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All Posts in Children’s Homes

April 30, 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 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.

March 11, 2019 - No Comments!

Longing for Home

ZOE International
By Lori-Ann Tsang

I’ve been contemplating the concept of “home” lately. What are ways we try to make a place feel more like home? In thinking about the structure and physical building itself, unless you are an architect or a builder, your first chance at this happens after the structure has been built and is completed. We bring in furniture, plants, rugs, shelves, and other personal belongings to help us feel at home.  

Long before any plans were drawn up or the first brick was laid for our ZOE home in Thailand, our leaders, planning team, and architects began thinking about this concept of “home.” They knew the building itself would need to be unique and special because of its purpose. It would be place where children rescued from human trafficking could feel safe, secure, and loved…a place they could call home.

The inside is beautiful and very livable!! I love the layout and the building very much. I want a house like this of my own, someday!"

~ Recently rescued youth about ZOE Thailand’s Child Rescue Center

So much planning, prayer, and preparation goes into the building of every structure on each ZOE campus. It is done with love and care, knowing that it will have a far-reaching impact on the precious children who come through the doors.

This reminds me that we have a perfect home being prepared for us. One that is beyond our wildest dreams. “... looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10, NIV).

Find out more about our newest HOME being built in LA: https://gozoe.org/our-work/los-angeles/

May 4, 2018 - No Comments!

Not So Flashy

by Marji Iacovetti

Obtaining accreditation for a nonprofit organization is a daunting task. The process can take 80 personnel hours each week for 18 months. It is also a new legal requirement for organizations that provide residential care for youth in California…so ZOE is beginning theaccreditation journey.

We purchased manuals that describe more than 1,200 standards surveyors will use to rate ZOE during a site visit to our Southern California facilities. Two of our staff members flew to Florida to attend a 3-day accreditation conference. ZOE is also contracting with a specialist who is helping us draft several dozen procedural documents.

Earning accreditation is challenging and costly. When donors think of compelling causes to support, few think about ensuring compliance to hundreds of detailed standards.

In truth though, dollars (and hours) ZOE will spend earning accreditation will bring a solid return on investment. The process will help us to gather useful data, measure our effectiveness, identify needs for improvement, avoid waste, and move forward strategically. It will equip us to serve well.

Accreditation is all about providing excellent care and ZOE is deeply committed to doing that very thing. If you feel drawn to provide financial support for a not-so-flashy but truly meaningful project, please call ZOE’s U.S. office at 661.255.7963.

April 30, 2018 - No Comments!

What’s with NextGen camps at ZOE?

By Abigail Jennerson

For all of us on the NextGen team here at ZOE - 4 missionaries and 7 Thai staff - April is a whirlwind. That’s because all of our ZOE kids are home on school break!!! As we finish out April 2018, I look back on the past two months of prepping and events - exhausted, filled up, proud, excited, closer to our youth and Jesus.

We have two objectives when it comes to NextGen camps here at ZOE: The first goal is to help our children encounter God - whatever that may look like. We want them to know and experience the relentless love of God.The second goal is to give our kids and youth NEW memories. Out with the old, in with the new. We want to begin building and making new memories that are filled with a whole lot of love, joy, laughter, fun and friendship - all in hopes to contrast and replace the old memories that would likely be described with the opposite adjectives.

All of our “camps” at ZOE through the month of April fall into one or both of these categories.

This year some of our new memories involved playing in waterfalls, going to the mall to watch a movie and eat ice cream, driving 4 hours in the back of trucks during Songkran (Thailand’s New Year’s festival - a nationwide water fight - AMAZING!), staying up all night watching movies, eating snacks, dancing crazy, learning/doing hair and makeup, and many hours just hanging out together, having a ball!

Encountering God this year for our youth looked like staying at a retreat center hearing teachings from multiple speakers about God’s trustworthiness. It looked like going to a camp with 1000 other youth from around northern Thailand to sit in five 2-hour sessions a day (that’s a story for another time! WOWZA!), and countless hours in worship - indoor, outdoor, loud and dancing, quiet and calm. Our kids had a week long camp at ZOE learning about the Great Commission and meeting the needs of people around us. Theyeven spent two days doing service projects in our local village!

We finished off with a busy week of English classes, life skills and purity - each of which give our kids tangible and necessary skills and experiences as they grow up and get ready to leave ZOE and face the world.

Every year we try and do something new and exciting, and this year was no different... Our kids and youth came each day with excitement and anticipation for what the day could hold! We all made new memories, no doubt! And when we came expectant to hear from God, He spoke!

I haven’t stopped thinking about it...I am reminiscing on the goodness of our God and all He accomplished this last month. Thank you, Lord!

January 15, 2018 - No Comments!

Prayer is POWERFUL

By Vickie McCoy – Director of Aftercare – Los Angeles

We needed a new well since the current well did not have permit papers, due to how old it is.  Our water design firm received three bids and we were happy the local company where our home will be built had the lowest quote.  You don’t know how far they will have to dig before hitting water.  I was hearing that we could have to drill as low as 1,200 ft. or as high as 500 ft.  The cost difference was tremendous. 

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April 3, 2017 - No Comments!

Camp at ZOE

Here at ZOE we have two major school breaks a year. One in October and the other in March-May. This year we are running three different week long camps simultaneously for our children, pre-teens and teens. By separating them into three different age groups, we can develop more age appropriate lessons and activities.  Needless to say, it is a whirlwind at ZOE!  Wherever you look there are activities going on non-stop. From games on the lawn to excursions to various locations, the coordination is simply AWESOME! Between Thai staff, missionaries and our Leadership Training Program students, everyone is going all out!
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July 11, 2014 - No Comments!

ZOE Builds Children's Home in 2009!

Although bringing awareness of the issue of child trafficking has always been a part of what ZOE does, it was in 2009 that the ZOE Human Trafficking Awareness Campaigns were expanded to reach more and more people.  Our mobile teams have brought awareness of human trafficking to over 11,000 people in vulnerable rural villages in high-risk communities throughout Northern Thailand.

history--2009-3

ZOE presenting awareness program

The team at ZOE is sensitized to deal with human trafficking in a professional manner. The campaigns are often presented to school children by the teams, where the children are taught about “good touch vs. bad touch,” and what to do if they suspect abuse or trafficking is taking place. They are also shown an animated video or a live drama about human trafficking.  All of the materials are presented in a fun, interactive, and age appropriate manner and the children are engaged throughout the presentation.  These campaigns help local communities protect themselves from the trafficker and also aid ZOE in identifying potential victims.

history--2009

Children's Hunger Fund and ZOE distributing food boxes

In 2009, ZOE also began a partnership with Children’s Hunger Fund to head up the Mercy Network program in Thailand. The Mercy Network Program aims to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of villages and communities by sharing the love of Christ with them. They do this through the distribution of much needed food and by bringing the message of the gospel. Through this program, ZOE establishes relationships with village pastors and networks with them, providing pastoral trainings and care, food, and supplies. The boxes of food that ZOE shares with these pastors are an important means for them to connect with those in their communities.   Whether it is through our Human Trafficking Awareness Program or the Mercy Network Program, ZOE is actively working towards its vision to reach every person and rescue every child.

ZOE saw much growth in 2009 as the building of the 40,000 square foot children’s home began.  Below are some pictures of the building progress.

history--2009-4

 

 

history--2009-6

April 17, 2014 - No Comments!

Believing the Best | ZCHLA

We have been sharing a lot about the home ZOE will open in Los Angeles.  Most of our communications have involved the children we will serve.  But we also think about the many staff members who will take care of these precious little ones.

Our ZOE staff will be extremely important to the opening and operation of our home.  We are praying even now – asking the Lord to call those who are to be part of this great journey.  We are praying for staff members who will love unconditionally and share their talents and gifts with the children. We are asking God to bring people who will be encouraging not only to the children, but also to one another. We are asking for staff who will believe the best about their colleagues and about the children. We are asking for people who will fight for the kids to become all that God intended them to become.

ZOE means “Life” in Greek. Our hopes and prayers are that the kids at ZOE Children’s Homes Los Angeles (ZCHLA) will experience new life. We are also anticipating that those who work at the home will also encounter a renewed vision and purpose for their own lives.

Will you pray with us for our future staff as well as for our current ZCHLA team? Truly, prayer is one of the pillars that will support our home and the important work we are called to carry out.