All Posts in Special Projects
Most of you know that we are moving forward on the lengthy journey toward opening a home to serve kids in Los Angeles. We are also responding to the need to provide care for more kids in Thailand than ever before. In order to do all of this more effectively, we are expanding the size of ZOE’s headquarter’s office.
We are renovating a small home that is located on the same property as ZOE’s existing office. This extra workspace will help ZOE missionaries, staff, and volunteers to carry out the wide range of tasks that help make this ministry possible: strategic planning, training, event planning, marketing, donor relations, long-term and short-term missionary support services, program development for ZOE Children’s Homes – Los Angeles, and more.
Providing safe and loving care for children who have suffered harm takes a large number of practical resources. Some of these are exciting, like security equipment. Some are heart-warming, like warm, comfortable beds where children can sleep peacefully - perhaps for the first time in their lives. Some are simply practical, like filing cabinets and staplers.
We are deeply grateful for every single tool that has been provided for this ministry. Whether these resources are exciting or simple, they are important. Each practical item helps ZOE to care for kids.
Thank you, ZOE supporters, for facilitating this rewarding and life-changing work.
We are planning an Office Renovation Day for Saturday, September 20th. Anyone interested in joining the volunteer team is encouraged to email Liz Mackie or call her at (661) 255-7963.
ZOE is always looking for opportunities to put short-term teams to use. Normally there is a bedroom that needs painting or weeds that can be pulled. Recently however, we have been in need of a more specialized building project. An Australian team from Thailand Mission Awareness Tour stepped up to the challenge. For one week this group of Aussies worked full-time to convert unused space beneath one of the decks at ZOE into a large storage room.
There is only one problem. The room looks so good that a simple storage room seems like such a waste! There has been talk of it being used as an additional classroom or even an exercise room, but whatever its purposed for, the Australian team has outdone themselves and blessed ZOE much more than we ever expected. With only a few coffee breaks, they worked with incredible speed, diligence, and focus. The room began to take shape after the first day, and within a week they had completely finished.
We want to lift up a special thank you to Thailand Mission Awareness Tour for giving so generously of your time and talents. We are exceedingly grateful, and we pray that God returns your generosity with exponentially greater blessings.
[quote width="" align="none"]"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." | Mahatma Gandhi[/quote]
If we were writing a book, the chapter about 2013 would be full of tragedy and triumph, challenges and victories and multiple words of praise to God for His rescue and redemption. We have been blessed and amazed as we witnessed over and over again the transforming power of the love of God touch the children who have come to ZOE. Trafficked children who have been rescued by ZOE may not necessarily remain at ZOE long term. Every case and every child is different. The best interest of the child is always given the utmost importance and sometimes the best is for the child to be in the care of biological or extended families and in some cases this past year, our ZOE Rescue Team has had the joy of reuniting children with their loved ones. In other cases, the best for the child was to remain at ZOE where they are loved and cared for by an amazing staff of dedicated people.
ZOE has grown in many ways this past year. We have welcomed new staff members both in the USA and in Thailand. We have witnessed staff members getting married and starting their own families. Our boys’ home was completed and additional property was purchased that will be used for our self-sustaining agriculture efforts and basic vocational training. Our ZOE family has also expanded as many have joined us in the fight to end the trafficking of children. By some standards of measurement our army may be considered small but we see it as mighty force of people united by a passion to bring the love and life of God to the most vulnerable in our society; children. “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.” | Psalm 82:3
We look back on 2013 with gratitude to a faithful God who has guided us and provided for us every step of the way. We are thankful for the lives that have been changed and the privilege of being able to play a small part in that. With great anticipation we look forward to 2014 and all that God has in store for us, the children we serve, and the people He has called us to reach.
We are grateful to everyone for your generous donation of time, talent and treasure that made the 2013 ZOE Rescue Walk a tremendous success. As we reflect upon the army of people who made the Walk so special we can truly say that we see the goodness of God in the people around us and we give glory to Him.
Over 800 people came together to combat the trafficking of children and to date have brought in over $90,000.00! Money is still coming in!! This will go a long way in helping us care for the children already in our care and release other funds to find other children waiting to be rescued. It costs $200.00 per month to meet the needs of one child at ZOE and with this money we will be able to fully care for our 70 children for over half the year!
As individuals came together to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves we saw the exponential power of many released to crush the obstacle of child trafficking in our path. We were deeply grateful to see so many at the Walk who have stood with us for years. We were equally excited to meet many new friends and look forward to forging new relationships. Together we have heeded the call to learn to do good, seek justice, help the oppressed and defend the cause of the orphan. (Isaiah 1:17)
The ZOE family in Thailand and in the USA are blessed and encouraged to know that so many are standing with us in this battle. As it was said, “we will not stop until every child is rescued.”
We are in exciting times. ZOE is growing and people are getting on board to help end the trafficking of children in Southeast Asia. A few examples are Marla Pascarelli, Dan Gillespie, and Randy and Tammy Bauer. They have taken it upon themselves to help fundraise for ZOE’s many ministries.
Marla, a longtime friend and supporter of ZOE, set up a fundraising page on Crowdrise.com for a run in which she is participating. While Marla hasn’t considered herself a runner in the past, she felt that running to raise money for ZOE was something she could do. Her resolve to train is strengthened every time she remembers that what she is doing will help orphaned children and those who have been trafficked.
Dan is another runner who happened upon the ZOE website. So far he has raised more than $1,400! Dan says, “Occasionally in life, we choose to look beyond our own immediate needs and desires and open our eyes to the needs of those around us. It is not always convenient or comfortable to do so, but once we do, if we are truly human, we find it difficult or even impossible to once again look the other way and let such great injustices go unconstrained.” This is true wisdom as not only are our minds opened to injustices going on in the world, but Jesus Himself commanded us to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
Tammy Bauer was recently on one of ZOE’s short-term mission trips. While she was visiting, God moved in her heart to begin making stained glass sun catchers, night-lights, and jewelry boxes alongside her husband. All of the profit earned has gone to ZOE. So far they have made more than $700 and orders for their creations keep rolling in!
Praise God for the love and support we get from people every day! These examples perfectly illustrate how anyone can help in the fight against child trafficking, exploitation, and abuse.
There is a scripture that says "A bruised reed, I will not despise." I always thought that was beautiful, poetic and truly expressed the compassion of God. It felt very personal to me, because I came to the Lord many years ago with damaged emotions and a wounded heart. Now I know that all of us are bruised reeds in one way or another. It is impossible to navigate this world without battle scars. Fortunately He is Jehovah Rapha, the God that heals.
For some of us, our wounds are more apparent than others. Children are vulnerable and deserve protection from a world that is often full of peril and danger. Unfortunately that shield of protection is sometimes lacking, and the results can be unspeakable horror for the innocent, who are so very precious in the sight of God. Such is the case with the children at ZOE. I don't know the personal history of each one of them, but I know they would not be in the ZOE home if they had not been in imminent danger. As a mother of four grown children and grandmother of three, how could I turn away from the cries of children who are in both emotional and physical pain? Oh, I know...we would lose our minds if we lingered on these thoughts constantly. The bible tells us to fix our mind on things that are pure and lovely, and yet to deny the existence of dark forces is to live outside the realm of reality and worse convince ourselves that we have no obligation to alleviate suffering.
I always wanted to be a part of healing a suffering world. I've known about sex trafficking for years, but I never quite knew what to do about it. It seemed so huge, so daunting, and it is, but our God is larger still. We may not be able to fix everything that ails the world, but we can all do something as God directs our paths. One little fire fly might not make much of a difference, but a multitude can light up the sky.
I learned about ZOE when I was attending the Sanctuary Church in Santa Clarita. It sounded like an amazing organization. I contacted them and learned about child sponsorship. It seemed like an ideal situation for me. I live in Los Angeles now and no longer attend the Sanctuary. In fact, I recently purchased a home out here. This house took a lot of renovation, and I had always wanted hardwood floors. I don't think God has anything against us living in a pleasant environment, but as I was spending money on various upgrades, I thought "If I can spend money on renovations purely for aesthetic purposes, surely I can do something for a child who might otherwise be locked into a hopeless situation." I thought of my own children, three of them girls, and imagined them as children in that type of situation." Sponsoring a child was a no-brainer. I am grateful to be part of the ZOE family!
Written by ZOE Supporter Barbara Byrd
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.
Nearly two-hundred people gathered at the Warner Center Marriot Hotel on November 30 for the 2012 Wells Fargo Community Support Breakfast. This special event was held to recognize the work of fifty-seven nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles County.
ZOE was honored with a $1,000 donation at the event.
We are grateful to Branch Manager, Shawn Kamrava, for selecting ZOE as the charity of choice for the bank’s Westridge Plaza branch. We are also grateful for Wells Fargo’s generous support of charitable programs throughout our community.
A couple of weeks ago I was shocked to see that one of the kitchen/ wash areas had been totally transformed into a new nurse’s room.
And, not only had it undergone a total makeover, it had been done in just three days!
Kelly, Lisa and Amy Boone from a supporting church in Los Angeles, breezed in to the ZOE Children’s Homes and quietly went about their mission.
All three young women painted, cleaned, moved furniture and set up the room as a blessing to ZOE. All who witnessed their complete dedication to the task were overwhelmed at the dramatic developments in such a short time.
After my brief interview with the Boone sisters, Kelly, a trained nurse, was beginning a workshop with the house parents on basic medical procedures as well as an explanation of the layout and storage systems in the new nurse’s room.
Despite my best efforts to convince Kelly to stay and be our ZOE nurse, and her admitting to being tempted, she is returning to America to further her qualifications. Kelly did admit, however, that she isn’t opposed to missions-related work in future.
To Kelly, Lisa and Amy: thank you so much for your hard work. Everyone at ZOE really appreciates your efforts. We hope you come back again – either for a short-term visit ... or for longer!