North Jamaica Conference
Violet Moss Brown, the oldest Jamaican, had a group of Seventh-day Adventists spellbound with century-old stories as they celebrated Mother’s day with her and praised God for her long life.
The approximately twenty individuals, who came from the Seventh-Adventist Church in Duanvale, Trelawny - the same community where 115 years- old Mrs. Moss Brown was born - were all amazed with her wit and sharp mind. They made it their priority to turn up at her home on May 10, 2015, bearing appreciation gifts, words of hope, songs and prayers.
Elder Colin Harrison stands amazed while other members from the Adventist Church listen intently to the supercentenarian, Mrs. Violet Moss Brown, as she reads the inscription on her plaque. The presentation was for achieving the milestone of 115th year. Pastor Carlington Hylton, Community Services Director, North Jamaica Conference seated beside her, made the presentation.
“We are one day early, but we are here to wish you a happy Mother’s day and a happy belated birthday as well,” said Pastor Carlington Hylton, Community Services Director of North Jamaica Conference who presented a plaque from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “You have lived an extraordinary life. God’s blessing is on you and no doubt you are an inspiration to all,” continued Hylton.
Mrs. Moss Brown, who is described as Jamaica’s supercentenarian, was one of four children born to John Moss and Elizabeth Riley - who died aged 96. The Gerontology Research Group in 2014 recognized March 10, 1900 as her birthdate. Previously, there were uncertainties surrounding three dates - March 4, 10, and 15, 1900. In addition, this year on her birthday, she was hailed by Queen Elizabeth II for reaching the age of 115, making her Jamaica's confirmed oldest person, and the smallest nation to produce a person of her age. Since then, she has moved from being the sixth to the fourth oldest person in the world.
Mr. Harold Fairweather
Currently, her eldest son Harold Fairweather, age 95, who is said to be the world's "oldest living child" with a parent alive informed, “Mother has six children – four boys and two girls - but one of the boys died. And there are three generations of grand, great-grand and great-great grand; too much to count. Who possibly live all over the world.”
Violet, affectionately called Aunt V, said she was baptized at age thirteen at the Duanvale Baptist Church, “And I had to recite on that day, Psalm 119:133”, she boasts. She also became the church organist and held other positions. She tells of her experience of being a farmer and recalls walking from Duanvale to Brown’s Town with her husband to sell produce.
“My feet hurt me so till, my husband had to stop and put my foot on a pan to rest. It was a bitter sweet experience,” she added. “But, I am here waiting on the Lord; I am one day older, one day weaker one day nearer. I feel good to have you all here”.
The group’s interest in Aunt V’s remarkable memory left them flabbergasted. “Last night she got up and she was just telling me about events that happened years ago,” explained Harold. “Some of the events makes me laugh till I cried and some are so serious,” said Harold. “I don’t understand how she recalls so many things, but I am happy that she is such a strong woman. She is indeed a tower of strength.”
Mrs. Violet Moss Brown, 115, prays for Pastor Carlington Hylton, Pastor Tavaughn Thomas and the rest of the Adventist members who came to visit her last Saturday afternoon.
At one point during the encounter, when Aunt V recognized that two Adventist pastors were beside her, she said, “We all read the same Bible and we are going to the same place, thousand times ten thousand, we will all meet Him.” She then immediately began to pray, “Almighty Father, these people who come here, bless them and keep them safe, amen.”
“We are all blessed this afternoon to have this prayer from a lady who is 115 years-old. What a blessing,” reinforced Pastor Hylton.
When asked what could have contributed to her long life, the woman who claims to have no medical complains responded, “hard work and good food”. Harold, though, had another version, “I tell you this story. I love farming and there is a banana tree right here in the yard that has been giving suckers for more than a hundred years now.”
“So that’s the banana tree I need to eat from!” exclaimed Pastor Hylton which caused a rupture of laughter.
After the laughter died down, Ena Hinds sang, ‘To God Be the Glory’ for Aunt V. Then, Tavaughn Thomas, Pastor of the Duanvale Seventh-day Adventist Church announced the scripture reading. Aunt V immediately began to recite it, because it was her baptism scripture passage.
Hyacinth Harrison, a community member, is tickled by what Aunt V said to her during her recent visit to her along with other Adventist Church members. They were celebrating Mother’s day with Aunt V and her milestone of 115 years.
“I know that your eyes are getting dim now Aunt V,” said Hyacinth Harrison, “but I know that you still recognize me, because you always say when I call to you in the mornings, ‘Is mama Smith granddaughter that’.”
Mrs. Violet Moss Brown’s interest is peeked by what Pastor Tavaughn Thomas is saying to her.
“Aunt V,” said Pastor Thomas, “It was a pleasure being here with you, and I thank you for opening your doors to us. I wish you a happy Mother’s day and many more birthdays to come.”
“No, no, no,” interrupted Aunt V which caused more laughter. “Remember” and she recited again, “I am one day weaker, one day older and one day nearer.”
Pastor Thomas continued, “But my greatest wish for you, is that you will be faithful to God so that when He comes you will hear Him say, ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant.’ When Jesus says that, your 115 years will be worth it after all.”
Aunt V greets Mr. Dunstan Harper, JLP Caretaker for Sherwood Content Division.
Mr. Dunstan Harper, Jamaica Labour Party Caretaker for Sherwood Content division in Trelawny, congratulated the Adventist church members on their visit. “It is wonderful thing to know that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has taken the time out to wish you a pre-Mother’s day blessing and to congratulate you on your milestone. You keep saying that you are one day weaker, one day older and one day nearer. Yet, it is our everlasting Father who will give you strength for each day as you go along.”
Pastory Hylton prays for Aunt V and her family.
Pastor Tavaughn Thomas is seated beside Aunt V while other members from the Duanvale Adventist Church surrounds her on her verandah.
Photos and story by Dyhann Buddoo-Fletcher