2018 has started out for ACE with a big BANG!! Or maybe I should refer to it as Big Bees!
Besides the canning, the homes being completed, and children being sponsored, our own second-story student, Anthony (or, as he likes to be called, “Junior”) is learning to make honey for Galina and ACE…
With the help of his sponsors, Anthony had the opportunity to work with two professional bee masters last week, collecting his bees and learning about how to make more bee hives. I personally had no idea how complex bees were until Anthony began teaching me some of the trade. For those of you planning on coming to see us this year, Anthony will be here to teach us all the art of making honey.
Galina Bees Honey will not only be a sweet deal but also another way to teach a young man that he can sustain himself and his family in micro-business. Thank you, sponsors! We are truly grateful for all the investment into the lives of our students and families.
It’s true! American Caribbean Experience is thirty years old this year! For some of us, that’s a scary thought – when the ministry grows up, the founder grows older. Regardless of the aging process, life is very good for all of the hard workers God has used to get us to this point. We hope that the passing years have produced wisdom in understanding God’s heart so we can continue to meet the needs of the Jamaican community He has assigned us to serve.
We’ve said this many times before, but turning thirty reminds all of us that ACE only works well in meeting the spiritual, physical and mental needs of the many when volunteers are committed to long-term investment. As a ministry called to help in a developing country like Jamaica, we are very aware how God has used our U.S. and Canadian volunteers to assist us in work where we need the help most – working alongside our National families. Your time and support have sustained us for decades, and we thank you!
It’s going to be a fantastic year! ACE is celebrating with a big event in the U.S. (more to come)! We will see the beginning of some long-awaited programs that have been announced in the past and are now coming into play. We have new faces, new talent, and the same great attitude our staff and friends have had for these thirty years, so celebrate with us! When a wonderful ACE memory comes to mind, share it with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We would love to hear from you!
Thirty years doesn’t sound that old – we think we are good for another thirty! And we hope you’ll stay along for the ride!
Feeling younger everyday –
Marla and Allen
If you think farming is just a yard hobby, you haven’t been to the Green Life Farm with ACE. We are amazed at how just a few farmers from our community are able to turn a profit with scotch bonnet peppers. This month, our peppers are popping! So are the parents from child sponsorship programs.
One of our U.S. Volunteers noticed, when he was on the farm last year that our local staff didn’t have boots to work in while farming. Talk about meeting a need! This month, he came packing with boots, after inquiring about sizes. When the staff arrived for work, they were greeted with new boots! Instead of tattered sneakers, they now are ready for the farm — thanks to a volunteer who noticed there was a need and followed through to fill it.
Now what about the rest of us??? I’m a size 9? (smile)
My favorite movie of all time is Mary Poppins – in full color, of course! Some of you who know me might not be surprised as I love work, organization, and using wide imagination to help the “medicine go down”!
As ACE grows closer to our 30th year of presence and outreach in Jamaica, it seems the colors of ACE are not only permanent but vibrant as if it was the first day spent on this beautiful island. You read about our seasoned medical/dental teams being recognized by name from our community healthcare locations. Smiles as teeth get cleaner with less “pullings” and more “savings” through fillings and fluoride. Sugar checks and eye glasses to see better makes seeing an ACE Healthcare volunteer a happy moment in time.
This is where long term commitment pays off in the ACE world. So many volunteers leave their personal concerns and needs at home, to join other professionals in St. Mary clinics and schools. Treating, coaching, training, and praying for students, patients, mothers, and the elderly who truly need a moment of time and care — that’s what ACE Healthcare is all about.
Thank you, long-time committers, for not making ACE another “Poverty Tourism” stop in the passport book but rather a date every year with Nationals who have grown to love you for your long-term stake in their Parish and location. We, too, have something to smile about.
From Marla, Allen & The ACE Team
Remember our little Amber who arrived ten years ago in Jamaica for her first mission trip with ACE?
Most of you know the story: she came with her church from Ohio, wide-eyed and ready to discover God’s best for her life. Amber served in Jamaica with ACE for five years before returning to the states to finish her degree in Christian Leadership and Management. Moving to Atlanta, GA, was a big change. From the simplicity of country life in Jamaica to fast-paced city living in Atlanta, Amber has now been in the states for almost two years. She will tell you in her own words, “It’s been a big challenge readjusting to middle-class American culture after serving a rural community in St. Mary. But looking back, I see God’s hand guiding me along the way and preparing me to fulfill a greater purpose. ACE was a good launching pad for me, and I am truly grateful for all the life lessons, support, and love that flowed out of this ministry. Plus, Jamaica driving was merely training ground for me to handle Atlanta traffic.”
While serving with ACE two days a week in administration, Amber is also working with another non-profit, Blake’s House of Independence, as the Creative Skills Developer. Amber helps to oversee Dreams@Work, which is an innovative, groundbreaking project helping people with special needs define, create and manage micro-businesses to generate income for their livelihood, fulfilling their purpose and ultimately providing them independence. Amber is now living out her vision that she once struggled to discover, while utilizing many skills that God used ACE to teach her.
For all you who have supported Amber through ACE, please know that your prayers and financial support hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated. You have invested in a woman who is investing in Kingdom business. As Amber moves into other areas of ministry, we would like to challenge you to consider shifting your support from Amber to another employee in Jamaica who could use the step up. Please contact our office for more info. Our Jamaican staff at ACE – Lecepth, Dacia, Tracey, Saskia, Foster, Mr. Matthews, Katie, Myers, Lorna – all send their love.
As the year-end approaches, we love to share a micro-loan success story. Remember Orlando? He’s the young man to whom ACE gave a loan earlier in the year to buy a female cow to start his husbandry business. Orlando not only paid off his loan in advance but now – with his selling and wheeling and dealing – has four cows!
One is still in the basket (pregnant), but Orlando is so proud and grateful for ACE and the program we have called “Learn and Loan” through the micro-business program. ACE is so thankful for the support some of you have given to this program. As they say, “it pays off!”
Check out his cows:
If 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.
Mr. Matthews has joined the ACE team on the ground as our Farm Manager and Garden Box Coordinator. So far, we’ve seen the farm expand 300%. We now have 6,000 Scotch bonnet pepper plants in the ground growing. With Mr. Matthews’ connections, we hope to sell all of the peppers (300 peppers average per plant) to none other than the hot sauce company here in Jamaica.
That means our farmers will get increased hours from three days a week to four and even a possibility of hiring a fourth farmer who is currently unemployed. Now that’s a HOT story!
We will keep you posted and thank you, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Myers, Easton, MacGyver, and Lorna for the hard work!