fbpx

All Posts in Blog

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!

May 30, 2018 - No Comments!

CMTA 2018

by Karen Miyamoto 

Recently, I was blessed to be able to attend the Annual Children’s Ministry conference that was held in Pasadena, CA.  ZOE has attended this event that is open to Children’s Ministry leaders for the past 7 years.

 

Being surrounded by leaders and volunteers that are eager to learn how to impact the next generation is always so encouraging.  These leaders and volunteers come to this conference to continually seek new and creative ways to share the love of Jesus and the

gospel their kids.  This event is always fun for me because I get to spend time with some amazing ZOE volunteers that help me at our booth for 2 days.  It’s also great seeing current ZOE supporters stop by our booth to say HELLO as well as getting to meet new people who love the work we are doing.

Dr. Jason Plunkett

This year, our newest addition to the ZOE team, Dr. Jason Plunkett who is our USA Regional Director, taught a break out session at the conference.  The topic he shared about was how the church can get involved in combatting human trafficking.  He enlightened the attendees on various human trafficking statistics as well as different signs to look for to spot a possible victim. Dr. Jason’s session was very informative and educational.

Along with various breakout sessions educating leaders and volunteers on how to teach, interact, and make church a fun place for kids, there were around 40 other vendors/ministries selling products related to Children’s Ministry and/or sharing outreach opportunities children can get involved in.  Speaking with other vendors and ministries always reminds me that there are so many people out there doing great work.  Though I may never see them again, we all take a small piece of the puzzle, to help make a difference in this world.

Being able to share about ZOE’s Kids Helping Kids program at this event with leaders impacting children is always fun.  Kids Helping Kids is a program designed to help children learn in a fun and interactive way about caring for others in need and empowering them to know that no matter how small they are, they can make a BIG difference in the world. Children are given plastic tubes to collect $15 in quarters. This small amount of change can feed, clothe, and educate a child in Thailand fora full week! Funds collected through this program play an active role in assisting ZOE International’s efforts to help human trafficking victims in Thailand.  If this program is something you would like to get your church or home school group involved in, let us know!  It’s a great tool to be incorporated during VBS as well as the holiday season.

If you are a church leader or volunteer that works with children, I highly recommend registering for next year’s CMTA conference.  You will be inundated with so many amazing resources and beneficial breakout sessions.  It’s also a great place to network with other leaders from different churches.  Working as a team is always much more fun.  Click here to get more information about CMTA.

May 22, 2018 - No Comments!

Japan’s Needs are Unique

As we face the problem of human trafficking among Japanese children, we discovered many problems related to sexual exploitation, such as force of appearances for pornography and other sexual exploitations. The background is different from other countries that are havingissues of sex trafficking due to poverty. The situation in Japan is quite unique.

Many parents tend to put children under pressure for them to be academically successful. “Success” means to get good grades and get into a good university, which then will lead to a successful career in the future.

In Japan, there are an estimated 34,288 reports of missing children and young people from teenagers to those in their 20s in 2016. Family relationships seem to be a main cause for this.  There are cases where children are being neglected by parents as well. “Trust” and “security” are missing in the relationship between parents and children.

There is a famous Japanese proverb that says, “Deru kui wa utareru” (the stake that sticks up gets hammered down).  It means “if you stand out, you will be subject to criticism.” In schools, children are under the constant pressure to act and behave in the same way as others around them. There is risk of being bullied if a child chooses to do something unique or different from the majority of the group. This is a very exhausting friendship children face in schools as well as society.

There is a lack of encouragement, someone to say “you are valuable the way you are”

around these children. Traffickers prey on these children who are craving love and affection. Sadly, the strategy to coax those into trafficking is similar to those in other countries.  Traffickers camouflage themselves to be a scouting agent for modeling jobs, and sometimes even a potential boyfriend/girlfriend. Before a child realizes it,he/she is victimized to appear on various pornography outlets and forced to do other sexual services. They are in bondage to the trafficker who gives them an irrational debt and proclaims not to release him/her until the debt is paid. They also know all of the child’s information, including parents, friends, school, and etc.

Japan is a country that is economically blessed and our physical and material needs are always taken care of, but the voice of children crying out for love and affection is drowned out by the noise of parents and society.

What do Japanese children need?

  • Loving and caring parents (adults) who accept and value them for who they are
  • Biblical counseling that can help children to make better decisions in life
  • Biblical truth and teaching about sex that God has designed

One thing we can all do for the children of Japan is PRAY!  Needs are great in Japan. Not necessarily physical or material needs, but spiritual need is crucial. This is why ZOE is passionate about doing prevention work in Japan through sharing the love of God in Christ. We believe that we can make a huge difference and bring light to children’s lives through Jesus.

May 4, 2018 - No Comments!

Not So Flashy

by Marji Iacovetti

Obtaining accreditation for a nonprofit organization is a daunting task. The process can take 80 personnel hours each week for 18 months. It is also a new legal requirement for organizations that provide residential care for youth in California…so ZOE is beginning theaccreditation journey.

We purchased manuals that describe more than 1,200 standards surveyors will use to rate ZOE during a site visit to our Southern California facilities. Two of our staff members flew to Florida to attend a 3-day accreditation conference. ZOE is also contracting with a specialist who is helping us draft several dozen procedural documents.

Earning accreditation is challenging and costly. When donors think of compelling causes to support, few think about ensuring compliance to hundreds of detailed standards.

In truth though, dollars (and hours) ZOE will spend earning accreditation will bring a solid return on investment. The process will help us to gather useful data, measure our effectiveness, identify needs for improvement, avoid waste, and move forward strategically. It will equip us to serve well.

Accreditation is all about providing excellent care and ZOE is deeply committed to doing that very thing. If you feel drawn to provide financial support for a not-so-flashy but truly meaningful project, please call ZOE’s U.S. office at 661.255.7963.

April 2, 2018 - No Comments!

National Social Work Month

By Vickie McCoy

Did you know that March was National Social Work Month? 

I did not, until today when I attended a Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) Service Providers Roundtable meeting and the facilitator started the meeting by thanking all the social workers in the room for the work they do.

Read more

February 19, 2018 - No Comments!

Bringing Young Leaders Together

by Hanne Fellers

The beginning of the year is usually a busy time for our U.S. office due to January being human trafficking awareness month. We were able to help spread awareness about human trafficking to over 500 people just on January 11th - which is the national human trafficking day in the US declared by the President since 2010.
Read more

January 15, 2018 - No Comments!

Prayer is POWERFUL

By Vickie McCoy – Director of Aftercare – Los Angeles

We needed a new well since the current well did not have permit papers, due to how old it is.  Our water design firm received three bids and we were happy the local company where our home will be built had the lowest quote.  You don’t know how far they will have to dig before hitting water.  I was hearing that we could have to drill as low as 1,200 ft. or as high as 500 ft.  The cost difference was tremendous. 

Read more

December 21, 2017 - No Comments!

Take a Tag!

by Karen Miyamoto

This year, ZOE decided to launch our very own Giving Tree!  15 churches, schools and businesses are currently taking part in this project.  To date, we have raised over $1500 through this project.  Just like other Giving Tree projects, participants are given tags to hang on their tree of choice and invite members in their church or employees to take a tag off the tree of a ZOE need and make a donation.
Read more

December 17, 2017 - No Comments!

Compelled to Give

by Hanne Fellers

December is so many things.  It can be extra busy with finals, extra holiday activities such as plays and events, gift shopping, decorating and more. But December is also such a month of joy, festivities and family. My heart feels many different things in December. I often reflect on the year. It’s a time of reminiscing and thanking God for His continued blessings. Feeling grateful to not be doing this work alone, but to work in partnership with Him who holds our souls.
Read more