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)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Start of Scottish Deputation Trip

I caught the train to Glasgow where I was to be met by the UFM Scottish Secretary, Iain Cameron, who had organised the whole expedition. On the train I had lovely fine views of the Lake District, but in Glasgow it was raining.

We spoke tonight at Harper Memorial Baptist Church in Glasgow (http://www.harpermemorial.co.uk/) named after John Harper, the famous pastor-evangelist who lost his life on the Titanic. We were welcomed warmly by the pastor, Revd Craig Dyer, and it was a good start to the expedition.

Farewell to Southend!

(Well, farewell IN Southend anyway..) We just spent a happy weekend at Southend with long-time friends getting a chance to talk through what's happening with us as all our kids played happily together. We met two new spouses and saw some people we hadn't seen face-to-face for over ten years.

The town marked the occasion with a splendid fly-past by a wild array of aircraft (Harrier, bi-planes, Boeing 757, Lancaster) and the roads were not too bad either.

We also had opportunity to talk about the work in Bordeaux at Providence Baptist Church, Prittlewell on the Sunday, and to meet the splendid folk there.

Thanks, everyone, for making it such a memorable and enjoyable weekend.

Next time in Bordeaux? (Don't know if they'll lay on an air-show, though...)

(p.s. I am REALLY going off the term "old friends")

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Last Regional Council of AECW

Last night was my last AECW North Wales Regional Council. I was really sad about it, and I had to try not to think about it at all, but to concentrate on the business at hand.

www.aecw.org.uk

Leaving AECW just now is a special wrench because it is a particularly exciting time. We have just changed our structure to bring churches into closer fellowship and co-operation with each other, and it will be very good to see God answering our prayers by making our unity stronger and more active.

There you see! I am saying "we" and"our" when really I have to start thinking in terms of ...

Forget it! As long as they'll have me I'll still belong.

French Motor Insurance

We have French Motor Insurance now! It is mainly thanks to the indomitable and indefatigable Carol who spent hours in the office of the brokers in Begles - and to the very helpful lady there who showed unparalleled flexibility and understanding.

In Britain basically you get a full no-claims discount after 5 years, and the discount is expressed as 65%. In France it takes 15 years to get a full no-claims bonus, and this is expressed as 0,50. You can also get a reduction for being a "good driver". Until you get your 0,50 bonus each year you get another (say) 5% of your 0,50.

This means that if you show your standard British end of policy statement to a French insurer they will conclude that you are nowhere near getting full no-claims because you only have 5 years and 65%! (65% of 0,50, they mentally interpret...)

I had been with my insurer for 9 clear years, but this is still a long way short of 15, and there were no records kept before those 9 years!

But with the help of my insurance broker here, who endorsed my bonus statement to say "This represents a full maximum no-claims discount" and Carol, who translated this for the lady in the brokers in France and explained the situation carefully and fully to her, I ended up with a full bonus, French-style.

They told me bureaucracy in France is challenging.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A really quick sale

Hi. We asked you to pray for a really quick sale.

Well, the house had been on the market for a week, and I was beginning to get a bit discouraged. Nobody had been to see it. Neighbours were tutting and saying that it is hard to sell houses on our road. Even the estate agent was not really very bullish.

Then the agents phoned to say that a couple wanted to see it.

They came. They liked it. They bought it. They have a good deposit and no chain.

It appears that your prayers have been answered! Thank you for praying! And thank God with us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Great Scottish Expedition

Soon I will scuttle off to Scotland for the Great Scottish Expedition. I will be accompanying the Scottish UFM Rep. on a fortnight's tour including Glasgow, Skye, Harris, Lewis and Inverness.

I'll be speaking in various kinds of churches - Free Church of Scotland, Church of Scotland and Independent Evangelical Churches, too.

The Scottish UFM Rep. is a French graduate and came on the UFM Summer Team in Bordeaux last September.

We are really looking forward to the trip - it's his first deputation trip to the Western Isles, too.

And I'll tell you about it when I come home.

Alan LaGaffe!

The car is just about 18 months old. The salesman said that the original owner had paid for a five year, unlimited mileage warranty, servicing included. It cost him about £1500. I thought "Yeah, yeah...". Then he showed me the receipts and stuff and, lo and behold, there was a line showing a 5 year.... etc. I rejoiced and was exceeding glad. But now the car was mine was the warranty mine, too?

I found the leaflet for the warranty and read this chilling sentence - in capital letters. IL EST CESSIBLE EN CAS DE REVENTE DE VOTRE VOITURE.

Oh dear. Cessible sounds like it stops, doesn't it.... My heart sank.

Then this morning as I sat at the bus stop waiting for the kids' school bus my mind drifted as usual to the innumerable forms involved in buying a French car. (I have been dreaming about them.) One is the Certificat de Cession. It is signed by the vendor and the buyer, and it formalises the giving of the car from one person to the other.

Hang on! Cessible must belong to cession. It must mean handing on. I looked in the dictionary. (Often a good idea!) Cessible means you can pass it on.

This French lark is a real roller-coaster!

The car

We picked up the car. Carol Liddiard, our colleague in Bordeaux, had arranged insurance for us. (This was something of an ordeal. The lady in the insurance broker offered her coffee while they ploughed through the arrangements!)

Now we have one month to register the car in my name in Bordeaux. Once that is done I will have one week to get the number plates changed from the current 9999 AZ 62 of Pas de Calais to 9999 AZ 33 for Gironde.

To register the car you have to complete a Demande d'immatriculation form, which asks you, in French, the puissance fiscale (fiscal power) of your car, the type variant version (you guess - I was baffled), and several different weights:
Masse en charge maximale techniquement admissible
Masse en charge maximale admissible
Masse en charge maximale de l'ensemble
Masse en service
Poids à vide national
and the power to weight ratio (Rapport puissance/masse (en kW/kg)
and LOTS MORE!

I sincerely hope that some of these figures relate to public service vehicles or to articulated lorries(!) because I simply couldn't find enough weights to fill all the boxes!

Induction and commissioning service

We plan to hold a special service at Deeside Evangelical Christian Church at 14h30 on Saturday 16th July. (www.deeside.org.uk)

At this service we will be commissioned by the church to go and serve God in France.

Also Martin Downes and his family will be welcomed to the church, and Martin will be formally recognised as the new pastor, to begin his pastorate in September!

A real "passing of the baton".

Stuart Olyott will be preaching at that event.

Do pray for us as we plan the afternoon.

From 1 church to 2150 churches in 7 years

You can read more about the Geneva mission to France in Jean-Marc Berthoud's paper at the Westminster Conference in 1992. He quotes those amazing church planting figures as being originally given by Coligny to Catherine de Medici in the 1560s.

There are various factors that contributed to this amazing growth:

1) The humanists and pre-reformers had encouraged the people to read and study the Bible, and the Bible had been preached within Catholic churches in France.

2) The Genevan mission to France was delayed for some years while the Geneva church itself was being properly constituted. (It was a struggle!)

3) Meanwhile there were many Bible study groups established across France. Many of these groups became fully fledged churches during those amazing 7 years.

4) Calvin encouraged the Christians of France to yield to persecution. They followed his policy of non-resistance for some years and God blessed the churches with amazing growth. Later, with the outbreak of organised warfare against them, they defied Calvin's advice and fought, and things were never as good again.

5) The figures of 1 -> 2150 are the numbers of dressed churches. What we might call Bible study groups, house fellowships or fellowship groups were known as planted churches - they were not fully constituted and had no pastor. A dressed church had an eldership and a pastor. So in part the figures represented the putting in order of the baby churches.

It is good to reflect on these factors and to try to draw lessons from them, but still we have to simply worship the God who blessed his people so greatly in those days!