Salt and light

 Sarah Newnham, wife of MAF engineer Mark Newnham, uses her professional background and skills to serve children at SALT Rehabilitation Clinic in Sarah Newnham, wife of MAF engineer Mark Newnham, uses her professional background and skills to serve children at SALT Rehabilitation Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia.

To me, Speech Therapy has always been more than a career. Every session begins with the anticipation of what is to come, a sense of achievement as I discover new methods of working with each person and great joy in helping people overcome difficulties.To me, Speech Therapy has always been more than a career. Every session begins with the anticipation of what is to come, a sense of achievement as I discover new methods of working with each person and great joy in helping people overcome difficulties.

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When my husband and I joined MAF in 2002, the hardest thing for me to leave behind was my career.  As I followed him first to the USA for training and then on to Africa, where he is the main job holder as an Aircraft Engineer, I felt I was letting go of part of my identity.  
Through the years, I have been humbled to see how God uses my skills in places I could never have imagined. He has also helped me to recognize other gifts he has given me, to let my light shine and to grow my identity in Him through it all.

We are now living in Liberia and I volunteer at SALT one day per week working with paediatric clients, supervising Speech Therapy clinicians and offering in house training. There are many challenges; being creative with minimal resources, barriers with local dialect and the frustrations of not being able to access assessments or offer solutions that might be available in the developed world.  

The difficulties fade as I focus on the joys; such as watching other therapists learn new skills and seeing people achieve their goals or regaining some of their independence.  I have the freedom to pray openly with many of the people, trusting that Christ can make a difference when I don’t know the answers. 
Fifteen years on, my passion for Speech Therapy is as alive as ever! Working with those with disabilities brings a whole new dimension to my faith and I always come away from interactions with people being more aware of the uniqueness and gifts of each individual, of Gods creativity and His grace at work in every life, even my own. 

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”Mark Twain

Story by Sarah Newnham Photos By MARK & KELLY HEWES

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