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All Posts in Thailand

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! 

September 17, 2019 - No Comments!

Go ZOE – August STM Blog

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words but I say one word is worth far more than a thousand pictures to convey the work that God is accomplishing through ZOE International in Chiang Mai, Thailand. That one word is GO!

GO! see the vision of ZOE founders Mike and Carol Hart come to life. God is working mightily through this precious couple and a dedicated team of missionaries to combat human trafficking through prevention, rescue, and restoration. While our short-term mission team did not witness the risky work of children being physically rescued from brothels and bars, we did work alongside the ZOE staff and students to educate teens in two Karen hill tribe village schools about ways traffickers trap young people into this growing form of slavery. We did see restoration taking place daily in the youth living at ZOE through an education that equips for life on earth and for eternity. We did see young Thai adults enrolled in a Leadership Training program mentoring those recently rescued. Go see for yourself the power of God at work.

GO! see the Holy Spirit penetrate the hearts of children as they boldly worship Jesus with their whole being, as they lovingly serve those around them, as they gain self-respect and control over their lives for the first time. Go see for yourself how these children who were once abused, lost and alone, come to embody Jesus’ command to love God with heart, mind, and soul and to love others as they love themselves.

GO! see long-term missionaries equipped with every needed skill from all over the world work together in love and unity because each is serving the same Lord. There is a spirit of humility, respect, and love that permeates the entire ministry. The grace and mercy received from God is poured out in spades on these precious little ones. Go see for yourself people who love God go to the far corners of the earth to spread the Good News.

GO! see how the missionaries and Thai workers together have developed a sustainable campus that includes its own water system, a state-of-the-art pig farm, and gardens that provide for 300-500 meals each day. See how a grant from the U.S. funded a shop that allows students to learn life skills of carpentry, welding, and mechanics.

GO! see how God will open your eyes, your ears, your hands, put wings to your feet and thereby change your heart. Our team of 26 short-term missionaries from all over the U.S. were each stretched out of our individual comfort zones but bonded together as the body of Christ, equipped to accomplish more than anyone of us imagined possible. We each went to serve others but ended up being served by those individuals. Go see for yourself how all things are possible with God.  

As for me, as I head back home with a renewed dedication to serve boldly, humbly, and faithfully wherever God has me. I am but one person but because Jesus Christ lives in me, I am perfectly equipped to do His work so I look forward to being involved as ZOE International extends into Japan, Australia, and Los Angeles. When Jesus says "go,” I go. 

GO ZOE! GO GOD!

Written by Nancy Shaw

September 16, 2019 - No Comments!

Pen for the Prime Minister

This summer, ZOE Thailand was presented an award by Thailand's Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha for being an Outstanding Organization in the Prevention and Combating of Human Trafficking.  

When we found out that we would be having the momentous opportunity to receive an award directly from the Prime Minister, we thought "what could we give him to show our gratitude?"

Something handmade, something crafted with care and attention to detail with a personalized touch...

Over the years, many students have received instruction in the basics of woodworking and out of that group some have shown innate inclination and rare talent. In particular, one boy heard about this opportunity to build something for the Prime Minister and enthusiastically volunteered. After two evenings of crafting, experimenting, and perfecting, he assembled a beautiful piece of art that we could proudly hand to the man who leads this country.

We are so very proud of this young man who used his talent and skills to create this special gift.  

By Brandon Kim

August 31, 2019 - No Comments!

Bringing Blessing

In the midst of our ZOE children receiving the love, care, attention, and counseling they need, giving of themselves in service brings about a special kind of healing in their hearts.

We tend to think that NEED = inability to give. But isn’t it in giving when we receive true healing in our hearts?

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Psalm 11:25

The teachers and students at ZOE Learning Center go out once a week to serve the surrounding community. Sometimes it’s doing chores and cleaning for the sick/disabled. Sometimes it’s just spending time with a lonely elderly woman. Whatever the activity is, it opens the door for the students to give. In the midst of their own needs, they can look up and see the needs of those around them.

Last month, teachers and students went to visit Grandma Bua, a 90-year-old Alzheimer's patient, who’s hard of hearing. The students enthusiastically sang songs and prayed over grandma, bringing joy to her elderly bones. It’s easy to see that these moments fill our children with joy. 

Sometimes the greatest joy we receive is bringing joy to others. 

August 30, 2019 - No Comments!

Discipleship

Imagine for a moment, planting a seed in the ground and having to wait 150 years just to see it grow only 4 inches. This is what happens in Canada on cliff sides in the Great Lakes area when a white cedar tree is planted. Along it is the slowest growing tree, once it is fully grown, it can actually reach up to 50 feet high! 

All the work of planting and nurturing something that you will never see the full results of seems crazy but that’s what we do a lot of times as we care for and disciple the children and teens at ZOE.

When we think about discipleship, our main goal is to teach them about who God is, how much God loves them, and how they can be the change that their city, country, and the world needs. 

Like the white cedar tree though, it’s a slow process. Sometimes we think we see the seeds we planted start to break through the surface and  begin to sprout, and other times we just keep praying for the seeds that are still in the ground - even though we cannot yet see any signs of growth. 

Some of our kids are on fire for God. We see on a weekly basis how they are passionate about praying for their families and friends to get saved. 

In other children, who we do not yet see any signs of growth, we do not let ourselves get discouraged. We choose to give them more nourishment just like a plant or a tree would need. 

We teach them different lessons from the Bible or just about life in general. We pray with them weekly. Some of the ZOE staff are also part of our mentors group throughout the week, so they spend more 1-1 time with the kids. We select up to 12 kids every month to participate in a school outreach where we do dramas, dances, and songs, and present the gospel message in small groups. We also select some kids to volunteer at a children’s home in the city. This year we are sponsoring a school and village to bless them for Christmas.

Everything we do with the kids and youth through discipleship is about ongoing planting and watering of the “seeds.” We never know which ones will grow into tall strong trees. Our job is to keep praying that every single one of them takes that step in faith. 

Discipleship is an ongoing job. It usually involves a lot of sacrifice, and intentionality. It also means that as leaders, we must live out what we are hoping for them to become. We must continue to nourish ourselves to be tall, mature trees thriving in life so that they will also desire what they see on display through our words, actions, and lives. 

August 22, 2019 - No Comments!

Ongoing Staff Training & Development

The Thai employees are one of ZOE’s best-kept secrets. They really are inestimable in terms of the value that they provide.

By working together to display God’s love, they have formed a strong foundation for much of ZOE’s work. Built on their inward strength, commitment, and the emotional connections they have developed with the children in ZOE’s care, lives continue to be restored and transformed.

ZOE views ongoing teaching, training, and development as important, in fact, essential! Aside from the regular teaching and training that occurs weekly at staff meetings, this past quarter, ZOE staff were presented with professional development in the areas of:

·       ADHD

·       Bipolar

·       Dangers of social media

·       Children’s Homes/Foster Care networking

·       Google drive

ZOE wants to attract the best staff. With ongoing training and support, we will hopefully retain the great Thai employees we already have, as well as appeal to others who share the same passion to “Reach Every Person” and “Rescue Every Child!”

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 29, 2019 - No Comments!

Food and Football

ZOE Thailand
CHF - Mercy Network

ZOE Thailand continues to partner with Children’s Hunger Fund to bring food and support to communities in different parts of Thailand.  Recently on a trip to Isaan, Thailand, which sits southeast of Chiang Mai, our team was able to distribute 800 boxes of food and met with and encouraged the pastors in this area.

One of our team shares that the most meaningful part of the trip is being able to listen to the testimonies of the pastors who are using these food boxes.  

We hear story after story of how the boxes are not only providing food for families but that through this they are able to build relationships of trust.  This then leads to many conversations about faith and God. People are becoming believers because of the gospel and because they see God’s love and mercy in action through receiving these food boxes.

In Ubon, one pastor had the idea to do a community outreach football (soccer) event.  Many people were able to hear about Jesus and one family came to faith and is now attending his church.

Please pray for our team as they continue traveling to different parts of Thailand to continue the important work of REACHING EVERY PERSON.  Please pray for the pastors and community leaders we work with as they continue to love and care for those around them.

May 29, 2019 - No Comments!

It’s Not JUST Swimming

ZOE Thailand

What’s better than jumping into a cold swimming pool when the temperature rises on a sweltering Thai summer’s day?  Being able to swim!

By knowing how to swim, it means that the children at ZOE Thailand can enjoy the wonderful sensation of being in the pool – in a safe and pleasurable way. The sensory experience of being in water is both relaxing and enjoyable.

Research says that there are huge physical benefits to swimming. Learning to swim is both a full-body cardiovascular and respiratory workout! At ZOE we love to see the children’s stamina, flexibility and muscle strength develop.

There are many other advantages to knowing how to swim, such as building concentration, becoming physically stronger and developing coordination. It also encourages an active and healthy lifestyle.

At ZOE we never underestimate the social aspect of swimming either. Playing together in the water helps to form bonds based on trust and fun. For children recently rescued from negative situations, socialization skills can be enhanced through various water games and activities.

During swimming lessons, children take pride in each individual achievement and work towards achieving new goals.  As their abilities and confidence increase, children are able to overcome fear and celebrate their successes with their friends, family and their swimming teacher!                      

At ZOE, it’s not JUST swimming!

*** ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show children's faces. Faces shown in photos are Thai staff or Leadership School Students . ***

May 27, 2019 - No Comments!

Aussie Aussie Aussie

ZOE Australia/ZOE Thailand

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi” are not words I hear cheered very often since moving to Thailand, but during English class this past week, an Australian guest was just the excuse we needed to incorporate some joyful chanting and help make him feel right at home.

Jason Pater is a chartered accountant with a heart for those in need. He is also Payton Foundation’s CEO.  Jason, who was visiting ZOE this week, represents many who have given either as a Payton Capital client or via donation directly to the Foundation. Payton Capital gives 20% of its dividends to the Foundation each quarter to help fund projects that transform the lives of vulnerable people in both Australia and overseas. With the help of many generous Australians, Payton Foundation is committed to supporting  ZOE’s Vocational Training Program and Learning Center.

With Jason’s visit this week, the vocational students had the opportunity to show their appreciation for Payton’s ongoing assistance as well as find out more about Australia. They looked at the four largest cities, and learnt about some of the native animals, sports and occupations.  Class ended with a game that incorporated tasting popular Aussie snacks like honey crackles, ANZAC biscuits, Vegemite and fairy bread and most importantly learning how to correctly proclaim, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!”