Wellness Goes A Long Way

Wellness Goes A Long Way

As you can imagine, the first place to close down due to the virus was the infirmary. We hate it, but we understand. I was at the infirmary with some staff two weeks ago when the Matron came over and asked us politely to leave immediately. She had just received the word from the Ministry of Health and was acting quickly.

As we loaded up to leave, we smiled as Bo Bo asked when the next field trip was and would we put his name on the list. Then Christopher ran out to assist me in turning the key on the bus to start the engine and take us home. There was silence for a moment as we thought about those precious souls so thrilled to see us so often. ACE got the chance to say goodbye to our seniors from a good distance but reassured them that we will be back and, next time, with a big celebration with cake and music!

The Matron and her staff have been working countless hours providing comfort and protection to our friends at the infirmary who really don’t quite understand our absence. We give thanks for all of you who have continually supported the infirmary and the hundreds of you who have taken them out on mind stimulation trips. Everyone sends their love and thanks.  And ACE is very grateful for the Depends. We have not only shared them with the infirmary but with Pastor Kermit who sends his love and is house bound, and Shirley, our GB cook, whose mother lives with her and needed them as well.

Thank you for allowing ACE to be your hands and feet on the ground. Good goes around.

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Our Children In St. Mary

Our Children In St. Mary

With this “stay close to home” policy, how can we know if our children and their families are doing okay or have needs?   After discussions with the Child Sponsorship team on how we can continue our impact and support from us and from you, their sponsors, we have a plan.

Beginning this week, we are calling all parents and guardians of children in our Sponsorship program to see how they are doing, where they are staying and how many are in the house – just a small survey in regards to health and welfare. With the cancellation of our teams, we decided that instead of holding a thrift sale this month (we normally hold three a year – March, July, and November), ACE would put an individual suitcase together for each child and other relatives living in the house. Next week, D’Vaun and Laneka will drive to the house and deliver the suitcase (in the yard, of course) and then sit outside to visit, encourage and, most of all, pray for the family.  We will be delivering lots of soap, toiletries, and women’s personal products.

See how valuable your donations have become to those in need? We know you will be back soon, so please keep saving those toiletries, soaps, shampoos and ladies’ pads. Thank you, also, for so many books you’ve given us over the years. We are taking two age-appropriate books per child and reading them from the yard while visiting, then leaving them with the family along with some simple activities to enjoy while they are home.

Marla’s Minute ACE goes to Israel Oct 19 – 27, 2020!!

Marla’s Minute ACE goes to Israel Oct 19 – 27, 2020!!

That’s right, we are going back… and we want you to join us! Dr. Lon Solomon is our tour guide and teacher. Allen and I took the same trip about eight years ago and fell in love with the country. That’s why we want to go again and invite anyone who loves ACE to join us for this once (or twice) in a lifetime tour of the “Best of the Holy Land”.

When we went the first time with Lon, we were in a state of awe. Having a Messianic Jew with his PhD in Middle Eastern Studies showcasing Israel was a real bonus. Lon is well-versed in both Christianity and Judaism. Did we mention he was involved in the recovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls? You will hear the story when you join us!

Here is a link to get the info and to connect with the agency handling the trip.

We hope to have enough people to be on one bus all together – having a blast! If you are a Jamaican and want to come, there will be some people leaving from Jamaica. Depending on who is going where, we may be leaving from the island, but, otherwise, we will work out everyone getting there through the travel company.

Want to go? Let us know – it’s more fun with friends!

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Anthony’s Adventures

Anthony’s Adventures

Anthony’s Adventures

For those who have met Anthony Clarke, one of our Child Sponsorship students living at the campus, you will love this article.  If you haven’t met Anthony, go to our website at www.acexperience.org and check out the short video clip of Anthony’s story.

Anthony went from being a lower level student academically to now a precept in his school and promoted to a higher level in learning. As a reward, his sponsors – the Hoff family – decided to bring him to Colorado for his Christmas break! We asked his sponsors to send us an article of Anthony’s holiday experiences to put in our newsletter.

As you read his adventures, please know that Anthony is the first student to ever have sponsors so generous as to treat their child to an American holiday! Thank you, Hoff family! For all of you who sponsor a student, we are certainly grateful that you keep our kids learning and attending school. You make their lives better simply by being in it, with your love and contributions! A trip is not required or expected, of course, but if it works out, what a wonderful experience for both child and sponsor!


Hosting for the Holidays

Our family had a memorable and rewarding Christmas this year, hosting one of our sponsored children, Anthony, who is 17. We started sponsoring him two and a half years ago and became acquainted with him via letters, phone calls and when we visited him in Jamaica for a week over our Thanksgiving holiday.

He stayed with us for almost two weeks, so he got to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s celebrations with us and our extended families. Anthony experienced a lot of firsts while here: his first trip on an airplane, an escalator, seeing a movie in a theater, trying many foods like blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, and Mexican food.  He also saw snow for the first time and went sledding in the mountains.

Our cultures are a bit different, so it was a learning experience for him and us. For example, he was surprised that when we drive down the road, you don’t see a lot of people walking along the street. Americans also drive on the right side of the road and the drivers sit on the opposite side of the car as they do in Jamaica. Also, he commented that Americans don’t season their food as much as Jamaicans do. He had a hard time adjusting to the cold weather during his visit. He was surprised we didn’t take our dog with us everywhere we went. Jamaicans don’t walk around and browse in stores so that was unusual to him when we shopped. There is much greater safety in the US than in Jamaica, so it was hard for him to believe we were safe while we were out, which caused him a little anxiety.

There were so many blessings in this experience for our family! Our two sons, ages 11 and 13, loved having an extra playmate on hand who was always up for a game. It was also fun for them to be part of the new things he experienced, and they loved explaining things to him like how our traffic rules work. Anthony also enjoyed the benefits of family life, getting to play with the boys, helping prepare for and clean up after meals, as well as being included in family devotionals and our gratitude journals every night. He jumped right in and asked to be part of the rotation to lead prayer. He also took the initiative and helped clean whenever he saw anything that needed to be done.

Anthony got to go to work with Dana and see how he reads blueprints to put together a bid for a job. They also visited a few job sites to see the construction process. This was a blessing to him to see real life (not just the fun shows and experiences) and how Dana makes a living to provide for our family.

I recommend this experience to those families who are deeply invested in their sponsored children and have gotten a chance to know them. It is a bit of a financial investment as we paid for his airfare and Marla’s since she had to accompany him on the flights, per his visa requirement being a minor, as well as all the food, activity experiences and providing him with winter clothes, etc. It took a good deal of courage for him to make the trip here – especially for a two-week visit – but previously visiting him in Jamaica was an important step in establishing trust.

One thing to keep in mind is that hosting your sponsored child is more like being a foster family than entertaining an out-of-town guest – they are still children and it takes commitment, time and energy to discipline, guide, care for and teach them. One example is that he was expected to keep a journal while he was here and he needed some help with his English and grammar.

It’s also advisable to keep an open mind since the things you predict they may enjoy may not be what they enjoy. For example, Anthony really liked playing Monopoly and playing soccer outside. We expected he might be more interested in seeing the sights and doing some interactive experiences at the museum, but that wasn’t interesting to him. He was interested in seeing all the different types of cars on the road. He enjoyed going to church with us and especially the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. He noted that our church services are a lot shorter (church goes for three hours in Jamaica).

It’s a rewarding feeling to make special memories and give your sponsored child an experience they will never forget and one they may not otherwise have had! We are so grateful to our gracious Lord who made this possible.

The Hoff Family

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Happy Fall & Thanksgiving!

Happy Fall & Thanksgiving!

Last night, D’Vaun asked a funny question after we had returned to Jamaica. His question was “Is it still fall?” We knew why he was asking; every time we landed or drove to a new city last week in the states, D’Vaun seemed to bundle up more and more in loaned-out clothes. While winter officially comes December 21st, many people in the North are experiencing those temperatures that remind us that winter is just around the corner. 

At ACE in Jamaica, it generally means cooler temperatures and rain. In fact, it’s raining right now. No one here is complaining as we have been in a very long drought and the farmers have been praying for relief. At Green Life Farms, we plan on replanting what we already planted a few months ago, starting next week.

Jamaica doesn’t have an official holiday called Thanksgiving like Canada and the U.S. However, there is no doubt in our minds that every single one of our sponsored students, their parents, our farmers, infirmary residents, hotel staff, honey bees, chocolate trees, and employees of ACE are very grateful to be part of something much larger than themselves. They are all part of the ACE network of “Changing Lives and Transforming Communities”.

We, too, are so grateful for each of you – our volunteers and donors – for sowing into ACE this year with your treasure and time. As we finish the 2019 year in just a few months and welcome 2020, please consider sending in a financial gift to help us over the hump of Christmas. With a lot of movement forward comes a lot of expense. Helping at this time of year will give us a big boost forward for the upcoming holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving and please know that all of us at ACE are thankful for you.

Volleyball team visits the Infirmary

Volleyball team visits the Infirmary

Did you know that even when teams are not down in Jamaica, our staff and those associated with ACE still make visits to the infirmary at least three times a week?  We know the importance of consistent visits, building relationships, bringing food and just spending time with our wonderful friends… and they LOVE it!

Recently, ACE Manager Winston Moncrieffe took the young men of the ACE-sponsored Oracabessa volleyball team with him to meet and greet the infirmary residents. Here, in his words, is what took place that day:

Team players were cautiously apprehensive about the visit, although they were given a brief overview of ACE and the depth of what the company does. On arrival, team members were met at the bus by the infirmary custodian and senior welcome committee president, Lorraine. They were scared, somewhat, by that lazy, alluring smile of hers, and they quickly retreated to the inner sanctuary of the bus with serious doubts about going outside. Their fears dissolved slowly, however, as soon as they recognized and realized that dear Lorraine was a harmless, affectionate lady who loves to dance with handsome young men.

The young men quickly adapted to the new environment and were soon busy distributing love, sharing soup and water, and conversing with the appreciative residents. The transformation continued until the team players’ departure. On their way from the infirmary, the interior of the bus was saturated with excited voices sharing stories of the visit. All in all, it was a great experience, the type of visit that the driver, Nicalos, team players and Coach Ramdeen will not forget for quite a while. Exiting the bus at the school, both players and coach expressed their appreciation for the trip with the hope that such an experience will be repeated soon.  

What a wonderful opportunity for two worlds to come together in unity and fellowship. Thank you, Mr. Moncrieffe and Nicalos, for sharing this experience with these young men! No doubt the infirmary residents – especially Lorraine – will look forward to the next visit!

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