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)

Friday, September 24, 2004

so what did we do about it?

please remember, none of this is recommendation! And I am not saying I would do it the same way again, either.. In fact, I hope never to have to do it again at all!!

Firstly I spoke with a friend who knows me, knows the church and knows UFM. I "confessed" to them my thoughts about working in France, and also my misgivings and concerns (was I mad or bad...) They were supportive and encouraged me to think further, to pray, and to talk to them again when things had moved on further.

Only after that did I talk to Pat about it. Pat had the power of veto, but she was very supportive. We went together to some conferences to find out more.

Some months later I spoke to the elders of the church here. Neither of them was surprised - one had thought we would end up working in Spain, a thought shared by others in the church we later found out.

I visited Bordeaux to "spy out the land". This raised some matters that needed talking through in the family and with friends.

Then I spoke to the rest of the church officers, and when they felt it was time, we wrote to the church members and at that time we talked to our children about it.

Remember, our children are small. Their first reaction to the prospect was unbridled horror! It was a REALLY BAD EVENING and, as usual, I was out at some meeting or other, so Pat had to handle things alone. (I said she is patient! She's had to be!)

That's why we spoke to the children at the same time that we wrote to the church members. It was important that they hear it from us, and that they didn't have any big secrets to keep from everybody.

It was some months later, in May, that we applied to the mission as candidates, following some further church officers' meetings and members' meetings.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

so what does a mission call feel like?

Books have been written about the call, and the call to mission. I don't want to add to them! But it may help someone if I tell you what it was like for me. (I hope Pat will add her point of view some time!)

It felt logical. There was the need. There was the possibility. There was the willingness.

It felt like an obsession. I became obsessed with France. Every time I prayed - France. Every time I drove - France. In the back of my mind all the time - France.

It felt emotional. Now I'm Welsh, ok? Welshmen get emotional. My father used to find Lassie films moving. I got emotional at the Banner of Truth Conference whenever continental Europe was mentioned. (Just a sigh or a tear - not loud convulsive sobs.....)

It felt like I was going mad. There was no real reason to leave North Wales, and every real reason to stay. Was it a mid-life crisis? Was I simply barking mad?

It felt constant. This was going on for two or three years before I even talked to my wife about it. Why? Because if I was going mad, then why worry Pat before she needed to know! (of course, she knew something was going on, but she just thought I was barking mad.....)

It felt good to talk. I talked it through with a friend - very openly. Am I mad? Is it a mid-life crisis? Is it just emotional fancy? Am I just faddy or flighty, like a teenager, unable to settle down? (I am glad I addressed these questions early on, because they all came up again later!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Why Bordeaux?

especially when we could go and work in beautiful, celtic, rural Brittany.....

Bordeaux is a major city. There are some half a million people living in "greater Bordeaux", and it is the capital of the Gironde region. Something like 100 thousand students study at Bordeaux' universities.

Bordeaux has churches, pastors and Christian workers. But nowhere near enough. Pastors can be overstretched simply caring for their congregations, and there is little manpower to spare for student work.

However, this student work is vital for the churches of Bordeaux and of France. France needs strong Christians, ready to roll up their sleeves and be workers in the churches. We hope to contribute to this by working in the city and the region.

Why UFM?

UFM is the Unevangelised Fields Mission, www.ufm.org.uk The church here has had a long relationship with UFM, and we have prayed for UFM missionaries for many years. Carol Liddiard, now serving in Bordeaux, has been one of "our" missionaries since she served in Cote d'Ivoire some years ago.

I came to the church here in 1991 to be assistant to the then pastor, Peter Milsom. In 1997 he became the director of UFM. Our link with the mission grew closer.

UFM has recently begun building a team to work in France, and we feel very privileged to become part of that team. At present UFM has workers in Brittany and in Bordeaux.

Why France?

I love my work. I love my church www.deeside.org.uk. I love the AECW www.aecw.org.uk. I even love chairing the Regional Council and sitting on committees www.emw.org.uk. Of course, all these things often do my head in, but I love them. So why think of leaving this behind to go to France?

It all started 11 years ago with our honeymoon in Spain. The needs of continental Europe came home to us with a thump. I began to learn Spanish, and to take a keener interest in mission to Spain, but with no sense that we should go to work there ourselves.

Then about 5 years ago we visited France for the first time. If Spain is needy, France is very needy! Lots of factors became important in my mind. 60 years ago British people fought hard for France's political freedom. But what of her spiritual freedom? Shouldn't we work harder and more sacrificially for that? I seem to be able to learn languages. Pat is plucky and adventurey and is willing to go. The kids are young enough. We have no parents. If we can't go, who can? But how, with whom and where? There didn't seem to be any obvious path ahead. Till UFM & Bordeaux. It seemed that God was opening a door.