“30 years of growth and some things never change”. That’s the thought I had this past week as I mixed concrete at GLLF with my team of 27. You may be thinking that I was bemoaning the opportunity that lay ahead of me, but I really wasn’t. I actually love cooking in the Jamaican sun while mixing concrete, by hand, surrounded by my family and team. It sure beats sitting in an office staring at a computer all day!

This summer was my 30th year serving with ACE, so I was very nostalgic all week long. I met Marla as a high school student back in 1994. She took me and a small team up around Mandeville to a place called Bethel. We spent ten days serving the local community in the same ways that many of you have since.

Some things have never changed: the heart and commitment that Allen, Marla and ACE have for the local community, a heart for service and compassion, which always finds creative ways to invest in those that need help but may feel uncomfortable asking for it.

For those of you that have been there, you know exactly what I am talking about. Many Jamaicans have a quiet need shrouded in pride that takes a bit of patience and perseverance to get to heart of, and ACE has that patience and perseverance.  

In 30 years, many other things haven’t changed as well but one that stands out to me year after year – and keeps me coming back, if I’m honest – is my team and the commitment that I have made to them.  

Team leaders, you will get this. Lean in with me for a minute and be encouraged. Our teams may change in number and gender. Our teams may change in skills and gifts. But the gift of exposing a new member to the ministry never changes. The joy of seeing a member return to that special island never changes. The awe of watching The Lord move among your group never changes, and feeling the weight, the good weight, of leadership never changes.

I’m always astonished at this universal truth; we go to Jamaica to help “Change Lives and Transform Communities”, but it somehow always ends of being my life that’s changed and my little community that’s transformed. “30 years of growth and some things never change.”