Spiritual foundations leads to an MBE

Karen Salmon with some of the orphans she helps through the Crosslinks programme in Ethiopia. INNT 27-605con
Karen Salmon with some of the orphans she helps through the Crosslinks programme in Ethiopia. INNT 27-605con

A Jordanstown woman has spoken of the tearful moment when she learned she was to be honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Karen Salmon was one of a number of Newtownabbey people awarded the MBE in last month’s Honours list.

Karen told the Newtownabbet Times about her 20-year work in Ethiopia and of the honour she felt when the Home Office notified her of the award.

Karen works with Christian organisation Crosslinks in the African country teaching research methods, communication and conflict management, community development and Christian counselling and leadership in a theological college in the African country.

She also works with women recovering from fistula surgery and runs a number of Bible clubs.

She told the Times: “I am passionate about laying spiritual foundations in people’s lives and it is fascinating to work in a culture that is very different from my own. This September I will have worked here for 20 years.”

She went on: “I was rather shocked and tearful when the Cabinet Office contacted me saying the Queen would like to honour me with an MBE.

“It seems rather unreal that I should be honoured for obeying God in coming to work in Africa and for doing a job and living a life that I love.

“But of course I am thrilled to receive the award and look forward to a trip home to receive this at some stage.”

Karen considers homes to be Rosstulla where her parents live and she would regularly attend St Patrick’s Church in Jordanstown.

She added: “I do love to get home and walk along the sea front, preferably while eating a honeycomb ice-cream in the village.

“Ethiopia is landlocked, and has glorious sunshine, but this makes it rather dry and dusty, so walking along the front at Loughshore Park is something of a treat with or without ice-cream.”

Crosslinks is an international mission society with its roots in the Bible, working largely within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The charitable organisation has been working in Ethiopia since the 1940s.

Bible translation, producing Christian literature, radio broadcasts, and theological teaching have been Crosslink’s main areas of focus over the years.

However, some Crosslinks mission partners have been involved in teaching in schools including teaching the deaf.

For more information on the organisation visit www.crosslinks.org.