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L'Abri Newsletter, February 2024

February 25, 2024

Dear praying family,

Last winter term, the weather in Yangyang was relatively warm, but there have been some unusually cold weeks. Three heating boiler pumps were replaced due to the extreme cold. And it has been snowing a lot. Over the last ten days, we received more than 1m of snow. Even though the piles have been melting, there is still a lot of snow across yard. Even so, we have fed, housed, and helped our guests who traveled here, and before we knew it, we realized that winter was coming to an end. Now, we could hear the sounds of spring slowly approaching.

We are so grateful to our Lord who has been with us through the winter season and to our prayer family who has supported us through prayers and donations. We would also like to thank our brave Gwangshik and Namjeong who came to help with meal preparations. Our gratitude also goes out to Haejin, who quietly helped with many things. Without these three loyal helpers, we may have had to close mid-term.

We were pleased to welcome guests not only from Korea but from Singapore and Argentine. Even the cold and snow bombs couldn’t stop them from visiting. Some people came to rest because they were tired or restless from life, but a majority climbed mountains and crossed oceans to soothe their crying souls and quench their thirst for the truth.

Initially, I didn’t feel at ease when I was asked their sharp questions, but a few days later, I was reminded of what Jeong-won had once said a while back: “Every question from the guests is as sweet as chocolate.” In the words of today’s youth, it is “honey fun [a lot of fun].” The questions and discussions that arose during dinner, tea times, and Bible reading stemmed from various beliefs and philosophies, just as they did when 276 people boarded the same ship as Apostle Paul when he sailed for Rome. I can’t describe everything in this letter, but I will consider a few important beliefs.

First, there were many people who said, “I believe in fate.” Among the people who boarded the same ship to Rome as Apostle Paul, there were boatmen and sailors who attempted to prevent the ship from being wrecked. However, when the ship was in danger during a storm, they were the first to try to jump into the sea. “And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship's boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow…” (Acts 27:30).

People who risk their lives on a boat in the middle of a storm without any plan often say things like, “If you live, you live; if you don’t, you don’t,” “Everything is my fate and destiny,” and “Well, everything is some god’s purpose.” Although these statements may reflect a life that conforms to the laws of the universe, they are irresponsible and akin to ‘suicide.’ Here are reasons people are prone to fatalism:

Second, there were people who said, “I believe in free will.” The captain and shipowner who were in charge of the shipwreck did not listen to Paul when he advised, “I perceive the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives” (Acts 27:10). “Precarious” means ‘dangerously likely to fall or collapse, uncertain and dependent on chance. Despite the warnings, the captain and shipowner trusted their own judgment and held to the promise that special rewards would be given to them.

People who live solely based on free will know that their judgments can be incorrect and that it is impossible to predict what they ought to decide next. However, in times of uncertainty, people tend to trust their own choices and be self-willed. They may often say, “My destiny is not fixed; I can do anything I want” or “It’s my life, so I’m going to live it however I choose to.” Here are reasons people are prone to libertarianism:

Third, there were people who said, “I believe in both fate and free will.” Among those on the ship with Paul, I think the centurion went back and forth with his legs crossed. The centurion allowed Paul to meet his friends when the ship stopped at the port of Sidon. However, when Paul suggested they spend the winter in Fair Havens, the centurion “paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said” (Acts 27:11). Then, after the shipwreck, he risked releasing all the prisoners to save Paul.

In the world, people who have relative positions and postures succeed and survive well. They think, “I believe in my destiny, but I also trust my decisions” and “Some things are already decided for us, but some choices are ours to make.” These people believe that fatalism and free will are compatible; thus, they believe in naïve compatibilism. There’s a reason this idea is so popular:

Fourth, there were people who said, “I believe in God’s providence and do my best in what I can do.” They are Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus. They had strong faith in God’s guidance. “For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you’ (Acts 27:23-24). At the same time, in the case of Paul, he warned the shipowners and captain that they would suffer great losses of the voyage continued yet helped those in crisis when trouble came.

Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus believed in God’s providence and also demonstrated human responsibility. Acts 27:44 says that “all were brought safely to land.” This was possible because they were the type of people to believe 100% in God’s sovereignty and 100% in human responsibility. We, too, must follow in their footsteps. Keller says, “Paul demonstrated the balance between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. The Lord encouraged Paul and saved all lives so that no one would die. Paul and 276 others left the broken ship and swam to land. It was then that I experienced God’s salvation.”

I can hear the sounds of spring coming from the valley behind L’Abri as the snow continues to melt. We sincerely hope that the river of salvation and the Holy Spirit will continue to flow through your homes and workplaces, and we ask for your prayers.

  1. Please pray that Christians will not be shaken in their faith and quiet spirit in the Lord – that they would make the right choices and responsibilities in the face of today’s elections, wars, and chaos that can all feel like a shipwreck.
  2. Due to a shortage of workers, we plan to open L’Abri only from Saturdays to Tuesdays this spring. Please pray that the Lord will send people who need L’Abri’s help and that staff will wisely help those who visit. Yesterday, about 15 members from Far East Broadcasting Regional Committee gathered for a prayer meeting, and this weekend, young people from Heavenly Church will be visiting.
  3. Nowadays, we hold a joint worship service every Sunday at 2:00pm at ‘Jeongdaun Village’ near L’Abri. Please pray that the people with severe disabilities and the chapel family will become one and have services in which the voice of the Lord can be heard well. In celebration of Lent and Passion Week, we were doing a sermon series called “The Last Week of Jesus.”

Yours respectfully,

InKyung

Translated by Ye-Jin Ahn

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