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A community held together by Christ; loving God, supporting one another & bringing hope to the world.

Bringing hope in Burkina Faso

Derek and Heather Johnston

Other Projects in Burkina Faso:  Translation Centre; L'Ecole de Grace,

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Derek and Heather Johnston work with Wycliffe in Burkina Faso in Western Africa. It's one of the poorest countries in the world and basically bakes every living thing for most of the day. In that torrid heat, Derek is to be found rigorously inspecting the latest translations of scripture in a variety of African dialects, consulting Hebrew and Greek texts, conversing in French, English and local languages, as he oversees and guides the work of several translation teams.

Derek and Heather Johnston are Overseas Partners of ChristChurch Belfast, based in Burkina Faso in Western Africa, one of the poorest countries in the world enduring an extremely hot and dusty climate. They work with Wycliffe sharing the Wycliffe "Vision 2025". Derek and Heather are very much in partnership with SIL(Summer Instutute of Linguistics - the international umbrella organisation for Wycliffe) and  ANTBA (Association Nationale pour la Traduction de la Bible et L'AlphabĂ©tisation) the national organisation, in seeing that vision turn into reality in Burkina Faso.

In December 1999 Derek and Heather celebrated the completion of the New Testament translation into Sissala. Derek had been working on this since arriving in Ouagadougou in 1993. Derek completed a Masters in Theology at Queen's University Belfast in 2003 and subsequently his responsibilities have widened considerably. Whilst still supervising the translation of the Old Testament into Sissala, in that torrid heat, Derek is to be found rigorously inspecting the latest translations of scripture in a variety of African dialects, consulting Hebrew and Greek texts, conversing in French, English and local languages, as he oversees and guides the work of several translation teams.

During 2007 Derek became Language Programs Manager. He introduced changes in language program planning using a result based management tool. He is still working part time as a Translation Consultant for Burkina Faso and in Francophone Africa in general. Derek in his new position is playing a key role in the branch internally in managing the language teams and academic training and with Wycliffe's relationship with ANTBA the partner national organisation.

To keep him sane he has Heather, who as well as being Derek's wife and soul mate, acts in a pastoral role, caring for the spiritual, emotional and practical needs of Wycliffe staff. As member care facilitator Heather is available to encourage and support colleagues both in-country and on furlough. She is also providing orientation for new members in the areas of cross-cultural communication and spiritual vitality. Heather also serves as a coach on leadership training courses.

Derek and Heather are very shortly moving to live in an apartment at the Wycliffe/SIL Centre in Ouagadougou for the remaining years of their ministry in Burkina Faso. They have one daughter, Rachel, who retains her parent's deep interest in African and is currently also working in Burkina.

Everyone who has visited Derek and Heather in Ouagadougou returns with an appreciation of the tremendous respect in which they are held. There is little doubt that their quiet, unassuming nature and humble spirit has been key in promoting harmony in working with national believers.

From 2010 Derek will be moving into a wider role to liaise with national Christian organisations involved in the same work in various parts of francophone Africa. This will be to work towards the Wycliffe 2025 vision "By 2025 together with partners worldwide, we aim to see a Bible translation program begun in all the languages that need one".