L'Abri Newsletter, September 2022
September 6, 2022
Dear Praying family,
After a long night of fear, don’t we realize more of the Lord’s faithful protection and abundant grace? The typhoon ‘Hinnamnor’ ran away to the east coast, leaving a lot of damage across the country. Thankfully, there was no damage to L’Abri this time, but please pray for those who have suffered significant injuries and damages.
Last summer, our first regular term since Covid-19 broke out in 2020, the Lord sent us about 100 people (about 60 residents and 40 visitors), and there was a lot of fruit. Some people regained their faith that had cooled down during the pandemic, others returned to their schools and workplaces with new plans, and some heard the gospel for the first time or believed in it.
And as soon as the term ended, the construction of the new warehouse and replacement of the septic tanks began. Dozens of technicians and workers visited for five weeks. The septic tank used for the past 20 years was an 8-ton behemoth for 70 people, designed for a highway service station. It recently began to make strange noises due to a mechanical breakdown. According to the expert advice, we decided to put new, smaller, independent systems in each house.
The work faced some difficulties almost daily due to underground electric cables, water pipes, and plumbing. I was surprised that the workers solved the problems wisely each time. The small warehouse behind Baekamdang had been unlicensed from the beginning, but this time, we rebuilt it with zinc semi-non-combustible panels after getting a proper permit.
Jeong Gwang-shik was in charge of the septic tank, Jeong Ji-in took care of the warehouse, and Shon Jun-Won was the design camp and local county offices. Just as Bezalel and Oholiab came to build the tabernacle in the wilderness, I genuinely thank the Lord for sending us the Holy Spirit-filled and wise men. We just managed to pay all the costs with the money we had saved to buy the old gas station house for many years. We are currently going through the inspection process.
KyungOk and I used to think, “We are the guards of the sewage treatment plant for the Korean church.” This time, we recognized that our work and the function of the septic tank are very similar. The septic tank treats all sewage and wastewater from our washbasins, kitchens, and toilets. L’Abri is a place that helps wash all dirty sins and transgressions and encourages and comforts to live as a new person.
While studying the Acts these days, I was surprised to find out why the Apostle Paul and Barnabas went back to the den of wolves, where the Jews had previously tried to stone them to death, to encourage and comfort the believers who had converted recently. Paul and Barnabas did not return directly to Antioch from Derbe but returned to Lystra and Iconium, Konya, where opposition and mobs abound.
“He strengthened the hearts of the disciples, admonishing them to remain in this faith, and saying that we must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God, and choose elders from each church and fast and pray and commit them to the Lord in whom they believe” (Acts 14:22, 23)
According to Luke’s account, there were three main reasons: First, from the words, “I urge you to strengthen your heart and remain in this faith,” Barnabas and Paul wanted to encourage and comfort the believers not to give up on their right view of salvation. Jewish opposers and the mob then wanted to kill Barnabas and Paul because they taught that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus. The Jewish claimed they should keep the Mosaic law, tradition, and circumcision. Young “souls” just starting to believe in Jesus need encouragement and comfort, but so do the disciples with mature faith.
Second, Paul and Barnabas went ‘be with the disciples who were going through tribulations.’ “Tribulations” means ‘pain, persecution, and even death.’ The Jews who raised the riot in Lystra were active, not from that city but from Pisidia Antioch and Iconium. In the phrase “we must go through,” the word “we” not ‘you” emphasizes that leaders should not turn away from their disciple’s hardships. And “go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom of God” means ‘to be prepared for many persecutions and sufferings before Jesus comes again or has eternal life.’
Third, Paul and Barnabas went to appoint local leaders in the church. As wolves quickly devour the scattered sheep if there are not good shepherds. Perhaps the church members elected elders by voting, and the Apostles ordained them as leaders. We have also often seen young believers return to their previous lives if they do not join good churches and receive nurturing from leaders. The main job of “the elders (including pastors)” are preaching, educating, and praying for the members. I’m becoming more aware of the importance of appointing good leaders for the next generation.
- Please pray that the workers take good care of their physical and spiritual health. Chang-hee, working in the Emergency Room, suffered from Covid-19 for a few weeks. Sam-won also got the virus last week. Her fever has gone down now, but the body aches continue. Please pray for the workers to fully recover and do their jobs well.
- Please pray that the Lord sends people who need our help for the next term. The fall term will be open from October 14 to December 18, only from Friday to Sunday afternoons, since Sam-won has to go to school or take online classes at the beginning of the weeks. This fall is the last semester of her counseling study. We are short of workers.
- Please pray for the cost of repairing the retaining wall and two leaky upper-floor bathrooms. (approximately USD 15,000) I was most worried about the retaining wall behind the main house for this typhoon. We could not use the bathrooms for a while due to leaks.
May the Lord be with you moment by moment.