les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The decline of catholicism in France

Another reason why some French people are uneasy about the strength of Islam is the weakness of Catholicism in France.

This article from the BBC website will tell its own story:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/4149645.stm


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Islam in France II

France is really important in reaching Muslims with the gospel.

For a start, many North Africans have a working knowledge of French, because of the area's colonial past, and many North Africans have relatives in France. This means that although it is not always possible for Christians to work openly in North African counties, radio stations and internet evangelism can be conducted in France to reach North Africans, and literature can be sent from French cities to reach North Africans with the gospel.

Also lots of North Africans come to France to study. If they can be reached with the gospel, then they can go home and reach their own friends, families and neighbours with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. So it is important for world evangelism that the church in France is as strong and as energetic as possible.

Friday, January 14, 2005

How many Muslims are there in France?

I know what I'll do! I'll do the Islam in France thing in stages.
Firstly - How many Muslims are there in France?

Good question! Nobody really knows, because the French Constitution forbids the state asking anyone their religion or ethnic origin, so there are no official statistics on the number of Muslims in France.

But it is a lot. The largest number of any of the EU countries. Estimates vary between 2 million and 5 million. 5 million would be 1/12 of the population.

Why so many Muslims? Because of France's colonial past. France colonised North African countries, and so lots of French people are of Algerian or Morrocan background.

Learning French !!

Hi! Happy New Year! I am really sorry not to have posted for a LONG TIME. This is because I think I should post something on Islam in France, but there's so much to understand and to think about and read that it will take a little time to get it done!

Meanwhile - learning French. It has to be said that I didn't have a very good start at learning French. The standard of French teaching in my school was dreadful, so at O level some kids got almost all As, and a fail in French. Nobody even passed French first time at O level. I had dropped it, and didn't take a language in school. (I had done well in Latin, but had to drop that for Physics).

Then as a grown-up I learnt Welsh. Welsh is GREAT FUN. The sentence structure is really different from English, many words are vastly different and there are whole new areas of grammar to explore (gender, agreements, mutations!) It's quite hard, too, but we had a splendid teacher in Cardiff so I didn't notice how hard it was. And it changed my attitude to languages - I realised it was possible to learn to speak in a different language - and be understood!

Pat & I went on honeymoon to Spain (Pat spent a little time living in Switzerland, by the way, so her French was better than mine by far). I learnt a bit of restaurant Spanish, and when I came home carried on to an A level class.

Then came the sense of call to France. So I enrolled in a 2nd year class, then a GCSE class (but they cancelled it so I had to do an A level instead). I did my A level last year, and my results were ok.

French is fun. I think once I saw the funny side of French it helped me a lot. Spanish helped, because Spanish is far more manageable than French - pronunciation is VERY REGULAR, often the genders are the same, and Spanish is much more like Latin. (You have to admire a language where those African stripey horses are called thebras and spelt with a "C" - cebras. That's consistency!)

French still sometimes makes my head hurt. And I know I can look out for next year! But we've made a start.

In Bordeaux we hope to enrol at the University department for teaching French to foreign students. Here is an article from the Telegraph that put us on to it. (We don't anticipate taking to the Gitanes or the Ricard!)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/main.jhtml;sessionid=S1Y50MM4BIVSNQFIQMFSNAGAVCBQ0JVC?xml=%2Ftravel%2F2003%2F09%2F06%2Fetgaplang.xml&_requestid=51108

One tip for Christians learning languages - get a Bible in the language you are learning and read each day - preferably the gospels. Read aloud. Half the battle for me is getting my mouth round the new sounds.
Also my Palm computer is invaluable. It has a French Bible on it, some French books (Jules Verne, etc..) and a French dictionary.