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All Posts in Child Trafficking Restoration

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. 

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

May 29, 2019 - No Comments!

It’s Not JUST Swimming

ZOE Thailand

What’s better than jumping into a cold swimming pool when the temperature rises on a sweltering Thai summer’s day?  Being able to swim!

By knowing how to swim, it means that the children at ZOE Thailand can enjoy the wonderful sensation of being in the pool – in a safe and pleasurable way. The sensory experience of being in water is both relaxing and enjoyable.

Research says that there are huge physical benefits to swimming. Learning to swim is both a full-body cardiovascular and respiratory workout! At ZOE we love to see the children’s stamina, flexibility and muscle strength develop.

There are many other advantages to knowing how to swim, such as building concentration, becoming physically stronger and developing coordination. It also encourages an active and healthy lifestyle.

At ZOE we never underestimate the social aspect of swimming either. Playing together in the water helps to form bonds based on trust and fun. For children recently rescued from negative situations, socialization skills can be enhanced through various water games and activities.

During swimming lessons, children take pride in each individual achievement and work towards achieving new goals.  As their abilities and confidence increase, children are able to overcome fear and celebrate their successes with their friends, family and their swimming teacher!                      

At ZOE, it’s not JUST swimming!

*** ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show children's faces. Faces shown in photos are Thai staff or Leadership School Students . ***

May 27, 2019 - No Comments!

Aussie Aussie Aussie

ZOE Australia/ZOE Thailand

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi” are not words I hear cheered very often since moving to Thailand, but during English class this past week, an Australian guest was just the excuse we needed to incorporate some joyful chanting and help make him feel right at home.

Jason Pater is a chartered accountant with a heart for those in need. He is also Payton Foundation’s CEO.  Jason, who was visiting ZOE this week, represents many who have given either as a Payton Capital client or via donation directly to the Foundation. Payton Capital 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. With the help of many generous Australians, Payton Foundation is committed to supporting  ZOE’s Vocational Training Program and Learning Center.

With Jason’s visit this week, the vocational students had the opportunity to show their appreciation for Payton’s ongoing assistance as well as find out more about Australia. They looked at the four largest cities, and learnt about some of the native animals, sports and occupations.  Class ended with a game that incorporated tasting popular Aussie snacks like honey crackles, ANZAC biscuits, Vegemite and fairy bread and most importantly learning how to correctly proclaim, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!”

May 16, 2019 - No Comments!

It’s Electrifying

ZOE Thailand

Many of us can change a light bulb, install a new outlet cover OR even install a new light fixture. But when it comes to the wiring behind that electrical panel, there is that fear in the back of our minds that if we mess up there is a good chance we will have a shocking experience! Our solution is to dial the nearest electrician. So imagine the challenge our students took on recently when they studied electrical circuits.

The main teaching component was taught at ZOE where they built a basic household circuit. Students were given instructions and hands-on practice for measuring and cutting wire and also learned about fuses, meters, and circuit breakers. For their final exam, students had to demonstrate their technical skills by reading a schematic diagram and accurately constructing a complete electrical system. We are so proud to see that all our students passed and believe that the analytical and troubleshooting strategies they developed in this process will extend to areas of life far beyond flowing electrons!

ZOE’s Vocational Program is designed to give children "real life" experiences to equip them for their future.

May 9, 2019 - No Comments!

Ready for the Rain

ZOE Thailand

In this season, it is 100-plus degrees almost daily, and the reservoir we pass each day on our way to ZOE is at the lowest we have ever seen it. “When is rainy season going to start?” I think to myself.  We sure could use some rain.

Recently, one of our young men started working installing rain gutters. He loves working outdoors and has been training with our vocational program for a few years now. He and his work crew are preparing homes and businesses for the upcoming rainy season. They are fabricating and then installing gutters so that when the rain comes, the rainwater can be channeled correctly to catchments or away from the buildings’ exterior walls and foundations preventing damage.

The work he is doing now is not unlike the work he has done to prepare himself to be at a place where he can successfully work alongside others in a vocation of his choosing. He worked hard, learning and growing in his skill sets. So when this opportunity came, he was ready for it.

Are you ready for the rain?
“The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands…” Deuteronomy 28:12

May 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Freedom to Choose

ZOE Thailand

On Easter Sunday, one of the most sacred days for Christians, something happens throughout churches all over the world.  Although the decision to be baptized in water can happen any day or time, people often choose this day, to profess their faith and symbolize their new life following God. Baptism on Easter Sunday is particularly significant because it’s the day Jesus Christ returned to life.

In expression of their faith, several ZOE children were baptized at their local church on Easter Sunday.

Before getting baptized, one girl had a chance to talk with her birth mother about her decision. She said that she would like to be a Christian and get baptized and her mother supported her choice.

This girl first heard about God when she was young. A Christian friend had invited her to church many years ago.

On Sunday when she was baptized, she said she felt "new" and hopes to be guided by God forever.