Category "Thailand"

ZOE Australia Director Witnesses Transformation in Thailand: A Journey of Healing and Hope for ZOE Children

January 29, 2024

David Cross, ZOE Australia’s Director, shares his reflections on his recent trip to ZOE Thailand.

 

“I recently returned from ZOE Thailand, where I was able to spend some time with our team and I was, once again, blown away by the life-changing work that we are all a part of.

 

These children have faced unimaginable hardships and when they first arrive, the hurt and trauma of their pasts are evident in their interactions with everyone around them. Some of them respond with anger and hatred using words that reveal their pain, while others are scared and withdrawn.

 

However, what is truly remarkable is the healing and transformation that takes place over time. It’s almost unbelievable to see how these children change and grow. Some of them are studying or completing internships, while others have grown into adulthood and joined the workforce, and some have started families and gone on to support and help others in need.”

A Sanctuary for the Orphan: How ZOE’s Home in Thailand Became a Beacon of Hope

January 29, 2024

Recently, we learned of a child who had witnessed unimaginable trauma at a tender age and found themselves orphaned and in the spotlight of the news, with no one to turn to. 

Our dedicated ZOE staff, deeply moved by this heart-wrenching story, earnestly considered bringing this child into the loving embrace of our ZOE Children’s Home in Thailand.

As we were planning the logistics and preparing for the child’s possible arrival, a twist of events occurred. The government, initially reported to have located the child’s family, had deemed them unfit and unsafe for the child’s well-being. 

Although we were initially disheartened by the initial turn of events, we were soon contacted by the government with the miraculous news that they intended to send this precious child to our ZOE Children’s Home!

It was a moment of profound gratitude and praise, as we realized that God had impeccably prepared ZOE Children’s Home to be a sanctuary for this particular child as they found solace, safety, and the love of God within the walls of our ZOE Children’s Home. 

Your faithful support and prayers have been instrumental in creating a Home and environment where children like this one can find refuge, healing, and a second chance at a brighter future! Thank you for standing with us in our mission to make a lasting impact in the lives of these vulnerable children.

ZOE Thailand Supports Students Fleeing Burmese Conflict

January 8, 2024

Recently, the ZOE Thailand Team helped educate students at Mae Sot District, Tak Province, which is about 7 hours drive from ZOE Thailand. Most of the students are from the Karen tribe who fled the war in Burma and have come there to study. Since these students don’t have a Thai ID card, it makes life difficult as they miss out on many opportunities and basic needs (including food that is limited to 2 meals per day).

Some of the Thai students told our team that, since studying for more than two years, they haven’t had a chance to see their family. Even though they desire to, they’re not able to go back since they must finish their studies. 

Some of the students shared that even after graduating, they still don’t know what to do or where to go next. One ZOE team member reflected, “When we heard that, we felt sadness for them. And when we look back and think about ourselves it makes us see that we have a million more reasons to thank God for His blessings and grace in our lives.”

Children’s Hunger Fund Visits ZOE Thailand!

August 13, 2023

Recently, Children’s Hunger Fund Founder and President, Dave Phillips, and a CHF team visited our ZOE team in Thailand! Since 2008, Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF) has closely partnered with ZOE as a chief distributor in Thailand for a food distribution program called Mercy Network. Through this program, ZOE Thailand and CHF partner with local pastors to supply food and resources to vulnerable communities and share the gospel.

ZOE has been blessed to work with CHF throughout the years, and we’ve seen God’s hand of grace moving in our work together. One of our greatest joys is to share God’s abundant overflow with others who are doing His work to feed the hungry and care for the poor.

Thank you Dave Phillips and Children’s Hunger Fund for your continued prayers and support of ZOE International and the work that we’ll continue to do together!

Youth in Vulnerable Communities Learn How to Protect Themselves from Human Trafficking

May 2, 2023

Awareness and education are critical to preventing human trafficking in the countries ZOE works in. That’s why our ZOE Australia team recently partnered with our Thailand teams to educate groups of students at schools within vulnerable communities about human trafficking. Both ZOE teams were able to join forces and put on fast-paced and engaging preventative workshops for students in northern Thailand.

ZOE Co-Founder and CEO Mike Hart shared, “We want to inspire and equip groups of people to end human trafficking together with us by giving them resources to do so. We do this by training community members across the globe to identify human trafficking and empower them to help end it.”

How does ZOE prevent human trafficking and exploitation? ZOE educates every sector of society and identifies and trains vulnerable children and communities about this issue. ZOE also equips local community advocates to provide protection and develops long-term solutions prayerfully.

During these interactive workshops, the ZOE team educated youth about what human trafficking looks like, how to stay safe online, and how to be aware of and respect physical boundaries. 

“The Thailand team did this impactful drama depicting the issue of human trafficking. It was so moving and effective – it stuck with me. I’m grateful to know that through this drama, and various workshops and activities with the students, they are equipped with knowledge about the issue of human trafficking and can feel empowered to reach out to safe people, be alert, and look out for their friends.” -Mareshah, ZOE Australia.

“Precious to God Just the Way We Are”

March 20, 2022

We recently finished the final touches and furnishings for our new Short-Term Protective Home for girls in Thailand. This home is a place of rest, healing, and restoration for girls who will eventually be reunited with their families after their cases are concluded. Every item in the home, the furniture, decor, and accents were all chosen and placed with care and love—all with the healing and well-being of these girls in mind.

The day before the home was opened and prayed over by our staff and leaders, some of our newly-rescued girls and ZOE moms came to help finish the preparations. As they headed into the space and began to explore the rooms, you could hear them exclaim, “This is so beautiful,” or, “This will be my room,” and, “I love my new home.” Then, as they began to help put things in place, one of them picked up the Max Lucado book, “You Are Special,” translated into Thai. She began flipping through the pages and looking at the photos and then flipped back to the beginning and read the story. She would stop to ask one of our moms a question, listen to the answer, and then continue reading. This went on until she finished the book.

A brief synopsis from Amazon reads, “You Are Special is a beautiful story that reminds us that we are precious to God just the way we are. It is through spending daily time with him that we begin to see ourselves through His eyes.” We want every child who comes to us to know this truth and know that they are precious and unique. Later we heard that the girl who read the book chose to give her life to God and ask Jesus into her heart.

Orphaned & Rejected – 2nd Child Rescued by ZOE in Thailand

February 22, 2022

*Busaba’s parents died when she was very young, and she went to live with her grandparents. Friends and people in her village made fun of her and called her “bad luck” because she no longer had parents. Rejected by all, she was vulnerable to being sold for trafficking.

Busaba came to ZOE’s home when she was 7 years old. “When she walked through we greeted her with a round of applause and cheers by the ZOE family,” said the ZOE Thai Staff. “It made her feel so loved and welcomed! She was impressed as a little girl.”

While living in the home, Busaba was constantly surrounded by people who loved her. Her ZOE parents became her true parents and showed her how to live in a godly way. From the time she first stepped into the ZOE home until now, Busaba feels like ZOE has given her everything she needed that she lost. She is loved and feels confident. She is thankful that she was able to receive her education and finish her Arts at the university.

“ZOE is a place anointed by God to help and rescue children,” said Busaba.

When Busaba finished high school, she prayed to God and said, “God, you are good, and I am here because of you. If you need me, use me. I will do anything for you or ZOE.” She wanted God to use her talents and giftings to her full potential. God answered Busaba’s prayers, and today she is working for ZOE.

“These kids need help and comfort from God – not only for their physical needs but also for their soul and spiritual needs,” said Busaba. “There is so much love poured out at ZOE. And you see the kindness and grace of God over this place. This is the place of hope for the children.

I pray for ZOE’s future – that it is full of happiness and that many more kids will be rescued. I pray God will bless them with more land to grow bigger and grow around the world. I am also praying for ZOE to be in many more countries. I pray for every person who walks onto the ZOE property – whether it’s a visitor or a rescued child – that ultimately, they will see and be touched by the love and power of God.”

The people in the villages who called Busaba “bad luck” now see her differently. After losing her parents, they see how God has worked in her life, and they are amazed at what God has done in her.

This year, ZOE International celebrates 20 years of reaching people with God’s love and a mission to rescue children from the horrors of human trafficking.

*Pseudonym: ZOE protects the identity and dignity of children and does not show trafficked children. Busaba permitted us to share her story to honor what God has done in her life while being under ZOE’s care.

ZOE Thailand Re-Focuses its Awareness Efforts in Light of Third Lockdown

September 17, 2021

In early July, Thailand placed 10 million people in the capital under new coronavirus restrictions. “With COVID, the whole country shut down,” said Les Ginoza, ZOE Thailand Director. “We had to change the way we have done our awareness programs quickly.”

The ZOE Thailand team focused on creating media and educating underage kids to prevent them from being exploited.

“We developed a lot of videos because we could no longer go village to village or go into schools,” said Les. “When we did that, our reach increased. We were able to touch a lot more people with our awareness program. Although Covid is a terrible issue, God always shows us the silver lining.”

The pandemic and loss of tourism income has thrown millions in Thailand into poverty. “We quickly changed our focus to help provide basic food necessities to the neediest of families,” said Les. “In partnership with Children’s Hunger Fund we donated food packs to families while also sharing the gospel and God’s love for them. Families have been overwhelmed with gratitude.”

Child Rescue Team

Recently, ZOE Thailand welcomed 16 members of the Foreign Anti-Narcotic and Crime Community of Thailand (FANC) who represent law enforcement from ten different countries.

“This was the very first time we had an international community of law enforcement come together to discuss human trafficking,” said Les. “The group began to work on a plan to better track down perpetrators who have left Thailand and have gone back to their native countries. This is a big issue that we are trying to resolve, and it takes coordination from the entire international community.”

Thailand ZOE Team

A New Aquarium: Delivering Health and Wellbeing Benefits

October 1, 2020

I remember that my grandmother used to love to sit and stare at the aquarium my older brother kept at home. As a teenager, I never really understood how she could just sit there and watch the fish swim for hours. Have you ever done this? Just sit and watch fish swim? Or have you ever been to a large public aquarium and spent way too long in the darkened room with that huge tank holding all the different species of fish and other sea creatures?

Aquarium of gold fishIt is captivating and actually very relaxing and calming.

Recently, we installed a fish tank at our Child Rescue Center in Thailand. When the girls heard about it they were so excited. In fact, one of them asked if she could purchase her own pet fish to raise in the aquarium. With much joy and anticipation she and one of our ZOE moms bought a fish each to raise in the tank together.

close up view of aquarium of fishIt is a simple aquarium with a good number of fish but it has been so LIFE-giving and restorative for our youth. Not only are they able to sit and enjoy watching the fish, they are also taking ownership and caring for the fish and working together to clean the tank regularly. It’s become a fun family activity that they do together.

child looking at an aquarium of fishFun fact: Did you know that there are studies that show how watching fish swim in an aquarium can actually help reduce stress and anxiety and help with relaxation?

– Written by Lori-Ann Tsang

LINK to study

Frog Blog: A Ribbeting Story of Self-Sustainability

September 29, 2020

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, Say to Aaron, Stretch out your hand with your rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt. Exodus 8:5

Frogs, frogs, frogs! The folks in Egypt were fed up with frogs so Pharaoh entreated Moses to get rid of them. It might have been a different story had it been set in Thailand. Thai people love to be fed up with frogs. In fact, fat frogs are a delicacy to Thai taste buds!

As part of ZOE’s food self-sustainability program, we have recently started growing frogs. Our staff, students, and children love frogs and we can expand our menu without increasing our overall costs.

The frogs are raised in a concrete basin measuring 3×3 meters and 2 meters deep. A portion of the basin is covered with shallow water while the top is covered with a protective mesh to keep birds and other predators out. ZOE also raises catfish and tilapia on our fish farm, but whereas the fish take up to a year or more from fry to frying pan, frogs leap from tadpole to table in 3-4 months. Thus, we can harvest at least 3 crops of frogs every year.

Toads basking in the sun next to a tree trunkEach army of frogs comprises several hundred animals. We buy them when they are just past the tadpole stage for about six cents apiece and feed them with pelletized frog food. When fully grown, the frogs are the length of a smartphone and as thick as a man’s fist.

The chefs in ZOE’s kitchen love frogs, too, because they are easy to cook and can be prepared in a variety of tantalizing and tasty ways. Some like them best boiled, braised, baked, or barbecued. They are great grilled or roasted. Fried, fricasseed, or flamed frogs are flavorful favorites. And any spread will surely be more scrumptious with steamed, sautéed, seared, smoked, simmered, stewed, or stir-fried frog! Serve with rice or noodles and oil! “a feast fit for a king (if not for a Pharaoh)!

Today sitting on a blockWith our first frog yield due in a hop, skip, and a jump, we expect our ZOE family will soon be jumping for joy themselves!

– Written by Ron Boyer

 

How I See Myself

September 23, 2020

Age-related long sightedness is considered a normal part of getting old. As someone in their 40s, who is realizing that small text is increasingly getting harder to focus on, I am well aware that by the age of 45 many people need reading glasses.

Thankfully though, needing reading glasses does not impact the way that I am learning to see myself. It takes focusing on the truth to see the inner me – the way God sees me – and this type of sight has no age limit or restriction. But it does take some practice!

children looking at a mapRecently I had the opportunity to share about this topic with the teens at the ZOE Learning Center. Through many different activities, from looking through different lenses and objects, to examining different perspectives, we learned that there was often more than just one way to look at something.

Although everyone’s life story is different, there are many things that we all have in common.

  • At different points in our lives, we all face setbacks.
  • When we face setbacks we have choices about how we respond.
  • We all have a choice to see ourselves through our own eyes, or through God’s eyes.
  • We all have a choice about whether we listen to lies or truth about who we are.

By recognizing that there is often a mismatch in the way we see ourselves compared to how God sees us, we can choose which lens to look through. I don’t know about you, but for me, the way He sees me is a much nicer view! When God looks at me He sees a beautiful creation, no mistake, chosen, wanted, loved, forgiven. And I must admit sometimes (more often than I care to admit) that’s not the way I see myself.

Children looking through city imagesThere are many life lessons that I learn through nature. And the aloe vera plant is one example of something that has taught me a lesson this year. Aloe vera is one of those things that I have growing in various parts of my garden. It sprouts up easily and seems to thrive almost anywhere. To be honest, I used to just see it more like a weed than anything special until I learned and understood how amazing it really is  From being good for your skin, your hair, pimples, itchy bites, sunburn, even in smoothies. it’s really quite incredible.

Children listening to a Woman team member teach Sometimes we might feel like a weed, pushed aside, unwanted, useless, out of place in a garden of more beautiful plants, but God doesn’t see us like that. He sees us as amazing. And the aloe vera plant reminds me to see myself, and others, in the same way He does!

child looking at Where's Waldo book

By Andrea Cross

Dance Performance, Note to God 

September 7, 2020

For some of the children at ZOE, dancing is one of their favorite ways to pass the time.  And dance has many proven benefits: It can help you to express your emotions, relieve stress, increase physical fitness, improve confidence and self-esteem, and encourage creativity and imagination. 

One of the positive outcomes of the recent COVID lockdown was a newfound collaboration with Prisma Dance.  This dance studio in Hawaii has a mission statement that shares ZOE’s heart: To fulfill the Great Commandment – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5) (Matt 22:37) and to fulfill the Great Commission – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you(Matthew 28:19-20a).  Their vision is Christ-centered dance training focused on glorifying and worshiping God, and sharing Christ with the world through dance.

What a perfect partnership for ZOE!

Nicole Lam, Prisma’s founder and director, volunteered to create a special dance just for our ZOE girls.  She made detailed videos to teach the girls and the girls practiced diligently on Saturday mornings to perfect their art.  The dance was choreographed to a song called, Note to God.  This song is an emotional prayer, a letter to God to mend the world of all the bitterness and hate.  It talks about finding love, granting faith and giving hope, even when it seems like all hope is gone.

Our 7-member dance team shared their powerful performance with the whole ZOE family at a recent worship night.  It was not only a chance to express their emotions but the girls also received encouragement from their family as they worshiped God in a unique way.  Thank you Jesus for our new friendship with Nicole and Prisma Dance.  May God bless their ministry abundantly!

Author – Cissy Boyer