Eight Days of Hope

Eight Days of Hope

Before COVID came into the world, a generous couple had donated funds to help us build the Peace House, a place for families to come together weekly to eat, play games, socialize, and hear what we believe to be foundational truths to our faith through the Bible. The Peace House is the last leg of what ACE likes to call its Legacy Plan for long-term sustainability, both physically and spiritually.

In the New Testament, we know Paul, Peter and other disciples were praying and teaching in people’s homes so communities could grow together in many ways. Moving forward to the 21st century, our community at Llanrumney and its connecting districts are seeking to do the same through the Peace House.

For two and a half years, we have been slowly moving forward in our effort to complete the building. Those same generous donors who helped us start the Peace House project years ago contacted their friend who is the executive director of a ministry for disaster relief in the US called Eight Days of Hope. In June, a small group skilled in construction from that organization arrived to help us complete the job.

This team consisting of eight men and woman arrived ready to work – and work they did. Not only did they make great strides in finishing the building, but they passed along their knowledge of construction and tricks of the trade to some of our staff, which will make life easier going forward. After a week of their dedicated labor, we are very close to move-in ready, just a few finishing touches to go.

Got some extra time to help us make our Christmas deadline for the Peace House? We’ve got the room, and, thanks to Eight Days of Hope, we have a lot of tools and new-found expertise to make the work go smoother. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel! 

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Down Home on the Farm

Down Home on the Farm

During the month of July, while VBS was happening in one part of ACE, Allen and non-VBS volunteers were doing some pretty serious projects needing completion before the heavy rains come in September.  We continued the work of previous teams on cleaning out the 16-foot cistern, clearing out dirty water and soil to prepare it for holding fresh water. We pumped most of the sediment out, but found, near the bottom, we needed to get in there and hand-bucket it out. Not a problem for our teammates; in fact, the messier, the better. Afterwards, we put on a tin top as a cover to capture the water.

Then, as always this time of year, we have all our regular and pink guavas come into season. A rush is on each week to beat the cows for the guavas as we sell the juice in our jerk center and make wonderful guava jelly. With 50 hands or so to pick the trees, it’s a win for the humans this year vs. the animals.

Never tried guavas? Well, you should. Come on by Buccaneers and buy a glass of cold guava drink. People drive from all over to get that Vitamin C. Just another sustainable project growing out of the ground on our property down on the farm!

Our First Home is finally going up at the Village!!

Our First Home is finally going up at the Village!!

After a shaky start and escalating costs of building supplies, ACE is completing the first of many homes at the Green Life Village for our single moms and families. We’ve been through the ringer with building hurdles, but at last this week, Allen, Bulla, and men from Augusta got things moving again.

About a year ago, the foundations were laid by previous teams for three homes with the blocks we had on site. This week, the lumber for the foundation went up. We will keep you posted as the first home should be completed by the third week in August.

For this particular home, the mother has had a very difficult time. She has four children: a 20-year-old with cerebral palsy, a nine-year-old, an 18-year-old son who is working and going to school, and a daughter who has had some devastating things happen in her life that has her currently in a home for girls. If we can complete this home for our mom and her family by September 1st, the government says they will allow her daughter, who is 15, to return home and go to school locally. If the house isn’t complete by that date, then her daughter will have to stay in the girls home until she turns 18.

Nothing like pressure to complete a job. Thanks to the generosity of our donors who have committed to finance the home and to all the volunteers who have helped along the way, we believe we will make the deadline. Please pray with us that we won’t be delayed, and we’d love it if you could come down to help! A lot of circumstances are riding on it.

Marla’s Minute – VBS is back for the Summer!

Marla’s Minute – VBS is back for the Summer!

When I think of Vacation Bible School, I think of high-pitched squeals, laughter, and tons of energy, mostly derived from sugar. When our teams think of VBS, they think of creating an atmosphere of orchestrated fun and learning about God and His creation. And that’s exactly what has been happening this month.

Since the beginning of July, our friends and partners of ACE from all over the country have successfully conducted VBS at three local primary schools. So far, over 600 students have been involved in “Destination Dig”, a theme carried over from last year’s successful curriculum using days 3, 4 and 5. While this newsletter is being written, we are in week FOUR of our month-long series of VBS events with a team of volunteers from Tifton, GA,  preparing to lead our last VBS of the summer at one of our oldest ACE-partner schools, Water Valley Primary.

Students learn to dig deep into their questions about who God is and why He is so important in their lives. We end each VBS with a big fieldtrip to the farm where they search for clues and end up with many memories of stories, crafts and facts about how much God loves them. Seeking the Lord is seeking the ultimate treasure, and the children love the energy and effort all teams have made to bring this verse to life: “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

 

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Marla’s Minute: Big Red is Dead

Marla’s Minute: Big Red is Dead

Farming is not an easy business to be involved with in Jamaica, especially if you are trying to raise a herd of beef cattle and grow a business so more Jamaicans can earn and help their families. ACE and Green Life Farms are not exempt from struggle, no matter how lofty our goals.

This past week, our prize bull Big Red was slaughtered in our own field at night during a full moon. Yes, it was tragic. And yet, we don’t know what to do. In our book, The Mango Tree Gospel, we write about desperate people doing desperate things, and there is the fine balance of need versus crime. We pray for those who feel the need to take from others and for how we can prevent this in the future, like the ability to hire more personnel to stand watch. We are doing our best to build a business, but the loss sometimes makes us want to quit. 

The hopeful news is that Big Red left behind at least 18 to 20 pregnant cows who will drop their calves in August if all goes well. Maybe one of them will be a male. Pray for the protection of our animals, our health, and our staff as we continue to move forward in this part of ministry, pursuing our micro business opportunities amid challenges like this.

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