From Addiction to Redemption: A Testimony of Hope and Healing at a Gospel Outreach in ZOE Thailand 

April 19, 2024

In our efforts to share the gospel worldwide, prayer is central to our mission. ZOE is committed to discipleship and nurturing believers to grow in their faith while becoming positive influences in their communities. 

And through mentorship and fellowship, we encourage others to live out the gospel in their daily lives, and spread the love and grace of Jesus.

Recently, one of our 2nd year ZOE leadership students shared about their experience at a village gospel outreach.

“On the outreach, while conducting a house visit, I had an opportunity to encourage a believer in his home. He has children who are addicted to drugs. During our conversation, I shared my testimony about overcoming drug addiction and conveyed my belief that it was the prayers of my parents that played a crucial role in transforming my life. I encouraged him to persist in prayer and to trust in God. Before I could continue talking with him, he suddenly burst into tears. I believe he gained new strength through the encouragement.

Following that encounter, I noticed there was a grandfather in the house experiencing difficulty hearing due to problems with his ears. I asked if I could pray for him and invited my friends to join in. As we prayed, I placed my hands on his ears and felt the power of God flowing through me, causing my hands to shake. Once the prayer concluded, without any verbal exchange, the grandfather exclaimed, “Very good! Now I can hear clearly.” Praise the Lord, and thank God for using an ordinary person like me.”

 

Learn more about ZOE’s commitment to reach every person with the gospel and how you can support this program! 



Teen Girls are Thriving at ZOE’s Home for Youth in Los Angeles!

April 8, 2024

 

At ZOE, we’re dedicated to nurturing the interests and talents of the youth in our care. When they arrive at our home, often after experiencing unimaginable hardships, we strive to create a safe and stable environment where they can begin to explore their passions.

Recently, one of the youth at our ZOE Los Angeles home shared her interest in mechanics. Thanks to our partnerships with a community partner, a local church, and a nearby business, she is embarking on a paid internship at an auto body shop this week!

This opportunity not only provides practical skills but also instills hope and a clear vision for her future. Your support makes life-changing moments like these possible. Thank you for being a part of our mission to empower and uplift these resilient young individuals!

 

Want to get involved? We’re looking for business owners with unique careers who are willing to provide internships for the girls at the ZOE Home for Youth in Los Angeles! Contact Ester Yu.

Empowering Communities: Your Support Helps ZOE Combat Human Trafficking Locally

February 29, 2024

On February 14th, ZOE joined forces with the SCV (Santa Clarita, California) Human Trafficking Task Force to visit more than twenty local hotels and motels. Together, they shared vital information on raising awareness and protecting victims of human trafficking in the community.

The task force focused on supporting hotel managers and staff to comply with existing laws on human trafficking of both adults and children. California Assembly Bill 2034, mandates restaurants, hotels, massage parlors and nail salons to inform employees and patrons about potential indicators of trafficking by hanging an informational poster in their lobbies or restrooms. Businesses are also required to undergo training to identify the warning signs. 

Before the team set out, SCV Human Trafficking Task Force Lead, Pastor Dan Broyles of Valencia Hills Community Church emphasized a crucial point. “The perception that Santa Clarita Valley is a safe, low-crime area often leads to the misconception that crimes like human trafficking don’t occur there,” shared Dan. “But that reality is quite the opposite. I receive reports of trafficking cases involving local victims on a monthly basis from my contacts within the county’s Department of Child and Family Services.” All the more reason to continue raising awareness and taking proactive measures to address human trafficking within the community.

ZOE Director of Development, Lonna Gibson added, “It was encouraging to see that many of the hotels we visited already knew about the law and had a poster hung in their lobby. The managers were very gracious and thankful to have the resources available to their employees and customers.”

 

ZOE provides free resources like posters, window clings and human trafficking training to churches and businesses. If you are in need of any resources for your business, please contact ZOE’s Assistant Western USA Regional Director, Ester Yu.

Other Resources:

  • Free Online Training: On March 14, 2024, you’re invited to a FREE online training called Protecting Kids Online, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, PST, hosted by ZOE. In this FREE training, human trafficking experts from ZOE will share how you can protect kids from cyberbullying, sextortion, and exploitation. You will be equipped with practical resources that you can put in place today.
  • SCV Human Trafficking Task Force: Want to learn more about the Santa Clarita Valley Human Trafficking Task Force? Visit their Facebook page!

Witnessing Jesus in the Midst of Human Trafficking Investigations: A Testimony from Brad Ortenzi

February 28, 2024

During a recent church service at Petra in PA, ZOE’s USA Eastern Regional Director, Brad Ortenzi, had the privilege of sharing some insights gleaned from his experiences with ZOE International and on the heart of God: A Warrior Rescuer, Tender Father.

“I’m often asked what I’ve learned about Jesus through my involvement in child trafficking investigations. My answer remains consistent: Jesus has revealed to me a duality of His nature, manifesting as a fierce Warrior to rescue and a tender Daddy to restore. This revelation has been evident to me from the very beginning of my journey in this work. I’ve witnessed the transformative power of Jesus as He intervenes in the lives of trafficking victims, both rescuing them from their plight and tenderly restoring their spirits.

In CS Lewis’s book, The Chronicles of Narnia, there’s a memorable scene where Lucy observes Aslan walking away from a celebration. Feeling sad, she asks if he will come back. Mr. Tumnus assures her, stating that while Aslan is not a tame lion, he is good. This duality of Jesus—a gentle, loving nature combined with fierce strength—is beautifully exemplified in the work of ZOE International, an organization dedicated to rescuing children from trafficking and sharing the gospel.” 

One of the most emotionally moving moments of the service was when Brad reflected on real-life trafficking investigations that he was part of. He recounted an undercover operation in Thailand, where they awaited the delivery of two young boys to a client at a hotel. The team could feel the tension as they prayed for a successful outcome. Witnessing firsthand the rescue of these boys and their restoration at ZOE’s Children Home was a testament to Jesus’ unwavering commitment to rescue and restore the oppressed.

Other stories Brad shared from Thailand further highlighted Jesus’ tender care for the rescued children. Through corporate prayer sessions at ZOE Thailand, the ZOE team witnessed the transformative power of His love as children found healing and acceptance in God’s loving embrace. Each of their journeys from shame and brokenness to wholeness and joy serve as a powerful reminder of Jesus’ tender compassion and desire to restore hearts that are brokenhearted.

Near the end, Brad encouraged listeners that as followers of Christ, we are called to be His hands and feet in combating human trafficking. While every person has their role to play, the church has a unique responsibility to lead the charge. 

“The journey of combating human trafficking has taught me invaluable lessons about the character of Jesus. His duality as a fierce Warrior and a tender Daddy is evident in every rescue and restoration. As we continue to fight against this injustice, let us draw strength from the knowledge that Jesus is with us, leading the way with His unwavering love and compassion.”

Do you want to learn more about ZOE’s work on the East Coast? Click here! Or interested in having a ZOE leader come speak at your church or event? Fill out our Request a Speaker form and we’ll be in touch!

Transforming Lives: A Night of Worship and Hope with Jordan Feliz at In His Presence Church

February 26, 2024

Recently, In His Presence Church in Woodland Hills, CA held a worship night concert featuring American Christian musician, Jordan Feliz and ZOE’s work worldwide was highlighted as a ministry partner. This event was more than just a night of music—it was a soul-stirring experience filled with Spirit-led worship and a powerful message of hope!

Prior to the worship time, ZOE International’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Hart, took to the stage to share how the invitation from God to rescue children began right in In His Presence Church. He recounted how God had called him and his wife, Carol, over 22 years ago to start ZOE International when a local missionary came to the church and shared about child sexual exploitation in Thailand. 

“We heard from a missionary that was visiting, that you could buy a little boy or a little girl off of a menu for the night,” shared Michael. “That just broke our hearts. We had heard about all kinds of exploitation of children, but that word human trafficking was new on the scene. We really crawled into God’s heart and prayed and asked him, ‘What can we do?.’ We heard God say, ‘I hear their cries and I need your life.’”

 

 

 

As Michael shared stories of redemption and restoration, tears filled the eyes of many in the audience. It was a stark reminder of the harsh realities faced by millions of children around the world and the urgent need to rescue them. But amidst the darkness, there was also hope—the hope that comes from knowing that God is at work, transforming lives and bringing light to the darkest places.

Michael also highlighted ZOE’s new initiative, the $10 to End campaign, and encouraged attendees to sign up to give just $10 a month to this important work. 

Before and after the concert, ZOE had a booth set-up where concert-goers could learn more about and support ZOE’s mission. It was heartwarming to see the generosity of those in attendance as they gave to support ZOE’s efforts in combating child trafficking and spreading the love of Christ.

On Saturday evening, several girls from our ZOE Home for Youth were able to attend.

“Thank you so much for being a part of this weekend,” said Dennis Dodd, In His Presence Church Praise and Worship Leader. “It was truly an honor to have ZOE there and to share both nights. We love ZOE and all of you and appreciate you so much.”

A special thanks to In His Presence Church for hosting us and for everyone who supported ZOE! To learn more about our new initiative, $10 to End, click HERE!

ZOE Partners with Santa Clarita, CA Churches for Anti-Trafficking Sundays

February 15, 2024

At ZOE International, our commitment to combating human trafficking begins with prevention and awareness efforts in the local community. We believe that education is the first crucial step in eliminating human trafficking.

Recently, ZOE partnered with local churches in the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV), CA for a significant initiative: SCV Anti-Trafficking Sundays. These events held the last two Sundays of January were aimed to raise awareness and mobilize communities to combat human trafficking. These Anti-Trafficking Sunday events served as a focal point for local churches and community members to come together, learn, and take action against the grave issue of child trafficking.

Pastor Cavin, from Northpark Community Church in Valencia, CA, shared, “ZOE International is one of the mission organizations that we’ve supported for many years. We are very familiar with ZOE’s work internationally and domestically including their rescue and restoration work with the victims of sex trafficking in LA County and Santa Clarita. 

I’m thankful for Ester, a representative from ZOE, who joined me last Sunday to discuss the reality of sex trafficking in SCV educating our congregation on prevention as well as ways our people could support ZOE International with their time, talents, and resources.” 

ZOE’s Assistant Western Regional Director, Ester Yu, shared about an impactful conversation she had after the event. “One church member shared that the exact warning I gave to the church about how boys are being targeted by predators happened to their family friend…a boy thought he was communicating with a female peer and sent compromising images to her, but instead it was a male predator who was blackmailing him. Thankfully he told his family and they were able to intervene. And that’s what’s important, that our children know, no matter what they have done or think they have done, they have a safe adult they can tell to help them. There is always a way out.”

The ZOE team would like to acknowledge the support of various churches in Santa Clarita, CA for their collaboration and community support along with ZOE staff representatives who shared their expertise and experiences in the ZOE’s prevention, rescue, and restoration programs below: 

  • Crossroads Community Church 
  • Valencia Hills Community Church
  • The Sanctuary
  • Northpark Community Church
  • Heart of the Canyons
  • High Vision Church 

A key ZOE community partner and SCV Human Trafficking Task Force Leader, Pastor Dan Broyles from Valencia Hills Community Church added, We are excited that about 10 churches in Santa Clarita agreed to bring greater awareness about human trafficking throughout our community and across the world. Churches agreed to spend time praying for, supporting and educating their respective congregations regarding an issue that is not just in other countries, but that is occurring in Santa Clarita and throughout Southern California. 

ZOE was able to speak at many of these churches, and ZOE continues to be a leader in both prevention and restoration regarding those impacted by trafficking. January is anti-trafficking month and the churches believe that they are called by God to care for people in need and this was one small step to care for those who do not have a voice.”

Pastor Jim from Heart of the Canyons shared, “Matthew 25 tells us that the greatest ministry we can give to Jesus is our ministry to the “least of these” (the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned — those who are in need). It’s time for the voices of those impacted by and trapped in human trafficking to be heard, supported, and protected and we are proud to partner with ZOE in their mission to reach every person and rescue every child.”

Another church partner from The Sanctuary, Pastor Marty Walker, shared, “It is our pleasure to continue our partnership with ZOE International. Having them (and their table) present at our Sunday morning services VERY IMPACTFUL. Their presence and availability to engage in conversations with information so vital in our world today was invaluable. Thank you, ZOE!”

Thanks to you, our faithful partners and supporters, together, we’re making strides towards a future where innocence is protected, and lives are transformed through Jesus. 

We believe that the Body of Christ carries the answer inside us for every crisis on earth.

If you are interested in having ZOE speak about human trafficking at your church, or bible study or have an information table, please email Ester Yu at ester@goZOE.org.

 

*Photo credit: Lucas Nava/The Signal

 

ZOE Japan Team Addresses Insights and Collaborates at Conference on Human Trafficking in Japan

January 29, 2024

Recently, The National Police Agency of Japan hosted its 19th Contact Point Liaison Conference on Trafficking in Persons.

During this bilingual event, valuable information and trends were shared by experts from the Community Safety Bureau of the National Police Agency, Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Immigration Services Agency and International Organization for Migration (IOM).

This year, ZOE Japan was blessed to be invited as a guest speaker for the event! Hiromi Hataji, ZOE Japan’s Regional Director, delivered a passionate presentation on the topic of “Protecting children against sexual exploitation.”

Her presentation included some of the alarming trends in online sextortion, tactics of perpetrators, and factors that make children more vulnerable to be targeted by traffickers. 

We are so grateful for God’s favor in giving us this valuable opportunity to be a voice for the voiceless, and to continue our collaboration with the National Police Agency in the fight against child trafficking.  



ZOE Australia Director Witnesses Transformation in Thailand: A Journey of Healing and Hope for ZOE Children

January 29, 2024

David Cross, ZOE Australia’s Director, shares his reflections on his recent trip to ZOE Thailand.

 

“I recently returned from ZOE Thailand, where I was able to spend some time with our team and I was, once again, blown away by the life-changing work that we are all a part of.

 

These children have faced unimaginable hardships and when they first arrive, the hurt and trauma of their pasts are evident in their interactions with everyone around them. Some of them respond with anger and hatred using words that reveal their pain, while others are scared and withdrawn.

 

However, what is truly remarkable is the healing and transformation that takes place over time. It’s almost unbelievable to see how these children change and grow. Some of them are studying or completing internships, while others have grown into adulthood and joined the workforce, and some have started families and gone on to support and help others in need.”

A Sanctuary for the Orphan: How ZOE’s Home in Thailand Became a Beacon of Hope

January 29, 2024

Recently, we learned of a child who had witnessed unimaginable trauma at a tender age and found themselves orphaned and in the spotlight of the news, with no one to turn to. 

Our dedicated ZOE staff, deeply moved by this heart-wrenching story, earnestly considered bringing this child into the loving embrace of our ZOE Children’s Home in Thailand.

As we were planning the logistics and preparing for the child’s possible arrival, a twist of events occurred. The government, initially reported to have located the child’s family, had deemed them unfit and unsafe for the child’s well-being. 

Although we were initially disheartened by the initial turn of events, we were soon contacted by the government with the miraculous news that they intended to send this precious child to our ZOE Children’s Home!

It was a moment of profound gratitude and praise, as we realized that God had impeccably prepared ZOE Children’s Home to be a sanctuary for this particular child as they found solace, safety, and the love of God within the walls of our ZOE Children’s Home. 

Your faithful support and prayers have been instrumental in creating a Home and environment where children like this one can find refuge, healing, and a second chance at a brighter future! Thank you for standing with us in our mission to make a lasting impact in the lives of these vulnerable children.

ZOE Thailand Supports Students Fleeing Burmese Conflict

January 8, 2024

Recently, the ZOE Thailand Team helped educate students at Mae Sot District, Tak Province, which is about 7 hours drive from ZOE Thailand. Most of the students are from the Karen tribe who fled the war in Burma and have come there to study. Since these students don’t have a Thai ID card, it makes life difficult as they miss out on many opportunities and basic needs (including food that is limited to 2 meals per day).

Some of the Thai students told our team that, since studying for more than two years, they haven’t had a chance to see their family. Even though they desire to, they’re not able to go back since they must finish their studies. 

Some of the students shared that even after graduating, they still don’t know what to do or where to go next. One ZOE team member reflected, “When we heard that, we felt sadness for them. And when we look back and think about ourselves it makes us see that we have a million more reasons to thank God for His blessings and grace in our lives.”

USA East Coast Outreach: Transforming Lives and Offering Hope through Personal Connection

January 8, 2024
Update from ZOE’s East Coast Advocate After Meeting A Young Woman On A Recent Sting Operation

 

“I met with a lady for the first time since I saw her on the sting operation we did over a month ago. We talked about meeting many times, but she was hesitant. We would plan things and then she wouldn’t get back to me the day of. It was so exciting to be able to see her again and hear how she was doing.

I was able to give her a nice, new winter coat, a pair of gloves and a big bag full of snacks. I also wrote her a note telling her that she is loved and cared for and bought her a sundae from McDonalds. She was so surprised! She said that she is not used to people being this nice to her… 

She also shared with me that she is trying to get sober and hasn’t done any drugs in two days. She said she has a new group of friends that is supportive of her getting clean. She said she has been having video visits with her children and is hoping to see them soon. It was amazing to hear how she is doing better! She said that she can’t stop thinking about the night we encountered her on the sting. 

She said that something one of the detectives said has really stuck with her. He said, ‘maybe the third time’s the charm.’ This was the third time this detective encountered her at a sting operation. He specifically planned to try to get in contact with her that night and have the advocates speak with her. At the end of our visit, she said that she would be willing to look into detox programs with me because ‘maybe I need some help detoxing after all.’ 

Since we met her, she has been saying that she does not need any detox and so this is huge progress! I am thanking Jesus for this opportunity to love on her. I really feel like the meeting built trust with her and I am looking forward to continuing a relationship with her.” 



Empowering Change: Your Support Drives ZOE’s Impactful Anti-Trafficking Education in Australia

January 8, 2024
ZOE raises awareness and provides education and training about human trafficking to educate individuals and communities about risks that can make someone vulnerable to trafficking. Also, how traffickers exploit others, ways to protect yourself and others, and God’s heart in the midst of it all. Recently in Australia, the ZOE team continued their human trafficking awareness trainings to 586 secondary students and to over 40 teachers or leaders across various institutions.
A school in Tasmania shared, “Thank you so much for coming. I thought your presentation was great and I’ve heard excellent feedback from staff and students already. It was an engaging presentation and although the content was necessarily confronting, it was fantastic to have the mix of statistical information, personal anecdotes, and hands-on activities for the students to be involved in. I was quite moved, personally.”