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, April 30, 2013

The days that nothing works

Everything is gone kaput. My external hard drive has had over a week of working impeccably and now ... nothing. The sd card in my phone has thrown a wobbly. So while I try and nudge them gently back into life here's some cheerful music :

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bordeaux-USA

We've been in Bordeaux for almost eight years now, avoiding expatriates all that time so as to integrate to the maximum into French ministry.

But for a couple of weeks we've been thinking that perhaps it's time to make ourselves known to the expats, so we went to the Bordeaux-USA association meeting.

It meets every week on Thursday evening. It has a sizeable lending library of English books. It does a variety of activities : last night was a quiz and next week is a "Pot-Luck Supper". There were perhaps 25 folk there, about 1/3 French, 1/3 Americans and 1/3 Brits.

I vowed to keep my trap shut so nobody would know I am Welsh.

Not easy

Here's some photos. The first is taken from the lending library windows, the others are of the hge ship, "The World" which is in Bordeaux at the moment.





Prayer Letter

Our April Prayer Letter has been sent out by email and will be sent by post shortly.

If you'd like a copy by email then please contact us.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bitesize Biographies - John Newton - a Four Star Book about a Five Star Man !

A review of "Bitesize Biographies - John Newton", by John Crotts.

This is a really good book and I am a scoundrel. That's why the book gets "only" four stars.

Let me explain.

The subject of the book is John Newton. Seaman, slave trader, preacher, man of letters and hymn-writer, he's a wonderful subject to write about and John Crotts fulfils his task very well.

He gives us the mechanical aids we need - a time line, and a chronological account of Newton's life (and what a life !)

He gives us a taste of the man, of his loves, of his heart. And John Newton had a big heart that loved above all the grace of God in the gospel. We have a lot to learn from him and John Crotts helps us greatly in a small book.

He gives us an insight into John Newton's output of hymns and letters with analyses of some of the great classics, like 'Glorious things of theee are spoken' and 'How sweet the name of Jesus sounds' (as well as 'Amazing Grace', obviously) He gives us a thematic overview of John Newton's output of letters.

It's a really good book.

But the first phrase annoyed me so much that I almost put it down. 'The inspired sage wrote,'. I thought "Here we go !" and I was right. Later on we learn that Cowper and Newton 'sharpened one another in every way'. I know it's only a question of style, but it would baffle anyone who wasn't pretty well immersed in the Bible and fairly fluent in 'the language of Zion'. Later on reading that Betsy 'even divided his food' baffled me. Whatever does that mean ? I should think it's a Bible allusion, but I don't know which one and my concordance doesn't help.

So four stars. I know it's harsh. I know I am a scoundrel. I know I should be more charitable and big-hearted. I know it's an excellent book. But they're my stars and I'm giving four. (I think John Newton the pastor would laugh and John Newton the poet and writer would approve...)

Beautiful Bordeaux

When I meet up to talk with chaps I generally do it in cafés in Bordeaux - yesterday was in the McCafé - and afterwards we walk the streets a bit while we talk. Yesterday we ended up in a part of town I don't know very well and I took some photos.



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BATCUB !

Bordeaux has been rehabilitating the river over the past few years. Until just after 2000 the riverside was dirty and unsavoury - not a place you wanted to go.

But now the riverbank is a place of gardens, pleasant walks, sport, cafés, shops and

the BATCUB !

A river-bus that links the right bank at Stalingrad with the left bank at Quinconces, the Hangars and Lormont.

Very kindly the city decided to offer two weeks of free trips on the boat. You had to book online. Since Mrs Davey has LONG wanted a trip on the river, since John Edmonds was coming to visit and since the trip was free I signed us up for Monday afternoon.

Here's some photos John took. A video will follow.





Sunday evening - the crowd !

The English Service was followed by a barbecue, our first of the year (almost two months late !)

We catered for 12 and we were 20. Oops ! I cut the sausages in half (French sausages are pretty long anyway).


Sunday morning - the keys

On Sunday morning, as is his wont, Gwilym scuttled off early on the 8:30 bus to practice the songs.

Without the key.

We followed on the 9am bus and we had just missed the tram connection (slow bus driver ?) when he phoned to say that he was waiting for us outside the church.

Normally the 9am bus gets us to the church before 10, but this time (see above) we didn't arrive till just after 10 when we were pleased to see a little queue outside the church waiting for it to open.





A visit from an old friend

John Edmonds and I did the Theological Training Course together. He's now pastor at Freshbrook Evangelical Church at Swindon which has close links with UFM, our mission, and he came to visit us !

It brought several wonderful things :

1) He talked to us and listened to us about how we are.

2) He preached for the Chinese group and for the English Service.

3) He enabled us to take him on a bit of sightseeing !

So first here's some photos he took.








Friday, April 19, 2013

A different kind of birthday

So Thursday was my birthday and I scuttled off the the airport to meet a colleague from the EMW Theological Training Course who is pastor at a church in Swindon and who partly through the Cary Family Conference has become a friend, John Edmonds.

John has witnessed my meteoric rise to become President of the Music School, preached for the Chinese and will preach for the Anglophones tonight. He's also seen a bit of Bordeaux and has helped in thinking through a knotty problem that is before us at present. More of that anon.

And the weather is lovely. Bordeaux is smiling serenely on John's visit.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Watch out ! There'll be mosquitoes about !

Parts of our local park are still waterlogged from the incessant heavy rains. Drainage ditches are full of nasty, stagnant water.

Meanwhile today the mercury hit 31°. I looked at one of the ditches. Nasty little insects were buzzing over the surface of the waters.

So I wasn't surprised just now to hear that tell tale sound, that high pitched whine, that mosquito buzz... watch out !

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday is people day

We were invited for lunch at Patrick, my fellow elder's house, so we reserved a Autocool car and I went to pick it up somewhat late, having missed the bus I intended to take due to bathroom scheduling issues. Still, it got us to the church on time.

Where Christophe was preaching. His first proper sermon. He'd asked me to take notes and give feedback. I know how off-putting it can be to have someone with a clipboard ready to tell you how many times you sniffed... Still I was really happy with all. His delivery was great. All was, as we say, RAS. (rien à signaler).

We were all pretty heavime implcated in the service - Pat doing PowerPoint, Gwilym accompaniment, me topping and tailing the service with notices and the Lord's supper as well as doing the order of service and preacher hand-holding.

There was a good crowd at church after our low numbers last week. And Sen, our friend in Beijing, is back for a few weeks finishing off his PhD. So good to see him !

We proceeded to Patrick's house where we ate a well-prepared barbecue. Patrick is king of the barbie. Afterwards we talked about the church, the future and stuff.

Then back to Pessca for the English service. Numbers are always low when the sun shines, but we had a new couple - Franco-Canadian - who seemed very much at home. After a supper of pizzas and puds together we hit the sack.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring arrived this weekend

bringing bright sunshine and heat and everything !

My Saturday began with a mens' breakfast which was a happy time. My cake Belle Hélène fell apart, so I got some really nice baguettes in the shape of ears of wheat from our local baguetterie. Nobody else brought cake, so this time it was croissants, chocolatines and bread. And discussions about the book "L'homme dans le miroir" by Patrick Morley.

I scuttled home for lunch and then we planned to go to the Bordeaux-USA book sale. I had a chappie coming for marriage counselling at 3, so we planned to catch the 13:30 bus, I'd spend 1/2 hour at the book sale then be back in time for my appointment. However we dillied and dallied, and so did the bus, so instead Pat went alone to the booksale and I called at the local Dacia garage.

Dacia had promised us a free gift and a chance to win a new Sandero GPL. Well Renault once gave us jolly nice fountain pens so since the Dacia garage is about 150 yards from our house I called there on the way back from the bus stop. The free gift turned out to be a useful USB charger and winning the car is a dead cert according to the pretty salesgirl.

The marriage prep went well, though it did take an unexpected turn. I was pretty clear and honest with our couple and they are thinking and talking things through.

Then off to church for the Chinese service. I must STOP eating the Chinese food. Hayfever and hot peppers can have quite strong effects on the back of my throat. Anyway, a lot of fruit juice and a few tissues and we were off into Acts 4 - 5.

It was great to see some folk back after doing work experience elsewhere, some folk back for their second week and showing every sign of settling down. A good evening.

They don't write numbers like this any more

Friday, April 12, 2013

It has been a busy, happy week here in Bordeaux

and so there's not much to blog about and not much music listening to share with you !

Not only that, but the weather has been ghastly with persistent, heavy rain, so I haven't taken many photos, not even with my phone.

I did come across this, however :

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Neither an angel nor a demon (I'm going to SO regret this !)

Mrs Thatcher. Yes.

I grew up in the Rhondda valley and was a child of the 1970s. The three-day-week. We lit oil lamps in the evening ! The winter of discontent. Jim Callaghan's "Crisis? What crisis?"

I lived in Cardiff during the 1980s. I remember vividly the shock and horror we felt at the murder of a miner by his colleagues because he was on the way to work. A concrete block dropped on his car.

I remember the poll tax riots. The British don't do demonstrations, let alone riots !

So I have very mixed feelings about Margaret Thatcher.

I remember reminding friends in South-East England that there were no conservative MPs in Wales in those days. "We didn't vote her in !" "Neither did we", came the reply. "Well somebody must have !"

On the positive side, she gave us one of our best ever conservative Welsh Secretaries of State - Peter Walker. It is said that she put him in Wales because they didn't get on, and he did very well !

I remember those few days when she went to that summit in Paris and the Conservative Party mounted its coup.

Britain following the Thatcher years did become very focused on money. It seems to me that there was a backlash afterwards so that now it's hard to encourage kids to settle down and think of the future.

However she was a conviction politician and a very brave one.

And a quotable one ! "Now is no time to go wobbly, George." is my favourite.

We probably needed her. Hard and nasty-tasting medicine.

I have heard from several sources that she was a committed Anglican and with evangelical tendencies.

( When Sarkozy was elected I wondered if he would be the French Thatcher, but he didn't have the bottle. )

It's been interesting to see American colleagues voicing their praise of her, and British people more divided. Some laud her, others "curse"...

I suppose I think she was a remarkable woman who shows very clearly that people are both wonderful and tragic.

Made in the image of God, fallen through the influence of Satan.

We are neither angels nor demons. None of us.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Live radio

So today was radio interview day.

I am the speaker this evening (the French say "orateur". Grand eh ?) at a Café Théo in Caudéran, on the theme "God, if you exist, prove it !"

Thus it was that on Thursday of last week, I think, I got a call asking me if I'd go in for the lunchtime news slot on Radio Chrétienne de France, Bordeaux, be the guest of the day and talk about the Café Théo.

It meant about a 7 minute interview, done live, and great fun. A bit hair-raising as you don't want to mess up your genders or your subjunctives on the radio, and it all goes quite fast ! Still...

It seemed to go OK. They took my photo for their website (broke the camera on their iPad, too !).

And I got a plug in for the Café Philo that FAC do with the students.

Then they asked if I'd be interested in doing any more radio work as my face is just right for radio.

I said yes, of course, that I found it great fun and that I used to do a bit for the BBC in Wales.

So we'll see !

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Ah ! A hymn quoted by Don Carson

So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing,
So send I you to toil for Me alone.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O'er wand'ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.

So send I you - to loneliness and longing,
With heart a-hungering for the loved and known;
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one,
So send I you - to know My love alone.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.

So send I you - to leave your life's ambitions,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long and love where men revile you,
So send I you - to lose your life in Mine.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho' it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

The new river-ferries

can be seen here

A Bordeaux Spring

one lovely day followed by incessant rain !

Yesterday was a beautiful day - rather cold in the morning but sunny and bright with a warm afternoon. I met up with a chap for coffee and afterwards we wandered through the city talking. On the tram on the way home I noticed a gang of people training at the Stalingrad tram stop.






Tuesday, April 02, 2013

An important article that demands serious thought

Read it here.

A perspective on Christians in China

In three parts :

Part one.

Part two.

Part three.


June church visits

Alan hopes to visit churches in Wales and the South-West in June this year, between 9th and 24th June.

So far the evening of Sunday 16th is available, especially for any church in the Swansea area.

Morning and evening of Sunday 23rd are available.

Midweek all dates from 10 to 15 June and from 17 to 23 June EXCEPT12 June which is taken.

Easter weekend

Good Friday's service was at 8pm. This seems late, but when we've tried to hold it earlier it's been a huge problem because of the Friday evening traffic combined with the folk leaving the city for the long weekend. We were able to start almost on time and finished just after 9. It was a good simple time. I preached from 1 Peter 3:18. It was great to have some of the students who've gone away to study back with us.

So Saturday was a day of prayer for the church. I was on duty at home in the morning and at church from 16h. It was great to find an old friend of the church there who I haven't seen for at least two years. The day went well, I think, and ended with the Chinese Easter Service where I had a new translator - my usual two were away - we celebrated the Lord's Supper together and there was a new couple present - Franco-Chinese, they have just moived down from the north and settled in one of the American baptist churches. Great couple. 1 Peter 3 v 18 did service, but this time in English translated into Mandarin.

Sunday's Easter services in Bordeaux and in Blaye had visiting preachers. At Cenon over 70 people crowded into our building, we had visiting friends as well as folk checking us out for the first time.

In the evening the English service was smaller than usual, but with a new person from the Philippines present for the first time. The message was from Matthew 28 verses 5 and 6.

A blessed and happy day, we were pretty tired by the end of it.

Monday than everyone got up late (except me) and the kids had schoolwork to do so there was no Easter Mondy outing.

Just as well as it's cold and damp here.