L'Abri Newsletter, July 2024

June 30, 2024

Dear praying family,

After long weekends program, we are opening for five weeks for the summer term. Three Korean young adults and two young adults from the United States and Japan are staying for five weeks and a few come and go. They have different customs, languages, and cuisines, but they are getting along well. Some are do pray for entering seminary or considering full time evangelist, while others do not know Jesus or read the Bible for the first time again in twenty years. Please pray for our summer guests. We are in the middle of battle.

Last week, Joo-ong Lee (age 85), the father of Namjeong Lee, was baptized at L’Abri Chapel. He had been staying at his daughter and son-in-law’s house for a few months, and I cannot tell you how surprised I was when he said, “I want to believe in the God they believe.” He reads the Bible every day, and his confession of faith was so clear that I felt great emotion during the baptism ceremony. The other old lady (83) was baptized a few months ago.

There were many external lectures in May and June, and there was a constant stream of guests every weekend, including eleven students from Seed School. Since we all knew that their stay would be short, it was good to be able to talk about their essential issues right away. Many people found clarity to their problems, but others left disappointed. Some decided to put their trust in the Lord again, and two of them registered from L’Abri Switzerland and L’Abri England. One couple brought air conditioners and said they wouldn’t stop their young daughter from becoming a L’Abri worker in the future.

The joint worship services held at Jeongdown Village are becoming more delightful as the days go by. At first, meeting one another was awkward, but these days, we reach out and greet one another, our collective praise is passionate, and we listen well to Word preached. In order to help the disabled at Jeongdown Villge and effectively preach the Gospel in the Yangyang area, L’Abri Chapel has applied for membership for the International Presbyterian Church (IPC) through Pastor Sangki Lee. We await the day when we could hold a thanksgiving service for the establishment of the church.

Pastor Sungkyu Jeong and Elder Kim Haksoon from Bucheon Yein Church came and replaced the roof of the Old Gas Station House. I was worried about water leaking every time it rained, and because it’s raining heavily today, I can’t express how grateful I am to be able to welcome guests without any concerns. These days, Gwangsik and Namjeong are holding a feast there every day with foods such kimbap, hamburgers, and barbeques for the guests and staffs.

1. Let me introduce you L’Abri’s summer lectures. Invited speakers include L’Abri research fellows, directors, and local church pastors. Lectures are held every Tuesday evening from 8:00-10:00pm, and the schedule is as follows:

2. Our summer seminar schedule is also finalized. Seminars are held every Saturday from 2:30-3:30pm.

If you would like to attend a lecture or have a meal together, please let us know in advance so that we can make arrangements. Please continue to pray for the instructors, attendees, and staffs who are working hard this hot summer. Please especially pray for our helpers for this summer: Gwangsik and Namjeong; Taeyoon and Hyunji, and their son Aru; and Sungjin, Junho, Jimmy, and Haejin. Without their dedication, we would not have had our summer semester.

I am finishing my study of the Book of Acts. I wanted to find evangelical methods or apologetical insights that could be helpful to the 21st century church facing an evangelism crisis, and I learned that the narrative method that the apostles often used was one of them. I encourage you to take a moment to think about what is good about narrative and give it a try to the seekers and non-believers you meet this summer.

There are many epic narratives in the Acts of the Apostles. Among them, there are three narratives that are repeated three times. In particular, it is a well-known fact that Apostle Paul's conversion narrative was recorded three times. (9:1-19, 22:6-21, 26:12-18). There are also three narratives about Apostle Peter's mission to Roman Centurion Cornelius (10:1-48, 11:1-18, 15:7-11). Additionally, the narrative of Apostle Paul's trial in Jerusalem is recorded at length three times. (22:30-23:11, 23:31-24:47, 25:1-26:31)

"A narrative is a vivid story. A narrative is different from a sermon or a lecture. Paul's defense in Acts 22 did not consist of rational discourse or general arguments. He talked about his past, his personality and background, how his encounter with Christ changed him, and how his greatest enemy turned into the greatest evangelist of Christianity. His story was a very vivid personal testimony" (Tim Keller).

"Narratives are good for opening the hearts of people armed with rational reason. The weapon of atheists or neoliberalists is strict rationality. Their fatal weaknesses are inhumanity, emotion, and experience. One central theme of C. S. Lewis's apologetic is that the narratives provided by Christianity can produce a 'big picture' of reality, allowing us to understand our subjective experiences and the world we observed. The reason the best narratives are superior to other competing narratives is that they can encompass competing narratives. Narrative opens the tightly closed doors to draw light into the dark room" (Alister McGrath).

"Narrative is a fundamental component that enables experience. In other words, human experience is impossible without a narrative scheme. Someone wrote a story about an event that really happened in time in a skillful and artistic way, but his interest was not only in the event, but also in the interpretation in the drama of the Christian birth" (Gregory Laughery).

"Narratives are good for capturing the attention of an excited or hostile crowd. When you are excited, you cannot focus on the argument. Paul's conversion story in Acts 22 was very persuasive to the angry crowd. Because the narrative speaks a language familiar to the audience, it has the effect of calming them down immediately. Perhaps Paul spoke Aramaic, or native Hebrew, which was the language of the Jews living in Palestine. Paul spoke the familiar language of the audience, so he created the perception that 'I am one of you'" (John Stott).

"The recurring epic narrative of the Acts was the most effective way to deliver the message about the resurrection of Jesus' cross to both Jewish and foreign audiences. The scene of Paul's trial in Acts 22-26 varies in place, audience, and legal significance, but the key is to proclaim that Israel's hope of 'resurrection among the dead' has been fulfilled. This form of narrative repetition shows how to convey the message about resurrection to both Jewish and foreign audiences" (David Peterson).

There are many other benefits of narratives. a) Narratives are good for revealing the identity of the speaker. Paul used the term "brother and father" (22:1) to talk about being Jewish and being trained in the laws of our ancestors under Gamaliel. b) Narratives can make reactions come out quickly. Among those who heard Paul's story, "I was once a fanatic, too," King Agrippa responded, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?" (26:28). Making reactions happen quickly is the power of stories. c) Narratives are good for controlling the speed. Paul controlled the speed of the story by controlling the speed of the vision he saw or the story of meeting Christ (22:8-11).

“And Paul [said,] I would to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” (Acts 26:28) Even though the weather extremely hot this summer, may your house be filled with cool narratives, epic stories, and wisdom of God. And I hope that the stories will bear many fruits of life. Please pray for international L’Abri and the workers of each branch to have such a summer.

Yours respectfully,


Translated by Ye-Jin Ahn

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