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February 15, 2019 - No Comments!

Wai Kru Day

ZOE Thailand

By Andrea Cross

Teacher’s day is celebrated in many countries around the world in October but Teacher’s Day or ‘Wai Kru Day’, as it’s called in Thailand, is a day in January when students show respect to their teachers by participating in school ceremonies to honour their teachers.

Many teachers around Thailand are given awards for outstanding service, for their attention to teaching and their love to guide their students. The teachers at the ZOE Learning Center, love teaching and do it wholeheartedly but one teacher reflected, “Though we may not get outstanding awards like other teachers, we have happiness and have peace as we serve God because we know He called us to come and serve here at ZOE. We help and teach students with God’s love, and we don’t do it for ourselves, but for our students and to honour God.”

We are so thankful that the amazing ZOE teachers answered the call to use their skills and talents to guide and educate the students in the Learning Center.

February 11, 2019 - No Comments!

Helping to Heal

ZOE Thailand

By Andrea Cross

You’ve probably heard it said that “hurt people hurt people,” tending to inflict their hurt and pain on others around them. Past hurts can cause people to become defensive and self-protective; hurting others can become a vicious cycle.

At ZOE, we believe that God can help break that cycle. He offers His healing and hope. In fact, sometimes healing does not occur in the way we’d expect, in the counseling room or in the ‘programs.’ Many times, we see that healing begins in the most unlikely places.  

Every week, the teachers at ZOE Learning Center in Thailand take students off campus to do charity work with the aim of training them to think outside of their pain and commit to helping others. Usually they go somewhere local but recently they took the students to a neighborhood farther away. Their mission, on this particular day, was to help a disabled man who, through his struggles, is trying to care for his teenage son.  

The students cleaned his house, played music, and prayed for him.

Upon their return to ZOE, they were all so happy that they’d been able to help. They excitedly began planning for the next trip. As the ZOE teachers intentionally look for ways to teach the students to focus on others, they planned the following week to go and help an elderly lady in a different village.

One girl, who later could not stop thinking about the man they’d helped, bought something with her own money and asked her teacher to give it to the man to bless him.

People in pain and crisis often find themselves the focus of others’ attention. They can get used to people asking how they’re doing and whether they need anything. Our ZOE parents are so great at loving, hugging, and caring for children in pain and meeting them where they’re at. But somewhere, in the midst of self-focus, it’s also healthy to be able to steer them towards helping others in need because sometimes it is in the ‘helping’ that the ‘healing’ can occur.

One of the teachers shared that, “The opportunity to serve others actually helps all of us.”  At ZOE, we recognize that “hurt people can hurt people” but we also see how sharing in other people’s pain can help some begin to heal. Relief from pain starts to come as they help others who are also struggling, enabling them bit by bit to let go of some of their hurts and begin their healing process.

February 6, 2019 - No Comments!

The Home Front and the Fight

The Home Front and the Fight Against Human Trafficking – Part 2: Community Awareness and Action

By Jessicah Ray, PA-C

ZOE International

From Individuals To Communities

In August of 2018, ZOE shared practical tips for individuals to fight human trafficking on the home front by keeping eyes open to the signs of domestic violence, and by speaking up (http://gozoe.org/2018/08/24/the-link-between-domestic-violence-human-trafficking/)when the signs are there. In this addition to the series, we will broaden from the individual to the community - to learn how we can unify individual efforts to generate the greatest impact. 

Opening Eyes & Speaking Up = Awareness & Action

Community Is The Key

Entire communities are affected by human trafficking, so it is imperative that the community as a whole is prepared to recognize and react as a united force. This year’s Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) (https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/282798.pdf) emphasized the importance of communities as the key experts to incorporate local context, unique trends, and population-specific needs into their public anti-human trafficking programs (Department of State, 2018). Often, these contextual details are too remote for global initiatives but are nonetheless more effective in addressing human trafficking (Johnstone, 2018). For example, it is globally known that the combination of human vulnerability, high profits, and low risk is the greatest catalyst to fuel human trafficking (UNICEF, 2017), but what does that look like in our communities? Is human trafficking concealed in our nail salons, hotels, or massage parlors? Is it hidden in plain sight by the 13-year-old getting into the car of her older boyfriend on a school day? Is it more obvious when the same child walks around the dark parking lot of a motel? Empowered communities are aware of what trafficking looks like in their area, and can act by activating trained response protocols that utilize local resources and partnerships. 

Community Must Target The 3 P's

So how does a community develop an awareness and action plan? Several resources exist to train communities in anti-human trafficking public programs. Successful multilevel anti-trafficking initiatives have confirmed that the critical factors for an effective response must include addressing "the three P's" of protection of victims, prosecution of human traffickers, and prevention of human trafficking globally (Department of State, 2018). Community leaders can focus public development projects on awareness and action on these three P's, especially among the priority groups that are most likely to come in contact with human trafficking victims such as first responders, local authorities, and community resource providers. Trained priority groups must establish strong partnerships with each other to strengthen the community response through shared knowledge and resources. ZOE is privileged to partner alongside these priority groups domestically and internationally to address the three P's.

The TIP report serves as a guide for communities to build awareness trainings and action protocols with several step-by-step tools including how to:

  • Build multi-stakeholder partnerships 
  • Conduct community-focused needs and resource assessments
  • Conduct community-wide training and awareness programs
  • Develop Response Protocols

Strengthen Community Initiatives Through Research

Numerous anti-trafficking programs have been launched from local to international levels, but we are still learning which strategies are most effective. Evidence-based research is vital to enhance both the awareness and action targets of the three P’s. Through research we can determine the most effective prevention strategies, the risk and protective factors of victimization and survival, the effectiveness of current health care screenings and response protocols, and ultimately the best way to implement human trafficking prevention and intervention programs (Rothman et al., 2017). Community involvement in this dynamic research is critical because of the diverse resource needs of survivors of human trafficking.

National governments and international organizations should welcome communities as valuable allies in the global mission to end human trafficking. At ZOE, we believe communities have the power to serve as an essential advocate and foothold against human trafficking. We are so thankful to all of ZOE's community partners including law enforcement, government agencies, churches, schools, organizations, and families who stand with us in the fight to end child trafficking.


Department of State. (2018, June). 2018 Trafficking In Persons /report.https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/282798.pdf

Johnstone, K. (2018, June 28). The power of local communities in the fight against human trafficking. DIPNOTE. Retrieved from https://blogs.state.gov/stories/2018/06/28/en/power-local-communities-fight-against-human-trafficking

Rothman, E. F. 1. erothman@bu. ed., Stoklosa, H., Baldwin, S. B., Chisolm-Straker, M., Price, R. K., & Atkinson, H. G. (2017). Public Health Research Priorities to Address US Human Trafficking. American Journal of Public Health107(7), 1045–1047. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303858.

UNICEF. (2017, January 13). What fuels human trafficking? Retrieved from https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/what-fuels-human-trafficking/31692

January 31, 2019 - No Comments!

Hospitality Training

ZOE Thailand

By Lori Ortenzi

Girls studying at ZOE’s Learning Center began a 6-week Hospitality Course recently. Instructor and ZOE missionary Lori Ortenzi reflected on their first day.

The students had no idea what to expect from their cooking class today. There was a mixture of excitement and nervousness as we drove to the market together. The best part of the day was during our drive, one of the students asked to play a worship song. All of the students began to sing and after the song was over, one of the students asked, “Mae, can you please pray now?”

The cooking school provided an instructor and clean up staff for our private group of students. The students were only asked to cook and eat their food. However, the students wanted to wash all of their dishes, pots, and pans. Our students stopped to pray before our meal. The staff was so impressed and their instructor was impacted by their kindness and good manners.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to teach our students and for the donors who wanted to provide this cooking class for our students to learn in a different environment. Through the 6-week course, they are learning how to shop for ingredients and developing confidence to make a few smaller recipes by themselves.

January 30, 2019 - No Comments!

Children’s Day

ZOE Thailand

By Lori-Ann Tsang

In January, Thailand celebrates Children’s Day with a plethora of different activity options for parents to bring their children to. The flurry, busyness, and crowds of the day may seem a little over-the-top and daunting, that one may feel it is not worth the effort to try to bring your children out to these events. Yet the crowds are everywhere.

Why do parents do it? When I reflect on it, I have to compare it to Disneyland. As an adult, I may not have much desire to go to “the happiest place on earth.” I don’t like crowds or lines and the rides may not be of much interest to me. But, when I think about the wonder, awe, and joy it would bring to a child I love...that would motivate me to face the things I don’t enjoy for the sake of bringing joy to someone I love.

Our parents and Next Gen team took our ZOE children on an adventure to Wing 41, a Thai Air Force Base. They enjoyed eating snacks, playing games, climbing on fighter jets, meeting pilots, seeing a dog show, and then watching an air show. What a wonderful day they had.

Children need adventure. Children need to laugh and play and see new things. ZOE strives to give each child every opportunity to be a child. We celebrate their precious lives! We are so thankful for the gift they are.  

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 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 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/

November 27, 2018 - No Comments!

Teachers Who Inspire

by Andrea Cross

The teachers at ZOE are hard-working, kind, patient, dedicated, professionals that help to steer children’s lives in a positive direction.  These teachers help create an environment where students feel safe, are able to concentrate, and develop into independent learners.

Every teacher needs professional development—in the form of practical training—so that they can safely and confidently focus on teaching. And every student deserves the benefits of a safe and productive learning environment.  Just like the training required for any specialized profession, teachers must receive ongoing training.

Four of our ZOE teachers recently attended a professional development training where they learnt about several topics, one of them being, Emotional Regulation Strategies.

At the training, they had the opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with others which, they said, helped them to understand more about working with and accepting other people’s opinions as well as analyzing problems. They also said they got many new ideas from the lecturer that will be practical tools for both their work and personal lives.

I once read a quote that said, a mediocre teacher “tells”... a good teacher “explains”... a superior teacher “demonstrates” but a great teacher “inspires”.

What a privilege it is to have teachers that inspire, motivate and shape our students to want to be the best that they can be.

Most of us would be able to testify to the fact that we have reached many of our life’s achievements because of the joint effort of many encouraging teachers along the way that helped to shape and direct us. We are so thankful for the ZOE teachers who continue to improve at their profession by striving to do their best, participating in ongoing professional development and inspiring their students!

November 20, 2018 - No Comments!

Thankfulness is ZOE Culture

This time of year we are reminded to ponder the things we are thankful for.  God has called us to be continually thankful which is something we should all strive to do.  Although Thanksgiving is an American Holiday, the act of ‘thanksgiving’ is very much Kingdom culture and also ZOE culture.  

Our hearts overflow with joy and thanksgiving at ZOE when we see that God is transforming our children’s hearts.  Recently, one of our children came excitedly up to her mom with an idea. Apparently it had become very obvious to her the amount of money it cost to care for her and the rest of the ZOE children.  She was so moved by this that she wanted to help raise money to contribute. She was thankful and out of her thankfulness she was moved to action.

We feel a personal responsibility to continually be thanking God for you, our spiritual family, every time we pray. And we have every reason to do so because your faith is growing marvelously beyond measure. The unselfish love each of you share for one another is increasing and overflowing! - 2 Thessalonians 1:3, TPT

This verse is a prayer not only for the children in our care but for all of you who partner with us to see every person REACHED and every child RESCUED.  

We are continually thanking God for you!