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All Posts in Children’s Homes

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.


May 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Make A Joyful Noise

ZOE Thailand

Having active children at home during the school holidays can be noisy - believe me I know! But recently during the Thai summer break, there was more than just the usual noise of kids playing, relaxing, and enjoying their time at home when we offered optional English classes based around the theme “Make a Joyful Noise.” The week-long program had the children learning English in groups based around the lyrics from worship songs and ending with a fun English karaoke competition on Friday afternoon.

Life is filled with “noise,” often times distracting us from our daily tasks: the phone ringing, social media notifications, arguments, construction sites, or even people talking loudly as they pass by. But joyful noises like laughter and singing, shouts of praise, clapping, as well as music, playing instruments, and dancing - these are wonderful noises that bring both pleasure and joy.

I know, from the group that I taught, that bringing music into the English classroom was a wonderful and different way to learn new vocabulary. The lively sounds of music and singing, mixed in with the laughter of playing games and practicing speaking, were all joyful noises that I’m sure I will remember for a long time.  

May 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Parents’ Night Off

ZOE Thailand

Ever felt drained by the demands of parenting? I know I have. It can be easy to give every last bit of energy to your children and neglect the other important relationships in your life, or even taking care of yourself.

It’s really hard to find the balance between keeping your marriage strong, building external friendships, and having family time. Many parents become so focused on their children’s needs that they fail to recognize that their own marriage, personal time, or friendships are deteriorating.  

Whilst it’s true, children thrive when they receive lots of love from their mothers and fathers but parents also need to set aside time to recharge and focus on their other relationships like their marriages and friendships. This is why we regularly have a team of people to help organize parents’ nights off for the ZOE parents. Some of the team cook dinner for the parents, while the rest of them help to oversee activities for the kids to ensure that our hardworking parents regularly get a well-deserved break.

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

May 4, 2019 - No Comments!

Summer Workin’

ZOE Thailand
Brandon Kim

Don’t we all have fond memories of our summer break jobs? Working as a lifeguard at the community pool or helping an uncle install carpeting; we all have a special place in our heart for our first “real” job. This summer (summer break in this part of the world is mid-March to mid-May), eight of our vocational training students got to share in this milestone and memorable coming-of-age experience…

One teenage girl is serving delicious and healthy dishes at a popular farm-to-table restaurant. At the interview, she shyly described her previous experience as a hospitality intern two years ago through our vocational training program, and upon hearing the name of the reputable hotel she was hired on the spot!

One teenage boy is using his construction skills to make building improvements. Just a month prior, he saw a team of workers installing rain gutters on our campus and took the initiative to ask if he could approach and join them. Now, he travels daily with his crew to job sites around the city and has the callouses to prove it!

Six teenage girls are learning first-hand the behind-the-scenes operations of a large resort and conference center. From food preparation and beverage service to front office greeting and housekeeping, they are paired up with experienced staff who are guiding them through rotations in a four-week internship. One week down and three to go!!

Please keep these youth in your prayers. I can't tell if they love their jobs or hate them, but hey, that's all part of the experience, too, right?! 🙂

May 2, 2019 - No Comments!

Discipleship in Action

ZOE Thailand
LoriAnn Tsang

During Thailand's summer break, our ZOE children and youth are given the opportunity to participate in two weeks of Bible camp, put on by our discipleship team.

Our team integrated fun activities, object lessons, team competition, and teaching to communicate God’s word.

The team built an obstacle course at ZOE so our children could physically experience obstacles they had to face and overcome. What an amazing representation of the challenges and obstacles that face us in life. It was the perfect introduction to the camp.

One of our missionaries shares:

“This year the Junior Highers were able to just BE Junior Highers...in all the glory & awkwardness that that brings!!! They were goofy, crazy, silly!!! It made me so happy to see that we had created an environment where they felt comfortable enough to just let loose and be themselves--an environment where they could laugh without holding back! And yet, when session or teaching time came, they were so focused and engaged, showing maturity too. It was special...Every moment felt like it had value. There wasn't any activity that the kids seemed uninterested or bored. They were excited about every little thing we did!”

After two full weeks of activities and teachings, they shared in a worship and testimony night.

Here are a few quotes from that evening:

"Thank God camp was so fun and had the best teachings this year."

"I grew in God and grew closer to God. My spirit grew."

"I complain a lot. But after hearing the teaching about thanking God, God is changing my heart to thank Him in everything instead of complaining."

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

April 30, 2019 - No Comments!

Mud Brick Making

ZOE Thailand
Andrea Cross

Do you have memories from your childhood of playing in the mud? I know I do. Fun times in the backyard making mud cakes - squishing and squeezing the sludge between my fingers and toes. And then my dad coming with the garden hose and squirting my sister and me until we were clean enough to come inside and take a shower.

As an adult, though I avoid getting dirty and I really don’t seek out the feeling of squishy mud between my toes anymore, in all honesty I do think there is some truth to the quote, “The most memorable days usually end with the dirtiest clothes.” It was true for me growing up, for sure.

This was also the case recently for some of our boys who got an opportunity to experience the initial stages of constructing a mud house as part of the new Clay House Project at Wycliffe Thai. Wycliffe is eager to develop and pass on the knowledge and skills involved in building these mud brick houses as a practical solution for a strong, durable, and low-cost housing.

The boys got to help with the process of making the mud bricks, and you can see from the photos that they had to get actually get down into it, to really be able to help. Stage one included preparing a stomping pit and filling it with soil and water. The soil and water had to be in the stomping pit for at least 2-3 hours to break down the hard soil and make it easier to mix. The stomping process lasts until the soil breaks down into small pieces and becomes smooth.

The boys’ responses confirmed that it was a really fun learning experience. They hope to go back soon to see the progress as the structure of the mud house takes shape.

April 4, 2019 - No Comments!

ZOE Feels Like Home

ZOE Thailand
By: Alison Sauder
January 2019 Short Term Team

I didn’t want to turn around because I didn’t want the tears to keep coming. I threw my bags on the security belt, and snuck a glance anyway. Yup, there they were, still waving. The tears flowed down my cheeks, and my attempts to stifle them failed. I covered my face, and tried to regain my composure. I slapped a smile on my face, but instantly missed the people I had gotten to know in this beautiful country, in this beautiful organization. I looked one last time, positive that they had left by now. I was wrong. I smiled with teary eyes, and waved back to the missionaries who had shown me so much love, so much compassion, and so much joy the past 10 days.

I took my seat at my gate, and while waiting for my flight, I began to reminisce.

ZOE feels like home. It's incredible, because in fact, it is actually 8,357 miles from home. But pulling up, sitting in the transportation vans, I was filled with butterflies and excitement and peace. And then, I saw the house. I saw the kids, and I saw their smiles. Honestly, it just felt like home. Instantly, I was greeted with open arms, fully comfortable with these people and the space they were offering me.

Granted, I had been to ZOE before. However, I can’t say that the first time was much different. A few extra butterflies, maybe, but the same sense of peace and comfort was residing in my spirit. I am convinced it is a gift that God has blessed ZOE with, among so many others.

I checked the clock, and I still had an hour of stifling tears and remembering before our first flight. I pulled out my journal and began to make some lists, because I didn’t want to forget any person or any slightly butchered Thai phrase that I attempted to learn.

I cannot stress enough, ZOE is incredible, but the people that are involved in ZOE are what makes the experience so unforgettable. As a young adult, I’ve traveled around a bit in recent years, but also strive to build an impactful church community around me in my hometown. Interacting with the ZOE Leadership Training students was so meaningful to me. Considering we are relatively the same age, I began to compare the traits that make them so incredible, and find ways to apply them to my own life and the people around me.

These leadership students are devoted. They get up at 5am every day, they read the Bible for an hour, pray for an hour, and worship for an hour, all before their day full of business and Bible classes. They have homework in the evening, and still find ways to serve joyfully around ZOE and mentor the children. How many times have I cringed getting up at 7am to go to work, and then after my 8-hour shift, plopped down on my couch to relax for an hour before starting my next assignment, all with an impartial attitude? God, please PLEASE give me the joy and the dedication to love You the way You call us to.

By profession, I work with kids, and have for the past 6 years. Coming to ZOE, knowing what the children have been rescued from and the horrors that they've seen, it's almost unfathomable to think that they can still experience their childhood. They’re still children. They still love sports, trampolines, smiles, and movies. They have so much to offer, and so much to look forward to. The healing that they've experienced is most definitely a God-thing.

How many times have I been bound by unforgiveness, simply because someone canceled plans on me, or betrayed my trust? How could those children experience such healing, joy, and forgiveness after such unspeakable hurt, when I seem to be broken by such insignificant things? God, please give me a heart to forgive. Replace the bitterness with joy, love, and quite simply, YOU.

Going to the village with the ZOE Child Rescue Team and the leadership students was a major highlight for me. Sure, there were downfalls. A very long ride up the mountains with countless turns made even those who didn’t have weak stomachs, sick (however, to put it in perspective, we got to ride in those nice MILK vans I had previously mentioned, while the leadership students rode on the back of a truck).

These people are so willing to serve, constantly. They don’t often get a chance to sit down, and the smiles and laughter never leave their face. Honestly, I’m pretty sure they could’ve done a whole lot more without us Americans to slow them down, but it was a learning experience for so many on the team.

How many times do I take so much time making sure something looks perfect, or focus on completing the task instead of remembering the reason behind it? A perfectly orchestrated ministry without any heart or vision or JESUS, is absolutely nothing. God, please help me to always remember WHY You call me where You do, when You do, and how You do. Help me to complete even the most mundane tasks with joy, because You are behind it all.

I hear bells dinging in the world beyond my thoughts, and I see people shuffling around me. I realize that my flight is beginning to board, so I quickly pack up my things and get in line for the airplane. I let out a deep breath, filled with hope.

Not only am I returning home with new stories, new experiences, new memories, and plenty of pictures to prove it; I am returning home with fresh vision, newfound challenges, and renewed passions for the year ahead. Me and Jesus, we are going to try our best (well, let’s be honest, I’ll try my best. Jesus always comes through) to transfer these life lessons into the community around me and into my daily life. Oh Jesus, let it be so.

March 25, 2019 - No Comments!

Imagining Happiness

ZOE Thailand
By Andrea Cross

It was the last day of the art exhibition. One of our ZOE young adults had her final pieces of artwork displayed, along with the rest of her graduating Arts cohort.

The odds were against my husband and I making it; one of our children had a badly broken leg, another wasn’t feeling well, but we knew we wanted to go encourage, and celebrate, this gifted young woman who we have known and watched grow up over the past nine years.

Rushing and feeling a little disheveled, we set off.

As we arrived at the gallery, we saw her waiting. Her face lit up as she spotted us - filling our hearts with joy. This girl really is special.

We had watched her transition from living with her family at ZOE, towards  independence. We had seen her learn to ride a motorcycle, begin university, practice English, cook and manage a budget. We had met her university friends and admired many of their art projects, scattered around the transitional home. We’d watched her settle into her first dormitory room, but also seen the love she exhibited for her family and noticed the times she longed to be around people and her desire to remain connected.

This day was a momentous occasion and reason to reflect on just how far she’d come.

Of course, we wanted to go straight to her work and see what she had produced but her humble, sweet nature meant that she began showing off her peer’s art displays first.

As she led us around the gallery, I was filled with shock and amazement at how good the artwork was. I could not believe that these pieces were actually created by university students. Piece by piece we marveled and stood admiring the time, effort, and detail that was obvious in each different style of artwork.

That’s when we arrived at hers. “Imagining Happiness.”

Upon close inspection, we inquired as to what she had used to create her art pieces. There were five in total.

She told us that she had crushed egg shells and dyed them all different colors and then stuck each tiny piece in place to create the pictures. She explained that she didn’t have as big a budget to spend on her pieces as some of her peers. She needed to be resourceful as well as creative in her pursuit of producing her final art project. I mused that she must’ve eaten a lot of eggs but she told us that she had collected egg shells from wherever she could, including ZOE.

I really love to see things upcycled, recycled, and reused for a different purpose. It’s partly the way I have been raised but I also believe it’s God’s heart for us. Something once seen as waste, thrown out, not needed - He takes those. He repurposes them, He makes something new.

And here we were staring at these beautiful plaques that she had hand crafted but that also symbolized to us how God really can turn our lives around. He takes the parts that are broken and discarded and He pieces them together, maybe not how they were originally, but He makes something new and even more beautiful.

It is a process that takes time to piece together and carefully position. In the hands of the Creator though, He can transform us into something different, stronger, and better than before.