Many of you know that this is my last three-month stay here in Jamaica. However, this is not the end of my work with ACE. I will return periodically for shorter periods of time, 2 weeks to a month, as needed. I was planning to return in early July for Anthony’s high school graduation, but we’re not even sure this is going to happen since our students will still be in school in July. However, I will be returning the end of August to help with the distribution of backpacks, uniforms, shoes, and books to our sponsored children. I will also be working remotely on certain aspects of our Child Sponsorship program assisting our staff with work that needs to be completed. As hard as this will be for all of us, it’s the next step in helping our staff assume complete responsibility for our sponsorship program and other aspects of our ministry.
All this had been decided, and then COVID-19 reared its ugly head. As it stands now, I will not return home April 9th since all Southwest flights have been cancelled until at least May 22. I have not rebooked since this date could change, again! As of now, like many of you in the states, I’m confined to the house and our ACE property. Fortunately, our new office is on our property and I can walk to work, so I have been busy working there. Also no one can come into our house if they have used a route taxi. I am very thankful that Marla and Althia are taking all of this seriously and are doing all they can possibly do to keep us healthy. As it stands right now, I believe that I am safer here than in the states. The Jamaican government has also been very proactive, which has helped to keep the number of people with the virus at a minimum. The latest directive is that no one can be out and about from 8:00 pm-6:00 am.
In addition, I am now homeschooling Anthony. The Ministry of Education just began offering classes on the TV, so we have been watching 1-2 lessons each day. It’s basically just instruction and sometimes given so rapidly it’s hard to take notes. Although recently, an English Language teacher’s slow, laborious presentation came very close to lulling the two of us to sleep! Fortunately his teachers have sent some study guides for the national test he will take in July, so we are working through those together. I have spent a lot of time on Google to find correct answers for some of the questions! Anthony has continued to mature beautifully and has become a diligent, hard worker in both his studies and work for ACE. He is saving his money for a second visa to travel to the USA.
We are hoping that in the fall his next trip will be a week in New Jersey with me and then a week in Atlanta with Marla and Allen. I also love that he is very concerned about my health and that he really appreciates all I am doing to help him. When I finally get to travel home, the hardest thing for me will be leaving Anthony. He has a very special place in my heart.
As some of you may know, my middle name is Esther, chosen by my parents because they wanted me to have a biblical name and because it also has a family connection. So Esther’s story in the Bible has always been one of my favorites. This following verse has taken new meaning for me in light of my extended stay here in Jamaica and all the challenges we are now facing here with the ACE ministry:
“…And who knows but that you have come to (Jamaica) for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14
Thank you again for all your prayers for our ministry and for your messages of encouragement. You will never know how much all this has meant to me. God has been faithful and will continue to remain faithful!