Those are words to brew up dreams, no ?
Anyway we are very, very blessed.
We have no home in the UK, but so many people opened their homes to me and made me feel part of their family. Thanks everyone.
The work is hard here, but I was impressed again with the strength and determination of our friends in the UK who are an inspiration to us in situations which are far from easy. We shed a few tears in the UK and some more after my return.
I was away for 27 days. It's too long. I hope that in future I will listen to the advice of our mission's Director who advises two weeks, three weekends - perhaps 16 days. I am wondering about Wales in June of next year and Scotland in June 2013...
I got to attend two conferences - in some ways at opposite poles of the evangelical world I inhabit - The Bala Conference with Don Carson and the Evangelical Ministry Assembly with Tim Keller and David Wells. I told you we were very blessed ! I have lots of reading and thinking through to do after these times. Both were wonderful for different reasons. I think I reconnected with my roots a bit in Bala and it did me good especially.
When I got home some splendid lads from Bath University were camping under the trees in our back garden - "Camp Bikers" was inaugurated on Saturday 25th June and I got to see all the lads and to take bikes, boxes, bags, bits and bobs to the airport. Thanks for coming, lads, and I think a Bordeaux to Malaga trek for next year is a must, don't you ?
As an aspiring eco-warrior I dream of not owning a car and of using one of these car pools, especially once the tram arrives in our neighbourhood. It would be such a good thing to do, though I do wonder how we would be able to do some of the extreme lugging that we so enjoy with our Berlingo.
During my travels I met lots of folks who had been working long and hard for a long time. I recognised myself in their ... grittiness... a growing hardness... a shrinking capacity to suffer fools gladly... a gradual loss of sense of humour... Take a break, people. Take a break.
At the end of May I was letting things get to me more than is wise, and so after consultation with my better half we decided to take a big break in July. Discussions with someone in the UK encouraged me to make this a cyber-break, too.
So during July the blog will be quiet, as will my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
I am not scheduled to preach in French in July and although we sometimes maintain the English services in case we have holidaymakers, almost all our regular folks have left town so we are closing down for July. I hope not to preach for the Chinese either.
There are still things that will need to be done - there'll be Church Council (elders and deacons) meetings in July, probably more than one, but apart from that...
If folk need advice on churches then feel free to email me and I'll try and get back to you as soon as I can. Of course, I don't have encyclopaedic knowledge of the French Christian scene. Who does ? Where I don't know of anything I use this website : www.eglises.org.
Blessings ! Alan