About American Caribbean-Experience

Are all Housemothers Blonde?

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FB_IMG_1464101272638I know some of you are asking this question with Hannah becoming this year’s House Mother for the I-Quest Team. The answer is no, but it just happens that way. Maybe the founder attracts blondes since in my younger days, I was a blonde. Now I’m a bottled blonde with some original color still showing — but I promise, it just works out that way.

Not sure if the old saying that blondes have more fun is true or not, but we certainly put it to the test. We are looking forward to our I-Quest team arriving this week with Pastor Helen in tow!

Thinking about a challenge for 2017? I-Quest will be taking 2017 applications this fall. Think about it, pray about it and contact us for more information!

The infirmary gets a fresh breeze a-blowin’…

 

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Jamaica celebrated Labor Day on May 23rd. In observance of this holiday, Jamaicans like to do something to benefit the community like paint the police station or clean out curb gutters, and ACE installed fans at the infirmary. For those who have visited the infirmary, you know how hot it can become inside the room where most of the residents sit all day.

IMG_1168Thanks to our medical team who took the day to contribute, the infirmary has fans a-blowin’ to cool down those hot days. Our nurses and other healthcare volunteers were busy at the same time painting the frame work around the screens we installed a few months ago. Even Doctor Baribeau learned how to do fan installation. He said he had some to do at home and thought this was a good tutoring lesson.

Thank you to everyone who committed to sending funds to purchase these fans. The total price came out to $360US dollars plus $50 for installation. We look forward to receiving the money that you committed for this project and invite you to come enjoy the fresh breeze moving through the Infirmary, thanks to your generosity!

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UNEXPECTED REUNION

Shari-ACE (1)If you have visited ACE in the past 7 months, you probably have met Shari our Office Assistant.  Well, Shari is moving on to another job that has much more glamour than her 9 – 5 working in excel and word docs all day… Yes, Shari has taken a job as a wedding photographer in the Ochi area. As we celebrated her new career with our staff, we all got to exchange stories of our time with Shari.

At the end of our lunch, Shari decided to share with us what each of us had given to her through experiences, funny stories, and life lessons. As she went around the table, I was the last one. As Shari moved closer to me with her stories, part of my stomach began to squirm. “I wonder what she is going to say? I hope it’s not that time we….. or when I …… You know, the stories you hope no one finds out about???

Shari began to share a story with us all about how when she was 8yrs. old, she hated church. Her mother would take her every week. She couldn’t wait to grow up and not have to go. There wasn’t a children’s program, no VBS, or summer camp. Just church. Shari began to unravel a story of how there was a VBS in her neighborhood and her mother let her go. She never realized how much fun church could be.. It was all new and fun!!

Music, crafts, stories, and led by this white woman…. at that very moment, I sat in my chair and froze in time. Shari looked at our staff and said, it was Marla who was leading my neighborhood Vacation Bible School. Here I was hearing a story about a woman in her twenties being impacted by a little summer program that ran a week in her community. And she remembered it was me…..

As a result, Shari will be back this summer to volunteer for VBS with all of you that work so hard to make it happen for ACE. I was overwhelmed by the fact that God had allowed me to meet and work with this woman who 17 years ago had been impacted by our VBS.  And now will return even after leaving for another job to volunteer her time in impacting the children we as a ministry will teach this summer.

Think you don’t really make a difference… ??  Shari and many like her think we do…..

THE CHANGING FACE OF ACTS CHURCH

PW-walkingA LITTLE HISTORY | A little over six years ago, I made a decision to pursue ministry in Galina, Saint Mary.   The Lord spoke to my heart while waiting for a flight at Narita airport in Tokyo.   I immediately called the only person I really knew well in Galina, Marla, and shared what the Lord had said, and in her usual way, she said, “Come talk with me when you get back to Jamaica.”

Needless to say, the ministry was established and it seems that the hurdles, the challenges and the work were more than I was capable of undertaking. Several times, as I sat in tears in the Galina Breeze office, it was Marla who heard the heart and the vision and the purpose for our region.

A small band of teenagers and I, along with a youth group from Mountain Lake Church and David Putman, first trekked through the lanes and back alleys of Galina, going home to home. We prayed for the young, old, anyone that would stop long enough for us to share a word with them. The church was launched on the Pavilion of Galina Breeze Hotel. What a sense of the presence of God was felt that day, in “the church without walls.” I stood and looked across the vast sea and worshiped God for his creation and vision for ACTS Church.

TODAY | We see so many young people, so many disconnected souls that once had a close relationship with God, so many that never had any relationship at all, and those that come from various churches to hear the Word shared in simple yet life changing teaching meeting.

Our youth have been inspired to look beyond their limitations and into God’s opportunities. Within the last two months, three of them have been accepted to programs that provide jobs overseas and they are now at their location in the US and on a cruise ship. I credit their motivation to the Lord. A few words of encouragement have gone a long way.

We started an Internet Café in Port Maria managed by Kelly Lewis, a young man that told everyone that he wanted to have nothing to do with Church. But the day I met him and invited him to come to Galina Breeze for service, he came and has never stopped coming.   He became our Audio Visual Technician and now supports the technical side of our ministry.

Kenisha was not going to Church and did not have the best level of self-esteem when she began to work with us, and after several years, she now supervises our children’s ministry. She creates and utilizes lesson plans, develops computer based lessons and engages the children beyond what she thought she was ever capable of doing.

Shaundean, one very challenged young man, I met when he was eleven years old. Many have given up on him, and he may at some time even given up on himself. But during an announcement for Baptism, he came to me and asked to be baptized because he decided that his life must change.   I’m sure many of you have seen the picture of me walking down the beach with him heading into the water.

Many of you have joined us in our community outreach walks and that has yielded fruit in our ministry as more people have been coming in to visit and participate with us.

WHAT WE DO  | We change lives! We influence destinies! We bring hope to the hopeless and change life’s paradigm for our members and friends at ACTS Church.   We serve the churches in Port Maria and Galina, mentor so many young people in Kingston’s inner city community of Tavares Gardens and young adults in a Saturday morning Mentor’s Event held on Social Media video conferencing.   We walk from house to house in Port Maria and Galina and bring a message of God’s mercy and grace to our communities.

Our farm projects, rabbits and chickens have been embraced by our kids and youth and they maintain the animals. We are looking forward to the revenue generated from sales over the next few months.

WHAT WE LOOK LIKE | Eighty percent of our congregation is under 30, recently we have had to relocate to Port Maria for our main service but still hold children’s ministry meetings in Galina on Sunday morning.

WHERE ARE WE GOING | in a few weeks we will begin construction work on the Ministry’s Mission Site in Galina. What an incredible season of fulfillment of that Narita airport encounter with the Lord.   Our church is evolving into what the Lord has planned and purposed, it has not come without its challenges but I see our young people and our leaders becoming pillars of the community and leading the way for a great move of God in our community.

Can you help us with our building purchase and our construction project? Just send your gift to ACE with our name and ‘Building Project’ and we will be sure to receive it.

May the Lord continue to bless you all.  

Pastor Winston

YES! I want to help!

Coach Knocks P.E. out of the Park!

The students march in a straight line from their classroom down to the paved court. As they get closer, they strain to see what activities they will be participating in today. When they see the ropes and bucket and mats, they can hardly contain their excitement– Some even have to be reined in by their teacher! Eagerly, they walk over and chorus in the way only Jamaican children can: “Good morning Sir!” This is the opening scene for PE at Water Valley every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

The faculty and teachers are excited to be partnered with ACE again to provide PE for the students. In an effort to encourage the parents to purchase the PE gear, ACE offered to match half the cost of the uniforms. To say that has been a success is an understatement! Each morning, it is a sight to behold all the students decked out in their blue gear.

After warming up by doing laps around the court, the students are eager to participate in the activities for the day. But, before they begin, they have to tell Coach what the objective is. From grade 1 to 6, they are all able to answer: “Team work!” In the game “Diminishing Squares”, the students huddled together while trying not to topple over with laughter as Coach removed square after square! It is no question that the students at Water Valley are not only enjoying PE but are also learning to work together as a team. The students respectfully follow the instructions of Coach, who ensures that they have fun while learning. Truly, when the team works, the dream works.

Justin Just Made It!

You may have heard about one of our little guys who is in our sponsor program named Justin. Justin has been very sick for many years with asthma and other breathing problems. Lecepth, our child sponsorship coordinator, took on the responsibility of finding what exactly the problem was. After many trips to the specialist in Kingston, it was determined that he had been misdiagnosed and needed his tonsils removed immediately. However, since his asthma had hindered his breathing, it was necessary to get that under control before the surgery.

The good news is Justin came through his surgery last week with 100% success!! He’s sore, recovering and has to go back for follow-up. But now this child has a new life all because a concerned sponsor cared and wanted to help. If you would like to contribute to the remaining balance due for Justin’s surgery, please mark your donation to “Justin’s surgery”. We need about $2500 US to cover the cost. Thank You!