Emily's joy
Adventist Possibility Ministries helps deaf student preparing for exam
Pastor Adrian Cotterell, Possibility Ministries coordinator of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, presents a laptop computer to 18-year-old Emily Johnson, a student of Lister Mair Gilby High School for the Deaf, after the Assistive Technology and Mental Health Symposium at Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester on March 9. Also photographed are Lyneve McLeish (left), retired family social worker for the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, and Emily's sister, Chavoy Johnson (2nd left). (Photo: Nigel Coke)

An 18-year-old member of the deaf community was overcome with joy when she was presented with a much-needed laptop to help her prepare for this year's Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations.

Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf student Emily Johnson wore a broad smile as she received the gift on March 9 at an Assistive Technology and Mental Health Symposium held at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester.

The presentation formed part of the annual Possibility Ministries Awareness Week organised by the Seventh-day Adventist church in Jamaica under the theme 'Reflecting the Beauty of Jesus'.

"I feel excited," Emily said through translator Lyneve McLeish. "I always wanted one and didn't know how I would get it. There is SBA [school-based assessment] to be done and it's very hard for me because my school doesn't have a computer to facilitate it, and my father — who doesn't have a consistent job — cannot afford it. I am so grateful for this and I thank God."

Emily will be sitting five subjects — mathematics, English language, information technology, human and social biology, and principles of accounts. Last year she successfully sat English language and mathematics at level 3 in the City and Guilds exam.

McLeish, who is a retired family social worker for the Jamaica Association for the Deaf and who has worked with Emily for some time now, described her as a very brilliant and knowledgeable person.

"She is highly intelligent and willing to share and does sign language very well. She reads a lot and participates in the activities of the church. She is rarely absent from church... [and] is also very involved in sports at school and can run very fast," said McLeish, who is also an elder at the Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Deaf Church where Emily is a baptised member.

Regina Johnson, vice-principal of Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf, described Emily as a good student who complies with all the policies of the school.

"She is very obedient and consistent with her school work," added Johnson.

While most people refer to ministering to persons with disabilities as the disability ministry, the Seventh-day Adventist church has decided on the nomenclature Possibility Ministries because it recognises the potential, promises, possibilities, life-changing and transformational outcomes that can take place when people from the disabilities community are involved in the activities of the church and society.

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