If there’s one thing most modern missionaries have mastered, it’s using technology to stay in touch!
Despite the fact that many of our team are working remotely, we are still able to advocate for children, raise public awareness, and support trafficking survivors in both Thailand and America.
We remain committed to our goals of reach and rescue. We do not see the current limitations, problems, or obstacles as constraints, but rather as pathways – to form new ways of doing things. Maybe even better ways.
According to psychologists, when you have less to work with,
you actually begin to see the world differently.
At ZOE we choose to see the current constraints as advantages in disguise. We are asking ourselves, how can we use constraints to be creative and innovative in each of our jobs? How can these obstacles inspire better thinking?
Through this indefinite time, we will find ways to use our resources differently because we have to. This situation is causing us to creatively plan, dream, and orchestrate ideas that would otherwise have remained untapped.
We remain steadfast in our determination to ensure that child trafficking is ended, justice brought, and lives rebuilt. While we are shifting the way we work and live worldwide, child trafficking has not gone away. In the face of the Covid19 virus, we will continue to fight!
When you think about ‘transport’ in Thailand, you possibly picture chaotic cities, thousands of motorbikes, tuk-tuks, songthaews, and traffic pollution. You might also imagine four-wheel drive trucks navigating red, dusty tracks, or unmade roads leading to hidden rice fields and villages.
Our ZOE staff and families experience the extremes of both these types of transportation conditions regularly. From school drop offs, fact finding, meetings with the Police, shopping trips, village outreaches, hospital check-ups, awareness campaigns, visits to relatives, school trips, court appearances, church on Sunday, property maintenance (the list goes on)…ZOE’s fleet of cars and trucks get a lot of use!
In fact, it takes a small team of people to oversee the vehicles and make sure they continue to be in good working order. This team manages the vehicle registrations, insurance, and service appointments. They also coordinate what vehicle will go where, according to the day of the week, destination, number of people travelling, etc. It takes a lot of organization.
This month in Australia, our focus is not only on vehicle transport, but also on just how far your generous donations travel. Our monthly impact giving, helps ZOE to fund all the areas of greatest need. Transport is just one of those areas!
Instead of spending the month highlighting our fleet of cars and trucks (although some people might enjoy this) our social media channels in Australia will cover a broad range of trafficking related content that links in with the both theme of transport, and being transported – ‘moving from one place to another’.
Think beyond just getting from A to B because we want to cover: how transport is used in trafficking, how to spot trafficking in our travels, how trafficking continues to travel during covid-19, just how far ZOE will go to reach and rescue, and the emotional journey from victim to survivor – the restoration process – the child trafficking survivor stories that happen every day. Plus more!
Join us on Australia’s Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up with this month’s theme Transport-ed and please leave us a comment on social media so we know who’s ‘travelling’ along with us!
Shortly after I was married, I was tidying up the study one day when I came across a checklist that my husband had filled out about me, during a marriage course. It was a list of different personal skills and attributes wives have so, of course, it instantly caught my eye!
Being young and still in the honeymoon-stage of marriage, I was keen to know what my husband thought about me. Poor guy, he had filled it in with no intention that I would ever actually read it!
I scanned the list and felt pretty good about what he had checked off about me…until my eyes fell upon the words “good driver” and there was no tick beside it! The discovery that day led to a follow up discussion…and many jokes over the years.
But strangely enough, that checklist (missing the good driver tick) has stuck with me for some twenty something years now. I always drive as carefully as I can in the hope that one day I might hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful driver” from my husband!
Well, funny driving stories aside, since our ZOE staff need to drive thousands of hours a year, we need them to be good drivers. They drive to school drop offs, meetings with the Police, shopping trips, village outreaches, hospital check-ups, awareness campaigns, visits to relatives, school trips, court appearances, church on Sunday, and many more destinations.
What you might not know is that ZOE has a driving program for staff to utilize on a needs basis. If a department requires another driver, they come and talk to Transportation. Depending on what level the person is at, they begin training. Some drivers have never driven a car before, and others have their driver’s license, but need more training or practice. Parallel parking is just one of the skills they practice to help prepare to be licensed and certified to drive for ZOE.
We want all our staff drivers to get a big tick for being “good drivers” next to their name!
Through our partnership with Children’s Hunger Fund, we partner with Thai pastors to help them to reach their communities with the gospel.
One of our partners is Pastor Songkran. Songkran moved to a small village many years ago that did not have a church. He has been slowly reaching this community and the church has grown. During this time he also felt that he and his family were called to help children who didn’t have the opportunity to attend school. These are children from villages that don’t have schools and the families don’t have the money to put them into school.
Songkran and his family take in kids each year to allow them to go to school. They take on the responsibility of feeding the children and paying their school bills. This year, they have 19 children living with them. They have done all of this through faith and trusting that God will provide. This year through the donations from Usana and Children’s Hunger Fund, we were able to help Songkran.
We helped him by building and stocking two fish ponds, a frog pond, and a mushroom hut, and we planted mango trees. Songkran’s plan for the fish, frogs, mushrooms, and mangoes is well thought out. He will use a third of the produce to help feed the children living with his family. He will sell a third of the produce to help pay for the school fees for the children. He will give away the last third of the produce to those in need in his community. This is a great project to help a hardworking pastor who partners with ZOE.
If you’re old like me, you might remember that Peter, Paul, and Mary song, “Going to the Zoo.”
Daddy’s takin’ us to the zoo tomorrow,
Zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow
Daddy’s takin’ us to the zoo tomorrow
And we can stay all day!
It was sung on school excursions, lengthy road trips, or during Music class. Looking back, it was one of those songs that seemed like it would never end! There was always another verse to sing and when you’d exhausted every animal, you could go right back to the start and sing, “Mommy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow…” and it would all start again!
For most people, going to the zoo is a magical experience. Seeing magnificent creatures up close that you don’t normally see, experiencing the thrill of feeding them, hearing their unique sounds and of course appreciating God’s creativity in all the distinctive features of the animals.
Recently the younger children from our ZOE families had the privilege of visiting the zoo. They were able to read the descriptions about each animal, and observe each creature great and small in various environments. Our children smiled at the unusual, laughed at the playful, and stared in awe at the mighty elephants, hippos, and giraffes.
What an amazing opportunity to teach them more about God the Creator, and marvel at His works! The spots, the stripes, the patterns – every design is a reflection of His creativity. He made each creature from the smallest to the largest.
There is so much to be learned from visiting the zoo, but one important lesson we want our children to take away is that God made something even more spectacular than the animals when He made them! Out of all the creatures, He made man “in the image of God.” Our hope is that through this experience, yes, they will see how amazing each animal is, but that they would also have a fresh revelation of how special they are!
By Andrea Cross
By Ben Wood, Field Worker, Thailand
One day I was at the Child Rescue Center (CRC) for a meeting. Two girls had just arrived. They had only been at ZOE for about 30 minutes when they were taken to the ZOE “store” by one of our mothers. I was sitting at a distance and watched as both girls proceeded to sit down on the ground and cry. I didn’t know what was happening.
After about a minute of being comforted, they stood up and went into the store. I was curious why they were crying and walked over and asked the mother what was happening.
She told me that it was okay. That their tears were happy tears. They were moved by our love for them and allowing them to take whatever they needed from our store. They also told her that they felt honored that they weren’t being told what to do but instead they were given the power to make choices.
At that moment, I was also moved to tears. I realized that our little store was more than just a room full of stuff but instead it was an opportunity for us to empower the children we rescue and to show them love as they start their restoration process.
By Oratai Saisingtong, ZOE Thailand Director
It’s a ZOE tradition now that every New Year’s eve, each person picks out a Bible verse to meditate on for the entire year. Some people might think, “It’s just one verse, it doesn’t mean much!” But, just as in past years, we know that God uses many opportunities to speak, and get the attention of our children.
This year one of our children picked out this Bible verse:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
During our meeting, the boy told with excitement that he received this Bible verse. And, he was excited to realize that God spoke to him. He went on to explain that he had constantly said that no one loved him or cared for him. But, now he is confident that God loves him!
It touched our hearts to see that God spoke right to his heart. God has entrusted these children to us but it is so encouraging when we see that they recognize His voice speaking to them!
At times when children struggle, it is such a comfort to see God reassuring us that His covering is over these children. His love iseverlasting. He is faithful, and we are not doing this work alone!
By Brandon Kim, Vocational Training Manager
As the goal of our vocational training program, we often talk about moving from “trit-sa-dii” (Thai word for “theory”) to “bpa-dti-bat” (Thai word for “practice”). To this end we have always looked for opportunities to gain experience in authentic settings outside the four walls of the classroom and extend learning to new arenas. So, we were overjoyed that three amazing organizations came alongside ZOE to support our students in this endeavor.
A popular coffee house near the center of town agreed to train two youth in the areas of food preparation and service, and has continued to allow them to intern there three times a week through January. A beauty shop owner has opened her doors to teach one student hairdressing and manicure techniques, and a well-known language school has accepted three of our students into an intensive 10-week English course.
In addition, we believe that quality time spent together with successful Thai Christian business owners will be invaluable in widening and extending their view of “work.” One student already asked after the first day if she can continue training after she leaves ZOE! Well one thing we know for sure is that God has a great plan and purpose for them that they are only just beginning to discover!
ZOE is a place where beautiful stories of rescue, hope, life, and love can easily be found.
With permission to share, we think this powerful testimony of one girl’s journey from rescue to healing, will bring renewed hope for the future and great expectations, to all who read it. Please continue to uphold all ZOE’s rescued children in your prayers as they embrace new seasons, new beginnings, and the New Year.
It’s hard for me to tell my story. Before I came to live at ZOE my life was not good. Many times I felt like I wanted to get out, but I never could. I felt trapped. I knew that children shouldn’t be doing what I was doing but whenever I got a small amount of money, it gave me what I needed to survive. For a while, that little bit of money numbed my pain.
To survive, I tried to block out anyone who would show me real love. I no longer cared how anyone else felt. I just focused on the money, but deep down I was not happy. I felt like my life had no value, so I would just keep doing the same things. I was ashamed, broken and lonely.
Coming to ZOE really changed my life. I learned that I am VALUABLE in God’s sight. It was strange at first because I wasn’t used to people being kind and caring. I was welcomed into a warm and loving family and the longer I stayed, the more I grew to love the ZOE staff and the mothers so much. They helped me learn many new things. For the first time I saw and understood what real love looks like. I learned about forgiving and sharing. I learned that my life is important… that I am important.
It is hard to explain how different I feel and how much I love God. I understand how much He loves me and I am trying to change the way I had thought about myself and now I have new thoughts about the future.
There are many things that I want to thank God for. God does more than I ever think He can. Even just the other day, I was worried because I thought I would need to leave ZOE and go somewhere else, but I wasn’t ready to leave and I was scared. I kept praying to God. I did not want to go but I knew I would be ok because I knew that God would be with me. When one of the ZOE staff came and reassured me that I could continue to live at ZOE, I knew God had answered my prayers.
I will now be able to finish my grade level at the ZOE Learning Center and then in the future I want to study Business Administration. I would like to become an expert in English. These are the new thoughts I have about my future.
I know that sometimes I still make mistakes. I know it will take time to change, but I want to try. Thank you God for rescuing me!
“God put a new dream in my heart over 3 years ago and…
guess what?!? It’s happening!!“
Written by Jessica Dodd
A World Without Orphans.
Can you picture it? A world without any orphans? A world where all children grow up in safe, stable, and nurturing families? I can.
What an amazing experience to be able to attend the Global Forum for a World Without Orphans (WWO), which was held on 24-27 October 2019. With 600 attendees from 60 different countries, WWO has a clear vision to see children thriving, families strong, and churches engaged. The vision will be achieved by helping children remain in, be reunited with, or regain a healthy family, so that they can reach their God-given purpose. The forum focused on the spiritual, relational, and practical aspects for how to best accomplish this aim.
What was so encouraging about the forum was the spirit of “working together” to care for orphans and vulnerable children better. A united goal of implementing best practices and making realistic changes on every level…from the community/society, government, and even national policies.
A powerful time of worship, as well as the main session, focused on the Father’s heart for orphans, steered attendees towards how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. Breakout sessions were taught by experts from around the world, and included both valuable and practical takeaways.
It was awesome to hear about how different countries have changed their policies on every level as a result of the 1st global forum in 2016 (just 3 years ago!).
For me personally, the four days of forum were life changing, inspiring, challenging, convicting, stirring…all at the same time! I’m so glad I got the opportunity to attend. I’m excited about the future, in more ways than one!
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.
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!