What do these two Jamaicans have in common?
Well, yes, they are Jamaican-born, and, yes, they live in St. Mary, but the greatest fact they have in common is a desire to see clearly.
That’s right, Rasta (as they call him) checked himself into the St. Mary Infirmary a year ago. Due to an accident while he was a caretaker for Castleton Gardens nearby, he could not see anymore. Rasta loved landscaping, and when the man he had worked for died some years ago, Rasta still felt it was his duty to keep things looking nice at the property. Unfortunately, one day while working, something “jute” his eye causing him to lose his vision. The lady who lived there took care of him, but when she passed, Rasta decided to come to the infirmary until he could recover – and he is still there.
The little girl’s name is Ashley Gray. She is in our Child Sponsorship program. This little sweetie just wants to learn. School is her place to be, but she has a hard time getting around or seeing the chalkboard, even in the front row. Everyone had their own idea of what is wrong, but until Saskia and D’Vaun brought it up in a staff meeting, it was all speculation. Saskia (our ACE administrator who adopted a little girl of her own two years ago) mentioned that we should consider taking this child to a specialist in Kingston for a total eye examination to determine the next step.
So, Marla received the okay from Ashley’s family as well as the permission of the Infirmary Management – we finally got the whole story from Rasta as to where he was from and who to contact – and soon, we will be setting up a day-trip to Kingston for both of our friends. We don’t know what the news will be once they are examined by an eye specialist, but we have to try to help. Here’s where you come in: would you like to help us help restore sight to the Rasta and to Ashley.
Once we find out the diagnosis, we will then make a decision to proceed with the best course of action. If you feel called to help us finance these two friends, please contact our office via email or phone (Monday through Friday) to let us know. Sometimes, it’s just stepping up to assist that makes a difference of a lifetime to those who struggle for hope.
What did the Blind man say in John 9:25? The man who had been blind said to them, “I do not know if He is a sinner or not. One thing I know. I was blind, but now I can see.”
Think about it, pray about……. and ACT.
Through the great generosity of a dentist in Augusta, Georgia, ACE Wellness Center now has its own two dental units. If you have ever been serving as part of our specialty teams within our ACE family, you will know that for years, we have had our dentists using cardboard and regular chairs to see and treat patients in clinics. Can you imagine pulling teeth and sitting in a chair?
Well, Dr. Scott saw the need and sent us two brand new units to install at the Center where ACE is will be seeing families from all three nearby locations. As our team of doctors and dentists arrive they will be pleasantly surprised by what ACE has to offer them to assist in their desire to serve our Jamaica friends. ACE will be working with the main Dental School in Kingston to begin a partnership of “JAmericans” serving in Rural St. Mary. Pray the partership develops and events happen. Stay tuned for more on that topic.
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
ACE Healthcare is one of the four strategic areas that support the ACE Mission. We partner with the Ministry of Health and local community heath care workers to provide primary care to St. Mary. Katie Guy serves as the boots-on-the-ground Healthcare Coordinator, and she helps support the medical and dental teams before, during and after their trips.
As with all of ACE’s efforts, we strive to look at the whole person. Of the seven teams that have served in St. Mary this past year, we have had over 2,000 patient visits. Our patients have received medical, dental, chiropractic and optical services. Providing medicines to treat acute and chronic conditions is a unique blessing our teams provide. So far in 2017, over 6,000 prescriptions have been filled. Focusing on prevention, over 1000 fluoridation treatments were performed in the schools this year.
We focus on the healing power of the Holy Spirit and make prayer a priority as we serve. As a result, many decisions for Christ have been made; Katie, Sister Marie and Pastor Jones have made follow up visits to new believers and disciple them as they find a church home. 2017 saw the first patients to be seen in our own Green Life Wellness Center. Generous help from volunteers have transformed the once barren office building to a warm inviting place. The center now houses our pharmacy in a climate-controlled room as well as a large waiting are, five exam rooms and a dental/surgical area. Recently, we have acquired used equipment in Jamaica, as well as items from sources in the US.
As we look forward to 2018, we continue to network and develop teams from all over the US. We are always looking for willing servants from all aspects of the healing arts. Dentists are an emergency need for us right now. We have medical equipment in the US that needs to be shipped to Jamaica, and we are praying for the most efficient way to ship and clear customs in Jamaica. We are currently searching for a physician to be a continuous presence at the Green Life Wellness Center. Please continue to pray for all these needs to be met.
On behalf of the ACE Board of Directors, I would like to thank all the volunteers and the ACE staff that support the Healthcare ministry. Your loving service expresses Christ’s love to others and opens the door to discipleship.
Steve Guy MD
Board of Directors
While the medical students from Wright State came to give and learn, our Jamaican community and Galina Breeze Hotel treated these future doctors with much culture and love. These twelve students from Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine came and served at seven different clinics throughout the parish of St. Mary.
The service didn’t stop at the clinic sites! These students were busy counting pills each evening and helping move our pharmacy over to the Green Life Wellness Center. They were a huge help! We are one step closer to the Wellness Center being up and running full time. We are so grateful that Wright State, under the Direction of Dr. Tom Herchline, has helped the Ministry of Health see and treat many of our rural clinics throughout St. Mary.
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
You always know good things are about to happen when all the unexpected incidents begin to hit you all at once. At ACE, our summer is about to commence.
Then the unexpected happens. All three buses broke down last week within days of each other. As you can see from the pictures, our poor Automatic 1992 bus looks like an old lady needing a facelift. This is the bus the summer interns will be using.
The other two buses seem to have some sort of fuel exhaust problem. The mechanic in Kingston said this is a common problem with one of the designs. Now how come no one told us? And that it would cost ACE about $1200.00US every 3 or 4 months to correct it?
As I was sitting at the campus contemplating these sudden turn of events, I decided to get some help hanging our new Wellness Sign next door, just to get my mind off the obvious. We had a beautiful sign designed to highlight the Green Life Wellness Center where we will be holding clinic this week.
After walking over and positioning the sign, Foster, our foreman, and I left the sign leaning against the place we planned to post it as we went to get the drill. Not minutes later a big black cow had walked up and bit our sign! I wish I had my camera at the time to catch that big piece of hamburger in the act. However, I did take the imprint of his big teeth on our sign should we need to match dentals!
As Foster and I looked on, we had to just look at each other and laugh. Broken buses and cow bites — what a great way to start summer in Jamaica! But then life is never boring!
We, the ACE staff, are so excited to see you again and looking forward to what God has for all of us. Safe travels and think about that cow next time we serve hamburgers…
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!