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All Posts in Child Trafficking Restoration

January 21, 2020 - No Comments!

Theory to Practice

By Brandon Kim, Vocational Training Manager

As the goal of our vocational training program, we often talk about moving from “trit-sa-dii” (Thai word for “theory”) to “bpa-dti-bat” (Thai word for “practice”). To this end we have always looked for opportunities to gain experience in authentic settings outside the four walls of the classroom and extend learning to new arenas. So, we were overjoyed that three amazing organizations came alongside ZOE to support our students in this endeavor.

A popular coffee house near the center of town agreed to train two youth in the areas of food preparation and service, and has continued to allow them to intern there three times a week through January. A beauty shop owner has opened her doors to teach one student hairdressing and manicure techniques, and a well-known language school has accepted three of our students into an intensive 10-week English course. 

In addition, we believe that quality time spent together with successful Thai Christian business owners will be invaluable in widening and extending their view of “work.” One student already asked after the first day if she can continue training after she leaves ZOE! Well one thing we know for sure is that God has a great plan and purpose for them that they are only just beginning to discover!

November 26, 2019 - No Comments!

A World Without Orphans

"God put a new dream in my heart over 3 years ago and… 
guess what?!? It's happening!!"

Written by Jessica Dodd

A World Without Orphans.

Can you picture it? A world without any orphans? A world where all children grow up in safe, stable, and nurturing families? I can.

What an amazing experience to be able to attend the Global Forum for a World Without Orphans (WWO), which was held on 24-27 October 2019. With 600 attendees from 60 different countries, WWO has a clear vision to see children thriving, families strong, and churches engaged. The vision will be achieved by helping children remain in, be reunited with, or regain a healthy family, so that they can reach their God-given purpose. The forum focused on the spiritual, relational, and practical aspects for how to best accomplish this aim.

Jessica Dodd with Director of ZOE Children's Home Thailand, Yim at WWO

What was so encouraging about the forum was the spirit of “working together” to care for orphans and vulnerable children better. A united goal of implementing best practices and making realistic changes on every level...from the community/society, government, and even national policies.

A powerful time of worship, as well as the main session, focused on the Father's heart for orphans, steered attendees towards how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. Breakout sessions were taught by experts from around the world, and included both valuable and practical takeaways.

It was awesome to hear about how different countries have changed their policies on every level as a result of the 1st global forum in 2016 (just 3 years ago!).

For me personally, the four days of forum were life changing, inspiring, challenging, convicting, stirring...all at the same time! I'm so glad I got the opportunity to attend. I'm excited about the future, in more ways than one! 

November 22, 2019 - No Comments!

One Child Reflects on Being Raised At ZOE

One of our ZOE children was getting ready to leave ZOE and attend university.  He was in the process of packing up his things and going to his new dorm room.  However, before leaving, he wanted to say goodbye to all the staff, children and missionaries.

As he said his goodbyes, he started to tell Carol Hart, our founder, what ZOE meant to him.  He said,

“ZOE has given me a lot of opportunities…. a good education, a place to stay, good food, safe environment.” 

This was all very important to him, but in his wildest dreams, he never thought that ZOE could ever give him something that he thought was impossible to have.  He said,

“ZOE gave me a mom and dad.” 

He began to weep uncontrollably as he said this in front of his ZOE mother and began to hug her.  He never thought as an orphan, he could have a mom and dad.  Today, he still calls these ZOE parents his mom and dad. He regularly keeps in contact with them and even takes the time out to come visit and help around ZOE.

This is one of the key reasons why we have experienced so much success at ZOE, because we have staff who not only consider their duties as a job, but as a lifelong calling.  These children are not merely foster children passing through, but they consider them as their own.

November 12, 2019 - No Comments!

A Survivor’s Story: Peace

When I was little, I remember one day a Christian family invited us to go to church. We went, and I loved it, but my father did not want me to believe in God so he prohibited me from going back again.

When I was rescued and came to live at ZOE, I was amazed to hear about God for a second time.

I prayed that I would be able to see my family again one day, but I began feeling angry with God that my prayer was not being answered. I also started to doubt if God was even real.

After some time of feeling angry, about my prayer not being answered, a lady came to tell me that she could take me to go visit my siblings. I was so excited but I felt guilty for getting angry at God.

At ZOE, I continue to learn more about God, and read the Bible. When I have problems or questions, God answers me through the words that I read.

I praise God that he gives me the patience that I need to be at ZOE at this time. I know that God is in control of everything. When I surrender my family to God, peace returns to my heart again. Stress and worries about my family are no longer obstacles for me in daily life as I learn to trust in Him.

November 11, 2019 - No Comments!

The Gift of a “Work in Progress”

Our ZOE buildings are meant to be white, which is challenging because the soil on the land where our ZOE buildings are is a deep, rich orange color. Often times it gets onto our clothes, cars, and shoes and it’s really hard to keep things clean.

As I arrived at work this past week, I noticed that there have been a couple of guys painting around the front entrance to the building.

Sometimes as I go to my office, I’ve needed to go a different way, or walk around their tools but mostly, while the work is being done, I’ve been thinking that it all just looks like a bit of a mess.

It’s not only the buildings at ZOE that need maintenance though; my life, those I work with, the parents, and of course the children themselves – are all a work-in-progress and sometimes, everywhere I look there is much work to be done. It all just seems like a bit of a mess.

I don’t often feel like I do a very good job at seeing a mess and just heading straight into it. I am continually amazed at the ZOE staff and parents though, who commit wholeheartedly to seeing lives transformed and throwing themselves in 100% to see the hard work being done.

I’m so thankful that God gives us discernment and sensitivity to the needs around us so that at those times when we just want to walk around, go a different way, or avoid the chaos, He helps us to enter in and “be” with others in the same way that He is with us.

We are loved and accepted, yes, but loved way too much for Him to just let us remain in our pain, shame, guilt, and in our past. He takes those deep, rich orange stains and paints them as white as snow. And every time we find another stain, He does it again – a beautiful reminder of our God who forgives us and gives us a new life and a pure heart. What a wonderful gift!

November 5, 2019 - No Comments!

Where Are They Now?

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.

September 17, 2019 - No Comments!

August STM Blog

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words but I say one word is worth far more than a thousand pictures to convey the work that God is accomplishing through ZOE International in Chiang Mai, Thailand. That one word is GO!

GO! see the vision of ZOE founders Mike and Carol Hart come to life. God is working mightily through this precious couple and a dedicated team of missionaries to combat human trafficking through prevention, rescue, and restoration. While our short-term mission team did not witness the risky work of children being physically rescued from brothels and bars, we did work alongside the ZOE staff and students to educate teens in two Karen hill tribe village schools about ways traffickers trap young people into this growing form of slavery. We did see restoration taking place daily in the youth living at ZOE through an education that equips for life on earth and for eternity. We did see young Thai adults enrolled in a Leadership Training program mentoring those recently rescued. Go see for yourself the power of God at work.

GO! see the Holy Spirit penetrate the hearts of children as they boldly worship Jesus with their whole being, as they lovingly serve those around them, as they gain self-respect and control over their lives for the first time. Go see for yourself how these children who were once abused, lost and alone, come to embody Jesus’ command to love God with heart, mind, and soul and to love others as they love themselves.

GO! see long-term missionaries equipped with every needed skill from all over the world work together in love and unity because each is serving the same Lord. There is a spirit of humility, respect, and love that permeates the entire ministry. The grace and mercy received from God is poured out in spades on these precious little ones. Go see for yourself people who love God go to the far corners of the earth to spread the Good News.

GO! see how the missionaries and Thai workers together have developed a sustainable campus that includes its own water system, a state-of-the-art pig farm, and gardens that provide for 300-500 meals each day. See how a grant from the U.S. funded a shop that allows students to learn life skills of carpentry, welding, and mechanics.

GO! see how God will open your eyes, your ears, your hands, put wings to your feet and thereby change your heart. Our team of 26 short-term missionaries from all over the U.S. were each stretched out of our individual comfort zones but bonded together as the body of Christ, equipped to accomplish more than anyone of us imagined possible. We each went to serve others but ended up being served by those individuals. Go see for yourself how all things are possible with God.  

As for me, as I head back home with a renewed dedication to serve boldly, humbly, and faithfully wherever God has me. I am but one person but because Jesus Christ lives in me, I am perfectly equipped to do His work so I look forward to being involved as ZOE International extends into Japan, Australia, and Los Angeles. When Jesus says "go,” I go. 

GO ZOE! GO GOD!

Written by Nancy Shaw

September 16, 2019 - No Comments!

Pen for the Prime Minister

This summer, ZOE Thailand was presented an award by Thailand's Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha for being an Outstanding Organization in the Prevention and Combating of Human Trafficking.  

When we found out that we would be having the momentous opportunity to receive an award directly from the Prime Minister, we thought "what could we give him to show our gratitude?"

Something handmade, something crafted with care and attention to detail with a personalized touch...

Over the years, many students have received instruction in the basics of woodworking and out of that group some have shown innate inclination and rare talent. In particular, one boy heard about this opportunity to build something for the Prime Minister and enthusiastically volunteered. After two evenings of crafting, experimenting, and perfecting, he assembled a beautiful piece of art that we could proudly hand to the man who leads this country.

We are so very proud of this young man who used his talent and skills to create this special gift.  

By Brandon Kim

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.