HAPPY NEW YEAR?

HAPPY NEW YEAR?

Is it really a Happy New Year or, rather, a new year with the hope of happiness? That’s what our staff was talking about yesterday as we enjoyed the last chapter in our book club, before flipping over the old year of 2020 to the new year of 2021.

As the discussion lingered, the topic of COVID, closed schools, churches and birthday parties switched to happy events, new friendships, and ACE having impact where we never imagined.

We’ve decided to highlight what the year 2020 looked like for ACE in Jamaica and as they say, one picture says a thousand words.

Thank you for investing in God’s little program in St. Mary and making a huge impact in the lives of so many. Buckle up for 2021…it’s all good. 

CLICK IMAGE BELOW TO VIEW GALLERY

A Heart-Warming Story of Impact in St. Mary

A Heart-Warming Story of Impact in St. Mary

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.

Love,

Marla, Allen and the ACE Staff

Marla’s Minute: New Sounds on the Farm

Marla’s Minute: New Sounds on the Farm

Everyone who knows me knows I am anything but a farmer or cattle girl. In a staff meeting the other day, I confessed to everyone that all I know about farming and cattle is how to dress for it. Everyone laughed as if to say, “We already know that!!”

We have a saying (among many) here at ACE: fake it till you make it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of gaining knowledge by attaching myself to professionals who know far more than I do when it comes to our micro-business specifics. By dressing the part, however, I believe I’m just that much closer to becoming part of the team of farmers and cattlemen who know what they are doing on the farm at Llanrumney.

This week, a herd of Black Poles were moved from a farm closing down to Llanrunmey for security and pasturing. I learned a lot. Three things particularly stood out as I watched these magnificent animals being loaded onto a truck to our farm.

  1. They are big and I am not.
  2. They could kill a person with little effort if not handled gently
  3. They live a simple life. Eat, sleep, produce

click image to scroll through gallery

Okay, so here’s what I felt God telling me about these beautiful animals:

  1. God is God and I am not. My ways, my thoughts are just so much lower than God’s ways and thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 )
  2. My actions and words can destroy relationships, and relationships are the most important part of my life. (Proverbs 18:21)
  3. When I wake up and when I go to sleep at night, I can have peace that I did all I could do that day to make a difference. Simple living (1 Thessalonians 4:11)

Funny… me, enjoying the sounds of the farm in this time of turmoil all over the world. God says, “Just relax, I’ve got this.” I would love to hear your “Moo” story. There is always something to be learned in every adventure!

Happy Thanksgiving

Grateful for you

Marla

Wisdom Over Age

Wisdom Over Age

The seniors have our hearts every time.  Of course, our sponsored students are the life of ACE and the future of Jamaica, but without the wisdom of our seniors who have made the way for us, we would be lacking development and vision built on life experience. And such is the case with our dear Pastor Kermit Jones who turned 85 last week!

Those of you who are new to ACE should know that this dear man and his now-deceased wife, Gloria, are the reason ACE is in St. Mary. Pastor Kermit wrote Marla a letter a long time ago seeking assistance for his church in some structural challenges. Without knowing the where or how, Marla ventured out to St. Mary from the Mountains of Manchester to meet this vivacious couple. And that’s the beginning of ACE and the Joneses’ influence in St. Mary.

One of our own ACE boys who came up through the ranks, Orlando, lives with Pastor Kermit and takes great care of him.  If there is ever a legacy of lifetime investing, Pastor Kermit and Orlando are the perfect examples. And that’s really what we are all about, isn’t it? Young and old, learning from each other, making every minute of life count.

Happy Birthday, Pastor Kermit! Let’s make it another 85 years – if not in this realm, then in the next!

click image to scroll though photo gallery

A Word from our Board of Directors Chairman, Dr. Guy…

A Word from our Board of Directors Chairman, Dr. Guy…

Sitting on a recent flight to Jamaica reading the “American Way” magazine, I came across an article entitled “Refueling Your Emotional Tank”. I reflected on how little time I had spent over the last eight months in recharging my emotional batteries. Covid has robbed us of many activities that usually help to do just that; many of us have not been attending regular worship services, bible studies, family visits, volunteering or even working out.

 Being back at Galina Breeze this month reminded me of how thankful I am to be part of ACE. The energy that still persists at ACE warms my heart! The hotel is looking great, getting new solar panels to help us reduce our cost of electricity and be off the grid. The ACE campus is housing volunteers spending one to four weeks working on the farm and with Cloud 9 Chocolate. The ACE house is buzzing with students who are out of school working in virtual classrooms. Child sponsorship is still running full time to help feed students and their families as well as attend to other needs.

 Cloud 9 Chocolate is busy upping production for the upcoming holiday season. Bruce (our expert chocolatier) has been experimenting with new flavors, like incorporating sorrel flower into the chocolates. We are also getting ready for chocolate tours from the cruise industry when they return to the island. The jerk center on our Green Life Llanrumney property has been a big success with increasing business, providing the best jerk on the North Coast! Our newest tenant in the center is Knutsford Express. Two buses a day stop to pick up and deliver packages and people to Montego Bay and Kingston – that will be bringing even more business to that area.

 I had the chance to meet Robin, our cattleman with well over 50 years’ experience. Our pastures are ready, and we will be bringing 60 head of cattle to graze and get ready for market. The wellness center is ready and waiting for our medical and dental teams to ramp up soon. We are working with health officials to prepare a team for February.  We were proud to show off our facilities recently to the Smile With Heart foundation, a non-profit that partners with volunteer professionals to provide dental care to children in need.

Well, after spending the last five days traveling and engaging with the ACE staff in Jamaica, I am recharged, refueled and my heart overflows. Covid can’t minimize the impact of ACE. When you are getting weary or feel burned out, when your emotional tank reads E, say a prayer for ACE, sign up to sponsor a child or make a donation.  We are still changing lives and transforming communities. We encourage your continued prayer support and we are thankful for your time and treasure.

 May God bless and continue to encourage you as you serve,

Steve Guy