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By God's The Lord has me for a purpose, says centenarian 'Mother James

BY DEANDRA MORRISON
Online reporter
morrisond@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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There is no secret serum to long life, just “living by the grace of God” said Pearl James, who celebrated her 100th birthday last week Friday.

“The lord keeping me from I was born until now,” said the woman who is affectionately known as “Mother James”.

“The Lord has me for a purpose, because many younger ones gone,” said the centenarian, who is originally from Golden Grove in St Ann, just before the start of her birthday celebration at Miracle Tabernacle Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ on Elgin Road in Kingston.

“I was quite alright, it's just [since] a couple months now I haven't been feeling too good,” James told the Jamaica Observer, adding that her hands are not as flexible as before, and that she fell some years ago damaging her hip, which resulted in her now using a wheelchair.

However, her church sister, Grace Johnson, who said she has known Mother James for 42 years, explained that the accident did not deter the centenarian from attending church every Sunday.

“She's always godly and love her church. When you don't see her come is something must happen, but she is a dedicated servant of God,” Johnson said.

Mother James recalled that she came to live in Kingston when she was 18 years old and later married and had eight children, four of whom has predeceased her.

She said she has been attending Miracle Tabernacle church for close to 80 years and, during her younger days, served as a “pilgrim”, spreading the word of God and working in the church's 'medicine room'.

She explained that the 'medicine' was regular piped water that was blessed by the bishop and served to worshippers.

“Sometimes all seven dozen gallon bottles I have to serve, working night and day when the people would come and get their bottle and drink until church over,” she reflected.

Her son, Earl James, said that after his father passed in 1985, Mother James was the type of parent who ensured that her children were never in need.

“She always keeping us clean, keeping us out of trouble, and tell us that we must go to school and study — and that's a good inspiration for a mother to give to her children,” he said, adding that he hopes God will bless his mother with many more years.

“I'm glad to come and see her at this age,” he said. “It's hard to be 100 years old in this time, because people don't live this long any more; it's really a blessing. She takes care of herself, eat right, rest and keep her belief in God strong and she's a strong woman. She [is] always eating some of the good old ground food from St Ann and that keeps her going.”

Reverend Robert Campbell of Miracle Tabernacle paid tribute to Mother James.

“I grew up with her in terms of being a young member in the church. She's a loving person and very caring [but] very strict,” Campbell told the Observer. “If she doesn't see you in church for a while, she going to ask you why you haven't turnedup.”

“Those are some of the things that really kept me throughout the years,” he added.

Another member of the church, Raymond Walker, said even though he had been attending for only four years, Mother James has been very encouraging to him.

He said that he had seen cricketers struggle to make 50 runs, but “Mother James, you have made it to 100 runs.”

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