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:
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