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Archives for June 2018

June 25, 2018 - No Comments!

From the Road

After 64 days and 3700 miles on the road, 20 Road of Justice cyclists crossed the finish line in Santa Monica Beach on JUNE 23rd, Saturday.  This cycling challenge was started by two of our ZOE missionaries, Brad and Lori Ortenzi. The ride officially kicked off on April 21st in Virginia.  Along the route, other cyclists have joined them in various states.

Below is a brief comment from one of cyclists, Patrice O’Neil.  

Hi everyone:

As most of you know, I’ve recently participated in the The Road of Justice fundraising ride across America.  Don’t worry, I did not do the entire ride - just 3 days. The ride ends tomorrow in Santa Monica, CA. Riders Brad and Lori Ortenzi and Tina Hipp get to dip their front tires in the ocean, completing a journey that started for them in VA on April 21st.  It’s a remarkable accomplishment. I’m so honored to have taken part for just a few days. My sister, Betsy, daughter Tracey, and friend Frances partnered up with an exceptionally dedicated and really, really hilarious group of people for 3 days in AZ. We experienced weather ranging from 47 degrees in the morning to 110 degrees in the afternoon; rain; flat tires - lots of them on Hwy 40, elk, coyotes, 23 mph headwinds (wicked hard), miles of climb, exhilarating steep descents, wild burros looking for snacks, and even had the strangest encounter initiated by carrot cake - ever. We rode between 85-95 miles each day.  

All along the way where it was possible to ride in pairs, we had incredible conversations with Brad and Lori especially. They both have been living and working in Thailand for several years.  I thought I understood ZOE International before but I truly had no idea of the depth and complexity of their work. In a nutshell, they work to prevent, rescue and restore kids and families affected by human trafficking. It’s a tricky, delicate, and very complicated work.  They are passionate about not exploiting children in any way, so you will never see a picture of one of their rescued children, or even hear a specific story. They protect the dignity and privacy of every child - always. It would surely make fundraising easier if they relented on this one point, but to their great credit, they’ll do things like ride across the entire U.S. instead.  They are unerringly respectful of the Thai culture and endeavor to work themselves out of a job as quickly as possible. Every bit of work revolves around carefully cultivated relationships and lots and lots of love. This same respect and care is being applied to their burgeoning efforts outside the L.A. area where they are building a facility to house, care for, and love girls rescued from trafficking.  

I can say with utter confidence that I have never been so impressed by an organization or group of people.  I know there is a lot of attention rightly being given to the children snatched from their parents at the border and I hope that you, as have I, are supporting efforts to reunite families.  I know many of you have already donated to the ZOE fundraiser, and for that, I am truly grateful. I am going to ask you to consider one more donation to ZOE as this particular fundraiser comes to a close.  The overall goal for this effort is $350,000. We’re shy of $250K. Any small amount will be a measure of encouragement and appreciation for the dedication and love expended by these fine people.

On the afternoon of day two, I rode with my sister for several hours.  Most of the group had pulled far ahead of us. We struggled mightily, as had those faster riders in the front, against 23 mph headwinds.  We were frequently pushed off the road by the wind. It was by far the hardest ride I’ve ever done. Brad and Lori circled back and rode with us just to keep us going.  They changed Betsy’s flat tire (her 4th!). We rode and rode and rode, until they encouraged her to take the lead. I didn’t realize we were at our destination and started to trundle past the cheering group on the other side of the road.  Betsy rolled in to high fives and pats on the back. The wind had sucked my brains out of my head so it took me a minute to realize this was our group. (Who else in their right mind would be out there anyway?)

Thank you!
Patrice

To donate to Road of Justice: https://give2.gozoe.org/checkout/donation?eid=130020

June 25, 2018 - No Comments!

Missionary Quarterly Meeting

by Andrea Cross

Once each quarter, the missionaries in Thailand get together for a day to worship together, have devotions and hear testimonies about what God is doing throughout all the different departments, areas and countries that ZOE is involved in.

It’s a highlight for most of us because so often we are focused on one or two areas of the ministry and these meetings give everyone a chance to hear updates, praise points and developments. They are also a chance to pray for needs, be encouraged and have a few laughs (and sometimes we shed a couple of tears too).

This quarter I was wondering if our meeting would be cancelled because so many of the missionaries are back in their home countries right now but I was excited to hear that it was going ahead.

Once again, there was a wonderful spirit of worship, a great devotion lead by Ben Wood and a praise update given by Lynne Ginoza. The surprise of the day though was that after watching a very encouraging movie called ‘Greater’ and fellowshipping over lunch, Brandon Kim had some super fun, team building games for us all to play.

We had a guys verses girls, Family Feud competition which the women won as well as gamecalled BFF – where Dave Cross and Jessica Dodd came out champions!  What an amazing blessing it is to be in a team who pray, praise, worship, cry and laugh together.

I look forward to the next quarter where we can gather once more and celebrate all that God is doing in and through this wonderful team here in Thailand.

  

  

June 20, 2018 - No Comments!

How far would you go?

by Lori-Ann Tsang

Are you familiar with the song by The Proclaimers, “I’m Gonna Be?” It’s a catchy tune and the chorus goes…

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

It’s a song about what a man would do for love of a woman. In many ways, what our Road of Justice team chose to do was for love as well. But it was out of love for God and for the children who are in need of rescuing.

As Simpson and I supported our ROJ team for two weeks as they biked through Colorado and part of Utah, I was constantly amazed at their fierce determination, perseverance and strength.

We had the easy job of supporting them and making sure they were safe, hydrated and fed. They were doing all the heavy lifting… biking 70-100 miles a day in all kinds of weather and climbing thousands of feet in elevation. They are an inspiration.

Each day was a lesson in endurance, obedience and willfully choosing to keep pedaling. Why would anyone choose to bike 3700 miles over the course of 64 days? Obedience. God gave them a vision and a purpose to raise awareness of human trafficking and to raise funds for ZOE International that saves children who have been or may be trafficked. This was their call, their reason, their purpose. This was why they endure and continue to pedal on.

In the short time we were with them, they climbed 6000 feet a day at least 3 times. They biked up hill against 25-30 mile winds for many miles. They sat out a hail storm that covered a once green field in white pellets of ice. They climbed the Rockies to an elevation of 11,312 feet and crossed the continental divide. Even as I write this they continue on toward the West Coast and the completion of their journey. They have been biking through record high heat of 100+ degrees farhenheit and hot desert winds.

They will finish their ride on Saturday, June 23rd in Santa Monica, California.

As we have cheered them on and supported them, I

have had to ask myself “What would I do?” “Would I bike 3700 miles?” Many of us can’t or don’t have the capacity or ability to do this. But I have to ask myself, what can I do? What can YOU do? What is God asking of you?

Please pray for our team as they make their way west. Please prayerfully consider joining us in our fight to end human trafficking. I hope you are inspired and encouraged by our team. I know I am.

www.roadofjustice.com

June 6, 2018 - No Comments!

The Real Enemy

by Yuri Yamamoto

We at ZOE Japan, often go out to the downtown streets to pray for the city, people, and children. We believe that prayer is the first thing we always have to start with if we want to change something, especially to end human trafficking. Human trafficking exists in Japan, as well as in other countries. We know as a fact that not everyone willingly chooses to work in the red light district.

One of the nights during our prayer walk, God brought to me one middle-aged man who was sitting down in front of a train station. As we talked, he slowly shared his life story with me.  His mother is very ill and always in the hospital, his liver is in a critical condition that he could die at any moment, he does not have any friends that he can talk to, and amongst all of his struggles, has AIDS. He shared that it was because of his past lifestyle of many unsafe sexual relationships and having gone to many brothels in the past.

He said, “I will die alone like an animal. There is no hope or joy in my life.” Listening to how miserable he feels about life really broke my heart. I felt the urgency to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. I told him how Jesus came to die on the cross to forgive him and to wash his sins away. He refused at first saying, “No! I have done too many sinful things that shouldn’t be forgiven.” He also rejected my offer to pray for him. So I continued listening to him and shared God’s words about how much God loves him and wants him back.

After talking with him for a while, he started trusting me more and allowed me to pray for him. After my prayer, he had a BIG smile on his face and said “It is impressive how you prayed for every little detail that I shared with you tonight. I hadn’t had a conversation with anyone in forever!” He thanked me numerous times and told me he would go see his mother in the hospital the next day and tell her about the things I shared with him.

How wonderful it is to pray for people like him and see the change in his heart! Meeting him reminded me that our real enemy of exploitation is not people, but the one who blinded this man’s eyes and kept him captive for many years.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12

Please join us in prayer for many people like him and ZOE Japan missionaries as we continue to go out and share the love to Jesus as well as the Good News! We want to see the change and be God’s instrument to bring true freedom to this country!

June 4, 2018 - No Comments!

The End of Backpage

On April 11, 2018, President Trump signed into law the House bill named Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), also known as the Senate billStop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The bill targets websites like Backpage, advertisers, and social media networks that unlawfully promote and facilitate the commercial sexual exploitation of victims. By ensuring the ability to enforce federal and state criminal and civil law relating to sex trafficking, the bill gives tools that prosecutors need to hold violators responsible. It also allows survivors to recover damages against these companies.

Earlier in the week before the bill became law, several Backpage executives were indicted on charges that the website allegedly promoted selling underage girls for sex, facilitated prostitution, and laundered millions of dollars in profits. Backpage has argued in the past that these advertisements are “free speech” protected by the Constitution.

Technology has become a dangerous tool for exploiters to facilitate sex trafficking. Websites and social media are full of advertisements for sex work, including victims (often underage) who are forced into sex trafficking. The federal indictment of Backpage officials one girl who was sexually exploited on Backpage from 14 to 19 years of age. She indicated that she was gang raped, choked, and forced to perform sex acts at gunpoint.

This historic law was possible through the bipartisan efforts of legislators and the hard work of survivors, advocates, and nonprofit organizations. In order to end child trafficking, there remains so much more work to be done. ZOE International is committed to this goal through the prevention, rescue, and restoration of trafficking survivors.

Source: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr1865/BILLS-115hr1865enr.pdf