Now Showing!

Now Showing!

Our vision at ACE is to change lives and transform communities. We think we’ve been pretty good at it – with God’s help, of course – over the past three decades by involving ourselves directly into the four aspects of a person’s life: education, wellness, spiritual purpose, and microbusiness. There was something missing in the category of “family bonding” that all of us living in St. Mary had noticed: there was nothing to do as a family together that didn’t cost money for traveling or entertainment.

ACE has been able to utilize Buccaneers, the jerk centre at our new Green Life Llanrumney Farms property, to keep some of our staff employed during this unexpected slow mission trip season. Buccaneers has provided a wonderful community meeting spot, providing great food and atmosphere, and the idea was floated to find a fun activity for everyone. So, while ACE has never been in the theatre business, we gave it a try and put into action our first “Movie on the Ship” presentation!

Since ACE took over the Llanrumney Property last year, we were left with a lot of interesting half- finished buildings and what we would call “art pieces”. The Pirates Boat made of concrete happened to be one of them.  After painting and repairing a few things on this ship, we decided to put a vinyl screen on it, paint it and start showing movies outside on Saturday and Sunday nights for free.

On the first night, as dusk fell, people started coming in and the movie started. Someone asked how many people came… a huge number of ten! Okay, so it wasn’t a massive grand opening, but we know that when word gets out, our neighbors and children and families will come with their blankets, chairs, food and enjoy a night out under the stars. We will keep you posted as ACE continues to find ways to build on those long-term family relationships.

click on the image to view photo gallery

Mountain Lake Does it Again!

Mountain Lake Does it Again!

In this digital age, many may not remember the U.S. Postal Service slogan which began: “Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night…” To paraphrase, the postman always delivers, no matter what!

That’s sort of what we think about when we see our friends from Mountain Lake Church in Georgia refuse to let a little virus keep them from coming down! Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration here. But with the Martinez family in tow, this team came down and not only helped us on the farm physically, but they encouraged each and every ACE/Green Life Llanrumney Farms (GLLF) team member.

The laughter, the fun, the jokes, and the determination left all of us here in Jamaica feeling encouraged and hopeful. We know so many of you have had to cancel your trips to serve with ACE. We realize and understand that you had to make the best decision for your team, and we believe this season of uncertainty and fear will pass as most seasons do.

Please know we love you all and pray continually for wisdom on how you can comfort your friends and families. Most of all, know that this is the best of all times to see God at work in each of our individual lives.

Mountain Lake was a breath of fresh air during these challenging times, and we are grateful to them and to God for bringing them to ACE safely and with servants’ hearts. And we are keeping the lights on for YOU when you return.

click on the image to view photo gallery

Peat and Repeat

Peat and Repeat

The rhythm of life is different than this time last year. It’s humbling, frankly, to know that in a matter of days, everything we’ve done in the human realm can be wiped out … that is, if God wasn’t in charge.

We started this newsletter with the title “Peat and Repeat” because that’s exactly what this month looks like compared to last month.

  1. Our volunteers are not in Jamaica.
  2. Face masks are being washed out each night.
  3. Sun is hot with no rain in sight right now.
  4. We all continue to pray and grow stronger. We see less people getting sick and no more deaths other than the nine from last month. There have been many more recoveries and lots of answered prayers.

Repetition doesn’t need to be boring, when we look deep enough. There are some wonderful repeats happening in the ACE community during all this.

In the 33 years ACE has been in Jamaica, our Board of Directors have never had to write a request for help the way they did this month. When they sent out a letter to all our friends and family of ACE, the response was a faith builder. This past week, one of our dear friends, Tina Gerke, held a fundraiser for ACE, raising over $10,000! In addition, many of our spring and summer teams sent in funds even though they had to cancel their trips. All of these donations will enable our ministry to keep our employees working and keep our families fed.  You never fail to come through for us – repeatedly! – and we are always grateful! Let us officially say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

(click to scroll through image gallery)

Last week, we made the rounds, meeting with staff at the farm, in the office, security, Jerk Centre – all the normal places staff is working. During this time, we began to notice a phenomenon that is being repeated everywhere with our staff and our friends in the community. Families are talking more, doing more reading and writing. Children are playing with siblings. Parents are spending time with their children, even grown children! And they are using their time wisely, learning and passing on life skills. From washing clothes, learning to cook, paint, garden, and farm, kids and adults are sharing chores and taking on new challenges, stepping out of their normal routines and having a great time doing it! And the more they repeat these new skills and personal connections with loved ones, the richer their lives will be!     

In addition to all the new projects for our St. Mary families, our staff has continued to keep busy, too, on ACE-related work. Since the virus hit the island, no one has been allowed to enter the Infirmary, including us, and the Matron lost all her help with groundwork. If you recall from our social media posts, we went over last month to clean up the driveway outside the Infirmary fence. ACE did a repeat of this last week. We not only finished up the first part of the driveway we worked on in April, but we completed the task of cleaning it all to the end. We were able to see some of our residents as Richard, Norris, and Christine say their hellos through the fence. As usual, they keep asking if they can be on Ms. Marla’s list for the field trip. We are looking forward to the day (we hope soon!) that you, our volunteers, can make that dream come true!

Finally, one of the most important blessings happening on the ground is that we were able to go out and buy enough food, mackerel, rice, flour, sugar to support every family in our program for one to two weeks depending on the size of the family. That is not only a repeat but a “Big Up” size repeat, thanks to your donations!

So many repeats of so many great things! We can’t wait for a repeat of our mission trips from past years, seeing some familiar faces ready to take on new challenges.

A Word From D’Vaun

A Word From D’Vaun

We’ve told you about our ACE staff visiting the homes of our sponsored children. Here are some behind-the-scene moments from D’Vaun on how these visits are going.

The very first greeting we get as we approach any home is, “I hope the ACE family are all safe” or “How is my sponsor doing?” This reaffirms within me that the sponsored families are not simply looking to us for handouts but they do care. To them, ACE is not a welfare system; ACE is a part of their family! These kids whose lives sponsors are changing understand the value of the help being given. During a visit in Oracabessa to a four-year-old sponsored child, we took a picture with her that she thought was a video. While waving at the camera, she said, “Hello, I hope you are staying safe from Corona and I love you!”  To all the donors who make it possible for these families to meet their basic need for food, I’d like to tell you from the inside… you are meeting an even greater need for love. Thank you for making the sacrifice during this time and being God’s hands and feet, regardless of your own struggles.

Visiting my kids and their families during this time has been a humbling experience. One would think that we’re the ones giving to them, but what we receive through the relationship with these families is so much more than something tangible with an expiry date. Last week, during the process of praying with a family in Hampstead, I got the chance to sit with a family of four, a single mother with three girls, ages 16, 13 and 9. We got to have a heart-to-heart about the well-being of the girls and the struggles the mom faces with passing on solid values to the next generation. During that discussion, there was a drunken passerby who was, for some reason, within earshot of our conversation. I could have ignored this seeming degenerate, but, in that moment, God reminded me that He came to save the lost. There and then, I got the chance to pray for him and planned on meeting when he was sober. Through that experience, I had the opportunity to teach the kids a lesson about God’s love as I was reminded myself.

Our kids have to be out of school and the demographic we cater to does not have ready access to the internet which means they do not get to continue the studying process. While one would think kids would be nonchalant about the fact that they have no school, our kids are thirsty for knowledge. On our visits, the ACE team takes the time to read with the kids (while social distancing) a book about prayer. At the end of the book, everyone – from tiny tots, even some babes who can barely speak, to the adults – joins me in saying the foundational prayer “Our Father”. At the end of this, the kids will ask “Do I get a book?” to which I’m happy to let them know there are books in the packages we hand out. In that moment, you can physically see the delight on their faces which is amplified by me adding, “You also have a special toy to play with!” thanks to all the donations we get during the summer from our teams.

Pray for our single mothers who have been laid off due to the pandemic, our kids who are missing out on months of schooling with no means to catch up, our families who can’t predict their next meal after receiving what we’ve given and our staff who put themselves at risk to be God’s hands and feet as they continue to change lives and transform communities.

(click to scroll through image gallery)

A Family Reunion

A Family Reunion

Guess who came back to Jamaica to attend the ACE Men and Women’s Conference? You guessed it – Amber, or, as her Jamaican students called her, Miss Amba! If you have served with ACE in the past ten years, you’ve met this good looking blonde whom everyone asked if she was single. Well, it so happened that Amber married a prince (Prince Brinson) with two young children, and they are living happily ever after in Atlanta. We are thrilled that part of Amber’s heart is still with ACE, so much so that she returned to teach her former students, who are now teens, at our conference.

As you may know, Amber’s aunt, Dawn, also became a member of our ACE staff back in 2014 when she took over the role of Stateside Child Sponsorship Coordinator. Dawn’s job has been to work with D’Vaun and other members of our ACE staff on the needs of children and families in our program. Like Amber, she had not been back down to Jamaica for many years, due to health reasons. Having Dawn able to reconnect with staff and the beauty of Jamaica and to finally connect with “her” children was an answered prayer!

Thanks, Dawn and Amber, for choosing your ACE family reunion in Jamaica and serving at our conference… because it really was “about time” that you returned.

(click to scroll through image gallery)