Thursday, January 31, 2008
The tax return is my UK one - as I declare my income in France it made my UK tax return very simple. My declaration d'impôts here in May, however, will be much more complicated !
The worst thing about doing my UK tax return is trying to find where I recorded our user ids and passwords. I keep them in a safe place. Yes, you guessed it. So I run round the house in a vague and silent panic hunting in all sorts of odd places. Moving house every year doesn't help, either. Still it's done now.
But it doesn't have a DVD drive and UFM produced this wonderful piece of art cinema called 'Bordeaux, Brittany and beyond' which churches can see if they want. But how ?
Well how do people watch films on their iPods and so on ? It must be possible to load a DVD onto a computer like you can load a song from a CD. (Rip, is what one says.)
Some Google searches later, with results in French, English and both at once, followed by downloading a piece of software onto my poor struggling laptop (the stupid DVD wouldn't read on the big computer) and Bob's your uncle ! The entire "Bordeaux, Brittany and beyond" DVD is now loaded on the little SD-card that fits in the eeePC.
After all this computing it'll be good to get back to talking to people.
It is with some trepidation that I approach the repartitioning of the laptop at the student centre !
Last night for a time it looked as if I would be spared this electronic surgical intervention because of a bigger problem. No connection was possible to the wifi printer or to the internet. I tried the usual blather. Was it Sunday ? Is this a case of the strict sabbatarian printer again ? Could it be too much nylon in the shirt, sir ?
Seriously, in the personnel department of a national TV company they had me convinced that one particular Canadian lady had recurring problems with the sheet feeder because of her choice of fabrics... But then I was about 23, single and thrown into the nearest thing I have ever known to a lion's den ! I will never forget their comments when I delivered their acoustic hood. My rosy cheeks date to this time.
Anyway, the wifi wasn't working, so I unplugged the router and plugged it back in again. Then I unplugged the wifi card and plugged it back in again. All this, of course, while muttering the usual high-tech incantations - "Bits ok, bytes ok, bauds ok ... hmmm ... what about the indexing ... ?"
Unplugging and plugging back in works in 99.9 % of these cases, and it worked last night.
So today I have to repartition.
1) if you don't use a headset people complain of echo
2) so we have various headsets in various cupboards, drawers, nooks and crannies
3) and one which sprawls on top of the screen in the living room trailing wire everywhere
4) but is never plugged in when the PC starts ringing (how weird is a ringing PC, by the way ?)
5) and with Free we get free phone calls to nearly everywhere anyway
but with the advent of the eeePc I have started using Skype again because it is so EASY, because it has a built in webcam that just works and because it is utterly wireless. You just pop the thing on your lap and talk.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The French teacher said "So how long has he been in France ?"
"Really ? Oh well ..."
Then the Griffins came round with their visitor Izzy for raclette. It's very nice but it does weigh heavily on the old tummy overnight...
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The only problem is that with windows and typical home or small office use you need masses of space for all the software (90% of whose functions you never use) and you could fit all your data on a very small USB key.
So I am going to have to resize the hard disk partitions of the student centre laptop. I have pondered the question for a little while. I did the exercise once before on my old athlon (since died - no connection, honest). I have hunted down some free software, downloaded it and burnt the required CD.
So on Thursday, God willing, Partition Logic will be unleashed on the student centre laptop.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
We were a bit late setting off for Action Biblique this morning so we diverted instead to see our friends the Bixby's at Pessac Baptist Church. When the service started we were about 20, but I think by the time we finished we were more like 30. Two families had phoned in ill - that meant 10 fewer people, but we Daveys added 4. The Pessac Baptist Church is doing well. It's one of the stronger churches. (We sang "In the sweet bye and bye we shall meet on that beautiful shore" in French ! I recognised it from a Charles Ives setting. I shall ponder that for a while.)
However although the Pessac Baptist Church is doing well you hear now and again of churches struggling and wondering about their future - even city centre churches. A Pentecostal group in Blaye has closed down.
I spent a while the other day talking with a chap from one of the city centre churches. Numbers have fallen and people say that the pastor's preaching is not brilliant (whose is?) and that his wife doesn't do all the things a pastor's wife should (and where in the scriptures do we read of the biblical office of the pastor's wife ?) and so on and so forth. This chap is worth his weight in gold and he will continue to serve the church and stand by and encourage the pastor. Still these churches need help.
Meanwhile I was trying to think how to communicate the barrenness and the opportunity here. I thought of a comparison with Cardiff.
In about 1982 I settled in Cardiff. The city had at that time about 250,000 people. In a local Christian bookshop I asked if they had a list of evangelical churches in the city. They did some quick sums. There's about 50, they said, covering the spectrum from restoration churches through to exclusive brethren. Now I guess there'd be more like 60.
Bordeaux has almost a million people now. When I collude with people to count up the evangelical churches (same kind of spectrum) we run out of steam in the low twenties. There are some African churches we don't necessarily know about, so let's say there are 30 churches. The vast majority of those churches are small, even by UK standards.
And it'll meet on 8 February. We are going to be using the fiches théologiques of the Union Nationale des EREI - you can find them at http://erei.free.fr/referens/referens.htm
It'll be useful to do that. They'll be kind of converted to Bible study format, but the advantage of following these statements is that they do define the doctrinal stance of the church relating to various issues, so they'll give people who are not necessarily from a réformé background a chance to suss out the church a bit further.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I must email the groupe rive gauche people today and suggest a date for our first meeting, and this Friday would be a good time to get together.
We'll cover the same material, but will we meet fortnightly, too ? Only time will tell.
Today, shopping for an AC adapter for a student's laptop at Carrefour, Darty, Planète Saturne and Surcouf in Mérignac. This afternoon Classe d'anglais at the student centre. This evening get the projection of humns and songs ready for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is a quiet day .We have in mind to visit the Eglise Action Biblique in the morning and then we have the usual set-up at 3pm for the service at 4h30, but I am not preaching, reading, or anything.
This afternoon I'll go to the student centre in shorts and tee-shirt.
This evening on the way home the St Bernards will have to come hunting for me, miniature casks at the ready.
OK, I exaggerate a little, but not that much.
Friday, January 25, 2008
The housing market, the international economy, it all gets on my nerves sometimes. If enough people say that houses are losing in value - well, sure enough, they lose in value. If people start selling rather than buying then stocks and shares drop. If we spend too much we fuel inflation. If we stop spending and save we spark a recession.
It's all about "confidence". Which means what we think and how we feel.
It's the nearest I come to believing in a global conspiracy. I am a firm adherent of the incompetence theory of global events, except that sometimes we exerce our incompetence all together at once - a kind of unconscious conspiracy of incompetence.
However, it seems that the stock market falls may be linked rather to one young guy, perhaps poorly supervised, who pressed the wrong button a few times too many and lost his bank 5 milliard euros. They call it fraud. I ask what do they expect ?
I so believe in teams. I read this morning in EMQ a statement that I only part agree with. "All believers must answer to the Lord for their own decisions regarding what is biblically permissible in their own personal conduct". Well, yes and no... Peter also had to answer to Paul for his refusal to eat with the gentile Christians.
We are all slightly crazy because of sin. None of us functions too well any more. We think something is utterly logical and totally spiritual and completely biblical and it's because we simply can't see half the issues involved. It's one reason why God put us together in couples, families, churches, teams, elderships, companies, partnerships, etc. etc. (And, of course, to express the deepest reality of his being one God in three persons. Nobody can fully reflect the image of God on his own on a desert island. That's a team job)
However, to understand is to forgive, they say. The same weakness that makes teams necessary ought also to give us a forgiving and accepting attitude towards one another. We all stumble in many ways, says James, and it's true.
So is it fraud or is it "somebody trying to do his job too well and failing spectacularly" ? Someone else will have to answer that question, but it does remind us that there is a difference between human weakness and sin. Sin is culpable. Weakness is just one of those things. It isn't always easy to tell the difference, but it's always important.
He's had a hard week, a couple of bad grades in school (though his maths was OK thankfully).
It is hard for these ex-pat kids. The school day is longer. There's more homework. The language is still not your own. And the bugs still do the rounds. Catrin's school was ravaged by a "gastro", a tummy bug, earlier this week. Maybe Gwilym's coming down with that.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Pat has an afternoon of errands with the car so I looked at trains. There's a train from Pessac Alouette to Bordeaux at 2:00, and then from Bordeaux to St Loubès at 4:00.
To come back I have a nice quick journey as long as the council finishes by 6:00 ( ha ha! not a chance ! ) Otherwise it's a case of take your sleeping bag ! Or get Pat to come and get me in the car after it finishes. We're about 45 mins away by car.
I am thankful that presbyteral councils are not every week and that I don't have to go every time !
He is a brittle crazie glasse :
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
This glorious and transcendent place,
To be a window, through thy grace.
But when thou dost anneal in glasse thy storie,
Making thy life to shine within
The holy Preachers, then the light and glorie
More rev'rend grows, and more doth win ;
Which else shows watrish, bleak, and thin.
Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one
When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and aw : but speech alone
Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
And in the eare, not conscience ring.
( a nice poem but appaling spelling )
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Then Gwilym's saxo lesson. His teacher is a really nice guy and he'd given Gwilym a piece to play along to an MP3 accompaniment. It's a very simple piece, but extremely effective. Anyway he said "So can you do a couple of extra lessons to practice with the pianist, and it's for February at la Salle Royale, do you know where it is...?" All was OK, except that I was sure that Gwilym had not entirely understood that it meant he'd be playing in a concert. I was right. When Gwilym understood he went forty shades of white. He's not a natural performer, our lad. So will he play ? We'll see.
Then Catrin's flute lesson. Catrin's teacher is really nice, too. She's of Breton origin and her name means Catrin. Catrin is using a method where you play along with the computer and it really works very well. Have you been practicing ? Has you dad been helping you ? Well she does practice and I have helped her a bit, and occasionally we play together.
Then my trombone lesson. My teacher is a really nice guy, too. He said 'Oh, you've been practicing.' Well yes. I try and do a couple of minutes each day at least. That's for various reasons. If you don't practice you're wasting your teacher's time and your own time and money. The town music schools are cheap but not free (except if you live in Talence, apparently, where music lessons are free ! ) Not only that but one reason I am doing trombone is to help my lungs. I am asthmatic and I don't like asthma attacks. Well that only works if you actually blow through the thing. But I do have an advantage in that I know what you need to do. Scales, arpeggios, big intervals for flexibility, long notes for tone. Etc. etc.
I need a French/English dictionary of musical terms. Hardly anything is the same. Duet - duo, quartet - quatuor, triplets - triolets, a bugle is a clairon and a flugelhorn is a bugle. Meanwhile a clarino trumpet is a piccolo trompette. A cornetto is a cornet à bouquin, for some reason... We stare at each other baffled sometimes, Ronaud and me.
However one of the good things about computing is its usefulness in all sorts of areas of family life. Catrin has just been doing her flute practice - she plays along to accompaniments that she plays on the family computer using iTunes. It works really well, it makes practice much more interesting and fun and it helps her to learn to play in tune.
When I started learning flute in 1981 or so I had to buy a scales book, a studies book, pieces, the list went on... I have started learning trombone and scales and arpeggios are available on the internet, as are lots of pieces and even piano accompaniments for scales to help you play in tune. It's very different now from how it was.
And a last little thing on computing. The eeePC comes out in France today. I got one on Monday. Don't ask me why I got it early. They said to go and get it so I did. Anyway, it is really very small but it works fine. It will be great for deputation and also for taking to the student centre. If I can work out how to do looping and branching in an Impress presentation it might even do for church purposes. We'll see.
Monday, January 21, 2008
"The war was a stupid, useless thing. What's the point of massacring people ? Nothing can justify that, nothing."
The WWI soldiers found themselves in the filthy, lousy, rat-infested trenches where they couldn't wash, let alone shave ! So they grew extravagant moustaches which they wore with pride and gained the nickname "les poilus" - the whiskery ones or the hairy ones.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
The medal thing (I am sure it must be a reproduction) commemorates the action of the most Christian King in making heresy extinct by the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685.
At the revolution the nuns were carted off to Paris and "more or less guillotined" said the guide. We all decided that the less guillotined we were, the better. The priests were "hanged or killed".
The diary extract says "the 14th January 1686 Mr. Mubasson the consul, followed by several archers and sergeants, took by force and with the greatest violence my youngest sister whom he imprisoned, by order of the intendant, in the convent of Saint Claire at Montauban. My dear mother was also dragged off there at the same time. The next day a squad of four men came early to find me in my room to tell me that they had the orders of the intendant to put me in prison unless I agreed to recant. I embraced my wife and my poor children and we said goodbye for ever, in tears, but mutually resolved never to abandon our faith in Jesus Christ who had chosen us to suffer for his name. I was shut up in the chateau royal (the Montauban civil prison) and forbidden to see anyone. Also my sister, Mrs Derassus, was imprisoned by order of the intendant."
One of the slogans of May 1968 was "Il est interdit d'interdire" (It is forbidden to forbid.)
This wag says "If it is forbidden to forbid, then it is also forbidden to forbid to forbid."
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose word cannot be broken,
Form'd thee for His own abode:
On the Rock of ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
Thou may'st smile at all thy foes.
See! the streams of living waters,
Springing from eternal love,
Well supply thy sons and daughters,
And all fear of want remove.
Who can faint when such a river
Ever flows their thirst to assuage?
Grace, which, like the Lord, the giver,
Never fails from age to age.
Round each habitation hov'ring,
See the cloud and fire appear!
For a glory and a cov'ring,
Showing that the Lord is near;
Thus deriving, from their banner,
Light by night, and shade by day:
Safe they feed upon the manna
Which He gives them when they pray.
Bless'd inhabitants of Zion,
Wash'd in the Redeemer's blood!
Jesus, whom their souls rely on,
Makes them kings and priests to God.
'Tis His love His people raises
Over self to reign as kings,
And as priests, His solemn praises
Each for a thank-off'ring brings.
Saviour, if of Zion's city (I prefer Grace hymns' "Saviour, since ...)
I through grace a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in Thy name:
Fading is the worldling's pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show:
Solid joys and lasting treasure,
None but Zion's children know.
OK. Out of the meeting and get on the phone to Pat. (What did we do before mobile phones ?) No reply. Phone Carol Foucachon. She said that Pat had been on the line to her and was heading off to help.
They all handled it so well.
Pat phoned the schools and arranged for our kids to stay for lunch.
Ben rang for an ambulance, but didn't get through for some reason we don't understand.
So they phoned the doctor and when Pat got there they bundled the lad in the car and got him looked at.
The doctor was not too concerned - there's a tummy bug (gastro) going round, he had been unwell, his temperature had spiked and he'd had febrile convulsions. It's a case of keeping him cool and just watching him closely.
And how to translate febrile convulsions for the doctor ?
Don't. Reenact it. It worked.
I shared the image that Hendryk Krabbendam used all those years ago at a Carey Ministers' Conference when he spoke about revival using the equation 100% + 100% = 100%. In Christology, in conversion, in the inspiration of the Bible, in sanctification - it applies in all sorts of areas.
I decided not to share the Blue Peter "Bread in a flowerpot" illustration of positional and progressive sanctification, though it had proved quite helpful at church. It would have meant too much of my voice and I don't want people realising too soon how chopsy I am.
After lunch this couple were there. Someone introduced her to me and the person next to me as an Anglaise. 'Je suis Galloise!' she said. Her husband's name was Roy and they come from Toulouse. She was wearing a menorah badge.
As the meeting progressed something stirred in the back of my neurone.
Toulouse.... Roy.... Galloise.... Jews.... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... She's Margaret Reece !
Years ago now when we first started to sense a call to France a France prayer group used to meet in our home. People brought letters from the workers they supported and our friends from Flint brought information about the Reeces.
During one of the breaks I went and introduced myself to her properly.
Well we were off.
We sang Calon lân and I bob un sydd ffyddlon.
Margaret launched into Hen wlad fy nhadau and O Iesu mawr.
I started Mawr oedd Crist yn nhragwyddoldeb.
We both drew the line at Myfanwy.
One of the French said "It's super when you Welsh find each other..."
She told me where to get LOTS of Stuart Townend songs in French translation. (Asaph 2)
On the way home we stopped for a quick coffee at a motorway services. French coffee does nothing for your thirst but it does get you home when you're flagging (a coup de pompe) !
Incidentally one of the chaps from our group of churches is a real Gaul. Huge beard that forks. Massive leather jacket. The works. And he feels himself to be a Gaul, a Celt. He always says "Comment va le Gallois ?" I reply "Très bien, et le Gaulois ?"
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
After the meeting I went to put on my coat, but there was a brownish mark on the shoulder. Bird poo ? It didn't come off. Fiona said "What's that ? It's bleach". It had dripped down the sleeve and onto the pocket.
OK. So far we've tried a product that is sold to re-blacken black clothes. It's much better than it was, but still the splashes are a little visible. When I see some black dye I'll get some.
Tomorrow there's a carrefour théologique at Montauban, so it'll mean catching the early train into Bordeaux, then hopping on the one to Montauban. We'll be back pretty late so I hope there'll be a train back home ! If not I'll have to tram to Pessac and then walk from there.
I now need to get that credit card sorted so I can book tickets and car.
But it reminds us to pray for the flood-threatened new housing estates of Britain.
Monday, January 14, 2008
The one drawback - I need a credit card to hire a car!
I did have one in the UK, but after moving here I hardly ever used it and I have not yet applied for a French one. Better get on and apply for one !
Well the one good thing for me about meeting in the afternoon is the opportunity to visit some of the other churches in Bordeaux. The Eglise Libre was on my list. I know the pastor because he is the chairman of the local Evangelical Alliance and, I think, Protestant Federation, so I went along.
It was very good to be there. I got to meet the Trav Sec, who is Australian, and various students from the two different groups (see below). I also met a chap who is about to become engaged to a Chinese girl from Paris who is from the church of the pastor who comes to lead the monthly Chinese Bible Study in our centre. It was good to strengthen these links.
The GBU in Bordeaux has two groups, one of about 6 - 8 students who meet on the University Campus and the other of about 8 - 10 students who meet near the faculty of medicine. So that makes about 20 in all. There's approaching 100,000 students in Bordeaux.
Anyway meanwhile I was trying to record the message. We have a really nice Sennheiser radio mike that we used to use to record, but while we are in the hired hall then everything is placed differently, so I can't be near the mixing table to use that. So I try and use the built in mike in the machine. Anyway, all was probably in vain last night as the guy approached and retreated time after time.
But my ears - wow - they just followed the guy everywhere and picked up whatever he said perfectly. It's amazing how well we're made, isn't it !
Sunday, January 13, 2008
1) air tickets. More particularly, where to fly to and from ! I start out in Darlington and finish in Swansea passing via Glasgow in the north and Bath in the south, Whitby in the east and Swansea in the west ! I had assumed I would fly in and out of Manchester, but I also assumed I would probably be based in Shotton and make sorties hither and yon. That may not be the most practical thing to do in the end, though Shotton is excellently placed for the motorway networks and the joys of the M6, and not bad for the train, either...
2) transport. I won't be bringing the car to Britain. So do I entrust myself to the rail network or do I try and get a car to use for the three weeks ? There are firms that hire old cars to missionaries, and sometimes these are quite reliable (!) but that would mean flying to somewhere near their office. Alternatively I could simply hire the smallest car available commercially in Britain - there'll only be me. A Smart, perhaps ! When people come over to Britain from Ireland for conferences do they still fly Easyjet and hire Easycar Merc 140s ? The advantage of that is that I wouldn't need collecting from stations all the time and it may not be that much more expensive in the end. Also carting leaflets, magazines and DVDs etc.. round on the train would be tiresome in the extreme. I'll have drawers, socks, tee-shirts and shirts for three weeks as it is !
I'll ring the mission office in Swindon tomorrow to talk this through and see what they advise.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I think this song is lovely and it is not too technically difficult for either flutist or singer. Here's the text :
Viens ! - une flûte invisible
Soupire dans les vergers. -
La chanson la plus paisible
Est la chanson des bergers.
Le vent ride, sous l'yeuse,
Le sombre miroir des eaux. -
La chanson la plus joyeuse
Est la chanson des oiseaux.
Que nul soin ne te tourmente.
Aimons-nous! aimons toujours ! -
La chanson la plus charmante
Est la chanson des amours.
translation (not mine !)
Come! An invisible flute
Sighs across the orchards. -
The most peaceful song
Is the song of the shepherds.
The wind ripples, under the oak,
The dark mirror of the waters.
The most joyful song
Is the song of the birds.
May no care torment you.
Let us love, let us love forever!
The most charming song
Is the song of lovers.
Tony got a good response from the right-wing UMP audience when he said :
I am a centre-right politician. In the USA I'd be a Democrat, in the UK I'm labour and in France ... I'd probably be in government (laughs from the audience...) No, I'm joking, I'd be in the Socialist Party side by side with those who long to see it transformed.
Hiraeth - think of homesickness with the volume on full and the loudness button pressed and you come close.
The most informal sainte cène I have ever been at was during a discussion-format-service where the bread and wine circulated as people discussed in groups. hmm.
I would be very interested in simply tracing the development of communion service theology and practice in the French and Scottish reformed churches, sharing as they do a common ancestor in Geneva. Is there anything on that in print, I wonder ?
Meanwhile Trueman is very stimulating and a lovely boy, though he does give Derek Thomas dreadful stick for no greater crime than being Welsh - a calumny of which my culpability is concrete.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Pat's favourite is L'amour c'est comme une cigarette.
Gwilym likes J'ai un bon tabac, sung by Franklin ...?
My favourite is Aldebert, who takes to eating paperclips (unless he means musical trombones)
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
OK - how to give them the actual meter readings? There's a phone number.
Ring the phone number. The phone number says to do it online.
Do it online. The website still has me connected to the old house in Villenave.
OK. I'll disconnect that house from my account and connect the new one.
OK that worked eventually.
Now to enter the readings. Oh, I can't.
Phone the bills service. Explain. "OK, What are the real numbers?"
"Hang on a minute while I do the calculations in my head :
Sixty-fifteen-thousand four hundred sixty-ten and
Four-twenty-sixteen-thousand seven hundred fifty-two."
"I'll send you out a new bill and if you do this, this and this then every two months we'll send you an email for you to enter your meter readings online."
Isn't technology wonderful...
Monday, January 07, 2008
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Friday, January 04, 2008
These partnership agreements are important for French charity law. They document who does what and who is paid by whom and so on, and the relationship between different works, like missions, churches and student associations.
They're also important in recognising and encouraging gospel work. They establish a framework for supporting and enabling workers' roles.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
in cafés and bars from now on.
One of the things that shocks us in France is the number of young people who smoke. It's frightening.
All four of our parents smoked. Both my parents died of cancer. None of our brothers and sisters smoke (unless they hide it very well indeed !) though some of our nephews and nieces do.
Anyway, no more smoking in public places in France, i.e. cafés, bars, restaurants, etc.
Meanwhile, I am sure that I have read somewhere that the Pope has granted a plenary indulgence to all who stop smoking this year.
Don't just rely on that, though. Check your facts !
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
"If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights, which are a key concern of the Council of Europe."
Are they nuts ? Where did dissidents flee when rationalism threatened to punish their disagreement with death ? To sacral Britain, with its state church, christianity upheld by the monarch and gospel freedom of conscience.
Since when does the absolute conviction that all human beings are created equal and belong equally to the God who made them infringe human rights ? And have we so soon forgotten the carnage wrought by 20th century atheism because only the strongest have the right to survive ?
In Deeside we used to hold a Noson Lawen. People would play musical instruments or sing, there'd be sketches and jokes (some guys in particular were very natural comedians - one chap would appear in his flat cap and we would start roaring with laughter, another played his trombone and I laughed till I cried), there'd be reflective readings, pomes, and then at midnight we'd sing and pray and sometimes there'd be a sort message from the Bible.
Here you add food and a film. Last night we had few entrées, so we put the quiche and salad out with the rice and the sauces ( a daube - which turns out to be boiled beef and carrots, a boeuf bourguignon, a chicken stew and sweet and sour pork ). Cheeses: a camembert, some roquefort and something hard. Desserts were Pat's trifle, a cake with yogurt, lemon and a chocolate topping, a chocolate mousse and so on... Coffee. I took some bars of chocolate because a square of chocolate after a meal just rounds it off nicely.
Pat was the compère of the evening. Joseph played some jazz classics on his trumpet. A family did some short sketches with a light Bible theme. Ben Griffin and Gwilym juggled. Carol F shared some howlers from letters written to her when she worked for a radio Bible school (my favourite was when someone asked if you can be baptised by correspondence).
Then we watched a Disney film together before beginning New Year with a brief observation, prayer, the rest of the film then cleaning up the room we'd hired.
One of the tremendous things is that we know that 2008 will be a good year, even if it is an "annus horribilis" (Thank you ma'am). Even the bad times are good. Here's a couple of theme verses :
Romans 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel
Romains 8:28 Nous savons, du reste, que toutes choses concourent au bien de ceux qui aiment Dieu, de ceux qui sont appelés selon son dessein. 29 Car ceux qu’il a connus d’avance, il les a aussi prédestinés à être semblables à l’image de son Fils, afin que son Fils soit le premier–né de plusieurs frères. 30 Et ceux qu’il a prédestinés, il les a aussi appelés ; et ceux qu’il a appelés, il les a aussi justifiés ; et ceux qu’il a justifiés, il les a aussi glorifiés.
Philippians 1:27 Seulement, conduisez–vous d’une manière digne de l’Evangile de Christ, afin que, soit que je vienne vous voir, soit que je reste absent, j’entende dire de vous que vous demeurez fermes dans un même esprit, combattant d’une même âme pour la foi de l’Evangile,
Rhufeiniaid 8:28 Gwyddom fod Duw, ym mhob peth, yn gweithio er daioni gyda'r rhai sy'n ei garu, y rhai sydd wedi eu galw yn ôl ei fwriad. 29 Oherwydd, cyn eu bod hwy, fe'u hadnabu, a'u rhagordeinio i fod yn unffurf ac unwedd â'i Fab, fel mai cyntafanedig fyddai ef ymhlith pobl lawer. 30 A'r rhai a ragordeiniodd, fe'u galwodd hefyd; a'r rhai a alwodd, fe'u cyfiawnhaodd hefyd; a'r rhai a gyfiawnhaodd, fe'u gogoneddodd hefyd.
Philipiaid 1:27 Yn anad dim, bydded eich buchedd yn deilwng o Efengyl Crist, er mwyn imi weld, os dof atoch, neu glywed amdanoch, os byddaf yn absennol, eich bod yn sefyll yn gadarn, yn un o ran ysbryd, gan gydymdrechu yn unfryd dros ffydd yr Efengyl,
And resolutions ? I am less patient than I used to be. You know these "angry young men" that I think behave so badly ? I am turning into one. A bit late ! I'd like to know why things have changed. More important is to find a way to keep the greater honesty while also keeping my cool !
A motto verse for me :
2 Timothy 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothée 4:5 Mais toi, sois sobre en toutes choses, supporte les souffrances, fais l’oeuvre d’un évangéliste, remplis bien ton ministère.
2 Timotheus 4:5 Ond yn hyn oll cadw di ddisgyblaeth arnat dy hun: goddef galedi; gwna waith efengylwr; cyflawna holl ofynion dy weinidogaeth.