Bourget joins Dobson ministry full-time

When Darrell Reid took over the leadership of Focus on the Family Canada three years ago, he knew that the organization would be different than its American counterpart. For one thing, Canada is bilingual. To truly serve and strengthen Canadian families as its vision states, Focus on the Family would have to impact the 20 per cent of the population that is French speaking.

In April 2000, a letter went out to 3,000 Focus supporters in Quebec, expressing the group’s desire to find a bilingual, part-time representative for Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Denis Bourget received that letter, and ignored it. He was looking for a full-time job to support his wife and three children who are home-schooled.

His friends did not dismiss the opportunity so quickly. Several people called Bourget and urged him to consider the job. Being familiar with the Focus material and an avid fan of Dobson, the possibility appealed to Bourget, but seemed impractical.

Eventually, he called Focus headquarters. The preliminary interview “wasn’t too complicated,” he says. “When they asked me if I spoke French, I answered ‘oui.'” After two more interviews in French and English, also involving his wife, the Bourgets were welcomed onto the team. The French ministry was dubbed “Objectif Famille.”

During the past year, Bourget has been pushing for the translation of more Focus material in French. Material is translated in France and distributed through the international office in Colorado Springs. Although Quebecers would prefer to have a translation done at home, they are excited to finally have some of these resources in their own language, says Bourget.

Certain “McGee and Me” and “Adventures in Odyssey” videos are now available in French, as well as family activities and devotional material from the new “Heritage Builders” series. Several of James Dobson’s books have also been translated.

Another challenge is finding ways to promote and distribute the material. The well-known radio program is in English, and translating messages and interviews would compromise the quality too much.

The Canadian edition of the English Focus on the Family magazine piggybacks on the American print run to cut costs, making it impossible to print a free four-colour magazine in French.

So Bourget has to look for other means to get his message out, networking with churches, denominations and conferences throughout the province.

One such project under development is a marriage and family mentoring system, organized in partnership with the AFPEQ (Evangelical Fellowship of Quebec). The vision of these two groups is to find and train at least one couple in every church who can mentor other families and establish a program for young married couples.

The goals are ambitious and the representative is enthusiastic. Bourget finds that he has more than enough work to fill his schedule. So when the news came on Oct. 1, 2001 that Focus on the Family Canada had received sufficient funds to pay Bourget full-time, he was ready.

“Most spiritual and social blessings and/or curses can be traced to what went on in a person’s family,” he says. “Helping to encourage and strengthen the family is fruitful and rewarding work.”

This article first appeared in ChristianWeek