Live from L’abri

Joshua, a towering giant of an Englishman, passes me in the hall and calls out a cheery “Ello!”

In the flat upstairs, I sit down and close my eyes. The sound of laughter and conversation fills my ears.

Kneeling by the weed patch, I tug at a stubborn root and say, “My name is Katriana, I’m married to Kelvin, we live in Kazhakistan, we sell kites, and he is very kind.”

Now I’m sitting in the study room with dirt under my fingernails and a smudge of ink on my palm. A lecture on the Sacrament of the Present Moment still echoes in my ears.

I am at L’abri. The English L’abri, to be exact, about 50 miles from London, in the centre of the English countryside. This is the greenest place I have ever seen, with rolling hills dotted with sheep and twisted with muddy footpaths.
I live in The Manor House with about thirty other students. Men and women, young and old, staying for months or staying for a few days, we have formed a haphazard community of work, conversation, study, worship, and questions.
I’m not exactly sure what is supposed to happen here. I keep looking for the quissential L’abri experience, only to realize that every experience here is just that.
Stay tuned.

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Preparing for England: Phase 1-6

It is now less than two weeks until I depart for England, where I will be spending two incredible summer months at the English L’abri (www.labri.org). I have begun to prepare for this epic journey, and thankfully I have plenty of time, because there are so many things to do! To enlighten you, I am including the phases of preparation that have been thus far initiated.

Phase 1: Spend time with as many home folks as possible and establish some form of contact with them for the next two months. But really, two months isn’t that long. Is it?

Phase 2: Begin using the word “English” in conjunction with anything having to do with my trip. For example, English L’abri, English Contact Information, English Bus System, English Countryside, English Muffins. In addition, use words like “chap”, “fellow”, “toodle pip”, “blast it”, etc, even more than usual.

Phase 3: Trial suitcase packing. Stuff two months worth of clothing into a big but not too big suitcase. Discover, to my great surprise, that it all fits. Commence worrying about not having enough clothes.

Phase 4: Interrogate all previous visitors to England on Important Locations of Interest. Try to remember Important Locations of Interest, including Canterbury Cathedral, Stonehenge, and the New Forests.

Phase 5: Walk as much as possible, with anyone and anywhere, even if it means taking the parking space furthest from the store entrance (my apologies to anyone in my vehicle). I’m looking forward to a 40 minute walk (with luggage) from the train station to L’abri.

Phase 6: Pray. Pray for wisdom and patience and love as I go to live with people and to learn from people and to love God with my heart, soul, and mind. Pray for the workers at L’abri, and my fellow students. Pray.