The Shelter

A quick glance on L’Abri which I have just finished reading.

L’Abri (French for shelter) was written by Edith Schaeffer to “show the reality of fact that God exists, and that He is the One who has, time after time, answered prayers in the midst of well-nigh impossible circumstances to bring about something out of nothing.” (p. 19)

L’Abri is a community opened to people from everywhere. You will be regarded as member of the family there. That also includes doing the household chores. But, while preparing for the food in the kitchen, you could have a chat with Edith. Or, while working in the garden, you could ask questions to Fran (Francis Schaeffer). Most of the people visiting or staying are those who really want to understand the real meaning of life amidst many religions and philosophies. So it is not a rarity that meal time is a long discussion hour, continued by another discussion while supper is distributed, and so on until late at night. You can also be involved in the prayer time and see how prayers are answered (As mentioned above, the book contains many stories of prayers answered amazingly).

The ministry was basically established on prayers. The visitors did not pay for their stay (to remove the nuance of formality) and the Schaeffer’s had never asked any money from any people. They believed God would provide all the necessary fund through prayers. As the ministry was growing, they needed more workers to handle the needs of the people coming. But never was any advertisement published to attract workers, they prayed that God would send the ministers accordingly. They prayed that God would send the right people there to be ministered and keep away those people who just wanted to take a holiday there. And lastly, there was no committee meeting to plan the future of the ministry. All were done through prayers.

Such is their belief in prayers. Prayer is believed to be two-way communication between God who cares about the details and His children. This does not mean that hardworking is not needed. You can imagine how busy it was to prepare the meals and lodging for many people in your house, to take care of 3 daughters and 1 son -two of whom were ill (polio and rheumatic fever), to answer heap of letters, to listen to a girl sharing her problems, to conduct Sunday services, wedding services plus celebrations, and so on. There wasn’t much private time for the Schaeffer’s individually or as a family.

Additionally, their belief in prayers does not mean that they considered planning and such things as useless or not biblical. It is just their conviction that their ministry should be run in that way. Consider what Fran said: “Supposing we had awakened today to find out everything about concerning the Holy Spirit and prayer removed from the Bible … What difference would it make practically between the way we worked yesterday and the way we would work today and tomorrow? …” (p. 64)

Finally, L’Abri is where truth is not only discussed intellectually, but also lived genuinely. It has spurred many young people to believe that Jesus Christ is their only Lord and Savior. So through the book may we also be inspired the same (L’Abri and the books written by Francis Schaeffer form two sides of a coin, so you are recommended to read his books as well).

The thing about real life is that important events don’t announce themselves. You don’t usually have a chance to get excited about that sort of things … ahead of time.” Edith Schaeffer, p. 53.

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