L'Abri Non-Fiction Review : 2007/06/07
by Edith Schaeffer
Wheaton: Tyndale, 1974, 228 pp., trade paper.
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I finally visited L'Abri on March 20, 2007 (pics here
). As a fan of Francis Schaeffer's writing, I had known of L'Abri for over three decades. My parents got Schaeffer's complete works for college graduation in 1983 and I was blessed to hear him speak at the 1983 ACSI convention shortly before his death.
Then five years ago my daughter Heather journeyed to Switzerland alone as a 17-year-old to visit L'Abri for her spring break. While there, she met Joshua Van Wynen, now my son-in-law. When our next daughter, Erika, moved to Switzerland last year to be an au pair, my wife Joanna and I decided it was time to visit Europe. Of course, no visit to Switzerland could be complete with a visit to L'Abri, so we took the train to Aigle and the bus up to Huemoz. After joining the afternoon tea and cookie break, we were about to leave when John Sandri, the Schaeffers' son-in-law who now manages the facility, arrived. We stayed a little longer and had a very enjoyable visit, learning a little history and hearing about how Edith is doing in her late 80s.
A couple of weeks ago my wife found the history of L'Abri for sale at the bargain rate of 45 cents. It was a wonderful read, far more meaningful now that I've actually been there and could visualize the chalets and chapel described in the book. I learned much about the Schaeffers and their ministry that I had been unaware of, and greatly enjoyed every chapter.
The hand of God over them was abundantly clear from the beginning, including funds coming in just on time within three dollars of the amount they needed to get a chalet. The Schaeffers' dependence on God to keep them going is evident throughout, and reading their stories of young seekers from many countries finding God in a Swiss village will warm your heart. Of course, not everyone who came a skeptic left as a believer, but the impact of L'Abri is immeasurable, and continues through the work of people like author Nancy Pearcey, who met her husband at L'Abri. If you have any interest in the Schaeffers and their work, you'll enjoy reading L'Abri
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