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Sister Charles: Unsung Hero

Sister Charles: Unsung Hero


FirstCaribbean International Bank honours outstanding Vincentian

by Kirby Jackson

Those who knew Jestina Charles well did not did think she’d be alive today.

The bubbly, effervescent “Sister Charles” who was an artesian well of energy and goodwill was struck down by a stroke and everyone feared the worst.

As she lay on her bed, many thought it was a death bed but death was not on the agenda of Charles who was named as this year’s Unsung Hero by FirstCaribbean International Bank.{{more}}

This woman of God had untapped faith, she knew that her time had not yet come.

“The Lord gave me strength, He told me that He was not ready for me to come home as yet,” said the Chester Cottage resident. “I had a desire to live,” she added.

While still sick in bed but recovering from her stroke, Sis. Charles made a shopping list for Bethel Care, a food distribution programme she operated for 100 elderly persons who live from Mt Grenan to Georgetown. She continued to run the programme from her bed, ensuring that all was working well; such was her commitment to the Lord’s work.

“The telephone became my good friend then, I made calls all the time making sure that every thing was in order,” she stated.

She never had any children of her own, but Charles who has been a teacher for many years has cared for and guided many youngsters by instilling values especially during their impressionable years and even ensured that they were fed.

She personally took in and raised eight children and she is especially proud of one, Chief Nursing Officer, Audrey Scott.

“I am so proud of her and how she has become a great success in life” a smiling Charles said at her Georgetown home Sunday.

The Bethel Care programme and raising foster children were among the things for which she was recognized last week as this nation’s Unsung Hero.

She did them without complaining or seeking recognition but very quietly in the background.

Another project on the long list of selfless works was the establishment of the “Love Table”, an organization that feeds 25 elderly persons.

A dedicated Christian and community worker Charles, 74, has also helped young mothers to acquire skills for gainful employment such as dressmaking and cake decorating.

Charles married her husband Pastor Hollis Charles in 1966 and together they have worked tirelessly in the overall development of their ministry, Bethel Gospel Assembly.

Although she is glad to have been named as this year’s Unsung Hero, this humble lady of distinction and overflowing grace is still very troubled. Her concern is not one that the US$5,000 prize money from FirstCaribbean International Bank could fix, only the Lord!

“I am so concerned about this young generation. They get weary so easily, they are not willing to reach out to others the way it use to be,” explained “Lady” Charles.

As for her ministry, who will be her successor?

She has identified someone but she has not yet approached the person as she is uncertain that the person is ready for the task.

“I will just have to leave it to the Lord; he will prepare someone’s


Despite all the accolades heaped on her by the Unsung Hero award, “Lady” Charles regards it all as the work of the Lord and not her work, therefore when she leaves this world, she is confident that the elderly will not go unfed, foster children will continue to have a home, and young ladies will continue to receive life skills training because the Lord will ensure that His work continues.