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March 20, 2019 - 1 comment.

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.

 

November 14, 2013 - No Comments!

A Heartfelt Thank You to our Rescue Walk Participants!


We are grateful to everyone for your generous donation of time, talent and treasure that made the 2013 ZOE Rescue Walk a tremendous success.  As we reflect upon the army of people who made the Walk so special we can truly say that we see the goodness of God in the people around us and we give glory to Him.

Zoe-Walk-End-child-trafficking-5Zoe-Walk-End-child-trafficking-4Over 800 people came together to combat the trafficking of children and to date have brought in over $90,000.00!  Money is still coming in!! This will go a long way in helping us care for the children already in our care and release other funds to find other children waiting to be rescued.  It costs $200.00 per month to meet the needs of one child at ZOE and with this money we will be able to fully care for our 70 children for over half the year!

As individuals came together to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves we saw the exponential power of many released to crush the obstacle of child trafficking in our path. We were deeply grateful to see so many at the Walk who have stood with us for years.  We were equally excited to meet many new friends and look forward to forging new relationships.  Together we have heeded the call to learn to do good, seek justice, help the oppressed and defend the cause of the orphan.  (Isaiah 1:17)Zoe-Walk-End-child-trafficking-7Zoe-Walk-End-child-trafficking-1

 

The ZOE family in Thailand and in the USA are blessed and encouraged to know that so many are standing with us in this battle. As it was said, “we will not stop until every child is rescued.”

 

November 7, 2013 - No Comments!

Are You Ready to Take to the Streets of Santa Clarita?

The 2013 ZOE Rescue Walk is only two days away! What a thrill to see so many people joining together to combat human trafficking. If you haven’t signed up yet, there is still time to signup online or you can register at Newhall Park at 9am.

zoe-rescue-walk-crushing-human-trafickingOur theme this year speaks of the great power that can be released when we join together. This is seen in creation with the SNOWFLAKE. They are some of the most fragile things, but when they stick together they can form an avalanche that roars down a mountain, crushing everything in its path. 

 It is when we are united in oneness of purpose that our strength is exponentially multiplied. This theme will be reflected throughout the Walk this year.

As it takes numerous snowflakes to unleash mighty power.....so it takes numerous voices to combat human trafficking. This is why we are excited to have three great organizations joining us this year at the Walk. Forever Found  exists to support the prevention, rescue and restoration of child trafficking victims. iSanctuary  products provide rehabilitation options for survivors of human trafficking, both domestic and abroad. Share & Do Good  is a giving boutique whose goal is to bring designs with stories of hope made by great causes from around the world.

There is also going to be some incredible food there. Let’s Roll It GrilledCheeseTruck , DogtownDog and ChickFilA. Come hungry!

May all of our seemingly small and powerless voices come together to stir a great uprising to crush human trafficking!

October 10, 2013 - No Comments!

For Volunteers Tim & Jennifer Bussio, The Rescue Walk Matters

Tim and Jennifer Bussio on the ZOE Rescue Walk

“The Rescue Walk matters. It has impact, and if a few hours of our time can make ANY difference to a frightened child, then how could we NOT volunteer?” - Tim and Jennifer Bussio

As seen in the above quote, Tim and Jennifer Bussio are passionate about ZOE International and its mission to fight for human trafficking victims. We asked them a few questions about how they became involved with ZOE and why they are volunteering at the ZOE Rescue Walk for their second year.

How did you find out about ZOE International?

Through our friends Marshall and Stephanie Chabot and The Sanctuary Church.

What made you want to become involved with ZOE?

We both definitely have a heart for children who may not have a voice; they may have no way to cry out for help. We are passionate about helping little ones who, because of size or circumstance, are currently unable to help themselves. It is critically important that these precious children have advocates, have people in their corner who are willing to stand up and say, “I hear you, I see you, I know you are there. Someone is coming. You are not alone!” There needs to be a passionate army dedicated to the rescue of these priceless survivors.

Tim and Jennifer Bussio

Jennifer, Tim, and their grandaughter at last year's rescue walk.

Why are you volunteering for the ZOE Rescue Walk?

Because anything helps. A dollar helps. A shirt helps. A phone call helps. A bottle of water matters. Nothing is too small. It matters. The Rescue Walk matters. It has impact, and if a few hours of my time can make ANY difference to a frightened child, then how could we NOT volunteer?

What would you tell someone who wants to become involved with ZOE and/or the ZOE Rescue Walk?

You may never see or hear or comprehend the impact your contribution makes. That is not relevant. What is relevant, what really matters, is that right now, at this very moment, there are thousands of children who are cold, hungry, alone, desperately afraid, and trying to be brave. They are trying to hope. Mostly, I think they are waiting. They are waiting for that little tiny light—that little bit of difference you can make. Every single one of those children deserves your effort. They were created by the all-powerful and awesome Creator of the universe, and they are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Tell us about your experience helping or participating in the walk last year.

Last year, I assisted Tammy Morrell who was directing the walk and Tim did the logistics, setup, and clean-up. This year, Tim and I will be doing logistics together. My experience from the walk is that I realize whatever I do is a drop in the bucket. I only wish I could do more.

How has your involvement with ZOE impacted your life personally?

It lights a fire in my soul and reminds me that amidst great evil, God's love is still far more powerful and mighty than any force on earth. It is good to see His mercy and love at work.

Thank you to the Bussios for making a difference in the lives of human trafficking victims!

September 26, 2013 - 1 comment.

Boys’ Home Dedication

For roughly the past two years, ZOE has been in the process of planning and building its newest addition.  This new space will be used as a teen boys’ dormitory, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  With the launch of the ZOE Education Program, an education wing is needed in the main building, so the rooms vacated by the boys when they move into the new building will be put to immediate use.

At the beginning of this project, ZOE was approached by the Goldstone, Regenstreif, and Regency Lighting families who committed to funding the entire project!  Now after all the planning, designing, and construction, the new home was recently dedicated.  Many of the donor family members were able to make it out to Chiang Mai, Thailand where they received a grand “thank you,” ZOE style.

ZOE_BoysHome1Only the finishing touches are needed to complete the building, and it’s easy to see that the boys are eager to move into their own space.  Within the next few months, we will be able to hear the shouts of a ping-pong tournament and see them on the balcony doing their homework. ZOE_BoysHome2

 

 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: thank you to the Goldstone, Regenstreif, and Regency families.  We are eternally thankful for your generosity in making this much needed dream a reality.