Marla’s Minute: ACE and AVC

Marla’s Minute: ACE and AVC

Since all the craziness continues in the Education Department in Jamaica over who learns online vs. who goes to school, ACE found a common problem happening among our sponsored students…well, among several common problems.

Most of our students were unable to learn via tablets because they didn’t have one. Then there was the issue of students being given instructions to use their parent’s phone for lessons using data. The problem was there were two to three students in different grades all wanting to use mommy’s phone at the same time, as well as mommy! So, that wasn’t working either. We know these facts because ACE has many parents of sponsored students employed with us who told us, and we heard from other parents in the sponsorship program. No internet, no tablets, no phones and, if a parent works, no supervision. Sound familiar?

We hope it’s better in the U.S. than here because our Ministry of Education is having to correct or modify its policies weekly. And, frankly, I would not want to be in their shoes. They are trying to keep adjust even while the Ministry of Health is making constant changes to the health codes. It really is craziness.

Then ACE had an idea. What if we create a place where at least 30 of our students who had no way of connecting to an online class could do so on a daily basis in a safe environment with adult supervision to help with connections and facility needs?

Introducing ACE Visual Classroom or AVC! AVC will be held at the ACE office at Llanrumney and at the hotel. Beginning November 1st, ACE staff plans to implement a Visual Classroom upstairs in the Henry Morgan room for 15 students, one ACE person, and a volunteer parent. The second AVC will be in the ACE Headquarters office on our Llanrumney property for another 15 students.

The question came up earlier, why just 15 per classroom and not more? In accordance with the Ministry of Education guidelines, ACE is not a school and therefore can only provide enough space per location for 15. If we chose to have more than 15 per location, we would fall under the guidelines of a school and, well, let’s face it, we are not a school. Each location has bathroom facilities, full internet and tables for spacing. We are seeking the advice of principals, former teachers and Board Members on how to do this in the best way possible.

There was just one thing missing from this idea. We didn’t have computers or tablets for our student to join on the internet for their classes. Have you ever heard the expression, “The lights are on, but no one is home”? That’s us. Everything was in place — even the students that will be walking to AVC – but nothing to use.

Then it happened – again. We prayed that God would provide what the students needed to attend online classes and, thanks to a very generous family, ACE has 10 tablets on their way down to Jamaica. These are not cheap tablets, either; they will handle everything the school needs our students to do. Thank you, friends, for making a huge difference in the lives of these young Jamaicans and their families.

Stay tuned for pictures and updates next month.  In the meantime, remember all the PB&J you brought down? ACE is providing lunch for each child who cannot bring a lunch with juice. We’ve got enough PB&J to last us to the end of the year hopefully. Thank God for His ideas on how to create change. When we ask our volunteers to remember some key sayings, it’s because we had to learn them first…. it’s just the way we like it!

Blessings and Very Grateful

Marla

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A new arrival at Green Life Llanrumney Farm

A new arrival at Green Life Llanrumney Farm

Anyone who has ever been to Jamaica with ACE knows that Marla and Allen are not natural farmers – particularly Marla. She can dress the part, but when it comes to knowing how to handle the cows, pigs, and donkeys, well, let’s just say, ACE leaves the real work to the farmers who know what they are doing. When we acquired the property, there were four female donkeys and a “Jack” (male donkey).

Funny enough, they are all pregnant (well, not Jack) and just last week, one of the ole girls gave birth to another female. We thought about asking everyone to come up with a name for our new arrival, but then, it just came to us…. “Covey”… get it?  What do we need donkeys for, someone asked?  We use them for collecting those coconuts we have on the farm whenever we can get to them. Donkeys carry coconuts on their backs.

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 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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