L'Abri Newsletter, October 2023
October 6, 2023
Dear praying family,
The unusually hot and long summer has finally passed. The beautiful autumn has arrived. In the fields, golden rice plants waiting for harvest are bowing their heads under the brilliant sunlight. It’s an image of the rice plant doing its job (bearing a lot of fruit) while solemnly bowing before the Creator. When autumn comes, I think about the fruit I have borne in the past year before God. Some fruits don’t produce well even after decades.
This fall, just like when InKyung and I started L’Abri Korea 33 years ago, we began working alone without helpers or workers. There was a time when workers had left, and only the two of us remained. However, this reality is a difficult challenge for us with white hair. The times when we could grit our teeth and get back up again have passed. This autumn, we find ourselves bowing before God just as the rice plants do, except for a completely different (and perhaps opposite) reason. We urgently pray that God will send us workers who will spread the glorious heritage of faith, hope, and love. Please pray this for us with the same heart.
Thankfully, from the end of August to the end of September, the construction of the first-floor guest bathroom and retaining walls, as well as the entrance to Narnia, were completed. Gwang-sik Jeong’s team did their best despite the hot weather and some complex tasks, such as removing a rotten bathroom wall. According to the construction workers, when you come to L’Abri, you end up working hard. What usually takes two days to get done at other places can get done in one day at L’Abri. My mother-in-law was the first to enjoy the benefits of the construction. At 90 years old, she visited for the first time since the coronavirus and was able to get from the car to the front entrance in a wheelchair for the first time. We are grateful that many disabled people and construction equipment will be able to comfortably make use of the new entrance in the future.
As we finish construction, there is something I would like to share with you. Even considering current donations, if it weren’t for the “offerings left behind with our passing” from Rev. Puk-Kyong Kim and his wife, Cynthia, as well as from Mrs. Mary McCain from the United States, whom we have never met, construction to this extent would not have been possible. Unfortunately, I cannot say thank you to these people directly, but when Jesus returns, I will have opportunities again, right? They are the people who followed in the footsteps of their predecessors of faith we read about in the Bible. We, too, are following in their footsteps.
For a long time, together with you, we have been praying for the old gas station house and the mountains behind us. Whenever donations would come in, I would wonder, “Has God sent this for the house and the back hill?” However, God provided donations to work so that the current building and land could be safely and robustly maintained, both of which have been left alone for a long time. Through fire inspections, demolitions of illegal parts of buildings, and repair work, L’Abri’s building has become sturdier and more usable. While our thoughts were occupied with the house and hills, God’s plan was different. We give glory to God for accomplishing His plan and not our short-sighted thoughts.
These days, my family is reading about Solomon’s time from 1 Kings, and I would like to share two messages. First, after Solomon rebuilds the Lord’s temple, he thanks God that he did it by hand. “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father” (1 Kings 8:15). Although God had Solomon rebuild the temple, Solomon’s wisdom, the wood, stones, and workmanship all came from God, so Solomon’s words, “It was done by God’s hand,” are correct. Donors, technicians, and workers all contributed and worked hard, but all construction was ultimately accomplished by the Lord.
Second, as we read through 1 Kings chapters 10 and 11, we realized something that made our hair stand on end. In the latter half of Solomon’s era, the humble attitude of asking God for a listening and obedient ear disappeared, and Solomon grew prideful and idolatrous. Even when God raised up enemies, Solomon relied on force instead of returning to God. He used his own strength to fortify the city and neglected to obey God’s word to strengthen his faith. As a result, the country ended up dividing into two.
No matter how much the retaining wall is strengthened and the rotting bathroom is adequately fixed, if L’Abri doesn’t obey the word of God and live in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there will be no need for L’Abri to exist. We deeply realized that there is something for us to learn from Solomon. We ask you to pray for us to obey God’s word above all else and to be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit.
This fall, we plan to open only on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays for two nights and three days between October 14 and November 18. From November 29 to December 9, students from Hope School will come, as they do yearly. Please pray that God will send people who need L’Abri. Despite their busy schedules, Tae-yoon and Hyeon-ji will make time every week to help out with weekend guests and the students. We are so thankful. Please pray for a safe trip for them, as well as for the health of Hyeon-ji and her baby, who is due in early January.
For the month of October, InKyung and I have unexpectedly received many invitations, so please pray for us. We will be giving either sermons or lectures at Yangyang Presbyterian Church, Wonju Sandol School, and Jaegeon South-Seoul Church. InKyung is nervous because he will lead a three-day revival meeting at Yangyang, our hometown, and because this opportunity came after living here for 22 years. Now more than ever, the words in 2 Corinthians 12:9 resonate with us: “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” We earnestly ask for prayer that L’Abri would be a place where the power of the living Christ would be revealed. We are deeply grateful for your partnership.
Translated by Ye-Jin Ahn