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All Posts in Thailand

November 14, 2019 - No Comments!

Walk For Freedom: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai recently had its first official Walk for Freedom!

ZOE was a part of the Anti-Trafficking Expo which took place after the walk. Attendants could find out about the work being done across Thailand to tackle the issue of human trafficking.

"Walk for Freedom is a global fundraising and awareness event, rallying tens of thousands of people, taking millions of steps, in hundreds of cities all over the world. We walk to disrupt the existence of slavery, shaking its very foundation with each step.

It’s an outward expression of A21’s inward desire to see slavery abolished everywhere—in our cities, in our communities, and in our world. One step at a time and one dollar at a time, we fundraise and walk to see a world without slavery.

ZOE's table at Walk for Freedom Chiang Mai

Last year, we showed up in 475 locations in 50 countries, reaching 70 million people through social media. Each step mattered. Each step made a difference." - A21

What an honor to be working alongside others in the fight to see trafficking ended. It was so encouraging that so many people turned up to walk - raising awareness and making a difference!  

November 12, 2019 - No Comments!

Going South East

ZOE recently sent a team to the southeast region of Thailand. The purpose was two-fold. We were there to bring food boxes to communities and to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Our team ran 3 outreaches over the course of the week and reached more than 700 students. Children and communities in this area are especially at high risk and they had the opportunity to learn about the dangers and schemes of human traffickers. These were the first prevention outreaches that ZOE has done in Ubon, Thailand.

We continue to expand our work in our fight to end human trafficking. Our prevention team leader shared his thoughts on the future of work in Ubon. He said, “I hope we’ll have more opportunities to do outreaches there. There are so many children at risk.” They also used the time on ground to build relationships with officials and other organizations with the future in mind.

While our team was there, they were able to witness first hand how much the area was affected by the flooding. News articles say it’s the worst the area has seen in 17 years. Our Mercy Network team was able to support and help pastors that we partner with to supply food and necessities to those affected. One team member shared how seeing where people were living because of the flooding was quite difficult. But “knowing that the pastors we partner with were going to bring food boxes to these locations to help people…this is what impacted me the most on this trip.”

November 11, 2019 - No Comments!

The Gift of a “Work in Progress”

Our ZOE buildings are meant to be white, which is challenging because the soil on the land where our ZOE buildings are is a deep, rich orange color. Often times it gets onto our clothes, cars, and shoes and it’s really hard to keep things clean.

As I arrived at work this past week, I noticed that there have been a couple of guys painting around the front entrance to the building.

Sometimes as I go to my office, I’ve needed to go a different way, or walk around their tools but mostly, while the work is being done, I’ve been thinking that it all just looks like a bit of a mess.

It’s not only the buildings at ZOE that need maintenance though; my life, those I work with, the parents, and of course the children themselves – are all a work-in-progress and sometimes, everywhere I look there is much work to be done. It all just seems like a bit of a mess.

I don’t often feel like I do a very good job at seeing a mess and just heading straight into it. I am continually amazed at the ZOE staff and parents though, who commit wholeheartedly to seeing lives transformed and throwing themselves in 100% to see the hard work being done.

I’m so thankful that God gives us discernment and sensitivity to the needs around us so that at those times when we just want to walk around, go a different way, or avoid the chaos, He helps us to enter in and “be” with others in the same way that He is with us.

We are loved and accepted, yes, but loved way too much for Him to just let us remain in our pain, shame, guilt, and in our past. He takes those deep, rich orange stains and paints them as white as snow. And every time we find another stain, He does it again – a beautiful reminder of our God who forgives us and gives us a new life and a pure heart. What a wonderful gift!

November 8, 2019 - No Comments!

Great Day!

It’s harvest time!

Today was a great day!  Why? Because the self-sustaining agricultural team spent the entire morning along with some of our child care staff picking a bunch of different produce items. Needless to say, our kitchen was excited, because you can’t get any fresher produce than the organic vegetables we grow!

We harvested just under 40 pounds of chili! (It’s a good thing our family LOVES SPICY FOOD!) Then we picked about 198 pounds of cucumbers! We cut down about 40 pounds of morning glory (a leafy green vegetable). Finally, we got over 187 pounds of corn.

40 pounds of chili
187 pounds of corn
198 pounds of cucumbers

To top it off, some generous neighbors gave ZOE 112 pounds of peanuts just harvested right out of the ground! Our kids LOVE peanuts and now we have fresh peanuts for snacking!

That was the harvest for this week. Last week, we only harvested corn. But there was so much corn, that the ZOE family actually started getting tired of eating corn almost every day! Fortunately, we have a pig farm and any corn we don’t eat, our pigs will! 

November 5, 2019 - No Comments!

Where Are They Now?

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit ZOE in Thailand, you most likely still have a memory or two of some of the children’s faces that made an impression on you. Maybe they shared a testimony during a Friday night service, sat on your mat at a family BBQ dinner, or even prayed for you. Moments like those seem to stay etched in our memories for a long time. But perhaps, as the years have passed by, and your trip to Thailand became more distant, you have had the thought, “I wonder where they are now.”

As you’re probably aware, the children who grew up in ZOE families did not “age out.” When they reached adulthood, we ensured that they transitioned from their family into the next stage of life with lots of support. We structure the transition to independent living to accommodate each individual’s needs whether that be student accommodation at university, helping them to find employment, or just staying in contact and supporting them in a multitude of small ways.

ZOE’s transitional program includes a drop-in center in the city, where young adults can find mature grownups whom they know and trust, to help them when they need it - with anything from wise council, a meal, or a shoulder to cry on after a hard day.

Once a week, at the city center, life group meetings are held. This past month, on any given Saturday there have been between 20 to 40 young adults in attendance. Many former ZOE children come and bring their friends. Each week, more of them are coming to know Jesus.  There were 21 young people who became Christians this past month. 

It’s hard to believe, but some of the children who grew up at ZOE are actually married now, and have children of their own. It is always beautiful to see these new mothers and fathers, passing their babies to the parents from ZOE who cared for them growing up. Often times at church, and other events, it feels like a giant family reunion as the ZOE moms and dads experience both the joys of “grand parenting,” and staying connected with the children whom they have helped to raise. Our ZOE parents and staff do such an amazing job supporting, advocating, and being available for these young people when they need it.

Where are they now? Each of the children who have grown up and left ZOE has been supported into their season of adulthood. They are working, studying, parenting, and seeking to understand themselves better. They are connecting with others on a deeper level and continually discovering who they are.

November 4, 2019 - No Comments!

A Day in the Life of ZOE Child Rescue

Our Child Rescue team is amazing. This team works 100 miles an hour and then some. 

There is no real way to explain all that they do but here is a glimpse into their world.

On any given day several appointments will come up for the children in our care. These are newly rescued children and it is “heart” work along with the practical needs that sews love and healing into these precious children. These could be doctor visits, trips to the hospital, court depositions, and visits with their families. All the while, our ZOE team is right there with them...loving them, listening, counseling, wiping their tears, and pouring God’s love into these precious hearts.

At the same time, our team continues to support and assist the government and police with investigative support. This involves long hours of field work with law enforcement, all with the goal of rescuing more children. They push hard because they know what is at stake and they do it with joy and zeal. They are truly outstanding individuals and an effective team.

Your partnership, prayers, and support allows our ZOE team make a difference.

October 8, 2019 - No Comments!

Thailand

Thailand is recognized as a key destination for human trafficking, in addition to being a source and transit country for forced labor and sex trafficking. Thailand has been identified as one of the most popular destinations for child sex abusers since 1980s. (UNODC)

The majority of trafficking victims identified in Thailand are Thai nationals, trafficked for sexual exploitation domestically and to a number of countries internationally. The majority of victims identified within Thailand have been forced, coerced, or deceived into labor or sexual exploitation. (United Nations Action for Cooperation against Trafficking in Persons)

ZOE is working in the areas of prevention, rescue and restoration in Thailand. From conducting regular child trafficking awareness campaigns, to receiving calls on our hotline, ZOE’s team is ready to conduct assessments, investigations, or assist with rescue whenever necessary.

ZOE parents lovingly provide and protect trafficking survivors. They are trained in trauma informed care so that they understand the complex emotional needs as well the the safety implications around caring for rescued children. ZOE also seeks to bring human traffickers to justice. We collaborate with Thai law enforcement and other government agencies when intervening on behalf of children.

You can keep updated about Thailand here.

October 3, 2019 - No Comments!

New Water Pipe

What’s all the hype about a new water pipe?

Our ZOE Leadership students never cease to amaze us. They are so willing and joyful to help out whatever the need. In September, they were asked to help a pastor who needed assistance laying a water pipe in a trench in a near-by village to ZOE. Twenty-nine students went to work for about 4 hours. They worked so hard to get it done in time. 

Later, the pastor told one of our leaders that he was so grateful and full of joy to see a new generation serving God and with such hearts to help other people. 

Our students reported back that it was one of the best opportunities they’d ever had in serving others. How amazing is that? And despite the job being very "draining" these students never gave up! 

October 1, 2019 - No Comments!

The Power of a Shoe

“Never underestimate the power of a shoe.”
- Giuseppe Zanotti

For some years now, Life Outreach International (LOI) has continued to support ZOE International as we work toward our mission of REACHING every person and RESCUING every child.

The funds LOI gives provides much needed resources for many of our programs. One of the biggest impacts and provision has been the ability to gift new shoes to communities in need. Our Child Trafficking Prevention team as well as our ZOE Leadership students (ZLT) do outreaches on a regular basis. When we visit communities that are disadvantaged we can bring human trafficking awareness and share the gospel, but we are also able to give every child a pair of new shoes.  

These shoes protect children from getting diseases such as hookworms or strongyloidiasis as well as protecting them from insects or snakes bikes.

“This practical help and meeting this need allows ZOE to love the poor not just in word but in deed. It has been a critical, difference maker for us as a ministry,” says ZOE Founder, Carol Hart. 

Thank you LOI! You are making a difference. 

September 19, 2019 - No Comments!

Elephant Mascot

It's hard not to smile when you see a mascot. And ZOE's new elephant mascot is hard to ignore. Being introduced at schools to catch the attention of children during trafficking awareness and education outreaches, this guy certainly did his job well!

Some months ago the team from America, who just visited this month, wanted to do something special to help ZOE’s prevention efforts during their time here. Various ideas were discussed: brochures, making a beautiful backdrop with our hotline number on it, and more. And as the details for a backdrop were being thrown around, the idea came up - what about a mascot? It was agreed that having a mascot would be more effective and engaging for students and so the planning began.

After researching mascot vendors, someone was found who designed and produced high quality mascots. Two of ZOE’s Child Rescue Team went to try on many different animal mascots and then took a vote with the rest of the team for the choice of animal. Wanting to select an animal that represented Thailand, an elephant was agreed upon. The runner ups were a pig, tiger, and panda! Finally the cute elephant mascot arrived just two days prior to the August outreaches.  

Students held up signs with anti-trafficking messages and ZOE’s hotline number and had their photo taken with the mascot. It was very well received as the students enjoyed the mascot experience, having pictures taken, shaking hands, and even dancing with him. The only thing left to do now is to decide on a name for this lovable new addition to the ZOE team!