Salt and Light

Salt and Light

Sarah Newnham is a mum of 3 and a trained Speech Therapist working in Liberia, a world away from her career in the UK before the move to MAF, but no less fulfilling or rewarding.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  1 Corinthians 12:5-6

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 patient and great joy in helping people overcome difficulties.

When my husband Mark 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 recognise 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. 

Sarah at work as a Speech and Language Therapist

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 our patients, 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 patients being more aware of the uniqueness and gifts of each individual, of God's 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

Mark and Sarah Newnham, Children: Amy, Abigail, Joshua