L'Abri Newsletter, January 2017
January 17, 2017
Dear L’Abri praying family,
I hope you are staying healthy despite the cold weather. I am grateful for your persistent prayer, and hope that you will continue to pray for us this coming year as well. Please pray for the young people who come all the way to Yangyang in search of love and truth despite the harsh winter. This morning, 14 young people from the nearby Samcheok Methodist Church are visiting L’Abri, and in the afternoon we are expecting a few more visitors from Goyang. Starting tomorrow, a couple of young people will be staying at L’Abri for a while. This year, we are open during the Lunar New Year holidays as well.
Please continue to pray for the spiritual and physical health of SamWon and ChungSeong. Julia is planning to visit her family as soon as we finish our winter term. Euijin is about to start his military service in March. Haejin’s English lessons are getting more and more popular as time goes by. Kijin manages an IT consulting company, Poesis, and in his spare time helps with L’Abri lectures. KyungOk and I are struggling day by day to help yet one more person. Please pray for all of us.
We have both sad and happy news. Sadly, in the evening of January 10, SamWon’s father Hyeong-Se Lee passed away at the age of 70. All L’Abri workers went down to Jeonju to give our condolences to the family and closest friends and to have a memorial service together. Nothing can fill in the void of a father, but please pray that SamWon, her mother, and two brothers would hold tightly onto the promise of resurrection that we were given.
The good news is that we successfully held the School of Christian Worldview at Samil Church in Seoul from January 5 to 7. Over 15 speakers from various fields, 10 staff and 120 attendees gathered in one place to learn and share their ideas on Christian living. It was indeed a wonderful time! This is the second of tree conferences that we agreed to co-host with the Christian Worldview Studies Association of Korea. The overall theme this year was “knowing the world through the Christian worldview”. Last year, it was “seeing the world from through the Christian worldview”; next year, it will be “living in the world with the Christian worldview”.
As I mentioned in the opening lecture, the harder the situation gets in our country and the world, the more young people feel the need not for marriage or career advancement, but for spiritual discernment. To borrow Solomon’s expression, spiritual discernment is wisdom, understanding, a hidden treasure, and a strategy for war.
Unfortunately, young people today are vigorously trying to obtain more qualifications for their work, neglecting spiritual discernment. From Solomon’s experience we can learn those things may be seen as signs of temporary success in the world. However, in the long run, professional qualifications cannot lead us to ultimate triumph. That is why Solomon said that “the wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength”. Only when we fight with clever and strategic thinking can we gain victory in our spiritual wars.
Let’s take a deeper look at what God tells us through Solomon’s words. “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” (Proverbs 24:3-6)
I experienced the power of spiritual discernment in action during the panel lecture on the second day of the School of Christian Worldview. Wim Rietkerk from Dutch L’Abri, BongHo Son from the Christian Worldview Studies Association of Korea, and our attorney JongChul Kim from APIL (Advocates for Public Interest Law) took turns lecturing, answering questions, and discussing the “uncomfortable neighbors” that we too often forget in our world – refugees.
Wim mentioned that despite the difficulties that Europe is facing because of a recent flood of refugees, more than 3000 Arabs in Germany alone have come to Christ in the last year. I had once met a missionary from the Middle East who confessed that it took him 7 years to evangelize one person there. We had cried together. But now I realize once again that “God’s thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are my strategies the same as God’s”.
Wim also visited Mokchon Foundation and spent time looking through the Architectural Archive that elder JungSik Kim has been collecting with his heart and soul all these years. After the conference, he came to Yangyang with us to give a sermon on “How should a Christian serve the local community?” at our chapel. He shared with us his experience as a member of the Utrecht city council, and of leading the construction of the Jewish Memorial to promote reconciliation between the accomplices and victims of the Holocaust. Before returning to the Netherlands, Wim received an invitation from Dr. SungJoo Hwang to receive a medical examination at the Loving Care Clinic and to give a lecture to the staff titled “Eschatology for Businesspeople”.
We are very thankful to the Lord’s Cross Church, Lord’s New Church, and Mrs. Hae-Ok Yun for helping us with conference expenses and Wim’s travel costs. I bow my head in thankfulness for the speakers who came from afar and prepared lectures for the young people for free. I am also grateful to the staff of the Christian Worldview Studies Association as well as our own workers and helpers, who spared no time and effort organizing the event. Finally, please pray again for the young people who attended the School of Christian Worldview, to become the salt and light in the area they work in. Let us all walk with God moment by moment throughout the coming year.
Translated by Julia