Category "Short Term Teams"

A Glimpse of His Heart

October 2, 2019
Author Anne
Words cannot describe the supernatural experience I had on my Short Term Mission (STM) to Thailand with ZOE International.  From the first meeting I attended at the ZOE Santa Clarita office in preparation for the STM to the last day in Thailand were all so special and exceptional!  Everything that Betsy and Vickie advised us during the monthly meetings happened exactly like the way they described so there were no surprises, except for the incredible hotel accommodations we had, particularly the Horizon resort hotel — OMG the amazing botanical gardens with so many animal shaped topiaries and a zoo that would take three hours on a bike to explore! That was truly over the top.
The warm reception at the Chiang Mai airport by the Long Term Missionaries (LTMs) and the Leadership Training (LT) students were priceless. Carol and Mike Hart are God sent. The whole ZOE Family were all so very humble and kind. I went to Thailand thinking I would be working hard and roughing it for two weeks, instead, the LTMs, LT students, and the ZOE kids were the ones blessing me and serving me. The interactive dinners we had with the ZOE children reminded me of Psalms 23 — “2 He makes me lie down in green pastures… 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies… 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” I was humbled by the ZOE families’ meekness and how passionate they were about serving and worship. The children’s testimonies and the LT students’ drama performances were profound. Our STM team that I met for the first time, in person, were also so very special. Holy Spirit was definitely on our side.
To sum up my experience, our theme song “Our God” says it all. I prayed and asked my church to pray that I, too (like Betsy), would be able to see the people/children of Thailand through God’s heart and God afforded me a glimpse of His heart.
Water you turn into wine
Open the eyes of the blind, there’s no one like You, none like You
Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we rise, there’s no one like You, none like You

 

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God you are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power, our God, our God

ZOE Feels Like Home

April 4, 2019

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.

Sowing Tears Into Japan

August 24, 2018

Sowing Tears Into Japan Last month, ZOE Japan sent their very first Japanese short term missions team to ZOE Thailand. Below is a beautiful testimony of one of the members that joined the trip. I left ZOE Thailand having shed tears, yes. But the tears I shed were not the tears I expected. Psalm 126:5 […]

A Trip of Many Firsts!

September 12, 2016

Guest Blogger, Jessica Ramsay (Jessica was a part of a short term missions trip that visited our Children’s Home in Thailand this past August) This trip to ZOE was filled with many firsts for me. The first time traveling as a short term missionary, first time traveling to Thailand, and the first time traveling outside of America. […]

Doing What You Can, Where You Are

February 8, 2016

The following is a guest post from our faithful ZOE supporter, Tammy Bauer. We asked her to write this because, like most of us, she is an ordinary individual who wants to end child trafficking. Using her sphere of influence, gifts, and talents, she has found very creative ways to raise money and spread human trafficking […]

You Will Never Be the Same

December 16, 2015

My 8th Short Term Missions Trip I just returned home from my 8th trip to Thailand. I was privileged to lead a team of 18 people from several different places across the United States, including Indiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Los Angeles as well as Saudi Arabia. Every time I go on a trip, it is […]

Young and Missions Minded

April 20, 2015

I love when the young generation gets involved in making a difference. There’s just something special about the entire experience. Not only is it great to see them being heroes in society, but I believe by getting involved, it’s a great start to shaping their future. This month, I wanted to spotlight Paige Chabot. Paige […]

The ZOE Rescue Walk is Expanding!

September 10, 2014

The ZOE Rescue Walk is Expanding! The 3rd Annual ZOE Rescue Walk is expanding!  We are grateful for our partners who are willing to take on the task of forming a team this year in their home state.  Nick Durick of Rockford, Illinois is one of those people.  But Nick isn’t content with simply forming […]