fbpx

All Posts in Missionaries

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 3, 2019 - No Comments!

The Mountain Before Us

ZOE International
Brad Ortenzi

I stood in the dark looking for the peak of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain. The 30-mile race to the top was about to start and 7,000 cyclists straddled their bikes, crowded together at the starting line. We all shared the same unspoken knowledge that the next few hours were gonna hurt. “What am I doing here?” I asked myself. I was about to cycle up an 8,000-foot mountain that punishes anyone wanting to reach its heights.  Some cars can’t make this climb.

This predawn experience reminded me of my first few weeks in Thailand when I asked myself that same question, ”What am I doing here?” Almost 5 years ago I had left people I loved and a career that was a great fit for me to come to Thailand to fight child trafficking with ZOE. We knew that God was calling us here, no doubt about it. But upon arrival when it came time to create goals to find children, I had a vision of a huge mountain in front of me. The mountain represented child trafficking and the hold the enemy had on enslaved children. I was daunted and fear began to fill my heart. I was called here to use what I had learned the previous 20 years to lead a team to help rescue enslaved children. Now when it was time to lock and load, I wasn’t sure where to begin. As I studied the mountain, I could hear the enemy laughing at me.

The next few months were the most difficult of my life. Not because that was God’s design but because it took me awhile to learn to be yoked with the Great Rescuer who was leading me in this fight. You see, I thought the abilities that had served me well in the past were the key to fighting child trafficking in Thailand. Nope. Instead, I learned that the key to climbing the mountain of child trafficking was first sitting at the feet of Jesus.  His presence emboldened my identity in Him, filling me with courage, inspiring me to serve, as I claimed the gift of joy of a life in the service of the King. As I learned to sit at His feet, the wisdom He gave began to bridge gaps, build relationships, create structure, and ultimately build teams that rescue children. And without me even realizing it, we began to climb the mountain.

This memory of my first few months in Thailand filled me with courage as the race started. The nervousness turned into determination and I slowly began to cycle up the mountain, one crank at a time. Five hours later I stood at the top of Doi Inthanon looking over Thailand’s beautiful jungles and thanking God for the journey. Not just the journey of the past five hours but the past five years. This journey was rugged, untamed, and difficult but most of all: amazingly beautiful, just like the jungle I was looking over. In this journey, I’ve been privileged to have had a front row seat watching the Great Rescuer fight for His children with a passionate love that is unstoppable. And after the rescue of children, watching the fearless Rescuer become the compassionate loving Redeemer who heals and restores. I wouldn’t trade this climb for anything.

As my time in Thailand comes to an end and I travel home to the East Coast, I’m excited to see what God has planned for ZOE. Most importantly, I am reminded of a lesson learned that all of us in this fight for the freedom of children need to remember: To conquer the mountain of child trafficking, we must start at the feet of Jesus.

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. ***