I’ve been in a season where I am reflecting and constantly being reminded of why I am in this work. Before I get into some of the things I’ve been reflecting on, I just want to THANK YOU, ZOE friends, for engaging with us. Without YOU, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. We are so grateful for your support. Read more
Sometimes our kids just need some time to unwind and chill!With school, homework, chores, special events, short term teams, visitors, intercessory prayer, weekly bible study, and more, it can get hectic for our kids.
As a retired Los Angeles police officer, who knew that 3 1/2 years ago I would become so vested in the cause of child trafficking? When the opening came up at ZOE for a bookkeeper, I was not actively looking for work and had no idea what the organization was about. I was intrigued by the opportunity, so I did a little research prior to my interview. I discovered an anti-human trafficking organization that was clearly led by God and does noble work. Needless to say, I received the job. To my surprise, I quickly discovered this was God's plan for me and I was, as usual, clueless.
Wan is one of our talented Thai staffers who speaks Thai, English, and Burmese. A few years ago, she helped take care of a young girl who stayed at ZOE for a short time. Since this girl was Burmese, Wan was able to minister to her in her native tongue.
Wan led the girl to the Lord and she was eventually sent home after being with us for a short time. When this little girl returned home, she told her family she was a Christian. Her mother hit her and tried to convince her to be Buddhist. She was very obedient in every area EXCEPT she refused to worship idols.Eventually, this girl converted her WHOLE family to Christ!
A few weeks ago, we sent out a ZOE team to check up on a different case. Our team also had the ability to check in on this little girl. She was as happy as ever and gave a gift to send back to Wan. Wan received the gift just before Christmas, and it was the softest and cutest stuffed bunny she ever saw! This was the little girl’s way of showing gratitude and thankfulness to Wan for sharing the gift of eternal life with her and her family!
With very few exceptions, Mother’s Day is celebrated all around the world. No region or religion can claim the origin of Mother’s Day because recognizing and appreciating the work of a mother is foundational to being sons and daughters. Mother’s Day is a worldwide holiday because we owe so much to that one human being!
The house mothers at ZOE International deserve the same recognition. While they have not given birth to the children at ZOE, the love they have for them is just as significant. ZOE mothers have had to step into difficult situations to fill parental roles. Without their courageous commitment, the lives of child trafficking survivors would be drastically different.
Every day, our house mothers are there for the trafficked children at ZOE. They wake them up for school, help them with homework, provide a shoulder to cry on, and even make them brush their teeth before bed. ZOE mothers are not here for the paycheck, but rather because of the love they have for their kids and their belief that God has good things planned for their lives. Where difficult and varied circumstances have robbed children of a loving family, ZOE parents have stepped in and made it their responsibility to be that family for those without.
We thank God every day for the wonderful mothers and fathers He has sent to ZOE, but today, we will raise them up even further in acknowledgement and thanks for sacrificing their lives for the children at ZOE. Happy Mother's Day!
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." | Ralph Waldo Emerson
In any organization, making sure that employees and volunteers are utilizing their strengths is extremely important. ZOE is no different. To that end, every staff member and volunteer recently read StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and took the corresponding strengths test.
Once our results were tabulated, the ZOE staff and volunteers gathered for an all-day seminar on how to best utilize the strengths they have been given. “Knowing each other’s strengths is very helpful and insightful,” said Sam, one of ZOE’s volunteers. Many others agreed saying that their day is more productive because now they understand how others in their department work. In addition, a more complete understanding of their own strengths has helped ZOE staff and volunteers focus on the areas in which they can be most beneficial.
Thank you Rick Yamamoto for the valuable insight you have given to the ZOE family. The new perspectives will help carry the organization into the future with a heightened awareness of our own strengths in addition to the strengths of those around us.
Cole first heard about ZOE from his church when they were doing their monthly missions focus. He was intrigued, but didn’t become passionate about ZOE until his sister went on a short-term missions trip with ZOE to Thailand. Her experience caused both of them to fall in love with ZOE’s pursuit of changing the lives of those who have been impacted by the evils of human trafficking.
“I have always felt called to be or do something more with my life. I worked in the fast food industry for well over a year and felt empty, as if I was missing out on something bigger than I could be a part of. I had talked to my family, my girlfriend and now one of my fellow employees about how I wanted to be a part of something more, as well as my passion for not only missionary work but also for what ZOE had been doing. In a bizarre turn of events God opened the doors for me to become a part of the ZOE team and I couldn’t be happier. “
Cole is a great guy to have around the office. He is the only male and gets to do all the “manly work” of hefting the water jug onto the water cooler and carrying boxes. There is always something for him to do! His role at ZOE is multi-faceted. His days are always filled with something different from climbing into the attic to retrieve spreadsheets, grocery shopping, sorting mail and data entry. Yet his main focus is video production and motion graphics. ZOE will be using these videos to reach people in a fresh, new way.
Cole at play
When asked about his overall experience at the office, Cole says that it is a huge change from being in fast food, but that he enjoys it. He is learning to appreciate the differences in people’s personalities and the way God uses diversity to bring everything needed together. Without an administrative person, nothing is organized or gets finished; yet without an artistic person, everything is only numbers and letters. Cole enjoys the peaceful setting and loves the opportunity to make a difference in the world while pursuing his passion for the Kingdom, missions and video production.