L'Abri Newsletter, December 2019
To share a life by fellowship with others,
To be encouraged by learning and teaching,
To take a rest by crying and laughing,
December 19, 2019
Dear L’Abri prayer family,
The poem was written by one high-schooler who visited L’Abri in the last week. I initially assumed that he would be exhausted by the national exam preparation. But it was my over-concerns for the student. He just wrote this poem in ten minutes in the treehouse near our pine trees.
As like this poem, on one hand, L’Abri is the community that values short time encounters with others and the community of fellowship, knowledge, and evangelism. On the other hand, I am trying to be careful not to hide personal life, not to establish neglect and inattention, not to promote convention and tradition.
When teens are visiting, it is a bit tensed but returning rewards and fun are way bigger. Teens seem not eager to ask questions once they throw one which is never heard. Many visitors are university students and young adults who are struggling for their future career, study, and marriage. Numbers of visitors in their 40’s and 50’s are growing. Also, overseas guests keep coming in every term.
We were deeply comforted by God’s assurance under hardships in several occasions: the sever bushfire in our back mountains in the beginning of year 2019, sending Rev. Kim Buk Kyong ‘Home’ to the Lord in May, the news that the landlord wants to sell ’Old Gas Station House’, and so on. The greatest comfort is your love abundantly showed to us. Continuous prayers and precious advises, regular offerings, gifts for the season boost us to live for the gospel. By your prayers, we experience that all rooms of L’Abri are filled with wisdom.
In the last summer, one young adult came to visit L’Abri because of future career issue. He asked, “Is that Lord’s will go to theological seminary by quitting my current PhD coursework in KAIST (Korean MIT)?” One L’Abri worker answered, “Many research achievements with PhD degree are spiritual and crucial. But, if you have a bigger passion for saving one soul, would studying in theology be the way of achieving God’s will?” The man visited us again recently after he got permission from a theological seminary. Another young woman left L’Abri with the statement, ‘the treasure of L’Abri is neither house nor food, but wisdom.’
However, I experience that L’Abri needs more wisdom when I get older and more young adults visit us. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5, NIV). This scripture makes us surprised with the truth that wisdom or spiritual discernment is not given by our intelligence but by God, and the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom abundantly when we pray for it. So, please pray that L’Abri is filled with spiritual wisdom and God’s words.
Having helpers in this term is also one of God’s comforts for us. I would remember Cordell, Chang Hee, Hyeon Suk, Su Bin, Min Ah, and Jun Won. Jun Won is recently returned to Korea and praying for the next step. Min Ah helped greatly in cooking and meals with the special heart for serving missionary. Hyeon Suk works and studies, and Su Bin, his wife, is expecting her second child in the middle of February. Chang Hee will work for Sokcho hospital in the coming spring and is looking for a new house. Cordell helped to scribe the L’Abri logo in the doorway rock. It is the work of the Master Kang Dae Uk.
Pastor Lee Sang Ki and his family and Kim Jin Hyeong’s family served L’Abri chapel. Moon Jae Yong couple helped our gardening. Although we have received many helping hands, the L’Abri workers haven’t been well. Choong Seong is struggling with coughing in many years. Sam Won is slowly recovering since the last autumn. My wife, Kyung Ok, had to stop daily work and rest for a few days. I also got sick often. We definitely need more workers to share our work duties.
How have you had this season of Christmas and NewYear? How good is it to spend this time with maturity and right attitude not by just entertaining, as we grow older? According to the first chapters of Matthews and Luke, I have thought about what are right attitudes to welcome Jesus Christ in this season.
1. There were people who against and attempted to kill Jesus. When the Great King Herod was told that the baby was born as the king of Jews, he killed every boy under two years old (Matthews 2:16-18). Historian Josephus said, ‘as consider the population of Bethlehem at that time, it would be about 20 to 30 boys who were killed.’ It is genocide as we consider the value of one single life. Since the first century, there has always been the party against Christianity and many hate Christmas celebration.
2. There were people who made a fuss about Christmas. When Jesus was born, the citizens of Jerusalem were ‘disturbed’ (Matthew 2:1-3). It indicates that their mind lost peace and quietness. Since Christmas is a festival season, gifts and food and party could distract our lives. If you are overexcited and fussing, it would be easy to forget Christ and commit sin.
3. There were people who understood but disbelieved. All the chief priests and scribes of the people were inquired by Herod, “where the Christ was to be born.” They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel” (Matthews 2:4-6). They studied and knew it, but did not believe.
4. There were people who simply delighted and amused without any agenda. Wise men from the east were astrophysicists, prepared the right gifts for the right purpose, and wise enough going back to their countries as they were instructed in the dream (Matthews 2:1-12). Although they prepared gold (the humanity of Jesus as king) and frankincense (the divinity of Jesus as God) and myrrh (death of Jesus), they were not aware that Jesus is the Son of God for saving sins and came to the world as the Lord.
5. There were people who were initially fearful and got peace. The shepherds were filled with great fear and surprise (Luke 2:8-10). If we see that fear not as for psychological status but as religious awe, it indicates the holy fear or wonders as people witness the achievement of God’s promise. Then they got ‘Shalom’ and ‘peace’ in their hearts when they met the baby Jesus. The spiritual encounter may be initially intensive and fearful, but it will soon give peace in mind and heart.
6. There were people who were unable to give a room but gave the stable. The scripture said that Jesus, the Lord of the world, was laid in a ‘manger.’ It means that there were people with no name record who were righteous in Bethlehem (Luke 2:6,7) In the Christian play, ‘Do you have any vacant room?’, the character, ‘Deokgu’ in Korean and ‘Ralph’ in Canadian, said very touching words, “No vacant room in my house. But I have my room.” Unless opening space of heart for others, it is impossible to open a physical space.
7. There were people who thought quietly and be obedient. The human parents, Joseph and Mary, were the example. “Her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying” (Matthews 1:18, 19, 24-25). “And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:18,19) Joseph and Mary are thoughtful and fully obedient. “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife” (Matthews 1:24). “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). It is dangerous not to obey with many thoughts, and it is also dangerous to obey without thoughts.
8. There were people who respond sensitively to the Holy Spirit. The parents of John the Baptist were filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied that the son of Mary, Jesus, is the Savior rather than their son (Luke 1:39-45, 67-71). Simeon, filled with the Holy Spirit, said that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:25-32). Anna did fasting and prayer night and day when she was 84 years old, and met baby Jesus with delight (Luke 2:36-40). People who are sensitive with the Holy Spirit met Jesus and delighted His salvation ministry regardless of age and family relations. I hope that L’Abri prayer family would have more intimate time with Jesus in this season of Christmas and New Year.
I would like to share some prayer points as like the below:
1. To pray for the purchase of the Old Gas Station House and the mountain near our house. By the special favor of the landlord, we have been using the house and land with free. Our concern is any potential troubles in the area of water supply, community culture preservation, ministry influence if that the house and land is sold to the one who would not agree with L’Abri.
2. To pray that God would send right young adults who truly need our help. Winter term opens between 14th of January and 29th of March. We also open during the Lunar New Year Holidays and would have a mid-term break between 10th and 24th of February.
3. The third-year Christian Worldview School will be held in 10th and 11th of January in Samil church in Seoul cooperated with Christian Worldview Studies Association of Korea. There would be about 10 speakers from L’Abri family out of 20: Kim Jong Cheol and Park Jin Suk, Jo Chang Hee and Jang Yoon Seok, and so on. In the first day evening, we are going to have a keynote speaker Prof. Sohn Bong Ho with Q&A. Please refer to the website for further information.
Translated by Shon Jun Won