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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

June 4, 2018 - No Comments!

The End of Backpage

On April 11, 2018, President Trump signed into law the House bill named Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), also known as the Senate billStop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The bill targets websites like Backpage, advertisers, and social media networks that unlawfully promote and facilitate the commercial sexual exploitation of victims. By ensuring the ability to enforce federal and state criminal and civil law relating to sex trafficking, the bill gives tools that prosecutors need to hold violators responsible. It also allows survivors to recover damages against these companies.

Earlier in the week before the bill became law, several Backpage executives were indicted on charges that the website allegedly promoted selling underage girls for sex, facilitated prostitution, and laundered millions of dollars in profits. Backpage has argued in the past that these advertisements are “free speech” protected by the Constitution.

Technology has become a dangerous tool for exploiters to facilitate sex trafficking. Websites and social media are full of advertisements for sex work, including victims (often underage) who are forced into sex trafficking. The federal indictment of Backpage officials one girl who was sexually exploited on Backpage from 14 to 19 years of age. She indicated that she was gang raped, choked, and forced to perform sex acts at gunpoint.

This historic law was possible through the bipartisan efforts of legislators and the hard work of survivors, advocates, and nonprofit organizations. In order to end child trafficking, there remains so much more work to be done. ZOE International is committed to this goal through the prevention, rescue, and restoration of trafficking survivors.

Source: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr1865/BILLS-115hr1865enr.pdf

May 30, 2018 - No Comments!

ZOE from a Missionary’s View

Interview: Lori-Ann, ZOE Missionary

It’s about this time of year when in the office, the desks start to empty and the workspace gets a lot quieter. Where is everyone? From about the months of May through to the end of July, many of our missionaries take their annual trip back to their home country to share with supporters, churches and schools about what ZOE is doing to fight child trafficking and raise support to stay working on the field in Thailand.

Lori-Ann Tsang and her husband Simpson

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing one of the newer ZOE missionaries, Lori-Ann Tsang who is here with her husband Simpson. They have been here for almost a year and I was able to chat with her right before they head back home to Hawaii for the first time. Check out what she had to say about life and working in Thailand.    

What’s the best thing about being a missionary?
It’s way better than I expected! There are two best things: working with our fellow missionaries (I don’t think I would’ve met them anywhere else in the world, even though some of us are from the same country) but also being able to affect and impact the lives of our ZOE kids and also the rescue part… being able to see that what you’re doing every day impacts their lives so directly.

What local Thai sayings have you picked up?
“Su su” is one of them for sure (don’t give up) or instead of saying “Ummm?” they will say “Aray na” which is like, “What?” or they will say, “Pay nay?” which is like a greeting and like “Where are you going?”

Have you had an answer to prayer recently?
God has continued to be faithful but one thing that happened recently was an immigration situation.  We had booked our tickets back and we didn’t realize that it conflicted with having to be here (in Thailand) for our check-in.  We were really disappointed about it but God was faithful and despite us not knowing, the error being on our part but now because of our change in dates, we are able to be back for a close friend who is grieving right now.  If the change didn’t happen, we would not have been able to be with them but now we can be there for our friend and I can see God’s goodness in all this.

What are some cultural differences between living here and yours when you grew up?
Actually there are a lot of similarities because of the Asian culture but with the American culture in general, it’s been about getting used to how things get done. Urgent things don’t seem as urgent here (not so much at ZOE) but in general, if you need to get something fixed then the amount of time it takes or the amount of follow up is different. But I think it’s about learning to be in a good place of understanding that it’s not a sign of disrespect or that they don’t care, it’s just a different culture and understanding that and being gracious even though it’s not the way I have done it in the past. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to is that things just take a lot longer and also the fact that you’re still learning the language and so you’re not just able to do things on your own but you have to ask for help to get something done and that’s very different and a whole different level of dependence on God too. You have to lean on other people and you have to lean on Him.

Has your testimony grown since leaving home?
Definitely! God has shown us so much about who He is and who we are and just being humble and learning from Him but also seeing the amount of faith that our fellow missionaries and our fellow Thai staff have and seeing God at work. It’s given us a lot more boldness about the Gospel and believing God for miracles and healings.

What’s the scariest thing that’s happened to you so far?
When we first got here, a couple of things happened but it was because it was so new and we didn’t really understand. So one day Simpson backed into a car, which left very little damage at a mall but we didn’t really know what was going to happen. Or being pulled over by the police but not knowing why and wondering what’s going to happen.

What’s been the best part of your mission so far?
I think the best part has been a deepening reliance on God and God putting in our hearts more of a desire for intimacy with Him which is the best part. There are so many good things but Him teaching us that if we seek after Him always and we put Him first that He is with us. He’s always with us. And that all the other things will fall into place.

In closing, I wish to thank Lori-Ann for her honesty and openness and for letting me share some of the ups and downs from her journey here so far with our blog readers. We trust that your upcoming trip back will be full of encouragement and sweet times with your families.

May 7, 2018 - No Comments!

Why Short Term Missions?

by Betsy Meenk (STM Global Missions Manager)

At ZOE, we have been conducting short term mission trips since 2004.  Hundreds of people have traveled to Thailand to see and participate in the work God has called us to do. They have come from all countries, all ethnicities, and all walks of life ranging in age from 13-75 years old! Here are thoughts from a few of those who have been to Thailand and experienced our Children’s Home first hand:

A Trip of Many Firsts by Jessica Ramsay  http://gozoe.org/2016/09/12/trip-many-firsts/
Thailand x4 by Stephanie Chabot http://gozoe.org/2016/08/29/thailand-x4/

With every trip, we aim to make this a life-changing experience for all involved; including our children, ZOE parents, and staff.  This can sometimes be a challenge because our ultimate job is to make the care and protection of our children top priority. We recently came across an excellent document from Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) outlining 8 principles for short term missions to benefit vulnerable children and families.

Jedd Medefind, the President of CAFO says, “Short-term mission trips carry the potential for much good and much harm.  Wise engagement is critical, especially when we hope to benefit children.”

This beautifully articulates the heart of ZOE.   He goes on to explain that “These principles have been developed and approved by CAFO, comprised of more than 190 respected organizations serving children in more than 130 nations.  We establish these principles in unity, seeking to empower every church, organization, and volunteer participating in short-term missions to be more thoughtful and effective, particularly in respect to vulnerable children.”

Christian Alliance for Orphans has established the following 8 Principles that ZOE wholeheartedly embraces as we continue to improve our short term missions program.  

#1 Protection – Safeguarding children from harm is first priority

#2 Attachment – Support bonds between children and their parents or primary caregiver

#3 Caregivers – Honor the role of parents and primary caregivers

#4 Community – Support the communities surrounding vulnerable children

#5 Expectations – Make sure the trip purpose is clear and expectations thoroughly understood

#6 Partnership – Anchor every trip in long-term relationships with quality partners

#7 Training – Commit to learning before going

#8 Media – Share stories and images with care  

For more information about these principles click here https://issuu.com/christianalliancefororphans/docs/8_stm_principles-a?e=28419024/59243837  

Dates for our 2019 short term mission trips are up! - http://gozoe.org/short-term-missions/
If you are interested in a short term mission trip with ZOE, please contact
betsy@gozoe.org

 

April 30, 2018 - No Comments!

What’s with NextGen camps at ZOE?

By Abigail Jennerson

For all of us on the NextGen team here at ZOE - 4 missionaries and 7 Thai staff - April is a whirlwind. That’s because all of our ZOE kids are home on school break!!! As we finish out April 2018, I look back on the past two months of prepping and events - exhausted, filled up, proud, excited, closer to our youth and Jesus.

We have two objectives when it comes to NextGen camps here at ZOE: The first goal is to help our children encounter God - whatever that may look like. We want them to know and experience the relentless love of God.The second goal is to give our kids and youth NEW memories. Out with the old, in with the new. We want to begin building and making new memories that are filled with a whole lot of love, joy, laughter, fun and friendship - all in hopes to contrast and replace the old memories that would likely be described with the opposite adjectives.

All of our “camps” at ZOE through the month of April fall into one or both of these categories.

This year some of our new memories involved playing in waterfalls, going to the mall to watch a movie and eat ice cream, driving 4 hours in the back of trucks during Songkran (Thailand’s New Year’s festival - a nationwide water fight - AMAZING!), staying up all night watching movies, eating snacks, dancing crazy, learning/doing hair and makeup, and many hours just hanging out together, having a ball!

Encountering God this year for our youth looked like staying at a retreat center hearing teachings from multiple speakers about God’s trustworthiness. It looked like going to a camp with 1000 other youth from around northern Thailand to sit in five 2-hour sessions a day (that’s a story for another time! WOWZA!), and countless hours in worship - indoor, outdoor, loud and dancing, quiet and calm. Our kids had a week long camp at ZOE learning about the Great Commission and meeting the needs of people around us. Theyeven spent two days doing service projects in our local village!

We finished off with a busy week of English classes, life skills and purity - each of which give our kids tangible and necessary skills and experiences as they grow up and get ready to leave ZOE and face the world.

Every year we try and do something new and exciting, and this year was no different... Our kids and youth came each day with excitement and anticipation for what the day could hold! We all made new memories, no doubt! And when we came expectant to hear from God, He spoke!

I haven’t stopped thinking about it...I am reminiscing on the goodness of our God and all He accomplished this last month. Thank you, Lord!

April 12, 2018 - No Comments!

Being Good Stewards

It’s been a busy winter/spring season for all of our MyGenMyFight leaders and friends. If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen some of our instagram stories from our local outreaches and events.

We were so grateful to be a part of Biola University’s Mission Conference this year and to have our wonderful, past ZOE/MyGenMyFight Intern, Cristina Amaro serve with us during this event.

We had several hundred people stop by our table and had many people grab our brochures.  Several people also signed up to learn more about ZOE.

On the last night of the conference, Cristina had set up a meeting with a student named Caitlyn. She let me know that Caitlyn had asked her about ZOE/MyGenMyFight. Cristina also told me Caitlyn wanted to give me a check for ZOE.
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April 12, 2018 - No Comments!

Awareness in Trafficking Hot Spots

By Joel Mayeski
Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention Coordinator
ZOE International

Awareness is one of the greatest weapons against human trafficking.  As more people become aware, the better the chance of stopping human trafficking and impacting the lives of millions around the world.

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December 5, 2017 - No Comments!

Relentless Leaders

by Marji Iacovetti

ZOE representatives were invited to speak briefly at the last two meetings of the LA County Board of Supervisors as our top county officials considered motions related to human trafficking. We were honored to share insights based on ZOE’s experience. 
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September 11, 2017 - 2 comments

Even in the Midst of Transition

By Karen Miyamoto

If you have been following ZOE long enough, you know by now that there are things always happening at the ZOE USA office.  From going to conferences to meeting with church pastors to big projects like opening up ZOE Children’s Homes Los Angeles, the USA staff is always on their toes keeping busy with the various projects.  Currently the USA office is going through a big transition.  The office in which we called home for the past 14 years is no longer our home.  We are moving!  Though we have not found a permanent office location yet, we are super excited and very much looking forward to a new office space that we will be able to grow with.  Great things are to come for the USA office!

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