Showing posts from September, 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

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 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, 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 . I love the AECW . I even love chairing the Regional Council and sitting on committees . 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 n