If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit ZOE in Thailand, you most likely still have a memory or two of some of the children’s faces that made an impression on you. Maybe they shared a testimony during a Friday night service, sat on your mat at a family BBQ dinner, or even prayed for you. Moments like those seem to stay etched in our memories for a long time. But perhaps, as the years have passed by, and your trip to Thailand became more distant, you have had the thought, “I wonder where they are now.”
As you’re probably aware, the children who grew up in ZOE families did not “age out.” When they reached adulthood, we ensured that they transitioned from their family into the next stage of life with lots of support. We structure the transition to independent living to accommodate each individual’s needs whether that be student accommodation at university, helping them to find employment, or just staying in contact and supporting them in a multitude of small ways.
ZOE’s transitional program includes a drop-in center in the city, where young adults can find mature grownups whom they know and trust, to help them when they need it – with anything from wise council, a meal, or a shoulder to cry on after a hard day.
Once a week, at the city center, life group meetings are held. This past month, on any given Saturday there have been between 20 to 40 young adults in attendance. Many former ZOE children come and bring their friends. Each week, more of them are coming to know Jesus. There were 21 young people who became Christians this past month.
It’s hard to believe, but some of the children who grew up at ZOE are actually married now, and have children of their own. It is always beautiful to see these new mothers and fathers, passing their babies to the parents from ZOE who cared for them growing up. Often times at church, and other events, it feels like a giant family reunion as the ZOE moms and dads experience both the joys of “grand parenting,” and staying connected with the children whom they have helped to raise. Our ZOE parents and staff do such an amazing job supporting, advocating, and being available for these young people when they need it.
Where are they now? Each of the children who have grown up and left ZOE has been supported into their season of adulthood. They are working, studying, parenting, and seeking to understand themselves better. They are connecting with others on a deeper level and continually discovering who they are.