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June 14, 2019 - No Comments!

Lead Like Jesus

ZOE Thailand

Lead like Jesus!  That should be the goal of every Christian because, whether or not we are in an “official” leadership role, we’re all leaders.  Leadership happens anytime we influence the thinking, behavior, or development of another person – something we all do!

But where to begin?  Obviously, to lead like Jesus, one must study His approach.  And the only approach to leadership that Jesus validates for his followers is serving!

Thankfully, the folks at Lead Like Jesus have developed a teaching guide to help others lead more like Jesus.  The guide examines and explains four crucial areas of leadership: “Your Heart: Why you lead,” “Your Head: What you think,” “Your Hands: What you do,” and “Your Habits: How you stay on track.”

That’s where Lifeshape comes in! A nonprofit founded in 2003 by John and Trudy Cathy White, daughter of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, Lifeshape’s mission is to engage others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ to break the cycle of spiritual poverty.  ZOE was blessed in June with a visit by Lifeshape to help our missionaries, staff, and students learn to lead like Jesus!

The team, headed by Steve Collins who has participated in almost 20 Lifeshape projects, spent a full week teaching the course three times to the ZOE family.  Steve was especially impressed with our ZOE Leadership Training students! He said they were already engaged in many of the spiritual disciplines taught by the course.  Steve said ZOE’s “sense of community is a healthy dynamic in terms of becoming a servant leader because there is already a desire to create supportive relationships” here.

The Lifeshape team included Jonna Blount who has been with Chick-fil-A for four and a half years and Herb and Marla Davis.  Marla has been a Chick-fil-A franchisee since 1996, operating two stores and consulting at a third. Marla has taken part in 11 Lifeshape projects to date while Herb has been on half a dozen!

ZOE is very appreciative of Chick-fil-A, Lifeshape, and the wonderful men and women who have so generously given of their time and treasure to come all the way to Thailand to teach us how to lead like Jesus!  They certainly are leading by example!

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 1, 2019 - No Comments!

Double Impact

ZOE United States

Impact = to have a strong effect on someone or something.

“Impact” is a great word for the month of April for ZOE. We had a “Double the Impact” campaign where gifts would be doubled up to $50,000. We had close to $49,000 come in and an amazing couple who loves God, is kingdom-minded and generous--hearted is donating the full $50,000 matching promise! This campaign will yield close to $99,000. This came at the right time for ZOE as we are expanding our work rapidly in Los Angeles and resources are needed to support the expansion. We are finishing grading the land to prepare to build our first home servicing Los Angeles. Additionally, we have been asked to serve not just one but two large service areas of Los Angeles County in the First Responder’s Protocol which means ZOE will be on scene within 90 minutes of law enforcement rescuing or identifying a child or youth trafficking victim in these areas. Once on scene, we will begin the process of care and restoration of these precious youth and will aid and follow their first months of healing and transition.

What excites us more than the dollars that came in, is the fact that God is propelling His work through generous partners of ZOE. We see everyone who gives as true ministry partners and part of our ZOE family. Each partner is making an impact. Each gift is making an impact. And each partner has a part in all that God does through the work of ZOE.

God is on the move! He is opening doors of opportunity for kids and youth who need it the most. When Jesus came to earth, paid the ultimate price and rose from the grave He made the greatest impact the world has ever seen. The world has never been the same. 2000 years later, He is still touching lives. He is doing this through the ministry of ZOE. He is doing it through strategic partnerships that are making a difference…making an impact in Los Angeles and beyond.

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. ***

March 20, 2019 - 3 comments

3 Reasons to Celebrate

ZOE Thailand
By Michael Hart

This month, ZOE’s founder Michael Hart shares 3 stories which show why the recent school graduations are cause for such celebration in Thailand.  

It was an extra hot day of 95 F (35 C) when 8 of our ZOE 6th graders graduated on March 12th. In addition to the heat, the air quality was at extremely dangerous levels over 300 AQI. Many of the locals stayed indoors that day or wore filtering masks in order to be protected from the hazy pollution created by the burning fields and forest fires. Yet this outside graduation would not be stopped. It was a time of celebration despite the foreboding elements. These 8 children have had previously experienced atrocities in their young lives that none of us can imagine. Yet, here they stood for over 3 hours in the sun and smoke, without protection, smiling away and enjoying their day of victory. We cheered them on and hugged them, telling them how much we loved them and were so proud of them for their achievements. It was not the weather we remember, but it was looking at them and beholding what God has done in their lives that captured our attention. God is truly “The Father to the fatherless.”

On March 15th, four of our sweet ZOE girls graduated from 6th grade at a different school. We thank God for their school because it is one of the few Christian schools in Thailand, where less than 1% of the nation are followers of Christ. Their school understands the backgrounds of many of ZOE’s children and for years have worked with us in helping to restore them. Education is an important part of preventing and ending child trafficking. These 4 girls were taught all the regular school subjects but in a Christian context. In addition, their school taught them many Thai historical and cultural skills. We think this is great for children to learn more about their own culture and to celebrate their national identity. It was a joy to see their proud smiles and to congratulate them for their achievements.

Also on March 15th, we arrived at 3pm in the hot sun and smoky air to celebrate the 12th graduation of one of our ZOE teenage girls. We were told that we would be able to meet the students for a photo at 3:30 pm. Instead the 300 graduates were escorted straight to their seats while the parents, friends, and families waited until the ceremony was over. Finally, after 6pm the festivities took a pause, so we could see our girl and congratulate her. She was so excited that we were present for her, because she did not have parents to greet her peers. Her ZOE mom lavished her with praise, while the rest of us hugged her and gave her gifts. After that, it was photo time. We stood by her and surrounded her for pictures, helping her experience that she was the most important person on earth in that moment. She graduated with a degree in Tourism, which will empower her to be able to take care of herself in a sustainable career. We are so proud of all our kids and thank God for His loving grace that He showers upon them. All great reasons to celebrate!

December 13, 2018 - No Comments!

From Short Term Missions to ZOE Walk

By Lori-Ann Tsang

In August and January of each year, ZOE Thailand has the privilege of hosting our joint short-term teams. Each team arrives after months of training and planning for their 10-day short-term trip.

They spend time alongside our staff, ministry school students, and missionaries in different settings.  They are given opportunities to serve and get a glimpse of what we do at ZOE.

It is a trip unlike any other they have experienced.  Many of them are forever impacted and changed by their time with us.

This summer one team was so impacted and inspired that they went back home with such a fire and passion to see human trafficking stopped.  They worked with our team in Los Angeles and ran the first ever ZOE Rescue Walk in Hawaii. They were one of three other satellite walks around the country all spearheaded by previous short-term team members. In Hawaii alone, there were 200 walkers and over $3,700 raised.

Gail Nitta, short-term teamer and our on-the-ground coordinator for Hawaii’s ZOE Rescue Walk says,  “This mission trip opened my eyes about child trafficking. I was infected with the amazing work the long term missionaries are doing in Thailand. I believe God told me take it back to Hawaii and help spread the awareness of child trafficking. But most importantly spread His gospel to the people.”

Check out the link to a video created recapping that day.
https://youtu.be/Wg9O8DfksU4

Isn’t it amazing what listening to God and being obedient can do?  

Together you helped us raise over $67,000 with funds still coming in. Thank you for partnering with us.  

June 25, 2018 - No Comments!

From the Road

After 64 days and 3700 miles on the road, 20 Road of Justice cyclists crossed the finish line in Santa Monica Beach on JUNE 23rd, Saturday.  This cycling challenge was started by two of our ZOE missionaries, Brad and Lori Ortenzi. The ride officially kicked off on April 21st in Virginia.  Along the route, other cyclists have joined them in various states.

Below is a brief comment from one of cyclists, Patrice O’Neil.  

Hi everyone:

As most of you know, I’ve recently participated in the The Road of Justice fundraising ride across America.  Don’t worry, I did not do the entire ride - just 3 days. The ride ends tomorrow in Santa Monica, CA. Riders Brad and Lori Ortenzi and Tina Hipp get to dip their front tires in the ocean, completing a journey that started for them in VA on April 21st.  It’s a remarkable accomplishment. I’m so honored to have taken part for just a few days. My sister, Betsy, daughter Tracey, and friend Frances partnered up with an exceptionally dedicated and really, really hilarious group of people for 3 days in AZ. We experienced weather ranging from 47 degrees in the morning to 110 degrees in the afternoon; rain; flat tires - lots of them on Hwy 40, elk, coyotes, 23 mph headwinds (wicked hard), miles of climb, exhilarating steep descents, wild burros looking for snacks, and even had the strangest encounter initiated by carrot cake - ever. We rode between 85-95 miles each day.  

All along the way where it was possible to ride in pairs, we had incredible conversations with Brad and Lori especially. They both have been living and working in Thailand for several years.  I thought I understood ZOE International before but I truly had no idea of the depth and complexity of their work. In a nutshell, they work to prevent, rescue and restore kids and families affected by human trafficking. It’s a tricky, delicate, and very complicated work.  They are passionate about not exploiting children in any way, so you will never see a picture of one of their rescued children, or even hear a specific story. They protect the dignity and privacy of every child - always. It would surely make fundraising easier if they relented on this one point, but to their great credit, they’ll do things like ride across the entire U.S. instead.  They are unerringly respectful of the Thai culture and endeavor to work themselves out of a job as quickly as possible. Every bit of work revolves around carefully cultivated relationships and lots and lots of love. This same respect and care is being applied to their burgeoning efforts outside the L.A. area where they are building a facility to house, care for, and love girls rescued from trafficking.  

I can say with utter confidence that I have never been so impressed by an organization or group of people.  I know there is a lot of attention rightly being given to the children snatched from their parents at the border and I hope that you, as have I, are supporting efforts to reunite families.  I know many of you have already donated to the ZOE fundraiser, and for that, I am truly grateful. I am going to ask you to consider one more donation to ZOE as this particular fundraiser comes to a close.  The overall goal for this effort is $350,000. We’re shy of $250K. Any small amount will be a measure of encouragement and appreciation for the dedication and love expended by these fine people.

On the afternoon of day two, I rode with my sister for several hours.  Most of the group had pulled far ahead of us. We struggled mightily, as had those faster riders in the front, against 23 mph headwinds.  We were frequently pushed off the road by the wind. It was by far the hardest ride I’ve ever done. Brad and Lori circled back and rode with us just to keep us going.  They changed Betsy’s flat tire (her 4th!). We rode and rode and rode, until they encouraged her to take the lead. I didn’t realize we were at our destination and started to trundle past the cheering group on the other side of the road.  Betsy rolled in to high fives and pats on the back. The wind had sucked my brains out of my head so it took me a minute to realize this was our group. (Who else in their right mind would be out there anyway?)

Thank you!
Patrice

To donate to Road of Justice: https://give2.gozoe.org/checkout/donation?eid=130020

May 30, 2018 - No Comments!

CMTA 2018

by Karen Miyamoto 

Recently, I was blessed to be able to attend the Annual Children’s Ministry conference that was held in Pasadena, CA.  ZOE has attended this event that is open to Children’s Ministry leaders for the past 7 years.

 

Being surrounded by leaders and volunteers that are eager to learn how to impact the next generation is always so encouraging.  These leaders and volunteers come to this conference to continually seek new and creative ways to share the love of Jesus and the

gospel their kids.  This event is always fun for me because I get to spend time with some amazing ZOE volunteers that help me at our booth for 2 days.  It’s also great seeing current ZOE supporters stop by our booth to say HELLO as well as getting to meet new people who love the work we are doing.

Dr. Jason Plunkett

This year, our newest addition to the ZOE team, Dr. Jason Plunkett who is our USA Regional Director, taught a break out session at the conference.  The topic he shared about was how the church can get involved in combatting human trafficking.  He enlightened the attendees on various human trafficking statistics as well as different signs to look for to spot a possible victim. Dr. Jason’s session was very informative and educational.

Along with various breakout sessions educating leaders and volunteers on how to teach, interact, and make church a fun place for kids, there were around 40 other vendors/ministries selling products related to Children’s Ministry and/or sharing outreach opportunities children can get involved in.  Speaking with other vendors and ministries always reminds me that there are so many people out there doing great work.  Though I may never see them again, we all take a small piece of the puzzle, to help make a difference in this world.

Being able to share about ZOE’s Kids Helping Kids program at this event with leaders impacting children is always fun.  Kids Helping Kids is a program designed to help children learn in a fun and interactive way about caring for others in need and empowering them to know that no matter how small they are, they can make a BIG difference in the world. Children are given plastic tubes to collect $15 in quarters. This small amount of change can feed, clothe, and educate a child in Thailand fora full week! Funds collected through this program play an active role in assisting ZOE International’s efforts to help human trafficking victims in Thailand.  If this program is something you would like to get your church or home school group involved in, let us know!  It’s a great tool to be incorporated during VBS as well as the holiday season.

If you are a church leader or volunteer that works with children, I highly recommend registering for next year’s CMTA conference.  You will be inundated with so many amazing resources and beneficial breakout sessions.  It’s also a great place to network with other leaders from different churches.  Working as a team is always much more fun.  Click here to get more information about CMTA.

January 4, 2016 - No Comments!

Leaving A Legacy

Our Fight to End Child Trafficking

What You Can Do to Help

Last year was busy at ZOE! Throughout 2015, we were able to share with thousands of people about the work we are doing to fight child trafficking worldwide. In the fall, we hosted two major events, the ZOE Fundraising Gala and the 4th Annual Rescue Walk. We believe whatever you do in love as you give in this fight to end child trafficking will contribute to rescuing children from human trafficking, educating someone at risk of being trafficked or helping a human trafficking survivor heal and grow.

Read more

December 30, 2014 - No Comments!

Coming Together To Do One Thing

November 15th was a very special day for us here at the ZOE USA office. It is hard to believe that over a month has gone by since our very special event. The theme for this year’s 3rd Annual ZOE Rescue Walk was D.O.T., Do One Thing. The topic of human trafficking is often times looked at as an  enormous worldwide problem; but we believe that everybody can do just one thing to make a difference, to bring hope to those waiting to be rescued.

Months of planning and prepping went into this special day and the result, over 850 people walking to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking. That number was just our Southern California campus. In addition, we had three other satellite walks happening on the same day which drew in an additional 300 walkers, bringing the grand total to over 1000 people from Northern and Southern California, Indiana and Illinois all coming together to combat child trafficking!

It was so humbling seeing so many rally  together to be a voice for the cause. We had amazing sponsors that joined with us for our walk; our Gold Level sponsors were Clover and First City Credit Union. Our Silver Level sponsors were Whitening Lightening, Anela Products, CNC West Coast, Inc, Al Brooks Tickets and Rosa Media Productions. Our Bronze Level sponsors were Socal Advertising, Hauge Printing, Simple Air Solutions and JCPenney Portraits. Along with our sponsors and our walkers, we had multiple vendors (Share & Do Good, iSanctuary, Passport 2 Freedom, Forever Found) selling items handmade by trafficking survivors as well as food trucks & vendors (Belly Bombz, The Grilled Cheese Truck, Chabot Cake Creations, Kokolita Cakes ) showing their support.

Children of all ages could be seen throughout the park accompanying their parents; all "doing their one thing" to end child trafficking. Though we did not meet our financial goal of $150,000, the $85,000+ that was raised is such a blessing and will be used towards caring for orphans and rescuing more children.  An exact figure is still unknown due to funds still coming in post walk. Praise Jesus!  We believe that seeds have been planted from this event not only in the hearts of adults that attended, but in the children who will be the next generation to carry on the legacy of bringing hope to the hurting world.

Thank you to everyone that was a part of this event. You made it truly successful! And if you missed the Walk this year, not to worry, we will be looking for you next year at our 2015 ZOE Rescue Walk!

Thank you, Tony Berru Photography for giving of your time to take pictures for us.