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: Working and Sweating

Marla’s Minute: Working and Sweating

Normally, those two verbs are not something anyone would be attracted to unless you were an athlete. But here in St. Mary, we have lots and lots of hard manual outdoor work to do that keeps us busy for as many hours as a day can hold.

For the past two weeks, all our ACE and Green Life Farm staff have pulled together to work hard at doing grunt work. We are learning every day that this fantastic piece of land is bearing fruit and food everywhere.  Last week, a small group of us headed out into the pastures and began picking guavas. Growing up in Miami as a child, I remember having guava trees in the yard. I hated them and would throw the fruit at my friends because they smelled and would squish easily.

Not now – I have a new appreciation for this fruit. It’s high in vitamin C and can be juiced and frozen for months and months… and, most of all, it can be made into jelly. If you have ever visited us at Galina Breeze, you know what guava jelly tastes like, and it’s good! We have close to 400 trees all over, and what we can’t pick quick enough, we go back and pick up the ones that have dropped to the ground and give to the pigs (did I mention we have a few?) as a treat! Pigs love fruit, especially guavas.  The things you learn when you become a fruit picker! Last week, we filled up four freezers full of guava and began juicing them with ginger. We were able to give each employee their own bottle of guava juice to take home. As this newsletter is being sent, we are already scheduled to head out again for another 300 pounds of guava.

The farm is full of limes, ackee, citrus, and guavas. God is good as we are able to share all this with our staff and their families. And we can do all of this six feet apart…(smile). Social distancing is taking on a different role than just standing in line. It’s easy to stay apart when you are working and sweating as much as we do — body odor can be a great deterrent.

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ACE has something to say

ACE has something to say

​None of us ever thought we’d be where we are today with such a global event affecting us all.  When the virus finally came to Jamaica, there was a panic of everyone looking at each other as if the entire country was a carrier of this strange disease. There is so much information to decipher for communities where day-to-day living is hard enough. Jamaica currently has 21 cases with one death (as of March 24th). Like most of you in your states, we are doing whatever our Prime Minister asks us to do and that’s “stay put”. Those that have jobs can go but use caution.

As the medical experts work night and day to find a way to stop this awful disease, the Church (not the one made of brick and mortar) is compelled to rise up and come together. We may be social-distancing, but we have never been more connected with a shared goal to care and pray for each other and for the state of our world. Some of us had to go to Ocho Rios to the pharmacy this past week. What a great impression and experience it was. Every store was open and security-equipped with hand sanitizer on a counter at the front door as we walked in. All had a big smile and greeted each customer as they entered. Tape was put on the floor in the checkout lines saying, “Please stay one meter apart for cashier”… and everyone was doing it! People can be helpful and neighborly, coming together for the common good.

Our staff and families are pulling together, but it’s difficult. The hotel is closed, as well as the jerk centers and just about everything ACE is involved in on a daily basis. Funds are hard to come by and, frankly, we have all sacrificed like you have at home, being paid for just a few days a week, if any. That is the most painful part of being in a ministry like ACE. It’s not just a job for us; it’s a way to impact people already hopeless and give them purpose through work. This will be our last week to employ the 41 Nationals who serve with ACE on the ground. The ACE team in the US has volunteered to cut back to just a few hours a week.

We at ACE will continue to pray for each of you, our partners, that this time of togetherness will be one of rest, relationship, and relying on our God who is forever good. We can look at the crazy, faithless side and wonder how will we make it through OR we can ask God to increase our faith, put fear in a box and throw it into the ocean. This newsletter will highlight some of what our ACE staff has been doing during all of this, especially with our March, April and May teams having to cancel. We hope what we are doing in Jamaica will encourage each of you – our life line in the states – to continue to do good in your corner of the world until we can once again serve together in Jamaica.

We as a ministry appreciate your prayers and your donations, even when giving hurts. You are all amazing and we leave you with a powerful verse found in the New Testament in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed.” (NEJV)

Stay the course; we will get through this together and be better because of it.

From all of us at ACE – Thank you for being so generous in our time of need.

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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ACE – Vacation Destination!

ACE – Vacation Destination!

When people hear the word “specialty”, they sometimes think that means “only select qualified individuals.” Yes, that’s sometimes true; ACE does have specialty trips with volunteers helping us in Jamaica for specific purposes. But there is a specialty group that we love to have surprise us anytime – our family groups!

You may have heard us use the phrase “Vacation with a Purpose”. What a great way to describe enjoying time together as a family while simultaneously fulfilling a higher purpose and leaving with a sense of accomplishment and peace.

We’ve enjoyed seeing families of young and old, from the cold states in the north all the way to sunny Florida and everywhere in between. We’ve been so happy to have the help of canning, painting, pulling down vines off of the ruins, to being kind to one of our horses who wasn’t doing so well. Then, in the evenings after dinner, we enjoy sitting around by the pool and listening to everyone debrief with their high and lows; it makes all of us on staff smile and be reminded of how good God is to us.

Thank you to all our friends who include ACE each year into your vacation time. Families really do matter when it comes to reminding us how relationships are the most important part of the vision. A family that works and prays together truly makes a difference in the lives of many.

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