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All Posts in Short Term Teams

September 10, 2014 - No Comments!

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 a team of people and walking; he is planning an entire event for his team of people!  When we asked Nick why he would take on such an enormous task, this is what he said.

There are countless reasons why I am wanting to hold a ZOE Rescue Walk in Rockford, Illinois. My church has had a partnership with ZOE international for seven years, and I have had the honor of serving with ZOE as a short term missionary for the last two years. I am completely committed to helping ZOE grow! The level of excellence and grace that ZOE commits to is off the charts! If I can be a part of that somehow, I will do everything I can to partner with such a beautiful organization.

I have talked with thousands of people over the last few years about human trafficking, whether locally, globally, or just in general, and the percentage of response that has no idea it is going on is mind blowing. So bringing awareness to our city, our state line area, will be HUGE! Rockford, IL will no longer be silent. We will no longer be neutral. We will no longer be uneducated. We will be a voice. We will be a movement. One that states clearly that Human Trafficking Is Not OKAY! The walk will not only be beneficial to ZOE for obvious reasons, but it will be the start of changing the heart of this city. We will be bringing LIFE to a broken and lost city. We will be bringing ZOE. I have prayed Isaiah 61:1-3 over Thailand and over ZOE for the last 2 years. It is time to bring that prayer and promise to Rockford!

Thank you Nick for your passion to end child trafficking and your love and passion for ZOE!

View Nick’s Team Page Here: http://www.firstgiving.com/team/270627

 

March 3, 2014 - No Comments!

The Trip of a Lifetime

Guest blogger | Elizabeth Mrozek (member of our February 2014 Short Term Missions team #ZOESTMFeb)

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Home from the trip of a lifetime..

In Thailand there was so much to take in and it was difficult to word properly all that I was seeing. From experiencing Zoe Children's home...(the professionalism, standard of excellence, grace, love, hard work, and family nature...) to ministering to Buddhists and others never having heard the name of Jesus in the primitive Nakoo village, to teaching and playing with engaging children in the schools, to the slums, There were so many aspects to process. Despite all the misfortune, and simplicity many of the Thai people live with, they are have a spirit of hospitality and treat all with kindness, and welcome strangers into their homes willingly. God is taking care of His children globally and all those who call on The Lord will find him. Reminders of Human trafficking and the appalling truths that accompany the industry were on my mind the the entire trip. We educated many families in the villages that had no idea that it was reality. For those unreached we prayed for, as well as the faces we learned and shared life with even for a day. I miss everyone I met while at Zoe Children's homes specifically, they were the purest, and most loving children and staff that I have ever met and are so full of joy and love for Jesus and others.

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ZOE Feb 2014 Short Term Missions Team

 

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Author, Elizabeth Mrozek front and center

Family comes first in Thai culture. I still have so much to think on..promptings and a new open hearted perspective of the planet and the sheer Enormity of God and what He is capable of. If you are uneasy or anxious about anything, he will make you strong, he will be there with answers and truth.

Thailand was rich in culture and I experienced so many beautiful things. The people, sweeping landscapes, mountains, rice paddies, glorious weather, color, spicy and intricate meals, teak trees and dense Forests..a full moon against a navy blue sky, bright stars and glowing lanterns dotting the night sky,
Elephant rides, the night bazaar.

I miss the people most of all. And the ever present red earth of the country, still to be found on my shoes leads me to reflect.

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February 13, 2014 - No Comments!

The Underground Church Does More Than Dance!

The recent visit to ZOE from The Underground Church in North Hollywood, California was full of incredibly talented people.  In addition to their outreaches to many different venues across Chiang Mai, they also got the opportunity to spend time with the children at ZOE.

Most notably, the kids were able to participate in elective classes put on by team members.  Being a team predominately made up of dancers, the hip-hop dance class was particularly successful.  The ZOE kids had seen the moves, but it was finally their chance to learn and practice them on their own.  A few even refined their break-dancing skills.

There was also a drums and rhythm class which was taught by a professional singer and a professional DJ.  Using simple instruments, this class taught each group how to work together to achieve a unified and consistent rhythm.  This helped the groups, especially the younger kids, learn to work together to create beats in time with everyone else in the group.

A martial arts expert taught classes as well.  He focused exclusively on self-defense with escape, not aggression, being the number one priority for anyone caught in a bad situation.  The kids and adults alike enjoyed learning how to block high, low, and mid-range attacks while countering with punches and low kicks.  Even the younger kids were beginning to master blocks with subsequent one-two punch combinations.

Short-term team elective classes are always a blast, and everyone has fun learning a new skill or taking advantage of the expertise team members bring to ZOE Children's Homes in Thailand.  We thank God for The Underground Church and Pastors Tymme and Aury Reitz for allowing us to share in the wonderful people they have in their congregation.

 

February 6, 2014 - No Comments!

The Underground Church Goes to Thailand

The Underground Church in North Hollywood, California is a wonderful church that utilizes the powerful influence of art to worship and share the love of God with the world. In January, ZOE Thailand had the privilege of hosting members from Underground’s Word in Motion Dance Company for ministry opportunities all over Chiang Mai.

The team was invited to perform at schools, children’s homes, an urban slum outreach, and even a youth correctional facility, which gave them the chance to share the gospel and introduce Jesus Christ into lives of more than 800 kids!  The Underground team featured a professional singer and dancers, DJ, and skateboarder who utilized their talents to reach out to adults, teenagers, and little ones alike. The performances were wildly successful, and there was always a group of kids at the end of the service showing off their moves and learning new break-dancing and hip hop techniques.

ZOE is so incredibly thankful for our partnership with The Underground Church and for their creativity in ministry.  While this was Underground's first visit to ZOE Children’s Homes, we hope they know they will always be welcome to return and share their gifts to the youth of Thailand.

Stay tuned for a later blog that talks about all the classes that were taught to our kids at ZOE.

January 23, 2014 - No Comments!

Australian Team’s Amazing Building Project

ZOE is always looking for opportunities to put short-term teams to use. Normally there is a bedroom that needs painting or weeds that can be pulled.  Recently however, we have been in need of a more specialized building project. An Australian team from Thailand Mission Awareness Tour stepped up to the challenge.  For one week this group of Aussies worked full-time to convert unused space beneath one of the decks at ZOE into a large storage room.

There is only one problem.  The room looks so good that a simple storage room seems like such a waste!  There has been talk of it being used as an additional classroom or even an exercise room, but whatever its purposed for, the Australian team has outdone themselves and blessed ZOE much more than we ever expected.  With only a few coffee breaks, they worked with incredible speed, diligence, and focus.  The room began to take shape after the first day, and within a week they had completely finished.

We want to lift up a special thank you to Thailand Mission Awareness Tour for giving so generously of your time and talents.  We are exceedingly grateful, and we pray that God returns your generosity with exponentially greater blessings.

November 19, 2012 - Comments Off on An Amazing Intern from Master’s College

An Amazing Intern from Master’s College

On occassion, ZOE has interns from the local Masters College in Santa Clarita who assist us with varying projects around the US office.  The interships are for class credit.  This semester, we happily welcomed on board Lynlee Kumamoto from Masters.  Lynlee was able to intern at the ZOE Children's Home in Thailand this past summer with a group from her school.  This group was stellar!  They assisted our Thai staff with anything and everything.  Many lives were changed.  We were so grateful to have them and now Lynlee. 

Name: Lynlee Kumamoto

How did you find out about ZOE?

This past summer I was able to go on a missions trip with my school and they actually partnered with ZOE, sending a team of 12 of us over to the ZOE Home in Thailand, so that was how I first heard about the organization.

What made you want to volunteer?

After spending 2 months over in Thailand, I absolutely fell in love with all of the people and with the ministry that they have established. Also, God has just given me such a passion for the fight against human trafficking, so it is my goal to do whatever I can to help out.

How long have you volunteered at ZOE?

It has been about 3 months now.

What type of tasks do you do at ZOE?

Right now I am finishing up a project for the short-term teams that go over to Thailand – compiling a book of ideas for their children’s programs that they put together. In addition to this, I just help out with anything that needs to be completed that day.

Tell us about your overall experience in the office?

I have loved every minute of it. Being able to come into the office and work with these women is always so encouraging and such a reminder of God’s love to me. I have enjoyed participating in each of the projects and being able to help out in this way.

Have you learned anything new while volunteering?

I have really been challenged to look out for the needs of others more. The women that I work with here in the office do an exceptional job at this and I have been learning so much from just watching them. They are all very careful to encourage and build up one another in Christ and that is something that I have been able to grow in more since being here. Also, I have just been so reminded of how important it is to have a global mindset, thinking about things that are going on around the world and praying for the Lord to work in miraculous ways to further the gospel, and doing so myself!

Thank you Lynlee for all your hard work and dedication.  It has been simply a pleasure having you in the USA office and will miss you dearly when the semester is over. 

February 1, 2012 - No Comments!

An Unexpected Visit for a Pastor in Thailand

ZOE Outreach Team Visits a Church

Guest blog post by Suzanne Marshall.

A 17-member short-term missionary team recently traveled to the city of Chiang Mai in the northern region of Thailand. ZOE Children’s Home is located outside the city. ZOE International is committed to caring for orphans and rescuing children from human trafficking.

A highlight of our missions trip was offering classes to those at ZOE, young and old alike, drawing on the talents and skills of team members. Classes included art, crocheting, hair cutting, storybook making, and English lessons. I taught three sessions of floristry to the children, the youth, and the adults. I helped teach English and I also had the opportunity to teach puppetry to the ZOE Ministry School students who are part of ZOE’s evangelization outreach team. We helped paint one of the rooms at the home, and we prepared and served a large barbecue for the entire ZOE family.

What was most impactful to me about ZOE was the anti-human trafficking organization itself. They take time to explain their goals and their structure.  It is easy to see that they have a firm foundation and a broad framework for the ministry with great potential for growth. Presently, they have 63 children at the Children’s Home and hope to have 100 by the end of this year. Although for safety reasons, they could not talk about it much, they are actively rescuing children from human trafficking.

Part of ZOE International’s mission is to share the good news of Jesus Christ to people who have never heard of Him. Partnering with local pastors, they go into schools with the ministry teams. Their preventative education includes teaching children about predators.

Our team went to a school in Chiang Mai and shared about Jesus through songs, a story, a puppet show, and crafts. The ZOE outreach team provided preventative education.

We also visited a hill tribe village high in the mountains of northern Thailand that was colder than we were prepared for! Upon arriving, we brought gifts to the villagers as we went house to house. We shared the love of the Lord, prayed for any needs they had, and invited them to come to an outreach event that night at the community center.

That night, the ZOE outreach team did most of the event. Our short-term missions team sang a couple of songs and tried to stay warm! Several responded to the message of God’s love that night.

We went to bed in a wooden home with no insulation and an outside squatty potty.  The thermometer dipped into the 30s that night and no one slept through the night. Instead of sleeping, we prayed. Although some prayed, “Lord, let this night be over!”

The next morning, we went to the local church. The pastor came to know the Lord while at university and then came to this village as the only Christian and started a church. Today, there are several families in his congregation. Normally, we would have gone to a school for an outreach, but children were not in class that day, so we altered our plans.

Since the church partners with Compassion International, we helped with the Compassion International program, which has about 200 children.

Well the 200 showed up, and then more kept coming and coming and pretty soon we had about 600 children and 200 adults. The village has 1,000 people, so almost the entire village showed up on a Monday morning! We told the story of Father God’s love toward us and illustrated with a puppet show. When it was over, I asked if anyone wanted to know Jesus and little hands shot up from all over the audience. I asked them to stand, so I could see them better. The whole group stood up and I directed them to the ZOE outreach team members who gathered them in circles to answer questions and pray with them. There were just under 130 people, mostly children, who fully responded.

We handed the pastor the response cards and he was overjoyed. Never has the whole village showed up at his church. As we drove away that day, I thought about how God had miraculously visited that faithful pastor in a most unexpected way, how our congregation on the other side of the world was a part of that miracle for him, and how he did not do anything different to receive the blessing of the Lord: it just happened suddenly!

November 22, 2011 - No Comments!

BLOG FLASHBACK! Rockford First

Here is a flashback to some fun times we had with Jen DeWeerdt from Rockford First ...back in January 2010.

 

Guest Blogger: Jen DeWeerdt

A team of ten incredible ladies and I recently returned from a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand where we worked with the amazing ZOE Children’s Home.  What an awesome, life-changing trip for all of us.  This was my second time working with ZOE and although this trip was completely different than the first, the impact of the culture, children, and staff of ZOE again touched my heart in ways hard to explain.  One of the questions I have been asked since returning is, “What was your favorite part of the trip?”  That is an IMPOSSIBLE question to answer, because every aspect was unique and impacting in its own way.  Having said that, one event that stands out as one of my greatest memories from our time there is, quite honestly, surprising to me that it has ended up being so memorable!

 

The team and I were asked to cook a spaghetti dinner for the entire ZOE family, which totals about 150 people including ministry school students, staff and the children.  I have NEVER cooked for that many people nor had anyone on our team...so this was an adventure!  On the menu were salad, garlic bread, and spaghetti with meat sauce.  Eight of us cooked, cut, chopped, minced, and stirred for approximately four hours in order to feed our family that night!  We experienced a level of teamwork that brought our group closer together and gave us a memory that will last a lifetime.

 

I learned a few lessons from our cooking adventure that I think are noteworthy:

 

You can do more than you think you can do!

I have a family of four (soon to be five in October!) and I sometimes struggle to “find” the time to make them a healthy meal every day.  Well, at ZOE, a team of ladies cooks for NINE hours a day to feed everyone breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Wow, NINE hours!  After learning that, I adopted a new line for myself, “Pull it together, Jen!  You can cook for four!”

 

 

Serving together creates a great sense of team!

Something happens when you have to put your heads together to accomplish a task that you know will affect 150 person’s meal time that night!!!  We all had the end result in mind and that brought us together! Seeing the sweet faces of everyone who walked through the line to take their dinner and knowing you and your team made this happen was simply an amazing, fulfilling feeling!

 

Learn to have fun while serving!

Some of our FUNNEST memories as a team were a result of us living the adventure of cooking together!  I need to apologize to all future ZOE teams, that you may find yourself having to do this same task!  We were the first team to try this and I told ZOE founder Carol Hart that EVERY team needs to do this together.  We had MANY laughs because of our spaghetti dinner adventure!

 

 

At the risk of sounding sensational, I would have to say this was one of my favorite and life-changing memories of my trip. It was truly humbling to serve a meal and provide nourishment to a group of people who are either laying their lives down for the sake of the children at ZOE or for the orphaned and rescued children themselves who are grateful for three meals a day at the beautiful “House of Destiny” that is now their home.

 

I will never forget serving bowls of salad, slices of garlic bread, and plates of spaghetti (with slightly burnt meat sauce) in the name of Jesus to our beautiful ZOE family!

 

Jen DeWeerdt

Rockford, Illinois

 

 

August 29, 2011 - No Comments!

Amazing Grace

Well, Grace Baptist, you certainly were fun to hang out with!

 

As a long-term missionary at ZOE, I just love having people come and help us as we care for orphans and rescue children from human trafficking.

 

When teams come, it injects life into all of us. I liken it to being able to plug into your batteries for ten days or so, and we get re-energized and motivated to push on!

 

I love to see how we share a passion to make a difference in our world!

 

All of us at ZOE want to see the ZOE staff, students and children discover their individual talents and by coming over here you make that possible.

 

Phew … It sure was an action-packed 10 days!

 

You cooked our traditional celebratory BBQ, (something that everyone at ZOE LOVES!) taught classes, put on a couple of carnivals, worked tirelessly … the list goes on and on.

 

But from touchdown to takeoff you were good fun to hang out with.