Kathydell refuses to let illness hold her back
Kathydell Hayward Ming still feels the effects of the strokes she suffered 15 years ago.
Her comprehension isn’t what it once was, reading is far more difficult and movement is sometimes challenging.
Despite that, she has set a goal of receiving her bachelor’s degree before she “draws [her] last breath”. She got started on that path this summer, successfully completing a 14-week psychology course organised through Pastor Gladstone Thompson of The Bermuda National School of Ministry.
“When I’m determined to do whatever, I just do it. I don't even think about the accomplishment at the end. I just do what I have to do,” she said.
“I wasn’t confident the day that I went to the exam because about a week before the exam my dog literally ate [the book I had to study from]. I couldn't believe it.
“But Pastor Thompson had given us some study notes and the night before the exam I read them and unbelievably it went straight into my brain.”
It was an incredible accomplishment for Ms Hayward Ming, whose brain hadn’t been functioning in the way it did before she took ill in 2007.
Then 49, she was certain she wouldn’t see her 50th birthday.
“I went to the doctor in September and they gave me a clean bill of health. So that's what was confusing – that I had a clean bill of health in September and at the beginning of November I was deathly ill. I just give thanks that I’m still able to be here and impact somebody else's life.
“I was depressed, I felt like I wanted to commit suicide at times, but I made it through and I'm willing to help anybody who needs my help.”
Now 64, she is grateful for the constant support she received from her husband, Bryan Ming, and her daughter, Clindel Lowe.
“It was such a difficult time in my life. I didn't know what to do. My husband stood beside me the entire way – through the depression, the anger. I grieved [because I] lost the ability to do certain things. I couldn't use my arms, I couldn’t use my legs, I still have a difficult time reading.
“My daughter stood beside me from the very minute I had the stroke and stayed with me for six to eight weeks every day and still to this day she encourages me.”
She spent six weeks in hospital both here and in Boston, Massachusetts. Once released and back at work in the Department of Planning, Ms Hayward Ming realised she had no idea how to do her job.
“My boss gave me a simple task, to call a client to tell them that I had their documents ready. I remember my very first call. I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't remember anything.
“But I just kept going. At the forefront of my focus: I'm a Christian and I believe in the word of God and so I hold on to that to this day, [His promise] that I will be able to accomplish.”
The Bermuda National School of Ministry is registered under the Church of God Cleveland, Tennessee.
It opened in November 2021, at the conclusion of the annual convention of the New Testament Churches of God.
The first course offered was taught by Bishop Reverend Gladstone Thompson and entitled, Knowing Yourself and Others.
“As the National Education Director, Bermuda, I am very proud of the first cohort of the Bermuda National School Of Ministry. Each session was filled with rich dialogue related to the course. We learnt the importance of knowing ourselves and others as it relates to ministry,” he said.
Eighty per cent of the students in the course completed it successfully.
“The National Education Director has encouraged this cohort to stay together and complete all 20 courses which will allow them access to study at the Pentecostal Theology Seminary at the master’s level,” Mr Thompson added.
A second course, Equipping People for Ministry, will be taught by Bishop Clarke Minors. Registration takes place next month. For more information call 704-0136.
She learnt of the psychology course through her church, Glory Temple. Along with the other New Testament Churches of God on the island, it established the National School of Ministry in November.
In the past 15 years Ms Hayward Ming has tackled only one 57-page book. Despite that, she enrolled in the course and got to work.
“I had no idea what I was reading. It was just words on paper. But I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction and discussion pieces and, believe it or not, that's how I passed the exam. I did not read the book. I couldn’t.
“I thought that I could do it. I thought I'd be able to read it. The first chapter seemed like it was pretty easy. But then when it came to the combination of so many other chapters. I was getting confused and annoyed at the same time. I was angry because I couldn't read like I used to read. So I just pushed and pushed.”
On hearing that she passed the August 27 exam, she immediately gave thanks to God.
“I believe that He has opened the door to make my brain clear enough to understand what's happening and what I'm looking at.
“I'm going to use this credit towards my bachelor's degree. I have an associate’s in secretarial science but I might shift and do something different. I'm determined to get a bachelor's degree before I take my last breath.”
At the moment she is enjoying her job as a switchboard operator for the Government.
“It challenges me with quick thinking when people need things done. I have to quickly analyse what people are trying to say to me. And, of course, send them in the right direction that they need.
“For me it’s exciting because I'm able to give customer service and I love it.”