We think ten years from now, when “the year 2020” in inserted into a conversation, all of us will instantly go back to this time when we had to make some tough choices in our lives.
For us at ACE, we are not exempt from the challenges of the past eleven months, when we seem to wake up with a new obstacle every morning. COVID-19 changed a lot of things in our regular routine, not only giving masks, social distancing, clean hands, clean everything a whole new meaning, but, most of all, elevating the importance of our daily choice to live in fear or faith.
As you know, ACE chose Faith, and we will every time. We wish we could say it’s because we are big spiritual giants, but we would be lying. It’s because we have nothing but faith to put out there.
In March, when nearly all our teams of volunteers began to cancel and flights stopped, we knew we were facing an unforeseen challenge. We had some self-sustaining parts of ACE that we had been developing for some time but not enough to keep our full staff employed. I used to say that people who suffer from poverty in any country seem to have the strongest faith in God providing for their needs. Well, we sure got to test that theory this year… and it’s correct. As a faith-based not-for-profit, we had little else to go on.
We never gave up and we know you, our partners with ACE, never gave up on us. God has pulled us through this and continues to walk with us. While we still pray every day for help to keep our Nationals working, God has heard us and has greatly met our needs. For this we are grateful. Very grateful. Exceedingly grateful. What we are called to do in Jamaica – “Changing Lives and Transforming Communities” – is a mission that not even COVID could stop, not with God in control.
Never stop doing good, never stop tending to the garden where you are planted, for in due season, you will reap. God sees our good works and, when we least expect it, He reminds us of that our efforts do yield good fruit. The ACE family in Jamaica and the home offices in Ohio and Atlanta want to encourage you by sharing an email we received last month from a long-time volunteer and supporter:
“I work part time at Universal Studios Florida as a vacation planner. Universal Studios has 28 partner hotels that have Universal desks in the hotel lobby where we help to plan the guests’ time in the parks. After the guests check in, they come visit us and we help them with ticket options, meal plans, shuttles, advice and info on the parks. We sell all the Universal products and help them navigate their vacations.
I was at work on yesterday and a lady came to my desk for some theme park advice. She had small children and wondered what was best for them to do while in Orlando. I recognized her Jamaican accent and asked her where she was from. She told me St Mary’s Parish. I told her I had been there. She asked me where. I told her I have been on a mission trip with ACE. She asked me if we stayed at Galina Breeze. I told her we sure did.
She got tears in her eyes and told me that a few years ago ACE built a garden box in her niece’s home. She told me her niece went to Water Valley Primary School and that ACE was instrumental in helping her niece’s family out. She shared with me that the work ACE is doing in St. Mary’s Parish is amazing and is making a huge impact in the community. She said ACE made a big difference in the community and the life of her niece.
I know this year has been challenging, but hang in there. The work you are doing is good work, it is God’s work. God is in charge and HE has a plan for all this mess. You keep doing the good work that you are doing and He will be with you and bless the work of your hands.”
You never know when that ordinary day can turn into a huge impact ten years down the road. We don’t remember this particular lady from Water Valley, but we do know she remembers ACE as being a part of answered prayer for her niece in due time, and that includes all of you, our volunteers, supporters, friends and prayer warriors that keep ACE going.
Let this time, this year of challenges, be one for remembering the goodness of God. We are truly so grateful for all we have at ACE – for our families, for our future, for you.
Merry Christmas, friends! All is well in the world when you know Christ, the Peace that passes ALL understanding.
Marla, Allen and the ACE Staff