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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Solar Sustainability

Solar Sustainability

The utility bills are adding up at Galina Breeze Hotel. Even when the hotel is all but closed, the electric bills are rising. After looking at the actual monthly bill, almost 50% of the bill charges are what Americans would call “junk fees and service charges”.

Thanks to a generous donor, we are on our way to ending our dependency on utility companies and moving to solar energy. Right now, we have installed two sections of solar panels to the hotel, partially taking us off the grid. The first is for our pool pump. With the sun and solar, we are running our pool pump during the day without the utility electricity. Next, we have 40 panels running our office, kitchen and conference rooms up top. When another 50 panels are finished being installed, we will be almost completely off grid for Galina Breeze, short of lithium battery backup.

What does all this mean? First, it means that all the money we have been paying JPS, our utility company, will now go directly into keeping our Nationals employed. Currently, we are down 50% of our employee levels and trying to keep our friends working at least two days a week. Secondly, by reducing our electric bills, we will be self-sustaining and will not have to worry about who controls our costs in keeping the lights on.

When ACE asks for help, God knows our needs and brings people into the picture who understand that need and respond. Thank you, friends, for keeping people working. Currently, our short fall is Lithium batteries for night; they are expensive and we need many to avoid using the utility company as backup. We are still asking God to supply funds for those, and once we have that, we hope to be fully sustainable by the end of the year at GB. And you know what that means, right? Yes, more air conditioning for our volunteers! We might even turn the AC on at 8pm vs 9pm!

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What do you do when you can’t see your friends at the Infirmary?

What do you do when you can’t see your friends at the Infirmary?

This is the question so many people have asked us during this COVID season of masks and isolation. We were asking the same thing at the beginning. At first, we decided to keep the driveway maintained to the Port Maria infirmary which was something we always did quarterly, which at least let us say hello through the fence to our friends like Richard and Christopher who would walk down to wave.

Then we thought maybe we’d bring a nice meal once in a while for everyone. But with COVID, we couldn’t just send food into the compound, so we decided to bring the staff to us at our newly opened Buccaneers Jerk & Juice location.

If you aren’t familiar with Buccaneers, here’s the story: when ACE took over the Llanrunmey farm last year, there was a closed-down jerk centre on the property. ACE decided to transfer the expert kitchen talent and other staff from Galina Breeze over to Buccaneers while still maintaining GB’s Jerk at the hotel.  Guess what? It’s working. People love to stop in for barbeque ribs, hotdogs, hamburgers with fries, and, of course, that good ole Jerk chicken, pork, and fish. Plus, with our Boat House yard and plenty of grass and space, it’s a perfect place to have lunch outside.

So, while the residents can’t leave the property at the Infirmary, the staff can. ACE arranged a shuttle service with a big thank-you lunch to all the essential workers at the Infirmary for two days. Jamaicans are no different from Americans – offer free good food and we stumble over each other to get to the event! Our turnout was delightful. Many of the employees of the Infirmary expressed such gratitude that it prompted us to start planning a Christmas lunch for them. We love the way God continually “retools” ACE to meet the demands of the day regardless of the outcome. Thank you, Staff at the Port Maria Infirmary, for all you do and especially to Matron Burke who allowed them all get away for a bit to enjoy some fresh air and delicious food!

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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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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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