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)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

This weekend is full, frantic and fun

Not always all three at once !

This morning 10 till 12 there's a church members' meeting.

This afternoon 4 till 6 Chinese Christianity Explored.

This evening 8pm Marc l'Expérience.

Tomorrow morning I am preaching at Cenon.

Tomorrow evening we have to cancel the English Service as there's no public transport tomorrow and everyone who comes, except the Daveys, comes by bus and tram.

Madonnas of Lyon

At Bellecour there is a shop whose windows are full of Madonnas. This is just one set of shelving - there were at least six like this.

Some photos of Lyon

I didn't see much of Lyon. Just Bellecour and the enormous Catholic conference centre up on a hill in a suburb of the city.

Le Colloque Biblique Francophone at Lyon

I got back last night from the Colloque Biblique Francophone at Lyon. 8 hours of train journey each way ! Here's some photos from the journey and from Lyon. A report from the Colloque will have to wait as this weekend there's LOTS on !

It's not all glamorous here in France, is it !

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hébreux 1:8-9

Ton trône, ô Dieu, subsiste
pour toute éternité,
le sceptre de ton règne
est sceptre d'équité.
Tu aimes la justice,
tu détestes le mal.
Aussi, ô Dieu, ton Dieu
a fait de toi un roi,
en répandant sur toi
une huile d'allégresse,
te préférant ainsi
à tous tes compagnons

1 Timothée 6:15-16

Il est le Bienheureux,
L'unique Souverain,
Il est le Roi des rois,
Le Seigneur des seigneurs.
Lui seul est immortel.
Sa demeure est bâtie
Au sein de la lumière
Inaccessible à tous.
Nul parmi les humains
Ne l'a vu de ses yeux,
Aucun ne peut le voir.
A lui soient à jamais
L'honneur et la puissance !

Monday, April 25, 2011

The morning after the barbecue

Tout reprit son calme. In our fridge is the European Mayonnaise Marsh and a substantial pile of cooked sausages. Pat ensured that we had enough chairs by asking everyone each to bring a folding chair from church. Because she didn't actually ask them to take them back we now have the European Folding Chair Forest in the back yard, too. Still we had enough chairs and a vast quantity of meat, including the European Merguez Mountain, some of which departed with the folks who brought it. Whenever we have a barbecue and we ask everyone to bring something to grill we always end up with piles.

Barbecues are such a bloke thing. At one point there were six of us around it chipping in our two-pennorth. "C'est trop cuit !" "Tourne-le!" "Vite - les flammes !" "Faut du gros sel, un pulvérisateur d'eau, un barbecue à gaz !" A seventh arrived. "Eh, on a besoin de toi, ya que six experts de barbecue ici, il nous faut un septième !" (The guys here are very gracious !)

It was a good time. The weather held out ! It rained just as we finished a little song session.

We were a small bunch for the culte en anglais - some folks had to leave after the barbecue - so we did simple - Isa 53 and substitution - then John 20 and "my brothers / my Father and your Father". Sometimes simple is best.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Saturday tasks

Shopping for barbie.
Gardening for barbie.
Barber duty for primo.
Chinese French Christianity Explored
Preparing for services.
Finish off message.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Every time......

we make plans to invite the neighbours for ... a barbecue, an apéro, whatever... our plans get scuppered.

This time it was a Right Royal British Street Party to celebrate the Royal Wedding, but tis scuppered !

1) The wedding is on a Friday and for some bizarre reason it's not a bank holiday here.

2) Apparently the neighbours are all away for the weekend anyway.

3) The Saturday - our big chance - has a meeting scheduled in the morning and the Mark Experience for the evening.

Oh well, our time will come.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A bit about travel

Bordeaux to Geneva - so easy. It reminded me a bit of when we used to fly Liverpool to London. 10 mins. climbing, 10 mins cruising, 10 mins descending. Geneva was 20 mins for each bit, but that's all. One hour and you're there. I was a good boy and took my passport but there wasn't anyone to check it. As we live just 10 minutes from the airport here it was a dream. Irritating that they don't allow you to take a bottle of water with you any more, and that they then charge you £2 for a drink of water, £2.50 for a cup of tea, but I can bear with the thirst for an hour.

Bordeaux to Lyon next week will involve a rail journey of about 14 months, all crammed into one single day.
I should have flown. Still, at least I can take all the water I want.

Bordeaux - ville numérique

Watch the Click Online reportage here.

Click here for the food website Papilles et pupilles.

Thanks to Emmanuel for alerting me to this (though I had seen some of the QR codes of course !)

This week

Well yesterday was spent quietly working at home - I typed up the notes of the preaching seminars, made much easier by the fact that I could ALMOST just copy the typed notes we'd been given ! I dealt with emails and phone calls and such like and did my washing from the weekend so I have shirts for the week ahead. Pat and Catrin were away at a friend's house finishing off a dress they've bene making for Catrin and rescuing a bleach-damaged dress of Pat's by turning it into a skirt with an appliqué flower to hide the bleach. Gwilym was off with his mates in town. The evening was a quiet family evening - two episodes of Dr House, but I lost interest and went to bed !

Today is about phoning schools and stuff and preparing for the weekend. I'm preaching at Anglade and then we have folk back for a barbecue here, then preaching in the evening in English. This evening from 5pm to about 8pm we have the church council meeting, then at 8:30 the prayer meeting. In theory the JWs will arrive this afternoon for our weekly chat. If I am to bear with their habit of straining at gnats and swallowing camels I will have to have drunk lots of coffee between then and now ! (Do they think the same thing about me...?)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some thoughts on the visit to Switzerland

So on Thursday I flew Easyjet to Geneva to spend the weekend with the Swiss and East France Reformed Baptists. There were preaching seminars arranged on Friday and Saturday, on Sunday I was preaching in the Lausanne church then coming home this morning.

Régis is the pastor of the Lausanne church and he met me at Geneva, then we scuttled off to the Lausanne church arriving just in time for the Bible study that was being led by my old friend and hero, Stuart Olyott. It was great to hear Stuart doing a study in French. He probably thinks my accent is very odd, being a mix of anglophone and South-West. His is a mix of anglophone and Swiss and I thought his accent very odd. Anyway...

The Friday and Saturday morning we zoomed off to the little town of Bulle for the first day of preaching seminars. There were about 40 chaps there, including my colleague and hero, Hicham from Carcassonne. There were a good number of young guys in their twenties, which was good to see. Also extremely good to meet Olivier Favre and David Vaughn. Olivier is pastor of the Payerne church and David in Grenoble.

My special mission was to suck in Stuart's material so it can be digested and adapted for use here. I was very pleased to find that we had photocopied handouts of notes and that the whole lot was being recorded and CDs available for a very reasonable price. The seminars were conducted with Stuart's usual mix of absolute conviction, warm humour and gracious discussion. There were three different workshops available, I went to one on the regulative principle and another on preaching OT narrative. Both workshops were useful. I don't know if I learnt anything new, as such, but for example, I didn't know what the regulative principle is called in French, and it was good to think about these things again.

I was very impressed with the churches. They have bright, clean, modern meeting rooms and good ancillary rooms. Lots of young guys and an atmosphere of optimism, hope and confidence in God.

Sunday morning I preached in the Lausanne church and I felt very much at home. The congregation has more older folk than we have and it was nice to see their cheery faces and to talk with them after the service.

Switzerland is lovely. The cows wear bells (dong dong dongle dongle dong), as do the sheep (ding ding dingle dingle ding) , and there was a flock of sheep not far from my bedroom window. One night it was a bit hot so I opened the window, heard the bells then quickly shut it again ! You probably get used to the constant clanging. The scenery is just gorgeous, even if Lausanne seemed scruffy - nasty graffitti everywhere and lots of litter - and the roads are boring. Also Swiss people seemed to drive faster and more erratically than the Bordelais. I was homesick for Bordeaux.

Photos of la Suisse - Lausanne

The last photo is the inside of the Lausanne Reformed Baptist Church.

Photos of la Suisse

The first two photos are of the view from the Bulle church car park. The second two taken on a Sunday afternoon stroll-ette around Lausanne.

Some photos of la Suisse - Stuart's serminars in the Bulle church

I just like the photo

See here !

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sick with excitement

I fly to Lausanne tomorrow. Well, to Geneva, then I am being picked up or Lausanne.

Stuart Olyott is doing preaching seminars in French this weekend, so I am hoping

a: suck it all in so I can give it all back out

b: record it !

c: get lots of his handouts

But the best thing will be to see Stuart in Switzerland !

Uh, what day is it ?

Well the children are off school for Easter holidays.

Gwilym having decided once and for all that he does not want to be a car mechanic, this poses the question of what he can do instead. So last week I went to talk to his form teacher and I also saw his French teacher and another teacher. Given his bilingualism sales or business is an option.

Another little problem is that he is due to start a three-week work experience at the Peugeot garage in Pessac straight after the holidays.

Another little problem is that he is wondering in fact about studying theology in the UK in the future.

So we went to the meeting his form teacher fixed up with the careers guidance service and talked with the nice lady (approximately my age, hot pants and chunky bangles).

Task 1. Can Gwilym do a work experience in sales or business...?

Task 2. Can Gwilym switch to do a Bac Pro Vente or Commerce, preferably with a Section Européenne ?

So yesterday, after surveys on campus, we went hunting for a stage. If he's looking at sales, why not try selling something you like ? So we went to the Guitar Shop in Talence. Charming folk, but they don't take stagiaires. Into town and Prima Musica. Super guy, he said ring me on Monday and we'll think about it in the meantime. Great, that's not a no. So we went to Paul Beuscher, top floor of Virgin Terastore, very nice guy, he looked at the dates, talked to us at length about all that a stage there entails and said yes on the spot !

So today if I can I need to talk to Lycée Pro Saint Genès about the possibility of Gwilym moving there in the autumn. Also I need to talk to his current lycée to get his work experience convention signed before he starts.

Also I have some cheques to write / post to the UK. And some Direct Debit mandates to send off linked with our new work support account.

And surveys on campus. And haircut if I can.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Banning the burka

Gavin Hewitt of the BBC talks about it here.

Another tee-shirt in wonderful English

Another big weekend

began with Friday evening's Alpha Chez Harriette which went very well. People we reluctant to leave but since Gwilym and I had been up since 6am and since I had not been sleeping that well we scuttled off to our downy couch.

Saturday morning found us lethargic and sluggish, but the "We're nearly home" SMS from Mrs Davey galvanised us into action and we were reunited at Pessac Station.

Then Gwilym was off to Eysine for a fun Saturday swim time and sleepover with the youth group there. I was off to Christianity Explored with the Chinese group. There was no question at all that everyone understood everything !

Meanwhile Mrs Davey got food ready for Sunday.

Sunday morning, having slept better, we zoomed to Blaye for the service, the lunch and the AGM. Service at 11am, lunch, then AGM from 15h to 19h. I was impressed by the sheer amount of Christian work that is going on, considering that we have just over 30 members.

Home and bed.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pizzas here are so different

On the menu at the takeaway at the moment (among other things...)
Anything you can't translate, just ask...

Crème fraîche, mozzarella, magret de canard, cèpes , champignons, persillade, foie gras 
champignons, noix de Saint-Jacques, foie gras entier, mozzarella, sauce tomate épicée.

Tomate, mozzarella, cèpes , magret de canard, persillade, champignons

Crème fraîche, mozzarella, boeuf hache, potatoes , roquefort

Friday, April 08, 2011

Serving on the linguistic faultline - or just when you think your life can't get any more weird...

We came here with the intention of ministering in French, mostly to French people. That's why we went to language school to learn French to a level where you can speak in French to a group of people for about 1/2 hour and reasonably expect to be understood, to hold the attention and convey something worth saying.

Not easy. It was hard work.

We were aware of the opportunities and need for ministry in English and we're very willing to do that, but that isn't why we came here.

So it is that I found myself last weekend (for an example)

a) Doing the Alpha course talk on "Why Jesus died" in French to a group who were largely French.

b) Doing the Christianity Explored study on "Grace" in French to a group of mainland Chinese.

c) Preaching in French to a group from all over the world.

d) Preaching in English to a group from all over the world.

I love it. While I sometimes get deeply confused and very frustrated, I am very much where I should be and I know it. My life is like a Bible crossword puzzle. And it's very exciting !

For example, let's think of the Chinese.

When we arrived in 2005 there was a nice little Chinese group here in Bordeaux. Over the years various people have arrived to the point where there is a group of almost 30 students meeting regularly with three men of various and complementary gifts leading the group.

They have a real heart for evangelism and God has blessed so that there are a handful of people wanting to be baptised. We encouraged the group to talk to the Chinese churches in Paris. The Chinese churches in Paris encouraged them to talk to us.

So the group is coming closer to the church here and has asked us to look after the question of baptism and also to teach the group. Hence Christianity Explored, so that those seeking baptism can be taught to trust the grace of God wholeheartedly. Soon we'll start to preach systematically for the group.

But I don't speak Chinese, and neither does Dik, the official denominational pastor here. Both of us are French learners and neither of us is about to add Mandarin to our linguistic salad. It's already fruity enough !

So what are we doing, preaching and teaching in French to Chinese students who have only just started their studies in French themselves and who sometimes struggle to understand ?

We're training Christian workers for China, that's what we're doing.

I can't go to China and I can't learn Mandarin. But these folk are learning about the God of grace and learning to love and trust and serve his Son with all their hearts. And they're Chinese, and they'll go back to China and they'll live and speak of the grace of God wherever they go, with cultural sensitivity and a good Chinese accent.

I translated the Christianity Explored Easy English handbook into French for them. It was not easy - I am not a good translator, I'm a better interpreter. Samuel, my French friend, checked the translation for me and I printed out and stapled the booklets. It's a real brainteaser trying to explain things in the simplest French possible, but also being faithful to Bible truth. When  they ask questions I have to listen really hard so I can understand them.

It's hard graft, I can tell you. But I LOVE it !

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Salade aux lardons

There's a standard recipe here called salads aux gésiers. It's basically lettuce with fried chicken gizzards or livers tossed in as a dressing. The fat from the gizzards or livers replaces the olive or palm or colza oil that you would otherwise use to dress the salad. (What is a colza, by the way ?)

Readers will not be completely surprised to learn that my enthusiasm for chicken gizzards does not reach the required level for enjoyment of this southern delicacy.

No matter. Fried lardons (bacon bits) or chorizo make excellent substitutes.

I'm very happy

I'd always thought how brilliant it would be when the kids start reading books off the shelves. Then Gwilym adopted my ESV Study Bible and we found my set of IVP "Know your Bible" Bible study notes (aka "Adventure with God) in Catrin's room. :-)

Ca fait longtemps que je n'ai rien dit sur "Le mal fait-il partie du plan de Dieu"

J'espère reprendre le livre et dactylographier quelque truc bientôt.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

And Wednesdays used to be so calm !

Chaos and madness today.

First the good news - a good time doing surveys with students. I overheard a group of people discussing heatedly right-wing RC. intégrisme and I so wanted to do a survey with them. Anyway we got to do one and I hope three lads may come along to café philo as a result.

This time we were showing a short film and the iPad was great for that. It also worked well for playing from Müller with Renaud and Thomas. And for preparing a mindmap for preaching from on Sunday.

Meanwhile one other chap has called me 9 times today. 9 times. 9. Nine. I wonder if I can put a special answer machine message for an individual person ?

Good time albeit brief with the JWs - Simon stayed with me. This evening boy's fun night. KFC and a second-hand DVD from the rental shop discards ! We know how to live it up !

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sunday seemed to go OK

We'll need to reconsider a little the approach to the Chinese group, though. To start with we're going to need a Mandarin interpreter present. Meanwhile I am going to look at materials that exist in French and Mandarin.

The church was comfortably occupied in the morning and we were 12 in the evening. Good weather takes students off on weekend adventures so we tend to see people spasmodically from now on in. It affects FAC meetings, too.

Yesterday Pat and Catrin were leaving for a school visit to Britain, Pat is going to accompany and supervise the kids. They're not in the same bus. I am quite envious because they'll be going to the British Museum amongst other places. I love the British Museum.

So the day was spent packing and getting on each other's nerves while waiting to take the bus at 4. After dropping them off I did the weekly shop - a little modified - and then came home to await the arrival of the lad from school.

As I am officially house-husband this week my evenings are reduced - just English Class and Alpha on Friday. Pat and Catrin return on Saturday morning.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

After the Chinese group

It was "Grace" week in Christianity Explored Easy English Edition traduite en français fondamental this week, and the study went well.
We were more people than last week, but fewer than the first week. I always forget to count people. It's a great weakness.
Afterwards we went over to YiHua's flat where the big group eat then have their meeting.

The food is always delicious. The salads, curry, fried and boiled rice were really nice.
The stuffed chilli was perhaps a little too much for my Welsh palate to take, but it gave Sen a laugh.

We talked about his forthcoming marriage. We talked about the jasmine revolution. We talked about all sorts of things.

Then the meeting started. I'd said that I'd stay till they started singing then slip out. I don't think it's good to translate everything into French or English for me and I can only read five words in Chinese - one, two, three, man/person and big.

They started singing. It was "What a friend we have in Jesus", but in Mandarin. The words just sound so foreign. It set me off...

The first Christian workers to arrive in China. Trying to get some kind of foothold on that language. Battling to understand, to speak, to explain. Amazing courage and sheer hard work.

Then I was back in North Uist and a prayer meeting were singing Psalm 23 in Gaelic. It was just as foreign, and yet it was family.

I love what I do. I know that sometimes it drives me nuts. I know that I'll slog and slog away and at the end I'll have nothing to show for it.
But there'll be people in China who'll think back to an evening in Bordeaux when they studied what the Bible says about grace. And that's priceless.

Europe's most reliable cars

Sit down before clicking on the link here.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Alpha this evening, Christianity Explored tomorrow, Sunday services

Thanks for praying for the next few days where I'm speaking four times :
Alpha course this evening - the talk on "Jesus - why did he die ?"
Christianity Explored with the Chinese group tomorrow - it's the week on grace ! (my favourite week !)
Sunday morning at church - "Que veux-tu ?" ( Matthew 20 : 17 - 28 )
Sunday evening at church - Romans 1
Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. ( Colossians 4 : 4 )

Radioactivité hits the South-West of France

Read about it here.

Cathedral at night

Madness !

"Cockleshell heroes" honoured

The BBC talks about it here.