And yet another one got married!

And yet another one got married!

During this time where the line “and yet another…” seems to be filling our evening news, usually about something bad, we are thrilled to be able to steal that phrase for good news — yet another member of our beloved ACE family has reason to celebrate! Katie Guy, former intern and long-term volunteer, is now Katie Lowery!

Katie and her now-husband TJ tied the knot outdoors on a beautiful day in an Ohio garden. Remembering Katie when she was twelve years old and following her dad, Dr. Steve Guy, around at ACE in Jamaica brought us back to how important making a personal investment into people, not things, can really be. Katie is no longer the young-soon-to-be teenager; she is now a beautiful young lady that not only loves TJ but Jesus.

With the ACE US staff and a few other familiar faces and previous volunteers there to celebrate, the event ended up being a small reunion of years of ACE friendships all packaged together into one perfect evening. A fun fact: Katie’s mom’s maiden name was Lowery!

Congratulations, Katie!

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Marla’s Minute: Keeping it Going

Marla’s Minute: Keeping it Going

For months, we at ACE have been upbeat about writing our monthly newsletters, letting you see how God is “retooling” our ministry for the times at hand and how our Jamaican employees are adapting to new job descriptions to keep working and contributing to the welfare of others as well as their families. It’s been good, and all of us at ACE have been grateful to see the willingness to learn new ways of making income and surviving the COVID year.

For starters, some of our hotel employees have volunteered to move to the Green Life Llanrumney Farms location just on the other side of Port Maria to do whatever is needed. Where we once had employees working housekeeping, they are now taking orders at Buccaneers or raking the yard or trimming the trees. Nationals who were once driving are now helping with the farm animals, clearing the “bush” and installing fencing. It’s humbling to see us as a family doing whatever it takes to survive these times.

Allen and I have read other non-profit newsletters that say without you, they will have to shut down. We strive to not focus on the negative, to never panic in the face of adversity. We try to write these monthly letters from a position of Faith vs Fear. We continue to trust God and we know He is very clear when He speaks through His Word. He cannot dwell in both realms of fear and faith. We must choose one, and We Choose Faith Always.

We are, however, reaching a breaking point. While we are keeping our head in the clouds of faith and will not concede in fear, it’s true we don’t know what will happen to ACE. For the first time in 33 years, we are asking you, our supporters, to prayerfully consider making a donation to ACE not for extras or normal supplies but to literally keep our employees employed and fed. As we enter this 4th quarter of the year, they are very hungry and concerned over what is next. Your financial treasure at this time is greatly appreciated and will keep families together, working, growing and seeing the actions of God in their lives, through your generosity. Will you stand with us as we finish out the year in Faith?

Allen and I have no doubt that this setback, too, is only a season. So much good has come out of this year, as our previous newsletters have mentioned. We are looking forward to 2020 being over, but for the right reasons… to see all we’ve learned and appreciate the journey. King David in the Psalms, whenever he was down and feeling defeated, always looked back on the goodness of God. We, too, at ACE continually look back and see the goodness of God at every turn, and soon we will see how God saves the day.

We are grateful for all our supporters and pray for you and your families. Thank you for considering a donation to help us make it to the end of the year. We have faith in God’s plan and in the people with whom He surrounds us. We at ACE choose Faith, how about you?

Blessings for the Fall Season

Marla

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A gift that makes a person well rested

A gift that makes a person well rested

Recently, one of our sponsors, Deborah, did something out of the ordinary in addition to her monthly sponsorship for her little boy, Shieem. Deborah bought him and his mother a mattress and bed. When times are tough and money is tight, we are continually amazed at the generosity of our supporters to go a step beyond monthly funds and reach out to families who may not have a place to sleep at night.

We had a couple of volunteers come down last week to lend a hand, and while here, D’Vaun asked for help to deliver this incredible gift to the sponsor house. We thought that you would enjoy seeing the bed delivered. Not in real time of course, but it’s real… for the sponsor and, most importantly, the family. Thanks to those sponsors who are able to go above and beyond their normal sponsorship for our families.

Sleep well!

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It’s Official!!

It’s Official!!

 iQuest made it through Summer 2020…

For the past 18 plus years, ACE has enjoyed having many young adults ranging from 18 to 26 spend their summers to help us out in Jamaica. This program, called iQuest, has turned out to be one of the best “pauses” in a young adult’s life ever. This past year, we opened up our intern application process in October 2019. Usually, we have anywhere from six to eight immediate applicants going on to our website. Not this time. Instead we had three, then two, then one. We were scratching our heads wondering what was going on.

God knew what was coming… and, in usual style, we went along.

Moving forward, Covid became a popular topic after the first of the year. One by one, all our volunteer teams cancelled for the summer. But, there was one young man who didn’t cancel, didn’t back away and in fact kept pushing forward to come be an Intern for the summer.

Meet Abe. Abe came from Indiana in May and was ready to meet any challenge ACE had for him. With our own Super Student, Tahj, as the house father, Abe stayed with Anthony and Tahj at the Campus this summer. We called it the Jamaican Guys Club and it worked! Not only has Abe developed muscle, but he has developed a love for his new home in Jamaica. Like most interns who complete the Leadership Course, we hope he’ll always consider this his “go to” spot when he needs a getaway from life in the U.S.

ACE is offering iQuest intern programs all year long in 2020. Look at your calendar and see if ACE fits into your life for that much needed “pause”.

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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.