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Archives for August 2019

August 31, 2019 - No Comments!

Bringing Blessing

In the midst of our ZOE children receiving the love, care, attention, and counseling they need, giving of themselves in service brings about a special kind of healing in their hearts.

We tend to think that NEED = inability to give. But isn’t it in giving when we receive true healing in our hearts?

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Psalm 11:25

The teachers and students at ZOE Learning Center go out once a week to serve the surrounding community. Sometimes it’s doing chores and cleaning for the sick/disabled. Sometimes it’s just spending time with a lonely elderly woman. Whatever the activity is, it opens the door for the students to give. In the midst of their own needs, they can look up and see the needs of those around them.

Last month, teachers and students went to visit Grandma Bua, a 90-year-old Alzheimer's patient, who’s hard of hearing. The students enthusiastically sang songs and prayed over grandma, bringing joy to her elderly bones. It’s easy to see that these moments fill our children with joy. 

Sometimes the greatest joy we receive is bringing joy to others. 

August 30, 2019 - No Comments!

Discipleship

Imagine for a moment, planting a seed in the ground and having to wait 150 years just to see it grow only 4 inches. This is what happens in Canada on cliff sides in the Great Lakes area when a white cedar tree is planted. Along it is the slowest growing tree, once it is fully grown, it can actually reach up to 50 feet high! 

All the work of planting and nurturing something that you will never see the full results of seems crazy but that’s what we do a lot of times as we care for and disciple the children and teens at ZOE.

When we think about discipleship, our main goal is to teach them about who God is, how much God loves them, and how they can be the change that their city, country, and the world needs. 

Like the white cedar tree though, it’s a slow process. Sometimes we think we see the seeds we planted start to break through the surface and  begin to sprout, and other times we just keep praying for the seeds that are still in the ground - even though we cannot yet see any signs of growth. 

Some of our kids are on fire for God. We see on a weekly basis how they are passionate about praying for their families and friends to get saved. 

In other children, who we do not yet see any signs of growth, we do not let ourselves get discouraged. We choose to give them more nourishment just like a plant or a tree would need. 

We teach them different lessons from the Bible or just about life in general. We pray with them weekly. Some of the ZOE staff are also part of our mentors group throughout the week, so they spend more 1-1 time with the kids. We select up to 12 kids every month to participate in a school outreach where we do dramas, dances, and songs, and present the gospel message in small groups. We also select some kids to volunteer at a children’s home in the city. This year we are sponsoring a school and village to bless them for Christmas.

Everything we do with the kids and youth through discipleship is about ongoing planting and watering of the “seeds.” We never know which ones will grow into tall strong trees. Our job is to keep praying that every single one of them takes that step in faith. 

Discipleship is an ongoing job. It usually involves a lot of sacrifice, and intentionality. It also means that as leaders, we must live out what we are hoping for them to become. We must continue to nourish ourselves to be tall, mature trees thriving in life so that they will also desire what they see on display through our words, actions, and lives. 

August 27, 2019 - No Comments!

OEM Summer 2019 STM

By Christian Cha

It has been weeks since we have said “Goodbye,” to Thailand; but everyday I am reminded of my experience there. 

My experience is beyond human intellect and beyond human emotions. What I can only utter out of my mouth are these three words: God is good. He is so good to the point where I cannot fathom how good He is. I think about this trip and how good He is. I think about my past mistakes, and yet, He has been good. I think about my future and what endless possibilities that are ahead of me, and I continue to say that He is good. More specifically, this trip taught me that God is a good, good father; nothing - not even one precious moment - is ever wasted. I think about this trip, and I am always reminded that His goodness has been and will always be present in our lives. 

This trip would not have had this big of an impact on me if it was not for ZOE. Because of ZOE, they have made me fall in love with Thailand. They made me fall in love with Thailand because they made me see how God is making a beautiful masterpiece. 

With a lot of sweat and tears, the OEM team had that opportunity to truly experience lives radically transformed by God’s awesome and amazing power. Within a week, OEM and ZOE did five outreaches and over two hundred people gave their lives to Jesus Christ. What was special was that there were no sermons or evangelistic events involved. With the help of her K-pop students, Junhee Park - one of the top choreographers in Korea - was able to touch many hearts by her testimony and how God placed her where she is today. Because she came from a Buddhist background, the kids related to her story and most of them ended up making the best decision of their lives. After reaching over two hundred young children, how can one not say that God is good?

ZOE has made a tremendous impact not only in my life but in the lives of the other OEM team members. Towards the end of the trip, our last debrief meeting was filled with thankfulness and joy as each member shared his/her favorite memory with the kids, the lesson he/she learned, and how the trip impacted them on a personal and spiritual level. Myself included, the OEM team did not feel like they were a blessing to the ZOE community, but were instead blessed by ZOE - the children, the Leadership Training students, and the staff. The memories with ZOE are implanted in our minds.

It was excruciating to say our goodbyes after such an eventful and extremely fun time we had. When I go back to college, I have to think about what I could possibly do to further support ZOE in the work that they are doing. The most obvious answer is prayer. Prayer is the way for me to treasure the memories and present them at God’s feet. However, that is not the only answer. I have three years left of college, and I will not waste them. I need to be equipped to be His vessel, His hands and feet, if I am to return to Thailand. 

It may be impossible for us to save the world with our own hands, but if we let our Master take care of the impossible, He will make it possible. That is our heavenly Father. Let God take the wheel, and we will end up in places we have never imagined going.

August 27, 2019 - No Comments!

Night Outreach in Japan

The night starts off by going to an area in the outer parts of Tokyo called Machida. We target specific areas in Machida known for the sex business. 

As we approach, there are many women standing outside on a particular street. The first group of women we see are high school girls. After initially greeting them, we talk about human trafficking. The girls quickly engage in deep conversation, receive our information card, and even thank us for doing this ministry. How precious it is to see open hearts. We knew it would be a night to remember.

While the entire night is extremely rewarding, it is not all positive. Many people who are passing by ignore, reject, and avoid any conversation with us. Doing what is right and speaking the truth in love isn’t something that is always accepted by everyone, but this is what God calls us to do, and our strength and acceptance comes from Him! 

Something else miraculous happens around 30 minutes into the outreach. At that moment, some women walk past us. They are not Japanese and initially try to avoid us because they think we are trying to convert them into a religion, but that quickly changes. They even apologize after hearing that we are there to create awareness around human trafficking. One woman asks, “What do you mean by human trafficking?” Using the cards we were handing out, we begin to talk about “pornography.” They quickly look at each other and the youngest woman says, “I think I need a few of those cards please.” They are very interested to learn about ZOE and know exactly what we are talking about the moment we mention sex trafficking in Machida. We believe this is a divine contact to help people who are entrapped by trafficking and give them hope!

Even if one person is eventually prevented from being trafficked by the night’s work, the job would be well worth it!  

As the night progresses, we hit sections of Machida that are known as love hotel streets. We see many women standing right outside these hotels. Their “job” is to stand there and wait for men to negotiate prices for sexual massages and sex. None of the women we see there are Japanese, but all of them are from other Asian countries. 

We are cautious in our interaction with these women as their manager may get upset with them for talking with us. The women could get punished for engaging with those who are not potential customers. So we make ourselves available to talk if they want to. 

From this outreach, we see signs that human trafficking may be happening in many parts of our own city. The battle lines are being drawn and we believe God will show us much, much more. The reality is that there is much more than meets the eye. 

God calls us the light of the world. The ladies we talked to this night could be in the darkest possible place, but that is exactly where we need to go and shine His light. Please join us in prayer and support ZOE Japan missionaries as we continue to serve in Japan.

August 22, 2019 - No Comments!

Ongoing Staff Training & Development

The Thai employees are one of ZOE’s best-kept secrets. They really are inestimable in terms of the value that they provide.

By working together to display God’s love, they have formed a strong foundation for much of ZOE’s work. Built on their inward strength, commitment, and the emotional connections they have developed with the children in ZOE’s care, lives continue to be restored and transformed.

ZOE views ongoing teaching, training, and development as important, in fact, essential! Aside from the regular teaching and training that occurs weekly at staff meetings, this past quarter, ZOE staff were presented with professional development in the areas of:

·       ADHD

·       Bipolar

·       Dangers of social media

·       Children’s Homes/Foster Care networking

·       Google drive

ZOE wants to attract the best staff. With ongoing training and support, we will hopefully retain the great Thai employees we already have, as well as appeal to others who share the same passion to “Reach Every Person” and “Rescue Every Child!”

August 19, 2019 - No Comments!

You Hold the Key

ZOE Australia

On their recent trip to Australia, David and Andrea Cross, focused on the theme, “You Hold the Key” as they shared about ZOE’s work.
“We had two main goals going into the trip,” they shared.

1. Prayer for ZOE’s work.  
Understanding the power of prayer, David and Andrea hosted four prayer nights, which saw people from various churches, denominations, and geographical areas, joining their faith and believing for breakthroughs in ZOE’s work in Australia and globally. 

Everyone at ZOE needs protection, wisdom, and discernment as the work 
expands into new nations and continues the fight against child trafficking.

There were several answers to prayers that were seen almost immediately. But importantly, seeds were planted on those nights, which will, one day, bear much fruit in the lives of children who are right now being rescued.

2. Raising finances.
In Australia, the financial year comes to an end on June 30th, so a campaign was set up to raise finances to go towards RESCUE. 
ZOE’s Child Rescue Team's desire is to not only rescue children, but to also empower families and communities to properly safeguard and love their children. 

“You hold the key to unlock the door to freedom, hope, and love for a child who is trapped in slavery right now.
Unlock that door by giving towards RESCUE.” (Facebook campaign)

It was so exciting to see that in the month of June alone, over $34,000 was raised in Australia to specifically go towards the area of RESCUE! Those who gave in June received not only the blessing of being a giver but also the gift of a charming "You Hold the Key" leather key chain made by local Thai artisans. 

Entrust
Throughout the trip, many relationships with ZOE donors were strengthened. 
David and Andrea were encouraged to hear about Entrust’s projects in 15 different nations and, in turn, be able to share with them about how their support is helping to shape children’s lives in Thailand.
Entrust Foundation’s passion is to serve the poor and oppressed. They support individuals and communities living in tough places and see themselves as the link between donors who wish to make a difference, and trusted local partners working to change lives.  

Payton Capital/Payton Foundation
David was grateful to be asked to share about ZOE’s work at Payton’s Gala Night on July 27th with James Morrison (world class musician, composer, conductor). Held at the Arts Centre Melbourne, David was honored to communicate with those who have given either as a Payton Capital client, or via donation directly to their Foundation. Payton Capital also 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. Payton Foundation is committed to supporting ZOE’s Vocational Training Program and Learning Center.
Rating it as one of the “best trips back,” David and Andrea were blown away by people’s gifts of time, support, prayers, and donations. 

“Even for ourselves, this trip reinforced that we actually do all hold a key to unlocking freedom. Some people may not be able to contribute finances, but ‘prayer’ is one key to opening doors and a good reminder that there is always something that we can do.” – Andrea Cross