Adventist Church Donates House to Needy Community Family
~Contributed: Before & After Photos
Contributed: Persons receiving Bibles
Contributed: A happy Barrett and her children
A house in the yard from the House of the Lord: This was the reality when several members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trelawny showed up to witness the handing over ceremony of a newly built house for Tanisha Barrett’s family.
On Sabbath, February 15, 2020, Pastor O’Brian St. Patrick Hawthorne and members of the Duncans Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church visited the family in the Logwood Walk area of Duncans, Trelawny to bless their home. The house was completed that same week and is the product of a joint effort between the church and community members interested in the well-being of the family.
The wooden structure was erected over the course of approximately a month and cost over two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000), not including labour, which was donated. The funding was provided by the church and other generous benefactors.
The event, which took place during the time allotted for the weekly Adventist Youth Service (AYS), included a worship session with the pastor delivering a sermonette to those assembled. The gathering drew many curious on-lookers who expressed jubilation for the intervention of the church and a shared sentiment that the house was badly needed. Together they all vibrantly sang choruses and listened intently to the spoken word, waiting patiently for the dedication and official handing over of the house.
The beneficiaries, Tanisha Barrett and her children had lived in a similar structure previously; however, that structure had fallen into disrepair. It was deemed unsalvageable, as its structural members were insufficient from its inception and its foundation was compromised. This new structure was built from the ground up to provide a secure, sound place to live, providing more space and the possibility for expansion when the family is financially capable.
Miss Barrett was very grateful. She expressed her gratitude in simple terms, struggling through her emotions to provide adequate words to describe her feelings: “I am very happy. I am appreciative and grateful”, she stated after she and Pastor Hawthorne had cut the symbolic ribbon from her door.
Pastor Hawthorne charged the family to put God first in their lives. The family, which comprises Miss Barrett and her five children were encouraged to read their bibles and pray. He also encouraged the community members to continue to support each other. Assisted by his members, Hawthorne also issued bibles to the beneficiaries, their extended family who also live on the same property, and to the workmen who assisted with the project.
Project foreman Garth ‘Benji’ Rivers, who hails from a nearby area called Crawle, said that he and Miss Barrett’s late partner, Norman Hemans, used to work together in the construction industry. He related that “Mr. Hemans was a good worker. He had plans to repair his home but all hopes were destroyed when he suffered an unfortunate accident last year which left him paralyzed from the waist down.”
Rivers, who said he immediately accepted the task, was glad to have been asked. “Although I am not a Seventh-day Adventist, I have a good relationship with Adventists and appreciated the effort put out by the church. It touched ‘mi’ heart”, says a reflective Rivers.
Unfortunately, Miss Barrett is now a single, twenty-nine (29) year old mother with five (5) fairly young children. Her eldest offspring is a fourteen (14) year old daughter who attends the Cedric Titus High School in Clark’s Town, Trelawny. The youngest is a four (4) month old baby boy conceived shortly before his father’s accident. Sadly, Mr. Hemans passed away on Saturday, February 8, 2020 after another bout of ill-health had him readmitted to the hospital for almost a week.
Further expressing her gratitude for the assistance, Miss Barrett says, “The children’s father was the bread-winner and his absence has left a deep void that remains unfilled. So we are very grateful for this gesture of the Seventh-day Adventist church, as things are really difficult for us. I am currently without a job and welcome any support that may be available from family and well-wishers, as I seek to take care of my children.”
Speaking with Tanisha’s mother Gwendolyn Traile, NJC Communication learned that the church got involved in building the house because of the children’s father, due to the severity of his injuries and his need for a proper place to live while recovering. “Originally, the house was to be built elsewhere but due to the couple not owning any land, they were permitted to put the structure on my property. I am very impressed by the project, though saddened by Hemans’ passing. The family needed the help and it came just in time”, says a happy mother.
The project, which was spearheaded by Elder Ralston Duncan of the Duncans SDA church, was a resounding success, brought to fruition through the Community Services department of the church. It was a fitting end to Christian Home and Marriage week.
Lil Parkinson, Community Services Leader of Duncans SDA, was very excited: “I approve of the project one hundred percent. I am happy for the level of support from the community members and believe it is a first step in the beginning of a long journey to truly lead people to Christ.” Parkinson who is a chef by trade loves helping others and purported that she believes “if we only stir the pot, there is a lot of love in the community ready to bubble to the top.”
Duncans SDA church falls within the North Jamaica Conference (NJC) of Seventh-day Adventists, which oversees 17 pastoral districts across the parishes of St. Ann and Trelawny. If you desire to support Miss Barrett and her family, please feel free to reach out to the conference or a member of the Duncans SDA church.
Editor's Note: Special thanks to Brother Samuel Martin, Communication Correspondent for the Duncans SDA Church, for his significant contribution to this article.
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