Escape and Pray sent people to Bordeaux again on Friday and they phoned me for help.
The idea, I think, is loosely based on Luke 10, and consists of sending folk out with a return airline ticket to a city to meet people, to find out about their situation and to pray. The folk sent don't take any money, credit cards or whatever. They depend on the people they are sent to, who don't know they are coming.
Generally the folk don't know where they will be sent, and don't speak French, so they ring my number, which is on the Bordeaux Church website. At the moment.
Last time it was a group of Dutch guys who arrived on the weekend of the 18th December last year. They joined us for a meal and ended up staying at James' place.
This time two Dutch guys phoned while we were waiting for the judges' deliberation in the music exam.
"I can't speak now, I'm in an examination."
"Is there a meal in your house? Can we come?"
I sent them the address, but it was too far for them to come. They explained who they were. My heart sank. Everyone in the centre of town who could conceivably accommodate them was away from home for the weekend, and we already had a young woman sleeping on our couch.
"Can we sleep in the church?"
"We don't have a church."
In the end I gave them a list of numbers from the www.eglises.org website and hoped for the best.
In the worst of cases they'd be OK sleeping in the streets with the homeless.
It's hot, the city has lots of safe places and there's drinking water available in the squares.
I also contacted the organisation that arranges "Escape and Pray" to ask them not to send people to Bordeaux, or at least to suggest that they please don't phone Bordeaux Church. You know, we're not a big group of people in a country area with garages, barns and spare bedrooms. We're a small bunch of folk on modest incomes living in small apartments in a very expensive city, and we can't do this.