Archives for May 2019

May 29, 2019 - No Comments!

Food and Football

ZOE Thailand
CHF - Mercy Network

ZOE Thailand continues to partner with Children’s Hunger Fund to bring food and support to communities in different parts of Thailand.  Recently on a trip to Isaan, Thailand, which sits southeast of Chiang Mai, our team was able to distribute 800 boxes of food and met with and encouraged the pastors in this area.

One of our team shares that the most meaningful part of the trip is being able to listen to the testimonies of the pastors who are using these food boxes.  

We hear story after story of how the boxes are not only providing food for families but that through this they are able to build relationships of trust.  This then leads to many conversations about faith and God. People are becoming believers because of the gospel and because they see God’s love and mercy in action through receiving these food boxes.

In Ubon, one pastor had the idea to do a community outreach football (soccer) event.  Many people were able to hear about Jesus and one family came to faith and is now attending his church.

Please pray for our team as they continue traveling to different parts of Thailand to continue the important work of REACHING EVERY PERSON.  Please pray for the pastors and community leaders we work with as they continue to love and care for those around them.

May 29, 2019 - No Comments!

It’s Not JUST Swimming

ZOE Thailand

What’s better than jumping into a cold swimming pool when the temperature rises on a sweltering Thai summer’s day?  Being able to swim!

By knowing how to swim, it means that the children at ZOE Thailand can enjoy the wonderful sensation of being in the pool – in a safe and pleasurable way. The sensory experience of being in water is both relaxing and enjoyable.

Research says that there are huge physical benefits to swimming. Learning to swim is both a full-body cardiovascular and respiratory workout! At ZOE we love to see the children’s stamina, flexibility and muscle strength develop.

There are many other advantages to knowing how to swim, such as building concentration, becoming physically stronger and developing coordination. It also encourages an active and healthy lifestyle.

At ZOE we never underestimate the social aspect of swimming either. Playing together in the water helps to form bonds based on trust and fun. For children recently rescued from negative situations, socialization skills can be enhanced through various water games and activities.

During swimming lessons, children take pride in each individual achievement and work towards achieving new goals.  As their abilities and confidence increase, children are able to overcome fear and celebrate their successes with their friends, family and their swimming teacher!                      

At ZOE, it’s not JUST swimming!

*** ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show children's faces. Faces shown in photos are Thai staff or Leadership School Students . ***

May 27, 2019 - No Comments!

Aussie Aussie Aussie

ZOE Australia/ZOE Thailand

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi” are not words I hear cheered very often since moving to Thailand, but during English class this past week, an Australian guest was just the excuse we needed to incorporate some joyful chanting and help make him feel right at home.

Jason Pater is a chartered accountant with a heart for those in need. He is also Payton Foundation’s CEO.  Jason, who was visiting ZOE this week, represents many who have given either as a Payton Capital client or via donation directly to the Foundation. Payton Capital gives 20% of its dividends to the Foundation each quarter to help fund projects that transform the lives of vulnerable people in both Australia and overseas. With the help of many generous Australians, Payton Foundation is committed to supporting  ZOE’s Vocational Training Program and Learning Center.

With Jason’s visit this week, the vocational students had the opportunity to show their appreciation for Payton’s ongoing assistance as well as find out more about Australia. They looked at the four largest cities, and learnt about some of the native animals, sports and occupations.  Class ended with a game that incorporated tasting popular Aussie snacks like honey crackles, ANZAC biscuits, Vegemite and fairy bread and most importantly learning how to correctly proclaim, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!”

May 21, 2019 - No Comments!

Striking Contrasts

ZOE Japan

It was twenty years ago that I visited Japan. A sensory overload of magical sights and sounds - I can still picture it vividly to this day: the bustling cities, quiet temples, bright cherry blossoms and the breathtaking mountain views from bullet train rides.

It was in Japan that I first learnt how to use chopsticks properly and, whilst in Kyoto, I developed a love of okonomiyaki (a meal I still enjoy with my own family).

In Japan, I experienced unforgettable teppanyaki performances with chefs who did egg tricks and I even attended a sumo wrestling match one night. I saw people in the street wearing geta and had my photo taken with young people in the (mind-blowing) Harajuku fashion district.

Japan felt populated yet orderly, traditional yet extremely modern. It was a place of striking contrasts.

As part of a group of travelling teachers, I visited Japanese schools and saw many famous sights, but also had the opportunity to visit someone’s home and take a peek into a-day-in-the-life of a local person.

With opposing emotions, we soaked in the beauty of places like the golden temple, while tears flooded at seeing the devastation whilst visiting the memorial museum in Hiroshima.

From the simulated earthquake experience, to the Japanese baths - this trip blew my mind in so many ways!

As an outsider, what I didn’t see then, and what I didn’t even know existed, was the dark and hidden pain associated with the child trafficking scene in Japan.  

Because it is not driven by targeting poor communities, like in many other countries, child trafficking looks different in Japan.

Japan is a destination, source, and transit country for men and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, and for children subjected to sex trafficking” – Trafficking In Persons Report 2018

Hiromi and Yuri are ZOE’s on-the-ground missionaries in Japan. Here is an excerpt from Japan’s Needs are Unique where they share about the situation in their country.

Japan’s human trafficking problem is made up of sophisticated and organized prostitution networks that target vulnerable Japanese girls in public areas such as subways, popular youth hangouts, schools, and online.

Due to pressure from their parents to be successful or conform, traffickers prey on children who are craving love and affection. Traffickers camouflage themselves to be a scouting agent for modeling jobs, and sometimes even a potential boyfriend/girlfriend. Before a child realizes it,he/she is victimized to appear on various pornography outlets and forced to do other sexual services. They are in bondage to the trafficker who places on them an unreasonable debt and vows not to release him/her until the debt is paid. They also know all of the child’s information, including parents, friends, school, etc.

Japan is a country that is economically blessed and our physical and material needs are always taken care of, but the voice of children crying out for love and affection is drowned out by the noise of parents and society.

One thing we can all do for the children of Japan is PRAY!  Needs are great in Japan. Not necessarily physical or material needs, but spiritual need is crucial. This is why ZOE is passionate about doing prevention work in Japan through sharing the love of God in Christ. We believe that we can make a huge difference and bring light to children’s lives through Jesus.

ZOE Japan’s main goal right now is to prevent trafficking through education in churches, schools, and communities by bringing awareness about the problem in Japan.

Prevention is part of ZOE’s long term solution to ending trafficking worldwide.

May 17, 2019 - No Comments!

Class in Session

ZOE Thailand

Do you remember your first week at college, a new school OR at a new job? Do you recall all that energy, anxiety, expectation and myriad of emotions and thoughts coursing through your brain and body?

This month our newest ZOE Leadership Training (ZLT) Class embarked on their 2-year journey with us. The energy was palpable as they gathered together for the first time in one large room with the ZLT students who are one year ahead of them. There were so many smiles and such nervous excitement. We are so thankful to have them here.

This first week was full of introductions, getting to know one another, and three full days of orientation. These Leadership students were given a crash course in all things ZOE, including a history of ZOE, an overview of their curriculum and schedule, a full tour of our grounds, and our Child Protection Policy.

We are looking forward to journeying with them in the next two years and excited to see them grow in their knowledge, wisdom and leadership.


*** ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show children's faces. Faces shown in photos are Thai staff or Leadership School Students . ***

May 17, 2019 - No Comments!

Strong Families

Right now in Australia, it’s time to celebrate families! National Families Week is held every year between 15 and 21 May.  Thousands of people get involved in community events throughout Australia in its biggest celebration of families.

When we read the statistics that nearly half the divorces, in Australia, involve families with children under 18, it poses the question in my mind, “What makes families strong?”

According to Dennis Lynn, PhD, the Family Strengths Research Project offers valuable insights into healthy families. He says, “This research reminds us of six specific areas we can focus on immediately, becoming more aware and actively engaged in strengthening our families.” They are:

1. Strong families express appreciation and affection. They speak in positive and affirming ways and express the love they have for each other.

2. Strong families have a strong commitment to each other. They are deeply committed to promoting each other’s happiness and welfare and show their commitment by investing time and energy in family activities.

3. Strong families spend enjoyable time together. They enjoy being together and know that if they don’t prioritize and schedule time together, it won’t happen.

4. Strong families manage stress and crisis effectively. They are not immune or exempt from difficult days and challenging situations, but they develop strategies so they can pull together, rather than fall apart.

5. Strong families have a sense of spiritual well-being. Whatever the expression of their spiritual lifestyle, there are consistent themes of guiding values and ethics, as well as commitment to important causes.

6. Strong families have effective and positive communication patterns. They talk to each other and listen to each other and may have specific ground rules on how they communicate in respectful, loving ways.                                                               

At ZOE we believe in building strong families. In strong, loving families everyone feels safe, loved, and respected. Parents have a responsibility to provide an appropriate role model for their children and a nurturing environment in which they can thrive.

This week, as Australians celebrate families, let’s keep in mind the six attributes of a strong family and try to implement them in our own homes where they are missing or weak. Let’s also encourage families around us in our schools, communities, and churches. And let’s strive to become actively engaged in protecting, loving, and seeking the best interest for the children we influence; bit-by-bit building stronger families.

Source: Oregon State University (November 20, 2018). “Six Qualities of Strong Families.” Retrieved from http://synergies.oregonstate.edu/2018/six-qualities-of-strong-families-2.

May 16, 2019 - No Comments!

It’s Electrifying

ZOE Thailand

Many of us can change a light bulb, install a new outlet cover OR even install a new light fixture. But when it comes to the wiring behind that electrical panel, there is that fear in the back of our minds that if we mess up there is a good chance we will have a shocking experience! Our solution is to dial the nearest electrician. So imagine the challenge our students took on recently when they studied electrical circuits.

The main teaching component was taught at ZOE where they built a basic household circuit. Students were given instructions and hands-on practice for measuring and cutting wire and also learned about fuses, meters, and circuit breakers. For their final exam, students had to demonstrate their technical skills by reading a schematic diagram and accurately constructing a complete electrical system. We are so proud to see that all our students passed and believe that the analytical and troubleshooting strategies they developed in this process will extend to areas of life far beyond flowing electrons!

ZOE’s Vocational Program is designed to give children "real life" experiences to equip them for their future.

May 9, 2019 - No Comments!

Ready for the Rain

ZOE Thailand

In this season, it is 100-plus degrees almost daily, and the reservoir we pass each day on our way to ZOE is at the lowest we have ever seen it. “When is rainy season going to start?” I think to myself.  We sure could use some rain.

Recently, one of our young men started working installing rain gutters. He loves working outdoors and has been training with our vocational program for a few years now. He and his work crew are preparing homes and businesses for the upcoming rainy season. They are fabricating and then installing gutters so that when the rain comes, the rainwater can be channeled correctly to catchments or away from the buildings’ exterior walls and foundations preventing damage.

The work he is doing now is not unlike the work he has done to prepare himself to be at a place where he can successfully work alongside others in a vocation of his choosing. He worked hard, learning and growing in his skill sets. So when this opportunity came, he was ready for it.

Are you ready for the rain?
“The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands…” Deuteronomy 28:12

May 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Freedom to Choose

ZOE Thailand

On Easter Sunday, one of the most sacred days for Christians, something happens throughout churches all over the world.  Although the decision to be baptized in water can happen any day or time, people often choose this day, to profess their faith and symbolize their new life following God. Baptism on Easter Sunday is particularly significant because it’s the day Jesus Christ returned to life.

In expression of their faith, several ZOE children were baptized at their local church on Easter Sunday.

Before getting baptized, one girl had a chance to talk with her birth mother about her decision. She said that she would like to be a Christian and get baptized and her mother supported her choice.

This girl first heard about God when she was young. A Christian friend had invited her to church many years ago.

On Sunday when she was baptized, she said she felt "new" and hopes to be guided by God forever.

May 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Make A Joyful Noise

ZOE Thailand

Having active children at home during the school holidays can be noisy - believe me I know! But recently during the Thai summer break, there was more than just the usual noise of kids playing, relaxing, and enjoying their time at home when we offered optional English classes based around the theme “Make a Joyful Noise.” The week-long program had the children learning English in groups based around the lyrics from worship songs and ending with a fun English karaoke competition on Friday afternoon.

Life is filled with “noise,” often times distracting us from our daily tasks: the phone ringing, social media notifications, arguments, construction sites, or even people talking loudly as they pass by. But joyful noises like laughter and singing, shouts of praise, clapping, as well as music, playing instruments, and dancing - these are wonderful noises that bring both pleasure and joy.

I know, from the group that I taught, that bringing music into the English classroom was a wonderful and different way to learn new vocabulary. The lively sounds of music and singing, mixed in with the laughter of playing games and practicing speaking, were all joyful noises that I’m sure I will remember for a long time.