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The way you look at things will change the things you look at.
This common expression, "Is the glass half empty or half full?" is generally used rhetorically to indicate that a particular situation could be a cause for optimism (half full) or pessimism (half empty).
When we look at the glass half empty, we focus on what we don't have, which often leads to paralysis—“I can’t do anything because I don’t have anything.” Yet, when we look at the glass as part full, it opens up a whole realm of possibilities—“I not only have what I need, but I can even share because it’s more than enough.”
At ZOE, our Vocational Training & Life Skills Program is designed to equip our students with skills needed for life once they leave the children’s home. The vocational training gives specific education that would help them get a job, while life skills training equips the students with things that are needed to navigate everyday life such as banking, job interviewing, and getting around town.
Where do coffee & confidence come in? In addition to learning skills, one of the more important and often overlooked objectives is confidence building.
Many students enter into these programs without a clue of what its like to be an adult or how to go about daily life. They are used to either growing up at ZOE or living on the streets, and neither of these scenarios prepares a student to pay bills, get a job, or apply to college. So they are scared of the unknown world that is approaching them quickly.
One girl in particular came into the vocational program hesitant, much like the other students. It seemed as though she was prepared for regular schoolwork; just sitting at desks, taking notes, and doing worksheets. Instead we jumped right into our barista coffee class, and right away the students were pulling espresso shots, adjusting the coffee grinder, and steaming milk. Though her first few drinks weren’t all that good, as the weeks went on, she began to memorize the recipes, refine her steaming technique, and learned when a shot of espresso didn’t look or taste right.
A few months later, the same girl rushed into the coffee house with an eager smile on her face.
“Kruu (teacher) Jon, test me!”
“Okay, make me a café latte,” I replied with a smile on my face. I had told the students that a simple latte is one of the more difficult drinks to make because there was no vanilla or chocolate to hide a bad shot of espresso or poorly steamed cup of milk.
She jumped right in, and a few minutes later presented me with my latte. It was truly great, and she saw the approval in my eyes. “Kruu Jon, do you think I could get a job at a coffee shop?”
“Of course!” I said with genuine conviction that she had learned a profitable skill.
Without another word she skipped out of the room, and it was clear to me that while she had in fact learned a new skill, she had also gained new confidence. This is a great improvement from the timid girl I knew before who had been used to people telling her she was incapable or stupid. Now she has the assurance of knowing that she is capable of using her new skills. Our hope is that this will transfer into all other areas of her life so that she can live fully with confidence and courage.
If you are interested in helping others become equipped in vocational and life skills, please donate here and add vocational & life skills in the comment box.
"Slavery tears at our social fabric, fuels violence and organized crime, and debases our common humanity. During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we renew our commitment to ending this scourge in all its forms." | President Barack Obama
On December 31, 2013, President Barack Obama proclaimed January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. He recognized that everyone can play a role in ending slavery. This Saturday is set aside as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
This past year at our ZOE Rescue Walk, our theme was D.O.T. "Do One Thing." We too, recognize that everyone can do something to help end the slavery of human beings. Imagine what would happen if everyone in your circle of influence was challenged by you to "do one thing." An awareness of the reality of human trafficking and action steps to end it would be taking place throughout not only our country, but the world. It is possible for us to eradicate human trafficking in our lifetime. We must make a choice to do something about it. Below are five simple things that most people can do.
1. Know the signs of human trafficking
2. Know the human trafficking hotline number | 1.888.373.7888
3. Read the Trafficking in Persons Report
4. Read the book, "Justice Awakening" by Eddie Byun
3. Invite a ZOE representative to come speak to your group about human trafficking
1. Financially support ZOE international
4. Write letters of encouragement to missionaries overseas or locally
1. Volunteer your time and talent
2. Advocate for foster care and orphan ministries
3. Join or start a task force in your city
4. Attend events that raise awareness of human trafficking
1. Commit to pray for those on the front lines fighting trafficking | January 10th join believers around the globe in prayer
2. Join ZOE's monthly prayer night on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 6pm, in person if you live locally, or on your knees where you are if not
3. Read our Prayer Guide
At ZOE we are passionate about our mission to reach every person and rescue every child with the love and compassion of God. We do this through rescuing and caring for orphans and children at risk of or involved in human trafficking. This modern day slavery comes in many forms, with humans being traded as goods for sexual services and and cheap labor. It is rampant in every country in the world. It is wrong and must be stopped. At ZOE we are specifically targeting those who are intent on trafficking the most defenseless in society - the children.
Next month is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Throughout January, we will be highlighting not only what human trafficking is, but how you can be aware of it and how you can take steps to prevent it in your community and circle of influence. We want to get the word out so that we can end child trafficking in this generation! Check out the share buttons and email sign up below. Inform yourself and others by signing up for our blog to come in your email box and by sharing on your social networks. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram as we aim to increase awareness of this harsh reality to as many people as we can.
Below are some organizations that are great resources for learning more about the facts on human trafficking.
These are words uttered by a child who should not even have to think about such things. Yet before many of the children at ZOE were rescued, safety was not something they could take for granted.
What is the value of safety? For most of us, the definition of what safety looks like is very different from the above quote. Sometimes our safety lies in holding onto false securities; the areas of our lives that replace wholehearted abandon to God such as pride, food, our loved ones, money and even ministry. We cling to things for a variety of reasons rather than giving complete control to God. There are also those places of deceptive safety where we hide from things that would bring about the plan of God in our lives and how He wants to impact the lives of others through us. This is false safety - fear. We may play it safe by not stepping out and praying for someone to be healed. We may refrain from preaching the gospel, or doing something for the Lord He has placed on our heart to accomplish with Him.
The other area of safety is probably the one we most often think of, our physical safety. Often we can take this basic need for granted if we are not careful. Sometimes we may forget the value of a shelter, our comforts, our homes, having our family and friends and the security and love they afford us. Even going about our day and having the freedom to live our lives and make our own decisions is something other people, often children, may never experience. Having the assurance of a shelter from darkness both physically and spiritually is a gift.Knowing the love of the Father and having Him cover you with His wings is the safest place to be of all.
This safe place is something ZOE desires for all children to experience and is one of the first things that a child is told when they arrive at ZOE: You are loved and you are safe! Over and over again as you read the ZOE stories of rescue you read these words; “they are safe”, “she is safe at ZOE”, “children live happily and safely”.
At ZOE, children are safe.
The Lord is our trustworthy refuge, our shelter who lifts us high above the enemy. He wants us to know the safety of intimate fellowship with Him. It is here where the fatherless are wrapped and embraced in the arms of the Father. We are ever conscious of His love and acceptance as His child.
In the arms of our Father, we are all safe.
Written by ZOE Supporter Jennifer Barnett
ZOE has recently been blessed with new members of our education team, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. Over the past few months, ZOE’s need for on-site, supplemental education has grown tremendously. As some of the ZOE children cannot attend school due to protective reasons, there is need for a structured educational environment for those who must remain on the ZOE campus.
This structure has been working beautifully and, with the help of our new teachers, it can only get better. Not only are they intelligent young ladies, but they are very encouraging and nurturing. Miss Yee has been a part of the ZOE family for a long time, but until recently, she was helping as a parent to the girls at ZOE. Now though, we have begun to utilize the education she received from Payap University in Chiang Mai. She is responsible for teaching Thai Language, Art, Home Economics, Music, and Computer.
Miss Bang just graduated from Rajabhat University with a degree in English Education. She is very excited to be working at ZOE, and she loves serving God while getting the opportunity to educate and take care of children. She is responsible for teaching Science, English, and Beginning Chinese.
Miss Dao is our newest addition to the team, and she has been fitting in beautifully with the culture at ZOE. Like Miss Bang, she graduated from Rajabhat University but majored in Sociology, which gives her the experience needed to teach Social Studies. In addition she also teaches Math.
We’re so blessed to have these three wonderful teachers for our children ... and we think ZOE is pretty smart for hiring them!
ZOE Children Achieve Excellence
It is encouraging to see so many of our ZOE children achieve excellence in their studies. Knowing that they are applying themselves, studying hard and earning high marks is especially rewarding for ZOE's Educational Manager. She works just as hard every day to make sure the students have everything they need for school. This includes providing supplies, tutoring and even teaching kids who are unable to attend public school.
Before the new semester began, P'Milk hosted our very own awards ceremony at ZOE International. She took the time to recognize the students who excelled in certain subjects, significantly improved or just had a 3.0 or higher grade average. This list of high achieving students was very long, which is a wonderful "problem" to have. Our hope is that honoring our students will motivate them to continue their efforts into the next semester.
Some of the students are nearing the end of their high school studies, so big decisions are approaching quickly. Please be praying that they will have wisdom and discernment in the next steps of their lives. Pray also for the young ones in their endeavors as well.
On December 4, ZOE was blessed by two groups of beautiful women from Northpark Church in Santa Clarita. The church’s morning and evening women’s Bible study groups created sixty-five school supply kits for the ZOE kids.
The ladies donated all of the supplies then came together to assemble them into individual kits. The kits are just beautiful. There is one version for younger kids and another for older ones. The supplies are not only practical but fun. The children will be very happy to receive these special and thoughtful gifts.
Education is an important part of the restoration process for the kids ZOE is called to serve. These supplies will help to equip the kids for all that God created them to accomplish and experience.
We are grateful to the ladies at Northpark for making a difference in this tangible way.
November 19, 2012 - Comments Off on An Amazing Intern from Master’s College
On occassion, ZOE has interns from the local Masters College in Santa Clarita who assist us with varying projects around the US office. The interships are for class credit. This semester, we happily welcomed on board Lynlee Kumamoto from Masters. Lynlee was able to intern at the ZOE Children's Home in Thailand this past summer with a group from her school. This group was stellar! They assisted our Thai staff with anything and everything. Many lives were changed. We were so grateful to have them and now Lynlee.
Name: Lynlee Kumamoto
How did you find out about ZOE?
This past summer I was able to go on a missions trip with my school and they actually partnered with ZOE, sending a team of 12 of us over to the ZOE Home in Thailand, so that was how I first heard about the organization.
What made you want to volunteer?
After spending 2 months over in Thailand, I absolutely fell in love with all of the people and with the ministry that they have established. Also, God has just given me such a passion for the fight against human trafficking, so it is my goal to do whatever I can to help out.
How long have you volunteered at ZOE?
It has been about 3 months now.
What type of tasks do you do at ZOE?
Right now I am finishing up a project for the short-term teams that go over to Thailand – compiling a book of ideas for their children’s programs that they put together. In addition to this, I just help out with anything that needs to be completed that day.
Tell us about your overall experience in the office?
I have loved every minute of it. Being able to come into the office and work with these women is always so encouraging and such a reminder of God’s love to me. I have enjoyed participating in each of the projects and being able to help out in this way.
Have you learned anything new while volunteering?
I have really been challenged to look out for the needs of others more. The women that I work with here in the office do an exceptional job at this and I have been learning so much from just watching them. They are all very careful to encourage and build up one another in Christ and that is something that I have been able to grow in more since being here. Also, I have just been so reminded of how important it is to have a global mindset, thinking about things that are going on around the world and praying for the Lord to work in miraculous ways to further the gospel, and doing so myself!
Thank you Lynlee for all your hard work and dedication. It has been simply a pleasure having you in the USA office and will miss you dearly when the semester is over.