L'Abri Newsletter, September 2018
September 10, 2018
Dear L’Abri praying family,
It’s been a hard summer for all of us. The heat wave felt like it would never end; and then a typhoon brought torrential rain with it. This morning, however, the autumn sky is clear and blue. I wish I could hop on one of those feathery clouds and leave the summer forever behind.
In the last prayer letter, I asked you to pray for our auditor and long-time friend, Mr. JaeYong Shin, who has been battling a renal disease for the last few years. He finally received a kidney transplant on August 29, and is in stable condition now. JaeYong was in a very bad condition for the first few days after the surgery, so we were all worried for him. But after a while, we were glad to see his happy face and hear his strong voice again. “The good kidney’s been having a hard time adjusting to my bad body, but it looks like it has finally begun to work! My urination has returned to normal, and all the numbers are close to normal.”
The donor was also delighted by the news, saying “I would have donated earlier if I knew how happy it would make him!” On the same day on the same floor, a mother donated her kidney to her son, and a son to his father. Severance Hospital performs over 150 kidney transplants a year. Even non-Christians are putting into practice the sacrificial love of Jesus by donating their organs not only to their loved ones but also to people they don’t even know. I pray that Christians will be even more willing to help save lives by partaking in the passion of our Christ.
Love is the only thing that connects the donor and the recipient. How else could one person give the gift of life to another? Once again, we witnessed the majesty of unconditional love, the living love of God. Please pray that both JaeYong and the donor will recover to the fullest extent and continue to practice this great love for the rest of their lives. I also thank all of you for being a part of God’s work by praying for JaeYong from all over the world.
We had many other surprises this summer. We had so many visitors! Perhaps people somehow knew that we were planning to have a sabbatical from September to December, because they arrived in Yangyang in great haste notwithstanding the torturous heat. It was not easy to serve so many different people whom we could only accommodate for a short while. On some days, we had to run our three washing machines four times each—a dozen loads in total. It must have been the busiest summer in my life.
Despite the chaos, a young woman had the tenacity to stay with us the whole term and focus on her own questions no matter who else came and went. She had so much to ask God about the pain she had been in, but found it difficult at first even to formulate the questions. In time, however, the image of God inside her began to flower. She flooded us with questions that eventually helped her overcome her misapprehension about the problem of pain and free will. She realized the great, deep love of God and that Christianity is a truth that gives freedom, not a shackle. This is not the kind of change that we have the privilege to witness in our community except for God’s guidance as well as the prayers of those whose names we don’t even know. We give praise and glory to God, and thanks to all of you, our praying family.
Many others, meanwhile, have yet to find the answers they need. Some stayed with us for such a short time that they had no opportunity to talk about their questions. Please pray that God will protect and guide them wherever they are. They have returned to a world that feels so overwhelmingly powerful to them, and they are too weak to stop shaking in fear.
The two sessions of Christian Worldview Forum were very fruitful. We had a variety of seminars and discussions over two weekends. Papers such as “The new law on end-of-life decisions: does it kill or save lives?” “Is salvation possible without accepting Christian beliefs?” helped us better understand issues that we ought to be interested in but have hitherto lacked the medical or philosophical knowledge to make an informed judgement. There were also a number of creative papers, such as “The social responsibility of Christians expressed as a Venn diagram,” “The identity of a pastor,” “Suggestions for Christian alternative schools,” “What is an ideology?” and “To those nearing Marriage.”
This is the second time that we’ve run a Forum in this format. It is especially fun to have a diverse group of people, both presenters and commentators, live, eat, and work together while learning how to think Biblically. A neighbor who has cerebral palsy presented a paper titled “Problems with the Korean Church”, as if by coincidence, in front of the pastor of a church for people with disabilities. The pastor felt a deep challenge, having never thought that somebody who could very well have been a member of his congregation could think and write a paper like that. The meeting was, though, rather awkward for a number of non-Christians who attended at the recommendation of their friends.
Large numbers of visitors wear out not only the physical facilities but also the workers. An air conditioner broke down in the middle of the heat wave, forcing us to leave a room empty for a few weeks. The house developed leaks in four different places during the heavy rain that followed. We need to fix the roof and replace rotten timbers before it is too late. But I am thankful above all that the five of us—Julia, ChungSeong, SamWon, InKyung, and myself—worked as a team as if we had planned for this very summer for many years.
As the morning breeze feels cool to the skin once more, the summer is already fading into a happy memory. Please pray that the God who is there and His words that are true will be revealed every day through our lives. As planned, ChungSeong is visiting Canadian L’Abri and SamWon has gone to Dutch L’Abri for a term. Please pray that they will enjoy abundant rest and learn a lot through this exchange. InKyung and I also wish to take some time to meet God in quiet and get some much-needed rest. I am grateful for all of you who pray for, understand, and support our needs.
The international L’Abri trustees’ meeting will be held in Yangyang from December 9 to 12. Seven trustees including InKyung will meet here. Please pray that it will be a safe trip for the six who must fly in from afar, that the meeting will be fruitful, and that we will be able to prepare what is needed. Before the trustees’ meeting, from December 7 to 8, the trustees will attend conferences in Pangyo (near Seoul) and Hanoi (in Vietnam) where they will share their experiences and wisdom. SeungRyong Park and YoonHee Ha are preparing for the event in Vietnam, and Dr. Hwang is organizing the event in Korea. Please pray for the conferences, and please feel free to join us if possible.
Last but not least, please pray for Rev. Pukkoung Kim and Cynthia in England. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary a few days ago. Although they are old and getting weaker, it is so beautiful that they are enjoying every moment of their life together that God has given to them. I always wish I had more time to learn from them how to live as a person of God. Back in our own places, though, I pray that the hard days will not distract us from the blessing of meeting God every day.
Translated by Kijin Sung