So on Thursday I flew Easyjet to Geneva to spend the weekend with the Swiss and East France Reformed Baptists. There were preaching seminars arranged on Friday and Saturday, on Sunday I was preaching in the Lausanne church then coming home this morning.
Régis is the pastor of the Lausanne church and he met me at Geneva, then we scuttled off to the Lausanne church arriving just in time for the Bible study that was being led by my old friend and hero, Stuart Olyott. It was great to hear Stuart doing a study in French. He probably thinks my accent is very odd, being a mix of anglophone and South-West. His is a mix of anglophone and Swiss and I thought his accent very odd. Anyway...
The Friday and Saturday morning we zoomed off to the little town of Bulle for the first day of preaching seminars. There were about 40 chaps there, including my colleague and hero, Hicham from Carcassonne. There were a good number of young guys in their twenties, which was good to see. Also extremely good to meet Olivier Favre and David Vaughn. Olivier is pastor of the Payerne church and David in Grenoble.
My special mission was to suck in Stuart's material so it can be digested and adapted for use here. I was very pleased to find that we had photocopied handouts of notes and that the whole lot was being recorded and CDs available for a very reasonable price. The seminars were conducted with Stuart's usual mix of absolute conviction, warm humour and gracious discussion. There were three different workshops available, I went to one on the regulative principle and another on preaching OT narrative. Both workshops were useful. I don't know if I learnt anything new, as such, but for example, I didn't know what the regulative principle is called in French, and it was good to think about these things again.
I was very impressed with the churches. They have bright, clean, modern meeting rooms and good ancillary rooms. Lots of young guys and an atmosphere of optimism, hope and confidence in God.
Sunday morning I preached in the Lausanne church and I felt very much at home. The congregation has more older folk than we have and it was nice to see their cheery faces and to talk with them after the service.
Switzerland is lovely. The cows wear bells (dong dong dongle dongle dong), as do the sheep (ding ding dingle dingle ding) , and there was a flock of sheep not far from my bedroom window. One night it was a bit hot so I opened the window, heard the bells then quickly shut it again ! You probably get used to the constant clanging. The scenery is just gorgeous, even if Lausanne seemed scruffy - nasty graffitti everywhere and lots of litter - and the roads are boring. Also Swiss people seemed to drive faster and more erratically than the Bordelais. I was homesick for Bordeaux.