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All Posts in Thailand

May 17, 2019 - No Comments!

Class in Session

ZOE Thailand

Do you remember your first week at college, a new school OR at a new job? Do you recall all that energy, anxiety, expectation and myriad of emotions and thoughts coursing through your brain and body?

This month our newest ZOE Leadership Training (ZLT) Class embarked on their 2-year journey with us. The energy was palpable as they gathered together for the first time in one large room with the ZLT students who are one year ahead of them. There were so many smiles and such nervous excitement. We are so thankful to have them here.

This first week was full of introductions, getting to know one another, and three full days of orientation. These Leadership students were given a crash course in all things ZOE, including a history of ZOE, an overview of their curriculum and schedule, a full tour of our grounds, and our Child Protection Policy.

We are looking forward to journeying with them in the next two years and excited to see them grow in their knowledge, wisdom and leadership.

ZOE Leadership Training is about “EMPOWERING WORLD CLASS LEADERS FOR SUCCESS IN LIFE AND MINISTRY.”

*** 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 16, 2019 - No Comments!

It’s Electrifying

ZOE Thailand

Many of us can change a light bulb, install a new outlet cover OR even install a new light fixture. But when it comes to the wiring behind that electrical panel, there is that fear in the back of our minds that if we mess up there is a good chance we will have a shocking experience! Our solution is to dial the nearest electrician. So imagine the challenge our students took on recently when they studied electrical circuits.

The main teaching component was taught at ZOE where they built a basic household circuit. Students were given instructions and hands-on practice for measuring and cutting wire and also learned about fuses, meters, and circuit breakers. For their final exam, students had to demonstrate their technical skills by reading a schematic diagram and accurately constructing a complete electrical system. We are so proud to see that all our students passed and believe that the analytical and troubleshooting strategies they developed in this process will extend to areas of life far beyond flowing electrons!

ZOE’s Vocational Program is designed to give children "real life" experiences to equip them for their future.

May 9, 2019 - No Comments!

Ready for the Rain

ZOE Thailand

In this season, it is 100-plus degrees almost daily, and the reservoir we pass each day on our way to ZOE is at the lowest we have ever seen it. “When is rainy season going to start?” I think to myself.  We sure could use some rain.

Recently, one of our young men started working installing rain gutters. He loves working outdoors and has been training with our vocational program for a few years now. He and his work crew are preparing homes and businesses for the upcoming rainy season. They are fabricating and then installing gutters so that when the rain comes, the rainwater can be channeled correctly to catchments or away from the buildings’ exterior walls and foundations preventing damage.

The work he is doing now is not unlike the work he has done to prepare himself to be at a place where he can successfully work alongside others in a vocation of his choosing. He worked hard, learning and growing in his skill sets. So when this opportunity came, he was ready for it.

Are you ready for the rain?
“The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands…” Deuteronomy 28:12

May 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Freedom to Choose

ZOE Thailand

On Easter Sunday, one of the most sacred days for Christians, something happens throughout churches all over the world.  Although the decision to be baptized in water can happen any day or time, people often choose this day, to profess their faith and symbolize their new life following God. Baptism on Easter Sunday is particularly significant because it’s the day Jesus Christ returned to life.

In expression of their faith, several ZOE children were baptized at their local church on Easter Sunday.

Before getting baptized, one girl had a chance to talk with her birth mother about her decision. She said that she would like to be a Christian and get baptized and her mother supported her choice.

This girl first heard about God when she was young. A Christian friend had invited her to church many years ago.

On Sunday when she was baptized, she said she felt "new" and hopes to be guided by God forever.


May 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Make A Joyful Noise

ZOE Thailand

Having active children at home during the school holidays can be noisy - believe me I know! But recently during the Thai summer break, there was more than just the usual noise of kids playing, relaxing, and enjoying their time at home when we offered optional English classes based around the theme “Make a Joyful Noise.” The week-long program had the children learning English in groups based around the lyrics from worship songs and ending with a fun English karaoke competition on Friday afternoon.

Life is filled with “noise,” often times distracting us from our daily tasks: the phone ringing, social media notifications, arguments, construction sites, or even people talking loudly as they pass by. But joyful noises like laughter and singing, shouts of praise, clapping, as well as music, playing instruments, and dancing - these are wonderful noises that bring both pleasure and joy.

I know, from the group that I taught, that bringing music into the English classroom was a wonderful and different way to learn new vocabulary. The lively sounds of music and singing, mixed in with the laughter of playing games and practicing speaking, were all joyful noises that I’m sure I will remember for a long time.  

May 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Parents’ Night Off

ZOE Thailand

Ever felt drained by the demands of parenting? I know I have. It can be easy to give every last bit of energy to your children and neglect the other important relationships in your life, or even taking care of yourself.

It’s really hard to find the balance between keeping your marriage strong, building external friendships, and having family time. Many parents become so focused on their children’s needs that they fail to recognize that their own marriage, personal time, or friendships are deteriorating.  

Whilst it’s true, children thrive when they receive lots of love from their mothers and fathers but parents also need to set aside time to recharge and focus on their other relationships like their marriages and friendships. This is why we regularly have a team of people to help organize parents’ nights off for the ZOE parents. Some of the team cook dinner for the parents, while the rest of them help to oversee activities for the kids to ensure that our hardworking parents regularly get a well-deserved break.

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

May 4, 2019 - No Comments!

Summer Workin’

ZOE Thailand
Brandon Kim

Don’t we all have fond memories of our summer break jobs? Working as a lifeguard at the community pool or helping an uncle install carpeting; we all have a special place in our heart for our first “real” job. This summer (summer break in this part of the world is mid-March to mid-May), eight of our vocational training students got to share in this milestone and memorable coming-of-age experience…

One teenage girl is serving delicious and healthy dishes at a popular farm-to-table restaurant. At the interview, she shyly described her previous experience as a hospitality intern two years ago through our vocational training program, and upon hearing the name of the reputable hotel she was hired on the spot!

One teenage boy is using his construction skills to make building improvements. Just a month prior, he saw a team of workers installing rain gutters on our campus and took the initiative to ask if he could approach and join them. Now, he travels daily with his crew to job sites around the city and has the callouses to prove it!

Six teenage girls are learning first-hand the behind-the-scenes operations of a large resort and conference center. From food preparation and beverage service to front office greeting and housekeeping, they are paired up with experienced staff who are guiding them through rotations in a four-week internship. One week down and three to go!!

Please keep these youth in your prayers. I can't tell if they love their jobs or hate them, but hey, that's all part of the experience, too, right?! 🙂

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.

May 2, 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. ***

April 30, 2019 - No Comments!

Mud Brick Making

ZOE Thailand
Andrea Cross

Do you have memories from your childhood of playing in the mud? I know I do. Fun times in the backyard making mud cakes - squishing and squeezing the sludge between my fingers and toes. And then my dad coming with the garden hose and squirting my sister and me until we were clean enough to come inside and take a shower.

As an adult, though I avoid getting dirty and I really don’t seek out the feeling of squishy mud between my toes anymore, in all honesty I do think there is some truth to the quote, “The most memorable days usually end with the dirtiest clothes.” It was true for me growing up, for sure.

This was also the case recently for some of our boys who got an opportunity to experience the initial stages of constructing a mud house as part of the new Clay House Project at Wycliffe Thai. Wycliffe is eager to develop and pass on the knowledge and skills involved in building these mud brick houses as a practical solution for a strong, durable, and low-cost housing.

The boys got to help with the process of making the mud bricks, and you can see from the photos that they had to get actually get down into it, to really be able to help. Stage one included preparing a stomping pit and filling it with soil and water. The soil and water had to be in the stomping pit for at least 2-3 hours to break down the hard soil and make it easier to mix. The stomping process lasts until the soil breaks down into small pieces and becomes smooth.

The boys’ responses confirmed that it was a really fun learning experience. They hope to go back soon to see the progress as the structure of the mud house takes shape.