L'Abri Newsletter, July 2019
July 9, 2019
Dear L’Abri praying family,
How have you been? I am sorry that we have not been able to write to you more often. We just finished the first term of the summer thanks to your prayer and gifts. I can still hear the honest questions and discussions we had with the young people. We were especially glad that Arielle, a family of Dutch L’Abri, stayed with us. We also had three sisters from Singapore – I wish we had a worker who could speak Chinese. Meanwhile, Dr. Richard Winter visited us on his way to a conference in Mt. Seorak. He gave us a lecture on sex addiction, which we found very helpful.
In June, I was invited to speak at the Yangyang humanities lecture series run by the municipal government. I gave a lecture titled “the evolution of truth-seeking methodology.” It was an unforgettable opportunity to reach out to the local community. We had to open the summer term before we could completely fix the leak in KyungOk’s kitchen; and my heart is heavy when I think about my elderly mother who is in hospital. Today, however, I must ask you to pray for an even more urgent issue.
Please pray for the Old Gas Station house. For 14 years since the main house (5,391㎡ land, 657㎡ building) was donated to us, we have also had the privilege of using a few adjacent properties free of charge. It has been an amazing grace and love. Recently, though, the owners of these properties told us that they will have to sell them on the open market unless L’Abri is willing to purchase them.
The Old Gas Station is not easy to separate from the main house. It shares electricity, telephone service, and the parking lot with the main house; all water in L’Abri, on the other hand, comes from the well and pump in the Old Gas Station. ChungSeong currently occupies the ground floor, whereas Dr. Cordell Schulten is staying upstairs. Cordell is a former professor of Law from Handong University. He is helping us as a guest speaker this summer. We estimate that the property (2,092㎡ land, 113㎡ building) is worth several hundred million Korean won (several hundred thousand U.S. dollars).
If possible, it may also help to purchase the mountain (85,208㎡ forest) as well. We have been using the mountain property free of charge for the last 14 years as well. It contains walkways as well as our beloved tree house, built with the owner’s permission. But we have no money to purchase either. We can barely afford to survive each month with the young men and women God sends our way! We are in need of God’s special guidance and your earnest prayers.
I would like to share a few things I learned while studying the story of David. God had called him “a man after my heart.” Yet, David failed to move the Ark of Covenant at first, and God also rejected his offer to build a temple. Why? Some scholars say that David failed because he tried to do things the human way. Others say that he had too much blood on his hands. Still others believe that God stopped David’s plans in order to let him know, and to make him deliver the message that, neither Moses’ laws nor the institution of the temple would last forever.
The last interpretation is supported by David’s own words: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, ‘Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll.’” (Psalm 40:6-7) “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16-17)
Through these poems David tells us what he knew – that God desires a broken heart more than sacrifice and offerings. David knew that all law will be disposed of when Jesus comes to fulfill them (Ephesians 2:14-15, Colossians 2:14, Romans 3:31), and that a physical temple, no matter how luxurious, will one day be torn down (Galatians 2:18, Hebrews 9:9-10).
David believed in Jesus’ accomplishment and salvation. When he finally succeeded in bringing the Ark of Covenant to Jerusalem, he was so happy he didn’t even know he had no clothes on. When he failed to build the temple, however, he was not downhearted. Like him, we will not reproach God or our prayer family even if God decides not to give us the Old Gas Station or the mountain property. If He does, we will not forget the limited function of hardware and its missionary purpose. The typhoons, snowstorms, and wildfires have taught us that even the most beautiful house can be taken from us in an instant.
Please also pray for the second term of the summer, which lasts until August 14, and for the guests who will visit us during that time. Cordell will help us with lectures, sermons, counselling, and cooking until August 2. Please pray for his health and his family. Please pray for the Christian Worldview Forum that will be held at L’Abri from August 15 to 17. We anticipate that several young people will bring us fresh ideas to talk about.
Dr. ChangHee Jo, an ER doctor at ChunCheon Sacred Heart Hospital and a study fellow of ours, is helping us with lectures, counselling, and office work a couple of days a month since May. Please keep praying for ChungSeong, SamWon, and KyungOk’s health. It is not easy for us to endure the hot summer with so many people coming and going.
I pray that the Lord will be glorified through the Old Gas Station, the mountain, and the summer term. I pray that you will also be able to partake in that glory. “We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:12)
Translated by Kijin Sung