Kingston, Jamaica | Fabia Phillips-Lawrence/JAMU/IAD

Two Seventh-day Adventists in Jamaica were conferred and awarded with national honors during a ceremony held on the lawn of Kings House on National Heroes Day on October 20.

Audrey Sewell, an elder at the North Street Adventist Church in Kingston, was conferred with the nation’s sixth highest honor, the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander, for her outstanding contribution to public service in the areas of justice, education, transport, works and housing. She serves Jamaica as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing.

Alfonso Marshall, an elder at the Trench Town Adventist Church, was awarded the Badge of Honor for Meritorious Service for his service in the field of road maintenance and construction. He works for the National Works Agency, the government’s road construction agency.

Adventist President in Jamaica Pastor Everett Brown commended both recipients on their achievements.

"I am always very happy when members of our church excel in service to our nation,” Brown said. “Audrey Sewell and Alfonso Marshall are members who have for years served our church and the communities in which our church operates, with distinction. It is only fitting that their Christian values through their work with the government has impacted the nation. I commend and congratulate them on behalf of the membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica.”

Sewell said it was an “honor” for the country to recognize her service.

“I know that there are many outstanding Jamaicans in the past and in my group who have been so awarded, and I even deem it much more an honor to join the ranks of those very outstanding Jamaicans who have made contributions to national development,” Sewell said.

“I attribute my success in life to the leading of the Lord, and consider my work to be a Ministry so wherever the Lord places me I give of my best,” Sewell added.

In his response on being recognized nationally, Marshall said, “I feel gratified, humbled and very good in my mind knowing that the government and people of Jamaica have seen it fit to award me.”

Lowell Cooper, an Adventist world church vice president, commended the work of Adventists in government.

“There is a subtle temptation for the followers of Jesus to retreat from the world since the spiritual life is in such contrast to worldly values and behaviors,” said Cooper,” but society and its structures can be transformed by the influence of people who bring spiritual values to their roles in public life. The Bible stories of Joseph and Daniel illustrate how devotion to God can have an enormous impact for the good of a community and a nation.”

A total of 233 Jamaicans were recognized for their outstanding contribution to nation-building through services in various fields. The awards ranged from the Order of Jamaica to the Medal of Honor. The ceremony was presided over by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, a Seventh-day Adventist, who presented each of the honors and awards.