Contact us if you would like to receive our quarterly newsletter by e-mail. It helps us to save money on postage.
Visit the newsletter archive (coming soon)
Chalet Bellevue , 1884 Huemoz , Switzerland
January/February 2013 Newsletter
Happy New Year from the Swiss L'Abri crew!
We hope your Christmas holidays weren't too "energy consuming" and that you were able to spend time with family, friends, and perhaps strangers celebrating the Christ event. This year our family went to the French speaking church in Huemoz on the Sunday before Christmas. We were pleased to find every pew filled by a very diverse group of people. Some were there primarily to hear the well known men's choir who sung an upbeat version of "Swing low Sweet Chariot" in English s'il vous plait. Then there were the handful of regulars – Mme Turel, the retired sewing teacher who taught generations of village children how to make the colored foil stars that still today ornate the pine tree next to the altar, and Mme Guex, the farmer's wife whose garden flowers brighten up the now monthly service. And there amongst the villagers were a number of people who were also connected to L'Abri. Gail Ingram, who had been Dr Schaeffer's secretary back in the late 70's and who with her husband Jim had been fellow members of this branch until 2003 and now work for Medair. There were the Fretzes, long time friends of the work, and next to them Marc Halbritter, whose sister had been one of the very early students to find her way up the mountain to L'Abri. And Catherine McCall who had met her husband Ralph years ago in French L'Abri and was now reading Bible passages and helping give out communion to this disparate gathering uniting us all in the sharing of the Lord's Supper.
As I sat there, I thought of my grandmother, Edith Schaeffer, now living just 15 min. up the road, she was not strong enough to come, but she would have appreciated the interweaving of these people's lives and histories, which make up as she put it a tapestry – God's bigger picture.
The Swiss pastor A. Schluchter (who also knows of L'Abri) surprised us all by speaking of the end times. In contrast to the Mayan doomsday predictions of many, which we had just "survived", he preached from OT prophecies, Philemon, and the book of Revelation to portray a biblical view of the last day where both judgment and grace, which had been brought together in a unique way at Christ's first coming, will be completed at his return. Our young neighbor, with whom we converse more about his vineyards and wine making than theological matters, actually commented not only on the service, but specifically on the sermon, which visibly had shed a different light for him on the meaning of the familiar nativity story. In a similar way, we often find ourselves at L'Abri having to reformulate and redefine things in order to bring back life and meaning to words and stories that have become either over familiar or completely detached from experience or from the world in which we live. Being connected is such a buzz word in our digital age, yet we see the need of bringing into focus the seemingly more invisible although very real connections that link us to ourselves, each other, and God.
It's with thankful hearts that we look back on the last six months. Our fall term was long and busy and although we were quite drained by the end, we were also very encouraged and enriched by those we worked with and got to know. Meal discussions were often prolonged in the evenings, as well as "artistic happenings" and fervent board game playing. Fortunately, George and Eileen were able to come for six weeks to help out with tutoring and lecturing, as well as Ellis Potter, who lectured on his new book 3 Theories of Everything, and Byrne Power on European puppeteers. After a full house at the beginning of the term, our numbers were down in November, as were gifts making it difficult to pay bills, so we were thrilled when Greg reported that a handful of providential donations arrived over a weekend, enabling us once again to get through the month. We are also thankful for the generosity of our friends and supporters over the Christmas season, especially as it appears that after the Calvin College students leave next week our numbers will once again dwindle reminiscent of our 2012 winter term. We pray that enough funds will come in to keep us going until April, when we host the annual members' meeting.
Karen Bradford's steady recovery from a knee operation is also an item of great thanksgiving. I was excited to meet her once again on the cross country ski trails. Alexis and Simon are doing well in their respective schools and after the death of their cat, they have welcomed Joey, a Yorkshire terrier into their midst – much to the joy of the students.
Unfortunately, Karryn Goldsworthy spent most of her Christmas break recovering from illness and a cracked rib, although her dog Jemma made sure she still got out for exercise and fresh air.
Having a full house kept Kay on her toes for most of last term. She wouldn't have survived without Jasmine, our short term worker who has proved a great asset in Bellevue, and very capable helpers. Pray for Kay as she prepares to return to the States to be closer to her family sometime in the near future. Pray for Jasmine and her future as well.
It's been almost a year since Dave and Anna came for a short visit with their two sons in view of joining the work. We are still jumping through the numerous bureaucratic hoops that we hope will lead to a work permit for them. After months of silence, we recently heard from the cantonal authorities who want additional clarifications, which Greg and I responded to during the Christmas break. Please continue to pray for a speedy granting of this permit and for the future of the work.
*All address changes and requests for the Swiss Newsletter and Prayer letter should be sent to our Swiss address or to by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
**Tax-free receipts for gifts meant specifically for the work of the Swiss branch are available from Switzerland when the gifts are sent either to Huémoz or to the Rochester address with a note specifying its designation for Swiss L’Abri.
*** Swiss Address: L'Abri Fellowship, Chalet Bellevue, 1884 Huémoz, Canton de Vaud, Switzerland.
Our U.S. Address: L'Abri Fellowship, 1465 12th Avenue N.E. Rochester, MN. 55906, USA.