to dirtiness.

Of course, I cannot remove every dust perfectly even if I sweep and clean every day. However, I can prevent stains from setting by working a little every day. Likewise, even though our sins do not disappear perfectly as long as we live in this world, we should clean our inner worlds every day with the power of Jesus Christ that frees us from sin. Although it is not easy for me to work in L’Abri, God gave me this kind of spiritual realization. I thank God for allowing me to work in L’Abri.

Just as dust keeps piling up, sin tries to settle down in our hearts. We will probably get no break from this fight until Jesus comes again. I wish the day would come very soon. I pray that many people will become true Christian by accepting Jesus as their savior before that day.

As God cleans the world to welcome autumn,



Translated by EunHa Kim

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