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Marla’s Minute: “The Goal is Soul”

School is now in session in Jamaica. Our tailors who set up their machines in the open air and on street corners have finally gotten a breather.  ACE students look bright and cheery as they walk to school with their new book bags in their school uniforms.

With 223 students sponsored by our generous donors, it’s very easy to smile these days knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of these young ones and their families. They may not all get to the educational levels we strive for here in America, but we will however meet the goals of instilling hope and the fact that someone loves them and cares about their family and needs. People in our area know how to manage with very little. They make a go of things with what they have. This coming year, ACE will be focusing on extending that hope to a deeper level per household. The ground team has completed extensive visits to each child’s home to update our files and familiarize ourselves with the situations at home. It’s been exhilarating.

I was reading an article recently by Andy Bannister about what does it mean to be human. As we move forward into our pruning winter months with ACE, Andy lists five things the Bible tells us about this topic.

  1. The Bible tells us that human beings are designed primary for relationships.
  2. Human beings have incredible value and dignity
  3. The dignity God bestowed on us extends to choice. There are real, meaningful choices to be made and the choices we make have consequences.
  4. The Bible tells us that there is such a thing as love, and that love is ultimately defined by the character of the God who created us.
  5. The Bible tells us that there is a big story. And that big story is ultimately a love story, a story of how the Creator God reaches toward each one of us, with our hang-ups and our fears.

Our goal for our friends and loved ones we serve in Jamaica is important in all these areas: as Bono of U2 put it, “the goal is soul”.

If you want to get more involved with our ACE vision, please call us, write us, email us, text us. We have a place for you to serve and make a difference in the lives of our friends in St. Mary.

Piles of Dirty Laundry?? NO MORE at ACE!

New-washer-and-dryerFor eleven years, Galina Breeze has been washing all the laundry for the hotel as well as ACE and thrift sale items in a residential washer or by hand in our hotel laundry room. Can you imagine hundreds of towels, sheets, shirts, pants, and everything else piling sometimes as high as the ceiling waiting to be washed and hung out to dry?

Thanks to our wonderful friends at First Christian Church – Stillwater in OK, led by Pastors Sondra and Rick Ladd, the church was moved to do something about this serious dirty laundry problem. They went out and bought us two full sets of commercial washers and dryers. Everyone was so excited that we had not even gotten it out of the trailer or the box before all the dirty laundry began to arrive. Hold on folks – we’ve got to get it connected first! 

Galina Breeze and ACE sends a big THANK YOU!! Thanksgiving may not be a Jamaican holiday, but we are so blessed that the U.S. still celebrates this wonderful holiday, and ACE/GB is a recipient of that giving spirit

Farm Update!

tool-shed-2If any of you helped on the building this summer behind the house on the Campus property, you will happy to know it’s completed….  In the past, we’ve had the challenge of pulling our tools from a second-story room at the ACE office each day to take out on the work site. Poor Lecepth had the responsibility of organizing and tracking the tools, buckets and barrows going in and out each day and ensuring they were not broken. He is now smiling because he has finally been relieved of this duty! With the new tool room, all tools can be easily stored in one place, while the water tanks are on top of the room to provide gravity fed water to the house. We thank you all for your labor in helping us complete this project.

Marla’s Minute | November 2016

red-truckEver hear the phrase “When it rains it pours”? That’s how I feel right now with our vehicles. Earlier this year, we were in desperate need of a school bus for our children. God was so great to fulfill that need through you, our faithful supporters. Our children enjoy the safety of transportation all year long.

Well, our 1992 red Pickup truck has finally died…  The old girl has finally gone on to truck heaven after serving us well. The engine ran well, but the body gave out. “Bondo” can only work so many times. (Sounds like me when I look in the mirror.) Now, the white 2005 truck has begun a slow death, racking up costs that soon will outweigh the value of the vehicle. We’ve been waiting on parts for over four months now to repair the struts.

As you begin to think of how you want to invest your year-end giving, would you please contemplate sending ACE some financial funds? If everyone would consider sending a donation of $500 or more as a year-end gift, we would have all the funds we need to purchase at least one “newer used” truck to put us in a good place for the 2017 year. We ask that you prayerfully reflect on this need for ACE, and perhaps you will be able to meet this financial challenge.

As Thanksgiving comes to America, we in Jamaica wish you all the best time ever with your families. We pray for America as great changes are coming in 2017. Just never forget…. God is not asleep at the stick. He is very much involved in our future both in Jamaica and America. Happy Thanksgiving friends. We are grateful for you.

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ACE BOARD MEMBERS SERVE ON AND OFF THE FIELD

dental-tripLast week, the annual ACE board meeting was held in Jamaica at the Galina Breeze Hotel. It’s wonderful to see these faithful men and women arrive at the hotel after hours of traveling, sacrificing their time away from work and family members to be part of something great in Jamaica. When I mention our Board of Directors to friends who serve on other ministry boards, some are surprised at the level of commitment these men and women have for ACE. They are truly a blessing, and we hope ACE blesses them in return.

This year, our meeting bumped right up to the end of our chairman’s dental outreach week. Dr. Frank and his team treated hundreds of students with their fluorination program at six schools in St. Mary, while extractions and fillings were performed at three of our clinics.

After the ACE board members completed their meetings, they were able to go out in the community with our national staff. I was not surprised at all to learn that some of our newer board members – without coaching – came back all “lit up” with glee over meeting some of our unsponsored children… who are now sponsored children thanks to certain board members.

 

For those of you who have sponsored children, it’s such a joy to meet them at their homes with their parents and siblings. We never get tired of seeing this excitement. It’s a constant reminder that Jesus loves ALL the children of the world!

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Marla’s Minute

Anyone who has ever stayed at Galina Breeze on an ACE trip knows what the standard wish list for volunteers to bring down: besides PB & J, you can always count on those paper products, like paper plates.

Now I know you’ve heard me go on and on about my issues with Styrofoam and how it messes up our wonderful Earth — just walk down to our beach on any given day. Well, last week, this article hit our national paper!! We are closer than ever to being able to purchase those paper plates right here in Jamaica!

But for now, until the idea becomes a reality, keep bringing those good ol’ paper plates down. We at ACE can at least do our part.

Still not carbonless but trying to do our part!

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All the best,

Marla n Allen

“REHOBOTH”

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BY PASTOR WINSTON WATSON

And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” Genesis 26:22 ESV

construction-picsWhen we first came to Jamaica, the Lord shared many things of the fruitfulness and the blessing we would be to many whose paths we would cross. One desire he placed within me was to eventually purchase ground that would solidly show our presence on the island.   Like Isaac, we found challenges that at times were formidable.   After completing the purchase of the land for the Ministry, one morning I awoke hearing an old church word repeating in me – REHOBOTH – REHOBOTH. So profound was the sound that I had to find out more about it.

Not really knowing much about its meaning I went searching and found it recorded in Genesis chapter 22. The summarized meaning: “a broad place” or “room.”   The Lord has made room for us, a broad place of opportunity for us to grow and be fruitful.

We have started limited construction and we have our modified plans before the Saint Mary Parish Council which required a few changes to our original design.   The core church family of children, young adults and adults has been inspired by the tremendous move of the Lord in providing the finances and support for the Mission of Acts Church.   The Parish Council meets monthly but did not convene a session in August, so we have been delayed by at least thirty days with our building project.

As the Lord has made room for us, so too is he making room for you. He is making a place for your gift to be used; he is preparing opportunities of service for you. Be encouraged, Abraham’s gift was twenty-five years in the making, ours was only sixteen. Never GIVE UP your DREAM, for its manifestation is inevitable.   Continue to pray for us as we build and develop Acts Church to be a strategic influence in our community with the Love of God.

 

Removed From The Program… But Never Forgotten.

School is getting ready to happen here in Jamaica. This week, all our parents and students are arriving at the Wellness Center for their book bags, shoes, uniforms, and new contracts.

Time flies from summer to fall. As everyone prepares to move into this time of new friends, new clothes, and new faces, we at ACE want to take a moment to say thanks.

sponsorshipThanks for not only financially supporting these beautiful children with their education, but thanks for believing that ACE is the ministry you want to invest in to see change happen in St. Mary. This year, some of you have lost your children due to parents not fulfilling their part of the contract for sponsorship. Ouch. It hurts, but sometimes, helping does hurt, as long as we help in the right way. A friend of ACE named Beverly had her child dropped this year from the sponsorship program. As Beverly stood in front of me in the dining room this summer, she was teary eyed and asked if she will ever see her child again since he’d been removed from the program.

I looked at her, smiled and said, “Of course, you will. Just because he’s off our program because of a parent’s actions doesn’t mean we stop loving him or you stopped caring.” Beverly did get to see her former child, not just once but every day at VBS — and guess what? He still knows that Beverly and ACE love him. We don’t stop caring for our children just because their parent or guardian doesn’t fulfill his or her obligation; we just have to show our love in a different way. By the way, Beverly now has two students in her life, another child that really needed help and always her Joshua.

Compassion and Commitment – it really does still exist and is growing stronger in the ACE family.

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Second Story Students Get Real Life Experience

The ACE Second Story program is an extension of our Child Sponsorship program, designed for students who have entered into high school. This summer, out of this program, fourteen students were chosen to work in a summer job program after an application and interview process. 

IMG_0279These students worked tirelessly throughout summer, providing assistance to the staff at Galina Breeze Hotel with housekeeping, maintenance, and kitchen duty, as well as supporting the ACE staff at VBS, Summer School and working with visiting mission teams. The students learned many valuable lessons about work ethic in four weeks’ time. From the beginning of the program to the end, they showed up on time to work hard and make a difference, being open to new experiences and learning the value of money earned. They used their earnings to purchase school books, and they now better understand how saving and planning gets one closer towards a goal.

The students discovered the skills at which they excelled, and they learned to appreciate those jobs they may not have liked as much; in the end, they are more well-rounded, educated individuals. As a reward for a job well done, we closed the summer by taking these fourteen exceptional teens shopping for shoes and then to Burger King, which they thoroughly enjoyed.  Watching them grow in confidence and knowledge was a pleasure, and we are thankful for such a productive summer with this select group of Second Story students.

“Ginosko without Oida is Hollow”

Many of you who came to Jamaica this summer saw our 2016 IQuest team sporting around bright yellow shirts with this saying written on the back. Funny enough, only a few people stopped to ask what those words meant.  These words are Greek in origin and we copied them from a great book we recommend everyone with students and young adults read called Artificial Maturity by Tim Elmore. interns-w-marla-900

This year’s interns came with lots of Ginosko but needed more Oida for balance. As with most young adults and students living in America, they have access to the internet and information overload from our tech culture, while at the same time, their lives are very guarded by parents who love them and want to protect them. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to lots of “Ginosko” (knowledge) but without the “Oida” (experience).

It was a joy watching God do some fast work in the lives of young adults who had the courage to sign up for a 78-day grueling summer. IQuest is a life-changing experience. It takes guts and grit to graduate from the ACE IQuest Program, and these interns saw it through to the end.

We leave you with this quote from the Poor Richard’s Almanac: “The great goal of becoming what one is capable of becoming can be achieved only by those willing to pay the price, and the price always involves sacrifice, discomfort, unpleasantness, and yes, even pain…”

Congratulations to Libby, Olivia, Daniel, Lucas, and Wayde for staying the course and making their mark in this ministry. We look forward to seeing you back soon!! 

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