L’abri is a place I will always remember for the beautiful location(Huemoz, Switzerland), invigorating fellowship, mouth watering food, tea time, fields blanketed with colorful wild flowers, cow bells…and a shelter gone bad.
It was in early May of 2002, when I was nineteen, that I packed my huge, sausage-like back pack, donned my new, army green purse filled with candy, cds and other diversions for the nine hour air plane ride to Frankfurt, then on to Geneva. Walking towards the busy airport gates, I turned and waved one more time to mom and a very pregnant Maryanne. Mom and dad had such high hopes that my experience at L’abri fellowship would be the experience of intense spiritual growth that it had been for them in the sixties and I was confident that it would be as well.
Almost immediately upon my arrival at Chateau Bellevue, the main building of residents for L’abri students, my mom wrote me an email that began with some advice that read:
It was so good to hear from you this morning and to know that your trip went well. I am so excited about your opportunities this summer. As I said, enjoy every minute.
IN TERMS OF YOUR STUDIES, I would try to concentrate on SCHAEFFER himself if that is possible. HE WAS ROCK-SOLID. The younger generation, I am not sure of, but know that a couple of them, at least, were not as orthodox[...]”
Well, I had two options presented to me by my wise, thoughtful mother; study Schaeffer, knowing you can count on him to be sound and biblical OR take your chances with the younger generation. What do you think I did? I took my chances and, in a place devoid of biblical consistency from the current teachers, slipped and fell so hard, crying out to the silent Swiss evening like so many others there with me, craving answers that we had been told could be honestly answered here but the only honesty deemed true seemed to be in questions.
I think in all honesty, I forgot my mother’s words, so busy was I trying to make a place for myself in a diverse community of strangers. When I look at this email now, upright again for the most part, blown but not crushed, I can only smile and say that of course, as always, mom knew best.