L'Abri Newsletter, February 2018
February 7, 2018
Dear L’Abri praying family,
How have you been enduring the bitter cold of late? The Winter Olympics have brought many guests to the area around L’Abri; but the politics, economy, and the hearts of the people seem to be just as frozen as the weather these days. I’ve never looked forward to the spring, missed the magnificent bloom of royal azaleas in the mountain, as badly as I do now.
Nevertheless, seekers from all wakes of live have found their way to L’Abri, from college freshmen to professors, from new believers to elders and pastors. The joy of finding answers to their honest questions, helping them discover love and truth, has kept us warm through much of the winter.
Many guests also stopped by to encourage the young people. Mr. Ji-In Jeong, who built us the tree house, visited to see people study and ended up staying for a night. Mr. JaChang Gu from the newspaper Kukmin Ilbo stayed with us for two days to write a special article on my new book, A Love Song for Young Truth-Seekers. Mr. HyeonHo Kim from Busan joined us for the Sunday chapel with six other people, including the CCM singer BoYeong Park. Mr. HyeonHong Park and other staff of Loving Hands, a mentoring group, also visited us. I would like to share with you the story of two people who stayed at L’Abri for a few weeks.
Here is an excerpt from an essay left with us by a university student: “I discovered three things at L’Abri. First, to have a Christian worldview is to see the world from the standard of Biblical truth. Second, true spirituality means that everything apart from sin is spiritual. Third, my very substance is haughty. I don’t know whether I will ever experience another earthquake like the one I felt upon discovering these. But I am confident that I will be able to overcome any problem I encounter from now on if I live with true spirituality and improve my spiritual discernment. I will lay a strong foundation and rebuild a beautiful, hopefully more earthquake-proof, house of faith.”
Here is a letter from a professor who finished a large book amidst the hustle and bustle of much younger housemates: “Thank you so much! I am enamored by the delicious food, clean bedding, refined wisdom, and your all-giving sacrifice. I learned a few valuable lessons in the last ten days. I realized for the first time that there was a framework in which to place my fragments of religious knowledge that used to be all over the place. I realized the depth of my prejudices by meeting young people without makeup, and without their resumes preceding them – making me see their personality before their appearances and socioeconomic background. I realized how unrefined I have been, thinking I’m a leader and worrying about the world. As I leave L’Abri, I think that this is just the beginning. As I return to my routine, I may slowly forget the lessons I’ve learned. But if you pray that I would continue to live as an avatar of the spirit of L’Abri, I may indeed start again. I miss your tables, the spaces, the people, already.”
We heard many different responses to A Love Song for Young Truth-Seekers, too. Some said it was boring. Some said they read it well and wanted to recommend it to others. The book, co-written by KyungOk and me, isn’t advertised much. It is sold mostly by word of mouth. But a letter from one of you gave us great encouragement: “I finished it in two days. I visited L’Abri for the first time in the winter of 2001, just after you moved to Yangyang. I heard about what happened after – the typhoon, the snowstorm, the wildfire, and how you almost got evicted before Elder Kim’s donation allowed L’Abri to continue – through prayer letters ever since. As I read those stories again in a book, I thank God that I’ve had the opportunity to witness the history of Korean L’Abri. Jesus came from Nazareth, a town where people thought nothing good could come from. Although you are also located in a remote area surrounded by harsh nature, L’Abri has given many people – including myself – great spiritual food.”
Evangelical work is not always blessed with an army of supporters. We are reading the Book of Acts these days, and find that the reaction to the Gospel in Antioch was just as varied as here in Yangyang.
Some people actively welcomed the Gospel and resolved to follow Christ right there and then. “When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas.” (Acts 13:43) “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” (13:48)
Others expressed passive welcome, not believing immediately but inviting Paul and Barnabas to “speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.” (13:42)
Still others opposed and criticized the Gospel, going so far as to persecute the evangelists with the help of powerful allies. “When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.” (13:45) “But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.” (13:50)
Please pray that we at L’Abri will have the strength to continue our work despite such varied responses. Please pray especially for the health of our workers – ChungSeong, SamWon, KyungOk, and me – who share their lives every day with people who carry neither makeup nor resume. Please pray for Julia, who is studying counseling at the Asian Center for Theological Studies (ACTS), and for Haejin, who will start taking online courses for a Master’s in education at Hanyang Cyber University this spring. Please pray that regular members of our chapel, including the families of SangKi, HyeonWoo, JinHyeong, and WonHo, will be mature evangelists. Please pray for my mother, who will be staying with us for a while after Korean New Year. I pray that God will be with you every day, moment by moment.
Translated by Kijin Sung
- Like last year, there will be a Christian Worldview Forum during the summer term (July 16 – August 26). Please contact us if you would like to present a paper and/or join the discussion.
- L’Abri is closed during the Winter Olympics and Korean New Year holidays. We will be open from March 1 to April 1.
- During the spring term, we will have book discussions every Friday evening and Saturday morning. We will talk about Schaeffer’s Escape from Reason on March 9 and 10; Sanford and Wilkens’s Hidden Worldviews on March 16 and 17; Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens and Homo Deus on March 23 and 24; and our own A Love Song for Young Truth-Seekers on March 30 and 31.