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October 1, 2018 - No Comments!

Barista Training in Full Effect

by Andrea Cross

I admit it; I’m probably a little bit of a fussy coffee drinker. I’m not knowledgeable enough about all-things-coffee to be called a coffee-snob but high maintenance enough to not just drink anything.  

I know people who can drink any type of coffee: filtered, drip, percolated, cold brew, and they’re not picky about how strong it is, or whether it has a burnt, bitter or smooth taste – they just need coffee! But not me… I would rather go without coffee altogether and suffer the consequences of a caffeine-withdrawal-headache than drink coffee that I don’t like.

So aside from all the obvious benefits of ZOE’s vocational training program, like equipping students with marketable educational and vocational skills, I get so excited when I see the commitment from our Vocational School teachers who are helping to prepare children to enter adulthood with the skills necessary to provide a decent and honorable living.

can testify to the fact that the barista training, which takes students on a journey of learning all about different types of coffee beans, the machines involved (grinder and roaster), milk frothing techniques and money handling skills, is successfully helping to provide a marketable job skill in a hands-on way.

Unfortunately, over the years, I have tasted a lot of not-so-good coffees as I have been out and about, but not at ZOE! The training is spot on and the coffees they are producing are delicious.

What’s also good about the barista training, as well as most of the other vocational training courses, is that they can take place on the ZOE campus. This ensures that all of the children in ZOE’s care – including those with higher levels of safety risk – have the opportunity to learn. This also enables ZOE to provide the training in a cost-effective manner. Each 20-week training unit has been designed to serve as either a stand-alone vocational training resource or as a component of a broader vocational education.

What’s not to love about that?

But back to drinking coffee… there are actually many health benefits, which I’m sure you know, but even if there wasn’t, I’d be happy to sample the ZOE Vocational School’s coffee-making efforts any day!

October 1, 2018 - No Comments!

Freedom Frees Others

by Abigail Jennerson

Sometimes people ask me what compelled us to move to Thailand to work with ZOE… They ask how we gained this passion to see an end to human trafficking…

After meeting with a woman named Rosi Orozco, I finally have my answer.

I wanted to share about the unique experience my husband and I had with Rosi Orozco. We had the privilege of meeting with Rosi to interview her about trafficking in Mexico. She is a human rights activist in Latin America, with her main focus being human trafficking.

This woman is friends with top political leaders, making amazing strides in policy and restoration. She had just gotten back from a trip to meet with the pope. She is no joke. And so inspiring!

Rosi inspired me to continue fighting for the victims of human trafficking, and to continue fighting in humility.  She brought everyone in our meeting to tears with her powerful words.

When the interview came to a quiet moment, the pastor asking the interview questions tried to thank and compliment Rosi for everything she does for human trafficking victims in Latin America, to which she quickly interrupted him with, “No! We are just blessed. It is just justice.”

Which then led into the greatest monologue I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing. And my answer to anyone who wonders why we decided to move across the world to fight human trafficking:
“The people around us, the victims of human trafficking, have experienced injustice, on top of injustice, on top of injustice. It’s so terrible what they have lived. When we give, we are just doing an act of justice. We are not good people, we are not generous...We are just...just…

From a home where my parents are now 60 years married, a lot of love, I lived in the United States, I lived in Europe, I have everything a person could dream. So when I stand beside [a trafficking victim], I realize that not one of us chose where to be born. So why do I believe I am better or being “generous” to her? It is only justice!

If you were a bank, receiving the deposits of love, of generosity, of blessing, and you feel you are good because you give a check with money? No. They were an empty bank that received zero, and after that they took away their dignity. So, it’s not an act of goodness...no we are not special. We are just conscious of how responsible we are living in this world with so much.”

She said it all! Everything I feel, everything I have wanted to say but never knew how to say!

I grew up in a wonderfully loving family, parents 30+ years married, a loving church community, an amazing husband. So when I stood next to victims of such abuse, neglect and injustice, I knew that all the blessings, all the protection of God on my life, were for the very purpose of helping others experience freedom and blessing!

Friends, we––me, you, ZOE––give because it is our responsibility.
We give because we were given SO much.
We give because we are blessed.

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ––Nelson Mandela

September 4, 2018 - No Comments!

Understanding Your Child’s Apps

by ZOE Intern, Elizabeth Leathers

How Well Do You Understand the Apps on your Child’s Phone?

The popular app, LiveMe, is proving to be a breeding ground for the distribution of child pornography and grooming for future sexual exploitation. While LiveMe is marketed for ages thirteen and up, there are thousands of users who are younger than 13 using the app. A live-streaming platform, LiveMe allows users to broadcast and document their everyday lives and watch others nearby. Users can send gifts and virtual currency to other users. This article - https://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/07/03/thornton-live-me-app highlights the unforeseen dangers associated with this app by sharing chilling stories of children being exploited in the perceived safety of their rooms without their parents’ knowledge. Using every tool in their arsenal, exploiters utilize threats of violence, peer pressure, and deception to achieve their desired results. Exploiters post and profit from these videos on websites promoting commercial child exploitation.

The article highlights the importance of parents knowing and understanding the apps on their children’s phones in order to prevent child exploitation. Children are made more vulnerable by nature due to their desire to seek approval from others. When parents are vigilant and proactive in this area, they can help to keep their children safe. This could mean downloading the app and figuring out what safeguards are necessary to protect children or it could mean doing thorough research. If you are interested in more tips about internet safety, ZOE has an excellent resource for parents linked below.

http://gozoe.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/A-parent-guide-to-internet-safety.pdf

ZOE is addressing this crucial issue through our MyGenMyFight program by going into middle schools, high schools, universities, and churches to discuss internet safety. This includes conversations about strangers online, what not to post, and what respecting others online entails.

August 22, 2018 - No Comments!

In Our Backyard

by Ester Yu

Last month, ZOE was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion about federal and local efforts to combat human trafficking and the ongoing opioid epidemic. This meeting was hosted by Representative Steve Knight (R-CA) and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and included local government officials, state legislators, law enforcement agencies, and representatives from local nonprofit organizations like ZOE.

Opioids is a significant problem in Santa Clarita Valley. In the roundtable meeting, it was discussed that there have been seven overdose deaths this year alone and that Santa Clarita is a “corridor” for drug and human trafficking. The Signal Santa Clarita Valley recently produced a series (https://vault.signalscv.com/addicted) documenting the local opioid crisis.

ZOE was able to suggest some action items related to human trafficking. We appreciate opportunities to learn from, network with, and share our knowledge and experience with those who are on the front-lines combating human trafficking through roundtable and task force meetings such as this one, the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force (LARHTTF), a Human Trafficking Congressional Advisory Committee, and others.

Human trafficking and the opioid epidemic don’t just affect one region of the country or any specific demographic,” said Rep. Knight These are national issues that hurt our neighbors in all of our communities. Chairman McCaul and the Homeland Security Committee have been extremely effective in pushing aggressive legislation that will help address many of these most pressing challenges. I want to thank him for his continued leadership and for making the trip out here to bring his expertise to these roundtable discussions.”

Today’s events were very beneficial and a huge success,” said Chairman McCaul “In order to effectively fight human trafficking and the opioid epidemic, we need to coordinate local and federal law enforcement, engage private sector non-profits, and enact many of the bold policies we’ve been advancing in the House. Rep. Knight brings invaluable experience to these discussions from his career as a police officer and I’d like to thank him for hosting me in California’s 25th District.”

Press Release: https://knight.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=2083

August 22, 2018 - 2 comments

Partnering and Impacting

On a recent trip to Australia, ZOE founders Michael and Carol Hart along with ZOE missionaries, David and Andrea Cross, had the privilege of teaming up with the Entrust Foundation to host an awareness dinner about ZOE’s work in Thailand as well as internationally.

Entrust Foundation’s passion is to serve the poor and oppressed in partnership with donors and project implementers. They support individuals and communities living in tough places and see themselves as the link between donors who wish to make a difference and trusted local partners working to change lives.  The Entrust Foundation works in 15 nations with people of all cultures, genders and religious beliefs, to enable long-term change through co-operatively funding community development projects in some of the toughest places on earth.

The Entrust Foundation gives towards ZOE’s prevention program in South East Asia and helps to fund ZOE prevention campaigns in schools as well as outreaches in transient and vulnerable areas such as Thai migrant and refugee camps.

There were so many positive comments throughout the evening as well as words of encouragement about the work going on at ZOE.  The thing that stood out the most though was how impacted the wait staff working at the venue were. They stopped what they were doing and listened so intently as Michael, Carol and David shared. We trust that the message was just as impacting for them too.

It was obvious that not only the guests but that every single person in the room that night got to hear about ZOE’s work walked away excited and determined to see child trafficking eradicated as well as more aware of what can be done to make that happen.

August 13, 2018 - No Comments!

What’s your role?

by Abigail Jennerson

“I dive for passion and always wondered if it would have purpose. Last two weeks was what I prepared for my entire life.”

This is a quote from a British cave diver who, last month, found the 11 boys who were trapped in a cave in Thailand. If you didn’t see it all over the media, just type “Thailand”, “cave”, “boys”, and “trapped” into Google, in no specific order, and you’ll find countless blogs, videos, and news articles covering the story.

This international mission broke out to find a group of boys who needed rescue. People offered their expertise. They gave up their fields. Their lives. All of these people playing a unique role, yet each with the same purpose of seeing these 11 boys rescued.

It filled me with such hope! The world came together with such passion and selflessness to ensure FREEDOM for these 11 boys.

Did you know that there are 20 million people still awaiting their rescue?

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL MISSION. What’s your role?

July 30, 2018 - No Comments!

Working Side by Side

By Vickie McCoy

I am so excited to share with you all a recap of two events that our team here at ZOE was able to be part of.

One of the events was “Toes in the Sand Beach Day” and the other was “Hip Hop and Hair”.

Girls in the process of recovering from human trafficking here in Los Angeles were recently invited to attend these two events. I’m grateful to tell you that ZOE was invited as well. ZOE was asked to help with the events and be part of the planning! These events help expose the girls to new activities and new experiences that can help bring hope and healing in their lives.

We were grateful to spend time with the young ladies, and with the frontline heroes who work with them every day – like Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and employees from short-term residential therapeutic programs (STRTP’s). (Look for future blogs explaining ZOE Los Angeles progress in acquiring our STRTP license.)

"Toes in the Sand Beach Day" was filled with yoga, beach volleyball, a sandcastle building competition and taking in the cool breeze, listening to the ocean waves crash, and sand between the toes. Click here to watch the recap!

"Hip Hop and Hair"–well you guessed it–a day of dance hosted by our very own church supporters, Pastors Tymme and Aury Reitz, from Life150. After dance, we did some hair care training––explaining how to wash, moisturize and brush out your hair. Click here to watch the recap!

Both of these days were over-the-top AMAZING!!!!! The girls loved it and the DCFS staff were encouraged and blessed seeing their girls open up and have fun–from being at the beach and hanging out, to learning choreography and dance, to working on some wonderful hair creations–everyone was blessed.

We were, and are, grateful to work side by side with DCFS and help support them in the work they are doing. Because of you, our ZOE donors, we were able to give Starbucks gift cards, Forever 21 gift cards, shampoo and cream rinse, special hairbrushes, and ZOE bags.

To make it possible for even MORE collaborations in the future, donate today! - DONATE

July 25, 2018 - 1 comment.

The Power of Prayer

“Men always ought to pray and not lose heart,” Luke 18:1

Jesus spoke a parable about a persistent widow that pleaded for justice without giving up and got justice from an unjust judge.

He then said, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.” Luke 18:7-8

When you are faced with the situation of human trafficking both domestically and globally, it seems like there is nothing you can do to bring justice into the situation or fight such vicious evil. But just recently, God reconfirmed that we as Christians are given a powerful weapon from The King to fight even human trafficking.

Since January 2018, we at ZOE Japan have been going out into the streets of Machida, Tokyo to do prayer walking regularly.

We walk through the busy neon hotel streets. If we see or feel something is off, we stop and pray. We continue this work while trusting that God would bring His justice to the evil and freedom to the captives. Soon, we discovered something interesting happening in the town. In February, the month after we started our walks, we discovered from a local news article that one of the JK businesses (joshi koukousei, Japanese for high-school girls) in Machida was shut down due to the arrest of a man who made underage girls work for sexual services. Publicly, the business was legitimized as a service where teenage girls taught older men how to use smartphones. In reality, these girls were chosen by a customer via an online site to go to a hotel together and the girls’ subsequent income was through sexual services to the customers. Even though this kind of business is hard to expose since their office is just an intangible online network, Japanese police made an effort to track them down and were able to arrest the manager leading to the girls being rescued. This happened right in our neighborhood, the very hotel streets where we always walked through and prayed! We cannot physically go to all the places we want to, but our prayer goes out to every corner of the streets and buildings, every hidden place and unseen heart. God showed us how powerful our prayers are, to plead for justice, and how we should never cease to pray because our God is a just, merciful, and loving Father who cares for His children.

July 16, 2018 - No Comments!

A Wake-Up Call

by Marji Iacovetti

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice held a Human Trafficking Summit in Washington D.C. During the summit, Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, expressed the department’s active commitment to continue to combat the violent crime of human trafficking.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?440609-101/attorney-general-sessions-remarks-human-trafficking&start=365

Mr. Sessions reported several successful law enforcement efforts including prosecutions, long sentences for traffickers, and the recovery of many victims. He praised members of Congress for their unique bipartisan support and interest in this important issue.

He also conveyed serious concern that human trafficking remains distressingly prevalent, noting that, “from 2010 to 2015, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported a nine-fold increase in reports of suspected child sex trafficking,” and stated, “These numbers should be a wake-up call for all of us.”

Will you join us in praying for law enforcement officials who fight this crime? Please pray for their safety, for wisdom, and for a growing focus on stopping human trafficking throughout our nation.

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