First Impressions of L’Abri

Before I lose track of time and forget the first thoughts I had on L’Abri, I want to leave a record of what this place has come to mean to me.

In 2018, I was admitting my loneliness and overall depressive mood as I found it hard to adapt to life in Argentina. I had come back to Argentina in 2017 after eight years of living abroad, and fitting in with the family and the Korean Argentinean community proved to be extremely difficult. I felt awkward and unlikable overall and this seeped into my self-esteem—causing it to hit rock bottom. My mom, who saw all of this and yet couldn’t do much to help, suggested I take some kind of long vacation. She mentioned L’Abri, and I remembered having heard of it in Korea as well. The name had never stuck with me, so throughout the first half of 2018, I kept forgetting about L’Abri until I read a book by Francis Chan, where he mentioned it. After this, I decided to Google it and see if times matched up, and when I saw that everything would line up so that I could go to the Swiss L’Abri on a summer term, I decided to give it a go.

Fast forward to a journal entry I wrote back during my student days at L’Abri in 2018 to explain my initial thoughts of this fascinating place:

When I came here, I didn’t have any expectations of the “institution” itself, but had expectations on what God could and would do through it. And after three weeks here, I can say that I like L’Abri in a subtle, profound way.

I say subtle because there hasn’t been any dramatic “wow” factor happening, but in the midst of the daily work, study, fellowship, solitude, and meals, there’s something slowly shifting gears in me. I can’t pinpoint it and say, “AHA! This is what’s transforming and nourishing me!” But I feel something solid building deep down in me as I meet His nature, His Word, His people. And this is how it’s profound.

I feel like God had been telling me for some time that if I truly wanted to be a Kingdom of God agent, I first needed to receive love from Him. I thought I had been doing that, but seeing how badly my broken relationship with family affected my self-esteem and identity proved I was receiving His love theoretically and not practically. Thus, I’m learning to delight in the Lord every day… to be mesmerized by His beauty and glory and honor and majesty.

 

After writing this journal and having many subtle epiphanies, I came to trust God in a deeper way, so that even though I didn’t know how I was going to afford my trip to Korea, what kind of jobs I would find, or how my friends were going to welcome me, I knew on a deep level that this was a trip I had to make. And God gave me just what I needed for that trip. He provided the exact amount of money I needed, the exact jobs I could work, the exact communities I needed. Most importantly, I learned and experienced a deep joy in all that God kept pouring into me.

 

To be continued….

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When I Am Not Satisfied

When I can’t sleep, grumpy.

When I oversleep, guilty.

 

When I overthink, overwhelmed.

When I simplify, stereotype.

 

When I am disciplined, legalistic.

When I am flexible, people-pleaser.

 

When I am hungry, greedy.

When I am full, ungrateful.

 

When will I be satisfied?

When will this pendulum of extremes stop?

 

When I accept the Lord’s joy and His joy becomes mine.

 

That’s when…

Joy becomes the lead

to guide my thoughts and will

to become one with Abba.

 

So, when will I be satisfied?

When I am me in God.

When God is in me.

When we are one.

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설렘

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감정이랑 친해지며 설렘을 느끼고 있는 엘리. ㅎㅎ

하나님은 나를 설레게 한다.

나도 모르게 감정을 무시하며 살았었고
하나님을 감정적으로 오해했던 게 한두가지가 아니다.
하나님께서는 내가 설레는 것에 대해 기뻐하시는데…
그래서 실컷 설레고 있다.

요즘에 영상으로 설렌다.
특히. 나는 영상 편집에 설레고
의미.의도.스토리텔링을
고민하고 풀어가는 걸 좋아한다.
생각만 해도 설렌다.

요즘에 자연을 볼때마다 설렌다.
색상.아름다움.다양함.
다 안 그래도 되는데
하나님은 모든 것을 섬세하면서도
장대하게 만드셨다.
우리가 보며 설레라고.

요즘에 관계를 맺는 것에 대해 설렌다.
오래 된 친구들과 관계가 더 깊어져 가는 게 설렌다.
사실 새로운 사람을 만나고 싶어 하지 않지만
새로운 사람을 만나는 것에 대해서도 설렌다.

인생이 이렇게 설렐 수 있구나.
30살에 설렘을 가득 느끼고 있는 오늘. 감사하다.

2018년 아르헨티나 어머니날 축하!

아르헨티나에서는 오늘이 어머니 날이다. 그래서 내가 엄마를 사랑하는 이유를 다시 한번 깊이 묵상해 본다. 엄마가 완벽하시지 않았고 나에게 상처 주는 말 혹은 행동을 전혀 안 하신 것도 아니다. 하지만 늘 나를 향한 희생을 행동으로 보여 주셨다. 그리고 나는 그 희생을 인해 엄마의 깊은 사랑을 알고 나도 엄마를 향해 늘 사랑에 마음을 품는다.

엄마의 희생은 단 한번도 말로 나오는 희생이 아니었다. 항상 행동으로 보였고 그 희생에 대한 보답을 엄마는 나에게 요구 한 적이 없었다. 그것이 참 편했고 엄마에게 더욱 더 보답 하고 싶다는 마음을 갖게 했다. 내가 대학교 갈 나이였을 때 아빠는 우리랑 연락이 끊긴 상황이었다. 엄마는 아무 불평 없이 의류 사업을 혼자서 시작 하시고 그 가게에서 번 돈을 통해 나는 4년동안 대학교를 무사히 다녔다. 이 때에 나는 엄마가 힘들어 하던지 아빠를 미워한다는 생각을 들지 않게끔 엄마는 불평을 하신 적이 없으셨다. 오히려 내가 대학교에서 새로운 친구들과 배움에 대해서 이야기 나누면 그것에 대해 기뻐하시고 응원하셨다. 생각해보니 엄마는 본인의 희생에 대해서 전혀 티를 안 내시고 생색도 안 내셨다. 이것이 쉬운 일을 아니었을 텐데. 그래서 종경하고 사랑할 수 밖에 없다.

엄마의 희생은 무겁지 않다. 내가 꼭 엄마에게 어느 형태로 보답 해야 한다는 느낌을 엄마가 나에게 준 적이 없다. 오히려 엄마 주변에 계신 어른 분들이 나에게 말 한다, “엘리야. 네 엄마는 대단한 사람이다. 너를 대학교도 다 보내고 그랬으니 네가 잘 모셔야 한다.” 이런 조언들을 들을 땐 두 생각이 든다. 첫번째 생각: 이 분들은 엄마를 많이 사랑하나 보다. 두번째 생각: 이 분들은 나를 전혀 모르시고 지금 이 순간 내가 뭔가 더 잘 해야 하고 돈도 더 벌며 어머니를 더 기쁘게 해야 하는 찝찝한 기분이 든다.

그래서 이것에 대해 엄마랑 말 했다. 그러니 역시 엄마는 엄마다운 답변을 했다. 엄마에게 효도 하는 것은 내가 하나님 안에서 행복하게 사는 것. 이것이 희생과 고난에 길이 될지라도 하나님과 친밀하게 지내며 나아가는게 중요한 것. 물론 엄마의 마음으론 너무 고생 많이 안 하고 살았으면 하시지만 엄마는 이 한 가지가 뚜렷하신 것 같다: 내 딸은 내 꺼가 아니고 본인만의 존재감이 있는 사람. 그리고 무엇보다 더: 내 딸은 하나님의 딸. 그래서 딸에게 조언을 하되 딸이 결정 하는 것에 대해선 존중. 이것을 늘 느낀다.

어머니. 늘 존경하고 늘 사랑합니다.

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오늘의 신기반기 김치찌개 (feat. 돼지고기)

오늘은 돼지고기가 들어간 김치찌개가 당기는 날

 

집에 도착하니, 오! 김치찌개 냄새

오빠가 끓이는 김치찌개 냄새가 좋음

 

잠깐! 밥은 있나?

밥 솟을 열어보니 오! 충분히 있네

오빠 나도 먹어도 돼지?

오빠한테 말 한다: 나 오늘 김치찌개 엄청 먹고 싶었음

 

오빠가 살짝 웃으며 고백한다:

귀찮아서 음식 시켜먹을까 하다가

오늘 인생 처음으로 김치찌개 만들어봄

오늘 밥 1인분 하던 내가 2인분을 하기로 함

오늘 돼지고기가 마침 냉장고에 있었음

그래서 만들었음.

 

내가 말한다:

위에 누군가가 나를 생각해 준건가?

오빠도 살짝 웃은 듯 끄덕 끄덕

 

엄마가 집에 온다.

김치찌개의 이야기를 들려준다.

엄마도 이 김치찌개에 관련이 있다고 한다.

엄마가 돼지고기를 샀고

대부분 냉동 칸에 넣은 고기를

귀찮아서

냉장고에 보관 했음.

 

엄마가 냉동 보관 했으면

오빠는 고기를 발견 못 할 수도 있었고

김치찌개를 포기 할 수 있었고

 

오빠가 처음부터 귀찮아서

음식을 시켜 먹을 수도 있었다.

 

그런데 딱 오늘은 그러지 않았다.

너무나도 신기한 오늘의 맛 있는 김치찌개였다.

(그래서 점심.저녁. 두 끼를 김치찌개로 냠냠)

 

하나님이 섬세하게 생각지도 못한

김치찌개의 선물을 주셨다.

 

이렇게 섬세하신 하나님을

성령 충만함으로 더욱 더 체험 하고 싶다.

내가 좋아하는 음식으로만 말고

사랑하기 힘든 사람들을

하나님의 섬세함으로

배려하고

용서하고

섬기는

내가 되고 싶다.

 

고마워요 하나님.

 

Your kindness always leads me to repentance.

Today’s kimchi chigae just spoke deeply to my heart.

I eat this physical and spiritual food and ask You to fill me with Your Spirit.

When I had a place of my own…/Cuando tenía mi propia casa…

[En castellano abajo]

When I had a place of my own, I loved having people over; especially girls who needed some time out from studies, girls who felt like didn’t have a place they belonged, girls who needed a place to stay, or anyone actually. I loved opening my home and doing my best to make them feel at home. The more guests I had, the more I developed a knack for knowing how to make them feel comfortable. I rejoiced when my guests were comfortable enough to sleep a nap in my living room or when they grabbed themselves things from the fridge or tea table without asking permission.

For some reason, there is one anecdote that sums up how happy I was with how comfortable people were in coming to my house. One time, I got home and discovered chocolate and ice-cream cone crumbs on my floor. I looked in the trash can and I found chocolate ice-cream wrappings. I looked in the freezer and saw two ice-cream cones. I called out to see if my roommate was home, but she wasn’t. What a mystery. My roommate wasn’t the type to buy that kind of chocolate ice-cream. When she came home, I asked her about it. She said she hadn’t bought it.

Later on, we found out that a dear dongseng R (girl who is younger than me) came over to my house when my roommate and I were not there. So, she let herself in (I let many girls know the password to my house), and waited for us a bit. She had brought three chocolate ice-cream cones to share with us. Since we weren’t coming, she sat on our easy chair and ate her ice-cream by herself. When she was done, she left our ice-creams in the freezer and left.

The image that stuck in my head was cute little R sitting in my living room, peacefully finishing her ice-cream as she waited for us, and I was glad she could just come and do her thing in my house even though I wasn’t physically there.

These and many other stories made me think that I was a channel of blessing to them. But, as I was doing the dishes today, I realized what a huge blessing they were to me! Allowing me to share into their lives meant they were sharing their lives with me! Now-a-days I do a lot of housework by myself; there is no one to converse with or to listen to. I miss doing the dishes or sweeping my floor as I listen to laughter and conversations, or girls lining up asking how they can help clean up, or girls being comfortable in the silence as they wait for me to finish whatever chores were at hand.

Conclusion: They were a blessing to me for coming and sharing, opening up, eating, cooking, washing dishes, sitting on my cushions and bed, relaxing, crying, and laughing. They shared parts of their precious lives with me, and I will forever be grateful and humbled for having had such wonderful visitors in my home.


 

Cuando tenía mi propio apartamento en Corea, me encantaba ser anfitriona. Venían chicas que necesitaban un descanso de los estudios, chicas que no tenían donde ir, chicas que necesitaban hospedaje, o cualquier persona que quería un tiempo y espacio de descanso. Me encantaba abrir las puertas de mi casa y hacer todo lo que podía para hacerlos sentirse como en casa. Cuando mis huéspedes se sentían tan cómodos como para dormirse una siesta en mi sala, o cuando se agarraban cosas de la mesa de té o de la heladera sin preguntarme, me alegraba el día porque sabía que realmente se sentían como en casa.

Hay una anécdota que resume lo mucho que me gustaba que la gente se sintiera como en casa en mi casa. Una vez, llegué a casa y pisé migajas de cucurucho y pedacitos de chocolate. Me fijé en el tacho de basura y vi que había papelitos del helado. Me fijé en el freezer y había dos helados iguales que el del tacho. Que misterio. Mi compañera de piso no compraba ese tipo de helado. Cuando vino a casa, le pregunto si fue ella quien lo compro. Me dijo que no.

Después de un tiempo, dongseng R (quiere decir chica que es más joven que yo) vino a casa cuando nosotras no estábamos en casa. Se dejó entrar por si misma (les había dada la contraseña a varias chicas), y nos esperó un rato. Había traído tres helados para comer con nosotras. Ya que no veníamos, se sentó en mi silla cómoda y se comió su helado. Cuando terminó, dejó nuestros helados en el freezer y se fue.

Y esa es la imagen que se me quedó en la mente. Mi querida R sentada en mi living, cómodamente comiendo su helado mientras nos esperaba. Me hizo muy feliz saber que podía venir a mi casa, hacer lo suyo cómodamente hasta cuando no estaba yo presente allí.

Por medio de anécdotas como éstas y muchas otras, yo pensé que era un canal de bendición a esas personas que pasaron por mi casa. Pero, mientras lavo los platos hoy, me doy cuenta de que ellos fueron un gigantesco canal de bendición para mí. Permitirme abrir mis puertas hacia sus vidas quiere decir que ellos estaban compartiendo sus vidas conmigo. Hoy en día, hago quehaceres de la casa sola y no hay nadie con quien hablar o a quien escuchar. Extraño lavar platos o limpiar el piso mientras escucho conversaciones y risas, o tener chicas que me preguntan de buenas ganas cómo pueden ayudarme, o cuando están cómodas en el silencio mientras esperan a que termine.

Conclusión: Ellos fueron una fuente de bendición a mí por venir y compartir, por abrirse conmigo, comer, cocinar, lavar los platos, sentarse en mis almohadones y mi cama, relajarse, llorar, y reír. Ellos compartieron partes de sus preciosas vidas conmigo, y para siempre estaré agradecida y humilde por haber tenido tanta gente maravillosa en mi hogar.

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I made a Visitor’s Wall and it was fun to see what people wrote. We had gotten up to four pages of these. Some messages were for my roommates. / Había hecho una Pared de Visitas y fue divertido ver que escribía la gente. Tuvimos hasta cuatro páginas de esto. Algunos mensajes eran para mis compañeras de piso.

On Cleaning

Last year, during my English Communication class, the boys and girls started a heated debate.

The topic? Showering.

It started when a girl claimed that girls liked to put on make-up, dress nicely, and be clean just for the sake of looking nice; not for the sake of someone else.

A boy proclaimed that was false. He introduced a hypothetical scene: It’s a long weekend. You don’t need to go out to meet anyone. Will you shower? Will you put on make up?

The girl defiantly replied: Of course! I will shower every day even if I don’t go out, and don make up on for myself.

The boy kept arguing that unless you have to go out, there is no need for showering every day.

Since both sides weren’t going anywhere, in a desperate attempt for support, the girl looked at me and asked, “Profe Eli, would you shower in that scenario?”

I looked at her hopeful eyes and said honestly, “No. I hate showering.”

The whole class roared with laughter; including myself.

If you know me well, you know I hate showering. It’s not so much the act of showering that I hate, but getting up enough guts to go to the bathroom. I had a housemate who lovingly made a post-it that said ‘Shower for Jesus!’ which I pasted on my journal. Great reminder.

But it’s not like I’m an overall nasty, dirty person. There is certain dirtiness that I enjoy getting rid of: mold. Because I mind mold so much, I have been an avid bathroom cleaner and ventilation advocate. I throw food trash diligently so that it doesn’t smell or mold, open windows to let the air in constantly, and use a lot of bleach-based liquids to clean every corner of the bathroom (especially the drain).

However, I rarely clean things like the top of furniture, where a lot of dust gathers, am an average floor sweeper, and rarely mop my floors. The truth is, I don’t think anyone can keep themselves and their house c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y clean. All Cleaners have a blind spot and a forte. Everyone has what we shall call a Cleaning Personality. My cleaning personality is anti-mold. With everything else, I am pretty liberal.

Thus, in cleaning terms, my kryptonite is showering, I am a Superman against mold, and I am unmindful about dust gathering.

Since all of us have different cleaning personalities, we might be super clean in certain areas while neglectful of others. So we end up having clean selves or homes in certain aspects and dirty ones in other aspects.

Spiritually speaking, we might notice some people haven’t cleaned up their ‘mold’, and judge them for not being a true/good Christian. Instead of judging, it is better if we get down on our knees to serve them in their weak area, which for us might be a strength. And while we are on our knees, we might notice an area in their home that is squeaky clean. Then, we can ask them to teach us to clean that part of our homes as well, as we will realize that had been a weak spot for us.

I will forever need someone next to me who encourages me to take showers. And spiritually, I will forever need someone/something to keep me accountable on my judging tendencies. I can help people notice and clean out mold as a mold-removal-enthusiast. And spiritually, I can help people with discernment through my logical and analytical thinking skills. And just as I don’t notice dust to be something dirty, I would appreciate someone helping me notice the dusty areas of my home. In a similar way, through many different Feeling friends, I appreciate learning to get in touch with my emotions and the emotions of others.

Ah, cleaning. So many thoughts have sprung from this mundane word and action.