Through the Lens

Through the Lens

Noelle Shumer’s thoughts on her time in Thailand at the ZOE Children’s Homes


“My heart’s longings always urge me to undertake a journey to visit the country of a foreign people far across the sea.” — The Seafarer

As I sit here and try to think of how to sum up the two weeks I spent in Thailand, I’ve concluded that I could write a book on my adventures there and still not be able to fully convey the amazingness of it all. I spent two weeks with nine other incredible women in a city in northern Thailand. We worked with an organization called ZOE, whose primary purpose is to rescue orphans and also to rescue children from human trafficking. I couldn’t even begin to touch the surface of how amazing the ZOE Children’s Home is. From the staff to the children who won my heart from the very first moment, they are people I will never EVER forget. It was a supernatural experience. The truth is, I thought I was going there to help them, but in all reality, they helped me more than they will ever know. I was brought to tears at first sight of the children. Their beautiful smiling faces, their contagious spirit of joy. They touched my heart like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

And alongside the amazingness of ZOE, is the beautiful spirit of Thailand. Beautiful people. Beautiful land. They live so simply yet they live so full. They taught me how to be more generous. How to honor others. How to serve. My heart feels so full from everything I’ve taken in. I’ve spent the last few days I’ve been home trying to process it all, afraid to let anything go for fear I’ll forget the tenderness of my experience. But I know I won’t. A journey like this, I could never forget. I don’t have many photos from our time at the children’s home because of the safety of some the children, but I still managed to take 1000+ photos from our time in the city, our time in the hillside tribal village, our free day where we rode elephants through the jungle. I also taught a photo class to the kids at ZOE. Most of these kids had never even touched a camera before so to share my passion with them and see them get excited about it was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever packed so many adventures into two weeks! And so, for fear of not covering every thought and every moment, I’ll let you get onto the photos. I hope these images touch your heart and convey even just a sliver of the beauty I experienced.


Noelle Shumer

Noelle Ann Photography LLC



One of the challenges for the ZOE Children’s Home is capturing the special moments in the lives of our children. Unlike a regular family the children don’t have ready access to photos and photo albums.

Every child in the world loves to see a photograph – especially one they are in! Photographs are one way we remember what we did last week, last month or last year.

While in Thailand, Noelle Shumer used her gift of photography to enhance the lives of the children at the ZOE Children’s Home. Noelle worked with ZOE missionary David Cross to photograph the children, assisting ZOE to record a special time in our children’s lives.

The ZOE Children’s Home sincerely thanks Noelle for her wonderful work. Some of the photos taken by Noelle will be shown in future ZOE publications.

Others will never be seen publicly so that our children are kept safe. But whether seen publicly or not, we have created a memory, and in a few years the children will look back and laugh and smile as they reflect on how much they have grown.

Thank you, Noelle!



Read another reflection about the ZOE Children’s Home

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