Now Showing!

Now Showing!

Our vision at ACE is to change lives and transform communities. We think we’ve been pretty good at it – with God’s help, of course – over the past three decades by involving ourselves directly into the four aspects of a person’s life: education, wellness, spiritual purpose, and microbusiness. There was something missing in the category of “family bonding” that all of us living in St. Mary had noticed: there was nothing to do as a family together that didn’t cost money for traveling or entertainment.

ACE has been able to utilize Buccaneers, the jerk centre at our new Green Life Llanrumney Farms property, to keep some of our staff employed during this unexpected slow mission trip season. Buccaneers has provided a wonderful community meeting spot, providing great food and atmosphere, and the idea was floated to find a fun activity for everyone. So, while ACE has never been in the theatre business, we gave it a try and put into action our first “Movie on the Ship” presentation!

Since ACE took over the Llanrumney Property last year, we were left with a lot of interesting half- finished buildings and what we would call “art pieces”. The Pirates Boat made of concrete happened to be one of them.  After painting and repairing a few things on this ship, we decided to put a vinyl screen on it, paint it and start showing movies outside on Saturday and Sunday nights for free.

On the first night, as dusk fell, people started coming in and the movie started. Someone asked how many people came… a huge number of ten! Okay, so it wasn’t a massive grand opening, but we know that when word gets out, our neighbors and children and families will come with their blankets, chairs, food and enjoy a night out under the stars. We will keep you posted as ACE continues to find ways to build on those long-term family relationships.

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Farming with the Family

Farming with the Family

Every day, something new happens on the farm that we didn’t know could happen. We find hidden skills we didn’t know we had, as well as hidden treasure in the bushes or creeks.  All of us have enjoyed having this new property in St. Mary to share with our neighbors and friends. We are leasing out land for farming crops and for raising goats, chickens, and pigs. It’s all the little guys – our families and local farmers – that need a place to make a living, and we get to build relationships that go deep.

In the meantime, we are learning so much. Just this week, as we cleaned out waterways, we uncovered what appears to be an old water wagon. The wheels and wagon were covered up with bamboo and debris. Huie, our farm manager, commented, “Hey, we could make some tables out of that for the restaurant.” That comment alone instantly started us reminiscing about all the “free material” we have found on the farm that we are using to improve the property.

Old windows, metal pieces, doors, blocks, great pieces of timber – you name it and we’ve found it. We thank God that He continually reminds us of His presence. We are also continually reminded of His little pests’ presence, as well… called ticks, but that’s why we have lemongrass (or as they say, “fever grass”), a natural deterrent.

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Mountain Lake Does it Again!

Mountain Lake Does it Again!

In this digital age, many may not remember the U.S. Postal Service slogan which began: “Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night…” To paraphrase, the postman always delivers, no matter what!

That’s sort of what we think about when we see our friends from Mountain Lake Church in Georgia refuse to let a little virus keep them from coming down! Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration here. But with the Martinez family in tow, this team came down and not only helped us on the farm physically, but they encouraged each and every ACE/Green Life Llanrumney Farms (GLLF) team member.

The laughter, the fun, the jokes, and the determination left all of us here in Jamaica feeling encouraged and hopeful. We know so many of you have had to cancel your trips to serve with ACE. We realize and understand that you had to make the best decision for your team, and we believe this season of uncertainty and fear will pass as most seasons do.

Please know we love you all and pray continually for wisdom on how you can comfort your friends and families. Most of all, know that this is the best of all times to see God at work in each of our individual lives.

Mountain Lake was a breath of fresh air during these challenging times, and we are grateful to them and to God for bringing them to ACE safely and with servants’ hearts. And we are keeping the lights on for YOU when you return.

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Marla’s Minute: Climate Change Happens in St. Mary

Marla’s Minute: Climate Change Happens in St. Mary

It’s hot and dry… that about sums up the day-in, day-out conditions here on the island since March. But that’s not the climate change I’m referring to. I’m talking about the climate in which ACE is used to working and how we do outreach to our hundreds of students, and families in St. Mary.

It used to be, around this time, that students were getting ready for exams and the summer, with our first VBS starting the second week in July. And it used to be that all students were dressed in uniforms with oversize backpacks full of books standing on the road waiting on their taxi to take them to school. Then there were the ACE field trips for learning that a lot of you got to help us with, giving our students some real life education.

That’s all changed – but not a permanent change; just for a season. This past week, I asked two parents if I could take their boys with me to Kingston for a meeting. The parents said “yes” before I could finish my sentence, so off I went with Rashawn and Karl. Since I had a meeting at 11:00 am, I decided that today we would do things differently – dessert first and lunch later!

Away they went to get ice-cream at the Devon house, the premium ice cream shop in Jamaica. While my meeting went well, I kept thinking about that pistachio ice cream Devon House makes and thinking how lucky they were. We ended our day at Subway for a 6” sandwich each before heading over the mountains home to St. Mary.

I remember many years earlier when two of my older boys – now young men in University and one graduating “whenever “ this year – were near the same age as Rashon and Karl and how we used to do mini-field trips together.  Anthony and Tahj joined me for church this Sunday for the first time since March. My heart burst with pride to see how far they’ve come with the help of your sponsorships and a good community of people and prayers changing their day-to-day experiences. I pray for the same for Rashawn and Karl.

From a climate of uncertainty for the future to a climate of acceptance and assurance that there is a future – now that’s a real climate change. Thank you, Sponsors, for changing lives and transforming communities, one person at a time.

Arlene’s Adventure Home

Arlene’s Adventure Home

“The Lord has said, ‘I know the plans I have for you.’”  That was the verse that spoke to my heart when I returned to Jamaica on January 11 of this year, since I knew I was facing decisions for the future. However, once COVID-19 reared its ugly head, I found myself facing unexpected challenges. My planned departure date of April 9 never happened, and in the end, my usual 3-month stay turned into a 5-month stay. As the days progressed, it became clear why God had me in Jamaica for that extra time.

My new departure date was scheduled for June 7. As the first ACE person to leave the island, we thought you would be interested in what I encountered at the Montego Bay airport after Marla dropped me off at the airport.

When attempting to access the terminal, I was met at the door by a security guard, questioning my flight info, and was told that the terminal would not open until 9:30. Passengers were required to line up outside the terminal, with masks on at the requisite six feet apart. We had to present our passports to the guard and remove our mask so she could verify we matched our passport pictures. On the way in, we had to sanitize our hands.

The usual kiosks were not in operation, so I joined a slow line for checking in, where there are now Plexiglass shields between passengers and the agents. The agents were wearing masks, making it difficult to converse in a noisy terminal. When I got to the counter, I discovered my flight had been cancelled, with no prior notification from them! Nothing like driving two hours to find that out! The agent was able to get me on another flight going to New York, a two-hour drive from my original destination of Philadelphia.

Next was TSA, where they strictly monitored the distance between people approaching the security area. Once upstairs, I discovered that only half of the terminal was open and most of the stores were closed. In the gate area, there were “Do Not Sit Here” signs on every other seat, and getting onto the plane took longer due to the distancing requirements. For now, the middle seats on the planes are unoccupied, and I was able to enjoy being the only passenger in my row!

At JFK, I faced the thing that concerned me most: would I be faced with a 14-day quarantine? Needless to say, I was relieved when none of the people in front of me had been presented with this necessity for entry. My time with the Immigration officer was brief as she asked where I was coming from and how long I’d been there; there was no reaction from her when I said, “Five months!” Then she handed me my passport and I was on my way, looking forward to seeing my brother who had graciously driven to JFK to pick me up!

Here are the verses God gave me, prior to my departure, which kept my heart at peace concerning a possible quarantine: “The Lord Himself will go over before you. Do not fear… for it is the Lord your God who goes with you.” (Deuteronomy 31:3, 6)