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)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You're sweeping too fast ! Roger shows us how it is done.

Pillars and steps

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The fireman, the mathematician and the ladder

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pretty in paint
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It's good to sit down !

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Moldfolk at the CenonChurch

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The frustrations of building renovations in France :

1) the suspended ceiling man has been waiting on the electrician to finish putting up the ceiling tiles - and thus to submit his bill. He started the job in April.

2) the electrician was supposed to come during the first two weeks of August but did not, so now we are engaging a different electrician who may be able to come the last two weeks of September.

3) the suspended ceiling man has got fed up of waiting for his money so has submitted his bill.

4) until the electrician comes we cannot fit the kitchen or have adequate heating or lighting in the church (we run an extension lead from the one working socket in the warehouse behind the church building !)

5) during the summer this is not too bad, but the summer is drawing to a close

6) at the same time we're waiting on a substantial bank transfer from overseas to be able to pay people anyway.

Meanwhile yesterday saw more painting, the construction of the sink unit, the purchase of the worktop for the inset sink, the commencement of the plasterboarding of the unsightly pillar, lots of stuff...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mold team.

Much painting, sorting, washing, hammering of plaster off walls and replacing of broken floor tile has gone on.

The mission today, should they choose to accept it, to construct the sink unit and continue with painting and tile fixing. Maybe also to clad the unsightly pillar.

Reflect and the Lord will give insight

2 Timothy 2:1-7 (NIV)

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

One of Matthew Henry's strengths as a commentator is that he treats quite large passages - paragraphs at least. 2 Timothy 2 v 2 is a motto verse for many of us, but Paul pens that sentence in the context of verses 1 - 7, and of the whole letter.

How does the immediate context control our understanding of this text ?

Time to reflect !

Monday, August 29, 2011


I have said I'll be in sundry places at divers times. I didn't write any of them down. I hope, oh I hope I don't forget or get confused !

Our Charles Ives moment

Well the guitar was a bit quiet, but we kind of felt something was wrong, and not just our young friend who sings random loud sounds. The guitar was turned up. Yes, definitely wrong, though strangely jazzy and not unpleasant in a piquant kind of way. We sang on boldly.

We sang Amazing Grace in D major and the guitar was accompanying in G major. I think if we'd decided to do that we couldn't have managed it...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ebenezer team update

What a good start ! The project has defined itself as follows :

1) Clear and prepare a space at the back of the warehouse for youth activities and possible other uses.

2) Improve the appearance of the main worship room.

3) Complete dry-lining, insulation and decoration of the lower children's room.

Expository ministry

The other day I re-tweeted (!) this quote from my good friend Guillaume Bourin who I have never met (I have lots of friends like that...)

"There is a serious lack of basic Bible knowledge in France generally" - Jason Mandryk. Please pray for us : we need expository preachers.

This morning the Gospel Coalition website has these articles :

Needed - exegetes for Italy and The biggest problem facing Italian churches.

I am sure that France has nuances that distinguish it from Italy as well as similarities. Mussolini ? 1968 ?

Last night I was thinking about the whole "We need expositors" thing and realised that while that is true, it is deeper than that.

You can't just send a Bible expositor to a town in France and expect it to work like in the UK. It's not just that French history is different from the UK's. French CHRISTIAN history is different from the UK's.

I was converted at 19. But within two years I'd read Schaeffer (of course), Berkhof, Gresham Machen, Bunyan, Lloyd-Jones, Stott, Candlish, and sundry other cracking books from four centuries of mature Bible reflection that France never had. Not only the books, but also the churches I attended were sat at the peak of all that heap of reflection and development. Everything is different. Everything. Songs and hymns. The percolation of reformed reflection through literature and music etc (witness PD James' book titles for a glib illustration).

France never had that. So we don't just need expository preachers, we also need expository hearers and an expository environment for all that to go on. It's an enormous task.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ebenezer have landed - CRASH, BANG, WALLOP !

They landed early at Mérignac and got the hire car - their Opel Mériva was upgraded to a very swanky Peugeot 3008, though with high-tech bits and bobs that will need two weeks of reading the manual to fathom out.

Their arrival was celebrated by a traditional overnight show of fireworks - a storm that lasted for hours with loud thunder, flashy lightning and torrential rain. We've been waiting for this storm to freshen everything up !

This morning, to the church and to survey and plan out the attack on the walls etc.

I don't know what to say

about this in the Telegraph.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh boy it was hot ! Today is cooler.

Sunday was VERY HOT !

Although the church building is not very sunny and it's built of stone which takes some heating up, still we were all very hot, so since I was preaching morning and evening we minimised the stand-sit stuff. I think it's the first time ever I have sat for communion in France, but frankly I didn't want to risk anyone fainting !

Today is cooler. Lots cooler. Yesterday the thermometer in the room here said 28 with all the windows and shutters closed. Today it says 24, and that's with the windows open.

It's a good thing really because today lots of people arrive :

1) The English Patient Rides Again.

Peter Morgan and a friend from Bath have cycled to Biarritz and arrive at our place this evening to camp uunder our tree.

2) Ebenezer come to our help

A team of four bricoleurs fly in today to seal the stone wall, sand, paint and generally advance the works in the church. They're staying at the home of one of our church members.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Combatting the heat wave

1) Close windows and shutters by day

2) Open windows and shutters by night

This is because at night the temperature can fall by as much as 3 degrees -  the difference between a fiercely-boiled brain and a slow-simmered brain, though it does allow free access for the nocturnal blood-sucking mosquitos.

3) Spray water on your face from a Conn Trombone Slide Water Spray Bottle

4) Wear a knotted handkerchief on your head and roll up your trousers

5) Drink lots and lots

Friday, August 19, 2011

This is turning out to be a wonderful week

We came home to a peaceful home, happy guinea-pigs and our neighbour had even mowed the lawn !

Our children came home happy, fired up and grown after their three weeks of friends, camps and conference.
( just one day later both were bored again... )

Stuart Olyott came and spent two whole days here to talk about things past, present and future.

Our Chinese friends Sen and YiFei came for lunch together with about 15 others to celebrate theur "recent" wedding.

Now there remains a couple to do a wedding ceremony for - I was due to be interpreter for the wedding but instead I'm doing the whole thing. That suits me, though it will be too hot for a jacket. Black trousers, white shirt and tie are the order of the day. They are already married in Canada but this will be the thanksgiving and public vows "before God".

Then preaching Sunday morning (French) and evening (English).

I hope Sunday morning goes OK.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Place de la Bourse

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A concise account of a brief visit from Stuart Olyott, recounting

his arrival at the airport on Tuesday evening, our discussions together, our visit to Bordeaux waterfront on Wednesday, the prayer meeting on Wednesday evening, the Chinese wedding lunch on Thursday and his departure from the airport on Thursday afternoon.

It was wonderful to have Stuart with us and to talk about Wales, France and Switzerland ( a little ).

The one thing I hoped for that did not happen was that my JW friends did not call while Stuart was here.
Nobody tipped them off, did they ?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grape harvest at the airport

Bonjour, c'n'est pas tous les jours qu'on voit ça à l'aeroport...

Ben... non... une fois par an...

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The children are home !

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Courgettes are a shocking price

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Music featured fairly prominently in

this holiday. As well as the bagads and dancers we went to two concerts. The first was at Bannalec and featured a singer and a cellist singing traditional songs in Breton. The songs were all very haunting. Afterwards I talked with some of the folk who were there as well as the performers. They were part of the Breton cultural scene and they compared the state of the Welsh language with the state of Breton. I was surprised not to have heard Breton spoken at all, not in the streets, not in the shops, nowhere, even in the small towns. Compare this with somewhere like, for example, Rhuthin, Dolgellau or Bala where you'd be routinely greeted in Welsh in shops etc.

They said that 20 years ago you'd have heard Breton on the streets in towns like Bannalec, but no more. People admired the Welsh scene greatly.

The second concert we went to was given by Clarisse Lavanant, who sang an entire evening unaccompanied (unless you count a percussion egg, a tambourine and a glockenspiel). It was quite amazing as a performance and I wished Catrin had been there to hear her. She sang in the little chapel pictured above and brought her own microphone, amplifier, etc.

I was surprised by the strength of Breton feeling.

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We ended our holiday

with a cake from the cakeshop in Rosporden, highly recommended !

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The priests of Pont-Aven

were deported to their death for hiding Allied airmen in 1944

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beloved stomping-ground of Gauguin, is extremely picturesque, too, and you have to aim your phone well to avoid the crowds.

Quimper is a pretty place

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Quimper's wonky cathedral

has a famous "mise en tombeau".

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