Archives for December 2018

December 29, 2018 - No Comments!

Celebrating Family

By David Cross

I think one of my fondest memories of Christmas Day came a few years ago when our family celebrated Christmas with the young people in the ZOE Transitional Home. The day had nothing to do with presents or food, but rather it was a day that as one big family we thanked God for the gift of Jesus Christ, and we spent the day hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.

Each person that gathered that day, had their own story of their life before coming to ZOE. Some stories were of incredible hardship. Some were of spending past Christmases alone.  But all of that was in the past; the future was full of hope.

We talked, we laughed, we played games, we encouraged each other, we prayed together, and as we did, it reminded me of what it really means to be ‘family’.

Last week, one of the ZOE parents invited all the ZOE children, who are now young adults, to a ZOE Christmas Reunion Party. It was so amazing to sit back and see the love and care that these young people have for each other. They are each other’s family. Many of them, after securing a good job, also helped their brother or sister get a job at the same shop or restaurant. They had all brought gifts for the gift exchange and there was not a moment of silence as the ZOE parents excitedly caught up with the children that they cared for.

The highlight of the night came as some of the young adults took the opportunity to stand up and share their heartfelt thanks for the teaching, support, and unconditional love that they had received whilst at ZOE. As they spoke tears flowed from their eyes. Their sharing was from their heart.

Their words reminded me of what it means to be ‘family.’

We love each other. We help each other. We support each other. We correct each other. We pray for each other. We comfort each other.  We celebrate each other.

December 29, 2018 - No Comments!

Breakdown or Breakthrough?

By Andrea Cross

ZOE Thailand

Not long ago, half of ZOE’s adult Ministry School students were invited to help at a youth camp alongside another ministry. They went to help them as volunteers; praying for the youth, serving food, and cleaning up. It was a wonderful experience working together and being part of a much bigger team. At this camp, there were around 200 youth in attendance and 45 of them gave their lives to Jesus. What an amazing breakthrough!

After all the excitement of the day though, and when they had finished helping, the ZOE team piled into the truck to return home but unexpectedly their truck broke down along the way. Having to wait for another truck to pick them up, they ended up getting back very late, around midnight.

One of the Ministry School teachers commented that what was really encouraging to her was that none of the students complained at all while having to wait. They were all praising God for the breakthroughs they had seen at the camp, not focusing on the breakdown of the truck. This is such a beautiful testimony of their servant hearts!

December 27, 2018 - No Comments!

What’s in a Name?

By Andrea Cross

Many children who come to ZOE’s Child Rescue Center do not have the correct documentation or citizenship papers to attend some educational institutions or, later in life, apply for certain jobs. Without the right documents, children and young adults can feel restricted in terms of their future job and study prospects.    

Part of what our ZOE Child Rescue team (ZCR) does is to travel, sometimes for many hours, to search for any helpful leads or useful information for children in this situation.

One of our ZCR team members recently came back very excited after finding an ID card and a school to access important documentation for one of our newly rescued girls. Now she can obtain the certificate she needs to apply for a non-formal education program she wants to attend, and she was also able to get her first bank book!

While this type of work may be tedious, tiring, and non glamorous, it can be some of the most life changing for the children we help. This girl now has the opportunity to continue her education, and as she moves forward in life, her vulnerability and the likelihood of her being revictimized is reduced.

December 24, 2018 - No Comments!

Better to Give than to Receive

By Abigail Jennerson

You may be wondering what handmade Christmas cards, fried banana chips, crafted jewelry, car washing, and a garage sale all have in common...

These were all the ways our NextGen team and ZOE kids worked hard to raise money since JULY of this year!

Six months ago, our NextGen team sat down with the ZOE kids and cast vision for how we could be a blessing this Christmas. Let’s be honest, we LOVE blessing our ZOE kids during the Christmas season each year! And NextGen usually does outreaches to other children’s homes each Christmas! But this year we wanted to reach higher and do bigger when it came to blessing others.

The plan was to invite another children’s home to Chiang Mai for a BIG Christmas celebration! 45 kids and their caregivers staying at ZOE for two nights and three days! We would get their Christmas wish lists and bless their socks off!

We were hard at work to reach our goal; our kids filled with such determination and excitement to give the gift of Christmas to other children! After almost 6 months of fundraising, we raised enough money to DOUBLE the amount for each child’s Christmas gift! Our ZOE kids made sure they purchased everything on their buddy’s list, and if the money we raised wasn’t enough, our ZOE kids even used some of their own! Watching our kids work so hard and give so generously and try to wrap the presents was precious–especially our teenage boys!

NextGen Team

And then the children arrived! We worshipped together, ate together, played games together! It was the first time we’ve ever had guests spend the night in our home! The next day we sent them off to the Chiang Mai Zoo. But when they returned Friday night, the main event really began! We started off the night talking about how Jesus is the greatest gift we will ever receive! That no matter what Christmas looks like, we know that HE is the reason for the celebration. After taking a quick snack break, we opened gifts and had the messiest Christmas party ever!  

Everyone was wearing smiles, especially our ZOE kids. It really is better to give than to receive. We hope our ZOE kids were able to experience that truth.

December 17, 2018 - No Comments!

How ZOE Is Rescuing Every Child

by Lori-Ann Tsang

Sometimes, the best things we do in life are the things we do proactively.  Especially, when we plan for, anticipate and then are able to save a life or prevent a tragedy or make sure those entrusted to us are safe.  A lot of what we do at ZOE comes after a child has been victimized. We are part of their RESCUE and RESTORATION. But we also know that we need to be preventative (proactive).  That is why another large part of what we do is PREVENTION.

Our team goes at least twice a month to villages and schools to educate children, families and communities about Human Trafficking and how traffickers will lie or manipulate their way into a community, earn trust and then traffick a child.  This is pretty weighty information. Especially when you are looking at a presenting it to children between the ages of 2 to 10 years old.

Recently, our team wondered how they were going to navigate this and tailor their presentation to these precious young ones. What happened exceeded all their expectations. “We were amazed by their attention.  They are smart and bold,” our team reported. As they were finishing up, they asked the children if they had any questions. The question that came was surprisingly insightful and beyond this child’s young years.  “What if I saw trafficking in my village, who will I notify and what if the one I informed was the suspect, what should I do?” Our team was able to address this question and ease this child’s fears. Giving them knowledge and tools that they can use to keep themselves and their friends safe… to never be trafficked… to give them hope for their future. This is how we are RESCUING every child.

December 13, 2018 - No Comments!

From Short Term Missions to ZOE Walk

By Lori-Ann Tsang

In August and January of each year, ZOE Thailand has the privilege of hosting our joint short-term teams. Each team arrives after months of training and planning for their 10-day short-term trip.

They spend time alongside our staff, ministry school students, and missionaries in different settings.  They are given opportunities to serve and get a glimpse of what we do at ZOE.

It is a trip unlike any other they have experienced.  Many of them are forever impacted and changed by their time with us.

This summer one team was so impacted and inspired that they went back home with such a fire and passion to see human trafficking stopped.  They worked with our team in Los Angeles and ran the first ever ZOE Rescue Walk in Hawaii. They were one of three other satellite walks around the country all spearheaded by previous short-term team members. In Hawaii alone, there were 200 walkers and over $3,700 raised.

Gail Nitta, short-term teamer and our on-the-ground coordinator for Hawaii’s ZOE Rescue Walk says,  “This mission trip opened my eyes about child trafficking. I was infected with the amazing work the long term missionaries are doing in Thailand. I believe God told me take it back to Hawaii and help spread the awareness of child trafficking. But most importantly spread His gospel to the people.”

Check out the link to a video created recapping that day.

Isn’t it amazing what listening to God and being obedient can do?  

Together you helped us raise over $67,000 with funds still coming in. Thank you for partnering with us.  

December 10, 2018 - 1 comment.

I Can Wash These Clothes

by Andrea Cross

As my family and I left Thailand to travel to Australia this past July, I realized that it was not just people in Thailand but all over the world, who sat clinging to news reports of the ongoing rescue of 12 young boys who were lost and stuck in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai.

Even in Australia, the story was being followed on every radio and television station and it felt like, across the globe, everyone’s thoughts and prayers were focused on bringing those boys out to safety.

During the cave rescue mission, sadness and shock set in when the news came that Petty Officer Saman Gunan, former Thai navy diver, lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang cave and died. He will be forever remembered and honored for his heroic efforts in the rescue mission.

There were many other heroes too, who the world may not remember or even know their names but who, behind the scenes, did their “one thing” to help.

Rawinmart Luelert is a name you might not recognize. I stumbled upon her story quite by chance. Rawinmart has a factory with 14 washing machines and 15 dryers, and a business, which provides laundry services for hotels in her area. When her friend showed her photos of the rescue workers wearing dirty uniforms, she knew there was a way that she could help. Collecting the uniforms of rescue workers every night at 9pm, she gathered a team and worked for 10 straight days, returning the uniforms at 4am after cleaning them at her laundry.

She shared her appreciation for her employees, volunteers, and friends who helped her work through the night to get the job done. One man, Suwan Kankeaw, who helped to wash the uniforms of the US Navy divers said,

“I don’t have the ability to get the kids out
directly, but what I can do is wash these clothes.”

As I read about Rawinmart and Suwan’s stories along with other volunteers who for 12 days prepared 400 boxes of food for lunch and dinner each day… Or who provided foot massages or haircuts for the rescue team… the stories of these people stuck in my mind.

Recently at ZOE, the Next Gen team, who lead our children and youth, carefully planned their camp theme “Out of the Darkness”. It paralleled the events surrounding the flooded cave rescue with the message of God’s love and how He comes after us and rescue us from darkness and brings us into His marvelous light.

There were some powerful testimonies of children who chose to follow Jesus for the first time and others who recommitted to live out their faith boldly.  

At ZOE, not all of us directly rescue children from slavery. There are so many people working in many different teams with a range of tasks, but each of us has an area that we use our skills in to support the work of rescue and make a difference.

Just like Suwan, who knew he wasn’t the one to get the boys out directly, we can take encouragement from him and so many of the other lesser-known heroes, by discovering what we CAN do – and then start making a difference!

December 6, 2018 - No Comments!

What’s In a Diagnosis?

By Jessicah Ray, PA-C

Why is a diagnosis of human trafficking important?
Human trafficking is internationally recognized as a public health problem with over 40.3 million victims identified, and with one-quarter of those being children. (Dovydaitis, 2010, Fink-Samnick, 2018).

In response to this global epidemic, hospitals and clinics are joining the mission to end human trafficking as the intercessors and advocates of the most vulnerable by improving diagnostic skills (Andrews, 2018). Because 86% of human trafficking victims are in contact with health care providers during the time of exploitation, multiple health initiatives are being launched to train providers how to identify human trafficking patients, safely report the abuse, and who to contact for intervention resources. (Dovydaitis, 2010). Health care providers have the critical opportunity to intervene by identifying the cause of the abuse with the correct diagnosis, treating the acute medical conditions, and developing a treatment plan with a specialty team. (Dovydaitis, 2010).

An unexpected tool of medical coding (ICD-10 codes) is now aiding the effort to combat these crimes against humanity. To better identify human trafficking victims, specific ICD-10 T codes have been produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and released in October of 2018 (American Hospital Association, 2018; Fink-Samnick, 2018) to enhance the accurate identification and diagnosis of human trafficking, and to distinguish from other diagnoses such as domestic violence, prostitution, or child abuse.

Why is the correct medical code (ICD-10) important?
1)    Special care: Human trafficking victims are at increased risk of chronic injuries, complex psychological health problems, and social/legal considerations that warrant long-term multidisciplinary care and comprehensive resources. With the proper diagnosis, those care options are more readily available through established response protocols and automated referral systems.

2)    Informing Policy: Human trafficking statistics are notoriously underestimated due to underreporting, misdiagnosis, and the victim’s inaccessibility to health care. Medical codes are used to quantify and validate the needs of patients to better inform health policy where and how funds should be allocated. Data from these codes drives the financing for the needed prevention, rescue, and restoration resources.

Where should you go?
The American Hospital Association (2018) provides a complete list and guide for the new ICD-10 T codes:

What else can I do?
Multiple resources are available for multidisciplinary professionals to learn about human trafficking and improve identification, treatment, and response protocols in their hospitals and clinics. Consider joining an anti-trafficking organization or committee such as with Health, Education, Advocacy, and Linkage (HEAL) Trafficking: https://healtrafficking.org/.

American Hospital Association. (2018). ICD-10-CM coding for human trafficking. Retrieved from https://www.aha.org/icd-10-cm-coding-human-trafficking-resource

Andrews, M. (2018, July 24). Hospitals gear up for new diagnosis: Human trafficking.National Public Radio. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/07/24/631517533/hospitals-gear-up-for-new-diagnosis-human-trafficking

Dovydaitis, T. (2010). Human trafficking: The role of the health care provider. Journal of midwifery & women's health55(5), 462-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmwh.2009.12.017

Fink-Samnick, E. (2018, September 24). Human trafficking: New ICD-10 codes empower efforts to identify and aid victims. ICD10monitor. Retrieved from https://www.icd10monitor.com/human-trafficking-new-icd-10-codes-empower-efforts-to-identify-and-aid-victims

Heal Trafficking. (2018). Homepage. Retrieved from https://healtrafficking.org/