Marla’s Minute: The Widow, Flour & Oil

Marla’s Minute: The Widow, Flour & Oil

The other day I was reading a story in 1 Kings, Chapter 17, about the widow who, when the prophet Elijah asked her for a drink and a piece of bread during a severe drought and famine, her reply was “I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I’m gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it- and die.” The story goes on to say that Elijah asked her to take what she had for herself and make a small cake of bread for him to eat and then make something for herself and her son. Elijah then added this one sentence that changed the widow and her son’s situation instantly… “For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: the jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain” on the land.

The widow went away and did as Elijah had told her. Sure enough, there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

This past month, God sent us, figuratively speaking, a jar of flour and a jug of oil in the form of fifteen volunteers to supply us with encouragement, help, and unconditional love. In the midst of the “famine” of visitors we have been experiencing (thanks to Covid and the lining of fear in the mix), God sent us exactly what we needed, as ACE knows He always will.

On February 20th, these fifteen American friends (and new friends!) arrived into Galina Breeze Hotel with much excitement, big smiles, and lots of needed supplies for us and our many neighbors who were living on that last drop of oil and flour. They came to serve and not be served. And serve, they did! 

I often think about the widow story; to put it in real time, what if we believed ACE won’t make it through this famine and we were all going to die from Covid? Do we ignore God’s promises that He alone controls our future and is waiting for us to step out in faith and trust Him? It’s a challenge to overcome the fear of travel, the fear of stepping out and yet every time we “do it afraid”, as ACE says, we see a miracle happen right in front of us! The sheer joy of being part of that miracle God is working through us is exhilarating.  

That week, the last week of February, was normally our annual Men and Women’s Conference, where Jamaicans come to us for praise and fellowship. While it didn’t happen the way it has for decades and we upheld all the Covid rules it was exactly the way God set it up to happen this year. Take a few minutes to watch this incredible video made by our ACE friends when they returned to the U.S.

We hope this will encourage you to see all that needs to be done – and that CAN be done – and to get on a plane and get here! That oil and flour goes a long way, as one team builds on another and God always provides what we need when we need it. If you hear that call to come down, perhaps you are part of that miracle!

Thank you, friends and families, for the love!
Marla

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Jamaican Cowboys

Jamaican Cowboys

It sounds funny when you read the title. A Jamaican cowboy? Our age is showing when we think of TV shows like Gun Smoke and Bonanza or all of those John Wayne movies where everyone is Caucasian with fancy boots, spurs, big hats and a horse to ride. But when we talk about cowboys in Jamaica, we need to begin to think a little outside of the box.

If you have not yet visited this miraculous piece of property ten minutes out of Port Maria, our home town, then you will have to set your calendar to come on out. When you come, you’ll see our Jamaican cowboys who will soon be riding horses (left on the property by the previous owner) to keep up with all of our GLLF cattle.

Meet Dwight Huie, known to us as simply “Huie” or by his pet name, “Gold Teeth”. Huie is what we would call an “all-rounder”, soon to be “cowboy”. Huie is the father of two grown daughters (twins!) living in England. He, like all of us, is a true animal lover with lots of heart.

This month, LeRoy, another cowboy, worked on saddling up the horses and getting them accustomed to being ridden. We do have an age limit on who gets to ride (no one over 60 or under 21). These are working horses and working cowboys, so we want to keep the work safe and efficient. As the economy picks up (soon, we pray), we should be able to expand our staff and pastures.  Keep us in your prayers!

Thanks, Huie and LeRoy, as well as Indian, Sheldon, Maggie, Skanka, and Noyan (who just turned 80 this month), for keeping those fences going in, one post at a time. Reminds us of that old “Don’t Fence Me In” cowboy song… are we showing our age again?  These fences are definitely needed, but our cowboys will still enjoy the wide open country that they love! Who knew that Jamaica – a tourist spot for beaches, resorts, Bob Marley, Blue Mountain Coffee, Irie Mon – would now become home to true Jamaican cowboys!

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Marla’s Minute — Holy Cow!

Marla’s Minute — Holy Cow!

Whenever Allen and I travel to KY to see my parents, we usually go to a place my dad loves to go for breakfast. We don’t have these restaurants in GA anymore, but Bob Evans is our place and their slogan used to be “Down on the Farm.” To me, that phrase meant eating fried food and delicious pancakes. Now that I’m on a farm every day, that phrase means a lot of work!

ACE/GLLF is not trying to create another Bob Evans in Jamaica, but we are definitely learning a lot about what it means to be down on the farm, with pigs, horses, all the chores and that good tired feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Most recently, we are excited to see how our own cattle will start another micro-business for Green Life Llanrumney Farms. Thanks to some wonderful donors, GLLF is now the proud owners of 26 heifers (that’s baby female calves). These calves will grow up to produce calves and beef for the buyers who want grass-fed natural beef meat. That’s one side of the story. The other side is, after our calves calf, we will offer employees and sponsored families the opportunity to purchase a cow. This will begin the legacy for their children to not only own their own herd on the GLLF but to learn about how to be sustainable and make a living as a farmer.

This concept is very important to ACE as our focus is always to be self- sustainable and to teach this to our National friends and families. Want to be part of the investment? Let us know.

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More Than A Vacation

More Than A Vacation

When ACE first came to St. Mary, we called it a Vacation with a Purpose. This was pre-Galina Breeze Hotel; we were staying in an older hotel across from the main road with a view of the beach and some garbage. We knew that when most people take a vacation from work, they want to sit and relax, but this was going to be different. It was a break from the everyday but with meaning… and a lot of work.

Speeding forward several decades, ACE has retooled. Due to the challenging times we live in, thanks to COVID, where organizations are not sending larger groups, we are taking this opportunity to step back and refocus on what individual volunteers can bring to the table. We are living out our saying of “Flexibility is the key to success” motto these days. Instead of us telling you what to do, you can tell us what fits best with your talents, skills and interests. We’ve created a new Impact Menu list for you to choose what projects and experiences suit you.

We still offer the opportunity for groups to come down together, but we know that there are many individuals who want to come and join up with other adventurous people to work together, serve the community and make a difference. We have several weeks set aside each month through March (with more to come the rest of the year) for you to choose what works for you.

Want to come on your own? Do you have a friend you think would be interested… or even your family or small group of friends? Check it out by clicking the button below. Consider it.  We can still change lives and transform communities – one volunteer at a time!

Farming With the Family: August 2020

Farming With the Family: August 2020

Last Tuesday, Green Life Llanrumney Farms (GLLF), an ACE micro-business, hosted its first “Llanrunmey Agricultural Meeting” at Buccaneers. Local farmers in the area and district were invited to attend a one-hour meeting to learn about what ACE, through GLLF, plans to do in the agricultural field of growing. We were so pleased at the turnout! Approximately forty farmers, both men and women, joined us in the conference room to hear about the possibilities of farming on the Llanrunmey property – as well as on their own farms – with the seeds we prepared in advance, thanks to a generous farmer in Kentucky who donated the vast variety of organic vegetable seeds.

Much discussion was had over the ups and downs of farming, like the lack of land, and lack of equipment to plow and prepare the property for planting. GLLF was able to share the vision we have for the farming side of the property and how that would benefit all. We think the most important outcome of this meeting was the excitement of everyone wanting to can the food when the prices are low to use later.

We agreed and will be looking for more supporters to help us with another gross of canning jars from the States. Everyone left their names, numbers and locations. We will be physically following up with our farmers by charting their planting season to see who is serious and who is not. After seeing the initial planting, we hope to have several local growers for Galina Breeze Hotel and ACE. They eat what they grow and what farmers don’t eat, Galina Breeze will purchase at a fair market price. Now that’s some real groceries growing! Stay tuned for more of this exciting venture as we are growing not only our farmers’ livelihood but our family as well!

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