JIS News

Jamaican-born missionary and evangelist, Elsada Duncan, celebrated her 100th birthday on January 15 in the City of Milton/Alpharetta, an upscale suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.
Miss Duncan was born in Brainerd, St. Mary, on January 15, 1908 to local farmers, Charles and Grace-Ann Pinnock-Duncan. The seventh child of 13, she has outlived all but one of her siblings.
Still sharp and witty, she told JIS News that when she was growing up she was very interested in educating herself, so she could help to take care of her younger siblings.
She began her schooling at the age of eight, but financial constraints meant she could not continue beyond age 15. However, undeterred by circumstances, her sense of ambition led her to learn a skill that would be her ticket out of her countryside village and into the city of Kingston.
In Kingston, she immediately joined a church and at age 17 gave her life to Christ and has not looked back since. She took up dressmaking and, true to her personality, gave it her all.
She supported herself, one of her nieces whom she adopted, her daughter, Norma McLaughlin, who was born in June1940, and two years later, adopted her niece’s son. As a single mother living in Kingston, Elsie found it challenging raising a young adult and two children, while juggling a career at a busy manufacturing company. This, she said, led her to go into her own business, so that she could have more time for her family and “her God.”
Miss Duncan and her children were active members of their church, Bethel Apostolic, in Jones Town. They would later join the Church of Jesus Christ -Apostolic, at 3 Oakland Road in Kingston, where she was appointed an Evangelist.
Migrating to the United States with her family in the early 1990s, Miss Duncan first settled in Stamford, Connecticut, then moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1995.
At 100 years old, she still maintains great health, and continues her evangelical work. She can be seen in the local shopping mall, grocery store or restaurant asking passers-by if they know the Lord or whether they would need prayer for anything. She attributes her long life to a strong faith in God, often proclaiming, “God preserves me.”
Her biggest concern for people today is that they don’t take proper care of themselves. They don’t know how to “put on dem clothes properly,” she said, and they don’t take enough time to rest. This centenarian uses a walker to get around, but she is quick to point out that it’s not because she’s old, “but because of a broken hip in 1997 and a broken ankle in 1980.” You will never hear her say that she’s 100 years-old, instead she announces her age with a hearty, “I’m 100 years young.”
To commemorate this milestone birthday, several events were planned for her. There was a visit to her great-grandson, Luke Hall’s kindergarten class at Cogburn Woods Elementary School in Milton, Georgia, on January 23, and a personal visit to her home by the Mayor of the City of Milton/Alpharetta, Georgia, Joe Lockwood, on January 27.
The events will culminate with Thanksgiving celebration at her home on Saturday, March 15.