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All Posts in Special Projects

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

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.

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.
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February 8, 2016 - No Comments!

Doing What You Can, Where You Are

The following is a guest post from our faithful ZOE supporter, Tammy Bauer. We asked her to write this because, like most of us, she is an ordinary individual who wants to end child trafficking. Using her sphere of influence, gifts, and talents, she has found very creative ways to raise money and spread human trafficking awareness. As we launch our new program, My Gen My Fight, Tammy's story fits right in and may provide you with ideas and inspiration.

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September 16, 2014 - No Comments!

Expanding ZOE’s Offices – Want To Help?

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.

January 23, 2014 - No Comments!

Australian Team’s Amazing Building Project

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.

December 26, 2013 - No Comments!

A Look Back at 2013

[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.

 

 

November 14, 2013 - No Comments!

A Heartfelt Thank You to our Rescue Walk Participants!


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.

Zoe-Walk-End-child-trafficking-5Zoe-Walk-End-child-trafficking-4Over 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)Zoe-Walk-End-child-trafficking-7Zoe-Walk-End-child-trafficking-1

 

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.”

 

July 8, 2013 - No Comments!

Friends of ZOE

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 Gillespie

Dan Gillespie

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

Tammy Bauer

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.

April 22, 2013 - No Comments!

Bruised Reeds….Special in the Sight of God

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