There is something about the spring term here at L’Abri that captures the imagination. From January to April, the season moves us gently from darkness to light, from wet chill to tremulous sun, from barren branches to daring bloom. As Easter slowly approaches, with Christ’s promise of redemption held out like a light in the Lenten darkness, the yearning becomes almost physical. It is a delight, every year, to say together, “He is risen!” and see the Creation rising too in joyful profusion.
For this most of all we are thankful. And we are also thankful for the many ways in which God continues to intervene on His peoples’ behalf in this broken world.
One of the ways we’ve seen Him answer our prayers is the provision of Church Field, the field opposite the Manor House. It was put on the market with plans for a housing development, and we prayed and prayed for the Lord to intervene, feeling certain that introducing a busy neighborhood of 30 houses next door would utterly transform the peaceful quiet we can offer our guests as part of the shelter of L’Abri. And through a very generous gift, we were able to purchase the field and place it in a sub-trust so it will be used to help link L’Abri with the local community.
We also saw lower student numbers than usual this term, an opportunity for students and workers alike to focus more deeply on fewer relationships in a quieter Manor House. This could have presented some difficulty for us financially, but the Lord knew our needs and we received more gifts than usual. As Greta Rietkerk, longtime worker at Dutch L’Abri, recently told Andy with great seriousness and confidence, “Do not worry about money. Our Lord is rich.”
We had the opportunity to chat with Greta and other workers from around the world when we hosted the L’Abri annual members meeting here in Greatham from April 5-11. It was a busy but wonderful time for colleagues from international L’Abri branches to come together and share a vision for this unique work. In the midst of cooking for and serving 40 to 50 guests, we were so humbled by and grateful for the support of our local community. We served the most beautiful snacks at tea breaks made by neighbors and friends who rose splendidly to our calls for help.
Josué and Lili Reichow, our newest workers who joined us in March, have been settling into their new home. The Stables needed a new kitchen and a woman from our local church community donated her cabinetry for the project. But as often happens, what seemed a simple swap of old cabinets for new turned into an epic adventure involving re-plastering the walls, replacing a gas pipe, new electrical wiring, and more. We were immeasurably thankful for a young helper from Norway, whose years of experience working in a shipyard and natural intuition for maintenance made him an invaluable part of this project. He was so devoted to getting this new kitchen in for Josué and Lili that he stayed up working on it until 1:30 a.m. the night before he left for the spring break! He will return to us again next term and I know Andy, who is in charge of maintenance, has had a smile on his face ever since we heard the news.
So please pray with us for the Reichows as they continue to get the Stables ready for hosting students when the summer term begins on May 15, and then as they settle into the rhythm of L’Abri work. Both are lined up for Friday night lectures next term, and have already had their first tutorials.
We’re delighted to be a full team of ten workers now—there is an exciting sense of having ‘all hands on deck.’ And it is so wonderful to look around the room during our worker meetings and see such diversity of cultures, passions, gifts, and personalities. Pray with us that God would delight in and use for His good purposes all of us that He has gathered together in this place. Pray also for Jim and Merran, Dawn and Peter, Phillip, Edith, and Andy and I during the break, which is such a crucial time for getting back on our feet.
Finally, please pray, as always, that God would send the people of His choosing next term, both in students and helpers. Pray that we would know how to receive them, feed them, and care for them so that they might have a glimpse of our Lord’s eternal tender care for us.
In the name of the one who is risen indeed,
Lindsey Patton (for all the workers)