Philip and Heather Saunders
WHO THEY ARE
Philip and Heather Saunders have been part of Moira Baptist church since July 2006. For thirty years before that, they worshipped at Brooklands Gospel Centre, Dundonald. Heather grew up in Lurgan, and she and Philip have known each other since the age of fourteen. They have three married daughters – Joy, Rachel and Hilary – and five grandchildren.
WHAT THEY DO
For twenty years, they were involved in the translation of Scripture into the Kouya language of Ivory Coast. Before they arrived in 1983, this language was unwritten. The Kouya team produced an alphabet, a short dictionary, reading books and literacy materials, portions of the Bible, and eventually a New Testament published in 2002. Philip wrote up a comprehensive Grammar of Kouya between 2004 and 2009. Over the years, Philip and Heather have worked together on all aspects of the language project.
Since 2002, Philip has become a translation and linguistic consultant, travelling to different parts of Asia and Africa to help linguists and translators with their assignments. For ten years, Heather taught English to foreign nationals in N Ireland (ESOL), and trained teachers for this task. Since 2015, they have joined forces as translation consultants in Western Zambia, working simultaneously on two New Testaments. They continue to be involved in Madagascar and Ivory Coast, often consulting by Skype.
In her spare time, Heather loves meeting up with friends and family, or relaxing while Philip drives her around Ireland in their old campervan, and walking through the country’s many scenic spots. She devours Homes and Interiors style magazines, and plots how to be self-sufficient, to survive when the world falls apart!
Philip likes drinking coffee in exotic places, or anywhere else for that matter, and meeting up with old and new acquaintances at rugby matches. He was formerly an enthusiastic player of many sports, now he mainly spectates or dreams about playing. Writing has become a favourite pastime.
A recent interest for them both has been helping translators produce Scripture in Ulster-Scots. But that’s another story! The four Gospels are published, and are available here: Tha Fower Gospels
Philip has also written the story of the Kouya New Testament translation project, under the title No Ordinary Book. The 2nd Edition of this was published in 2013, and both Kindle and hardback versions are available on Amazon. No Ordinary Book
A fascinating account by Philip of his visit to Ivory Coast in March 2012 for the dedication of the Kouya New Testament. read Finishing Lines