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)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wonderful stuff (and be careful to pronounce both fs in stuff !)

Just rite for an English class.

I have just been for a haircut - I am getting used to seeing the grey hairs glinting in the mirror. The young lady asked me if I am forrin, being as I have got an accent, and I explained that I am Welsh. She said 'Oh between England and Ireland". I thought "That'll do".

We talked about how hard it is to learn English. Oh yes, it is. The pronunciation is, if you'll pardon the expression, all to pot.

And she said "And they do not understand our expressions. I said 'the fingers in the nose' and they didn't understand".

I'm not surprised. I taught her easy-peasy, which is a rough equivalent.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Emma Jane Kirby of the BBC says that

the French are holding out against the credit crunch better than most.

It is true that borrowing limits are lower in France than in Britain - you cannot take on a debt if it will mean you end up with more than 1/3 of your net income going in repayments.

A three-legged président ?

20 Minutes is calling for the retouching of press photographs to be forbidden. They give this example of a photo published in Paris Match where a security guard has been edited out of the photo - or almost. It leaves the observant reader wondering why the president appears to have three legs.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The campus looked nice today

There was someone sitting on the grass playing the accordeon and everyone was in a very good mood.
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Between doing the computers and outreach

The computers at the student centre need a bit of tender loving care, so I went down with my trusty hammer and - lo and behold - they started downloading Service Pack 3. EEEEK !

Knowing that this Could Take Some Time I thought I'd nip out for a quick cup of something - to this lovely café cum bookshop in Rue du Ruat. It's NICE isn't it !

I have LONG wanted to pop in for a coffee or something. Today was the day.
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The local - the view from one of the windows

The building you can see best is the back of a bank.
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The local - the main room

I didn't have the key for the main room so I took this photo through the security grill and window. It gives you a bit of an idea.
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The local - from the upper room front window

You can see how close the tram passes. It was slowing down to enter the tram stop. These CRS policemen had stopped this car with two chaps in it. They looked very guilty indeed to my untrained eye.
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The local - the smaller rooms

The Sunday school room. The nursery room. The office.

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The local - the corridor. I think this needs painting.

The little room at the end has a radiator and looks like it was used as a drying room. To the left you find the upper room and to the right you find the bathroom, the nursery room, the sunday school room and then the office.
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The local - washing the walls and the cupboards in the kitchen

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The local - washing the walls in the upper room

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Why two Sunday services ?"

asks John Benton.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm going to purge the links on this blogue soon

Some of these blogs have not been updated for a very long time. They shall be removed. And I'll check that all the other links work and get rid of them as doesn't.

They say that everyone has at least one book inside them

They are wrong ! 

I have to write just a few simple things, almost everything in English, and you'd swear I was trying to climb Everest in rollerskates.

Basically in English I have to write our prayer letter (that one's OK once you decide what you need to say) and an article for an august Christian magazine. One thing is sure: once they read what I produce they'll never ask me again ! 

That should be my motto. "Never knowingly asked again."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Meanwhile, at the chapelle in Pessac

We spent our last Sunday but two at the little chapelle in Pessac, where the cyclamens are still blooming. I'll miss these cyclamens, especially since the place is due to be razed to the ground some time soon to build an estate of little houses .
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Le temple de la faculté

On Saturday the Commission Exécutive Elargie met at Montauban. The church has recently been extremely well renovated and I have put photos on the blog before. This time I thought I'd photograph the pulpit.

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Sunday after lunch

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Normal" blogging will be resumed as soon as possible

It's been quiet, hasn't it.

Partly because I had one of those snap, sharp colds that comes quickly, knocks you down and then leaves as quickly as it came. Nurse Davey has impressed on me the need to care for a cold, so I take to my bed for a day then I am better the next.

Then it's been a very happy busy couple of days, with lots of coming and going.

Then, less happily, late nights and early mornings. Early mornings I have no big problem with, but late nights tend to use me up a little.

Then yesterday I was at a very happy Commission Exécutive Elargie for the South-West Region of the association of churches, at Montauban. Although "élargie", we were only 7 people in attendance which gave us a nice opportunity to talk more freely and get to know each other better.

So tired but happy. And a bit too preoccupied to blog. But I will soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Review / preview

Last night we sat around the Griffins' nice old wooden table and reviewed the work amongst the students last year - the highlights and lowlights, the things that worked and that didn't work, the successes and the failures.

Then we previewed the year to come and dicussed and adopted various changes and new approaches.

It'll be an interesting year. We have a great feeling of beginning afresh : in the English services because many of our folks from last year are no longer in Bordeaux, in the French church because we have our new premises to make a fresh start, in the student work because some have left and new students will be contacted.

I was talking to somone the other day and said that I was looking forward to having a normal year in France one day. They said that that's a vain hope.

The ESV Study Bible

is to be published soon.

Here we go ! We saw THIS one coming.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Si Dieu existe, pourqoui la souffrance ?

A video with Florent Varak and Raphaël Anzenberger.

It's filmed in a dimly-lit hall and now and again it goes bananas, but persevere.

Oh- and it's in French.

Watch your mouth

Mark Driscoll is one of the most popular cyberpastors now. I confess that I haven't really gotten into watching or listening and one of my reservations is his style, including his choice of language.

Now I know that "he that winneth souls is wise", which suggests that results justify the means, and that "God blesses faithfulness, not results" so we can dismiss all discussion based on the size of his church or the influence he has. That don't prove nothing not one way nor the other.

And I know that all pastors get beaten up for the language they choose to use. I was taken to task for using the word "dead" (as in "dead cert") and "grab" (like a drowning man clutches at a straw when you see your real situation you'll grab at Jesus Christ). Among others. Those are just two that come to mind. In those situations one has to reflect.

And I know that preachers can have a slip of the tongue, especially when preaching in a language that is not their own. I remember when a guy said "Paul would make damn sure he saved as many as he could", and in French is it wise to say "vachement" or is that student speak...?

But it's one thing to make a slip. It's another to choose stories and a register of language that is "changing-room".

Nathan Busenitz discusses.

The glorious Welsh-European Airbus A380 has a major defect

it is too quiet, says Randy of Boeing.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to be a pollyglotte


So now we know !

Edwards' beautiful unpublished essay on the trinity


Fantastic !

Parents evening over by 18h30 (just 1 1/2 hours).

Visitor (in 70s) on train from Caen crossed Paris to catch tgv to Bordeaux with no problems whatsoever.

Trusty Ben fetched her from the station.

Pat meanwhile bouncing G & C into and out of various music classes.

All worked out far better than I could have predicted.

Like clockwork !

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Of visitors, airbeds and parents' evenings

Some friends came to visit for the weekend, folks who have some French and who spend quite some time in France. It was good to have them here and to let them get to see the church a little again.

However, the poor things arrived on Friday night, when I was in the throes of my three-hour parents' evening and Pat was ferrying Gwilym back and fore from football, so at just after 8 guided by his satnav and his nous for when he hit all the closed roads, Peter came to pick me up from the school.

Tonight another friend comes to visit, this time by train. I'm in another three-hour parents' evening and Pat is ferrying the children back and fore to music. Ho hum.

We put our friends on an airbed that we borrowed from the Griffins. I do not believe in airbeds. Pat does, but even her faith was shaken, so we put the airbed on top of the spare matresses from the kids' bunks. At 1am our friends gave up on the airbed and just slept on the matresses. Poor things !

Monday, September 15, 2008

Well at last I did some admin that had been waiting for me

I sent off feuilles de soin for dentistry, physiotherapy and other things. 
I found that the Income Tax people had indeed contributed 250 euros to the cost of our poele à bois. 
I ascertained that our tax foncière (property tax) has reached ever more heady heights. Roll on October. 
I sent off a cheque for 10 euros to be credited to our account. Every little helps towards our tax foncière!
Loads of stuff. 
Good. Phew.

This is bad news for the Davey household !

A picnic tax

More accurately, a tax on paper plates and plastic knives and forks. We use LOADS of 'em. We use 'em every Sunday.

Who are the British creationists ?

Who are the British creationists ?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

We were back at the chapelle in Pessac

for the service today. I had forgotten that there is a carpet of cyclamens there at this time of the year. Last photo not too bad for a mobile phone, eh?

Afterwards we were about 16 people for lunch. A bit impromptu. We had some chicken in the slow-cooker. Six pieces. I cut each in half and Pat dug sausages and chicken nuggets out of the freezer and nobody seemed to go hungry.

This afternoon was warm and pleasant so there was a big waterfight in the garden. We're very lucky to have this house. Really very thankful indeed.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Autumnal weather for the journée de rentrée d'église in les Landes

Didn't stop Vincent and Jenna climbing this silver birch, mind.

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Pre-Game Coin Toss Makes Jaguars Realize Randomness Of Life

Wow ! (sorry about the language...)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Three hours

That's how long the parents' evening was today. 

From 5pm to 8pm.

I can tell you, as you sit there watching teacher after teacher you feel yourself aging. One chap went in with a mop of curls and came out bald.

But the kids are fine and the teachers are nice and the school is ok and the head is great and there we are,

and there's another parents' evening on Tuesday.

I pity the teachers - they have to do this every night for a week !


It was a good day yesterday for talking over things and planning. We spent the afternoon thinking, talking and praying about the Sunday services in the coming months, the meetings for evangelism, the prayer meetings, the home-groups, the English work, etc. etc. 

In the morning I saw the doctor and took someone to the airport. In reverse order. All was OK, but I have to have le bilan sanguin - blood tests again. Just routine. Checking for everything !

The Pope's here

well, he's in Paris.

70% of French people say that they are Roman Catholic. 7% go to church, apparently. ( I don't know where that 7% are, they are not in Bordeaux... )

Meanwhile the Pope is in Paris. To us that seems a long way away. 

In North Wales we felt a long way from the seats of power, temporal (Westminster) and ecclesiastical (Bridgend).

It's just the same here with Paris and Nîmes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We signed on Cenon !

OK - the church is officially locataire of the premises in Cenon.

We get the keys on 22 September and then there's is work to do - a few modifications here and there and lots of painting.

We hope to move in for the second Sunday of October.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

'How many times do I have to walk around you before you fall for me?"

I think the Riddleblogger may well be the silliest link I have - excepting perhaps the Truman when he's on his anti-Welsh thing... 

Anyway, thank-you Riddleblogger for bringing this AWFUL, AWFUL, DREADFUL so dreadful you just have to laugh story to our attention.

'I didn't believe in predestination until tonight' (Click on the link - if you dare...)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Do I have a gift for spotting the blindingly obvious ?

I'd love to have that gift, but I don't. And you'll see why I am so sure in a moment.

In the UK, charged with the energy of the ProcTrust and the Biblical Theology Movement, we have got used to thinking of a unifying theme of the Bible being God's presence, with God's People, under God's King, in God's Place. Or some variation on that. We trace it from Eden through the fall through Abraham to Egypt to Canaan through David through the exile through Jesus to the final chapters of the book of Revelation. And a mighty fine scheme it is.

Here in France I'm in a Presbyterian church and presbyterians tend to emphasise another unifying scheme, that of covenant theology. The covenant being God's fulfilment of his promise to save all his people. We trace it from it's first announcement in Eden after the fall through Abraham to Moses to Canaan through David through the exile through Jesus to the final chapters of the book of Revelation. Quite, quite wonderful. ( Incidentally I still remember when we first got excited about covenant theology way back in the late 1970s in Aber. Aha ! That little grey cell is still firing ! )

But I hate it when you have two things that both claim to be the unifying theme (and I know there's others, too) and I hate it when you have to say of people "well really they're kingdom rather than covenant" or vice versa. And anyway, it is just not neat. There must be something that links these parallel rails.

I was pondering this in the car some weeks ago when it dawned on me. In the covenant God acts like the King that he is. In the near-east Kings made covenants with their subject peoples, and here we have the great King making his covenant with his subject people. It's not either or. It's both and, in a blindingly obvious way.

It was so obvious at the time that I was too embarrassed to post it to the blog, but I have been encouraged to by this interview with Vern. It is so reassuring when other people address the same blindingly obvious question .

Premises - and the cultes en anglais

Negotiations have been positive. We ended up with the figure we first thought of, and a decent price if we want to take up the option to buy the place.

Now the questions arise about the International services in English. Is it a good venue for them ? Who can tell. I think we need to give it a go and see. I mean - parking's easy, trams are nearby, access by road is easy. Could it be better ? However Bordeaux has a psychological 'right bank' thing going on. We'll give it a go and see, I think.

So here is the pattern that we're thinking about :

Twice a month, evangelistic services in French meant to be easy access. We'd translate as much as we could into English too.

The other Sundays, services in English. Given that we'll be holding services in the evening in French, too, this also allows us to try and establish a bridge from the anglophones into the francophones.

In addition we need to consider starting a homegroup in English if possible.

Yes, I know. It might not work. But then nothing "works", does it ! (see previous posts...)

Bread-truck monday

( I think that's the expression now. ) Preaching yesterday seemed to go OK - though I desperately needed a Potter's Cattargh Pastille. Un petit verre d'eau had to suffice.

I asked Ben if he thought one of my illustrations worked. He has certain drawbacks as a critic, though. For one thing he is of an encouraging character. For another he doesn't usually spot my foul-ups in French. Still.

Afterwards s small gang came back to eat - kids, students and young and singles. And the Griffins.

But this morning I feel tired and I'm coughing. Help, I'm a Welshman, get me out of here.

(don't worry - it won't last) ( it didn't )

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It takes patient service

I was thinking about a friend who has just joined a mission team in a city in Britain that is characterised perhaps like no other by churches that have a reputation for vibrant, Bible-preaching life. I then thought about Bordeaux. I thought about our lack of just strong, solid, stable churches. I thought about our lack of all kinds of things that in Britain (and the USA) are just taken for granted. Everything is just so FRAGILE !

Then I read this post by the étrangère. It helped me to remember that it is about giving time and patient service. The other post she refers to, "Nothing works, so try everything", is very helpful, too.

Nothing works. That's true, isn't it. If something worked then we'd all do that and it would always work ! Instead we know that nothing works, so we are committed to trying everything - we are committed to doing things that do not work, because we know that God is at work.

La tapisserie de Bayeux

Some years ago we went to see the tapestry. Today we found the tickets so I scanned them.

Today is all about preparation for tomorrow - printing orders of service, preparation to preach.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

La semaine de la rentrée scolaire

Well there we are. It's Friday. We made it !

I have the kids' emploi du temps in my phone, so that I can look and see what time they start and finish. I can NEVER remember things like that, but Pat just knows them and is hardly ever wrong.

I've also put in when Gwilym is doing guitar, when Catrin's doing flute, when they're doing music theory and orchestra and Gwilym's football training.

Catrin was going to join the children's choir but there's just 9 kids so far and she is the oldest. All the children I saw were aged 7 and tiny. It would look like Maria and the Von Trapps. Or like Snow White and the eight dwarfs. So we'll wait and see what happens on that one.

Honestly, this is such a stressful week for all families here, and for teachers ! A friend told me that he has a kip in his car every lunchhour. Still.

Oh yes, and Catrin needs another of those 32cm x 24cm books. Mustn't forget. Mustn't forget.

We're close to signing on the new premises

Which are right by a tram stop, with ample easy parking, a fast road in from the rocade and from the centre of Bordeaux, a railway station nearby, a couple of cafés and a fish restaurant, etc.

We're very excited.

Thank you for your prayers, and keep praying !
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