L'Abri Newsletter, September 2020
August 30th, 2020
Dear L'Abri praying family,
As you may know, we had to open and close the door repeatedly due to the coronavirus since the last spring. During the opening periods, we had a few brave visitors. On the contrary, we considered the closing periods as our special break for organizing inside matters and studying. However, beyond our plan, the Lord worked for one person we kept as a helper while we closed. She stayed for almost 3 months and during the isolated time, she had a big turnover. Looking back, I realize God used this quiet time to save her. I ask you to pray for her as I share her confession.
“God did not go away. He continually stretched out his hands to me, nudged me, looked after me, protected me, encouraged me, regretted that I wouldn’t get over the last hurdle, and finally took me to find Him. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, I felt his guidance, reflected myself, found my pride and iniquities, and held His hands. He has been with me for the past three months. I trust that He will walk alongside me in the future as well. I will rely on Him from now on.”
But I have to tell you sad news about Chung Seong Lee. He resigned from his six years of work at L’Abri by the end of August. He is to follow his old dream - settling down in a fishing village. There have been some cases of international L’Abri workers who, after their resignation, started ministries, teaching at a school, working as a postman and etc.; but C.S. might be unique in that he returns to fishing village - the humblest place among the low lands.
SamWon started to study counseling. It is a master's degree program at Asia United Theological University at YangPyong 2 hours away from L’Abri. She will attend the courses on Monday afternoons. As she wanted to equip more with in-depth knowledge and skills of Christian counseling to help herself first then other people. We thank the Lord for giving her this opportunity.
ChangHee is leading our study session of How Should We Then Live? and his wife, JeeEun, is working on L’Abri accounting. KyungOk started Children’s Time for L’Abri Chapel, which she enjoys much. Due to the lack of workers and Corona, we decided to have 4 times of 2-week short term for the second half of this year. Please pray for that God may send us right people who need L’Abri, and the God may send us a good workers, helpers, and volunteers.
The recent heavy rains lasted over more than a month slowly damaged L’Abri house seriously. The second floor of the main house has been bumped. It seems that rain sneaked down from the roof through the wall of the fireplace and caused the bumps of the wood panels on the floor. We cannot put this work off due to the safety issue even though we have another big issue of the Old Gas Station open for sale in the real estate market at the end of November. The repair cost is expected to be $15,000 for the new shingles on the roof and fixing new floor. Please pray for the safe work and repair cost.
Along with Corona pandemic, all sorts of corruption, and polarized politics, and yet far from resolutions of North Korea's nuclear weapons and the reunification of Korean peninsula, it is much more serious that the foundation of my country is weakening and young generation is piling up cynicism, anger, doubts, and disappointment. I cannot help them much but only exclaim, “Music is boring and wine is bitter, stopping whatever amusing.” When I read Isaiah the other day, I was amazed by the prophecy that the Egypt and Israel, left God, would fall. It was just like present korean situation.
The first symptom of the destruction is that people are losing values or heart. “The Egyptians will lose heart.” (19:3) Second symptom is the continual economic failure and collapse. “Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away, and be no more.”(19:7) Third symptom is the foolish policies made by unwise politicians. “the officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.” (19:11)
Francis A. Schaeffer discovered that the rise and the fall of a country depend on the internal foundation of values in his book How Should We Then Live? Once a week we, our workers and research fellows gather together to discuss the book. The author says the Roman Empire - an empire which had seemed to never fail - fell due to the weak value system.
“The Roman Empire was great in size and military strength. However, they had no absolute values and foundations, even their gods were not big enough because they were finite, limited like men and women. This was why the empire collapsed… Rome did not fall because of external forces such as the invasion by the barbarians. Rome had no sufficient inward base; the barbarians only completed the breakdown - and Rome gradually became a ruin.”
Nevertheless, we find hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophet Isaiah told “in that day”, "if you come to the Lord Almighty”. “In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23 -25)
Even amid the coronavirus, heavy rains, and gloomy reality, I pray that the hands of our Lord keep you all, and expect to see “in that day” before long when we will rejoice, sing together, and enjoy the sweet wine.
P.S. We translated an article called, ‘The pursuit of truth in a post-fact world’ by Ali Velshi (MSNBC anchor) from Queens Alumni Review Magazine. We’ve got permission from the editor and Hyun-Suk Ji, our research fellow, translated into Korean.
Translated by Hyun-Suk Ji