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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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.

Volleyball team visits the Infirmary

Volleyball team visits the Infirmary

Did you know that even when teams are not down in Jamaica, our staff and those associated with ACE still make visits to the infirmary at least three times a week?  We know the importance of consistent visits, building relationships, bringing food and just spending time with our wonderful friends… and they LOVE it!

Recently, ACE Manager Winston Moncrieffe took the young men of the ACE-sponsored Oracabessa volleyball team with him to meet and greet the infirmary residents. Here, in his words, is what took place that day:

Team players were cautiously apprehensive about the visit, although they were given a brief overview of ACE and the depth of what the company does. On arrival, team members were met at the bus by the infirmary custodian and senior welcome committee president, Lorraine. They were scared, somewhat, by that lazy, alluring smile of hers, and they quickly retreated to the inner sanctuary of the bus with serious doubts about going outside. Their fears dissolved slowly, however, as soon as they recognized and realized that dear Lorraine was a harmless, affectionate lady who loves to dance with handsome young men.

The young men quickly adapted to the new environment and were soon busy distributing love, sharing soup and water, and conversing with the appreciative residents. The transformation continued until the team players’ departure. On their way from the infirmary, the interior of the bus was saturated with excited voices sharing stories of the visit. All in all, it was a great experience, the type of visit that the driver, Nicalos, team players and Coach Ramdeen will not forget for quite a while. Exiting the bus at the school, both players and coach expressed their appreciation for the trip with the hope that such an experience will be repeated soon.  

What a wonderful opportunity for two worlds to come together in unity and fellowship. Thank you, Mr. Moncrieffe and Nicalos, for sharing this experience with these young men! No doubt the infirmary residents – especially Lorraine – will look forward to the next visit!

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EAST COAST TRAVEL

EAST COAST TRAVEL

This month, Allen, Marla, and D’Vaun had the opportunity to visit several of our partners along the northeast coast of the U.S.

Partnership with ACE isn’t just about coming to Jamaica and helping us with our agenda’s for success in St. Mary. A partnership is about ACE coming to your hometown and seeing you in your environment and with your families. The Fall is a good time for us to travel, so you can imagine how excited we were to be invited to speak at a breakfast, visit services, and have one-on-one conversations with friends who are not sweating from the heat and work load we have in Jamaica.

When we walked into places to see friends, there was always this “recalibration” moment as people looked at us a little stunned, wondering if it was really us or a clean replica of ACE! Funny enough, we did the same. And we are here to tell you, WOW!!  All of you look fabulous in real clothes, clean hair and even a tint of color outside of your cheeks!

Thank you all for making us feel like superstars. We touched down last week with a smile still on our faces. We needed that time with friends of ACE and hope you enjoyed us as much as we did you!!

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