Category "Trafficking Restoration"

From Darkness to Light: Former Addict and Survivor in Thailand Finds Hope and Healing Through Faith 

July 10, 2024

From the depths of despair to the heights of hope, this powerful story of transformation showcases the resilience of the human spirit. A young survivor from ZOE Thailand shares their journey from a life marred by addiction and abuse to one filled with faith, healing, and renewed purpose.

“My life was on a dark path. My mom was an alcoholic and she would drink so much and also physically abuse me. I was introduced to some very bad people who did very bad things. I was always hurting and in pain and I just believed that was the way it would always be. I was addicted to drugs and also sold drugs to others. 

Then I was brought out of that situation and came to ZOE. Here I found Jesus Christ. Since I have come here, I have also been healed of my depression. I know that God is continuing to heal me and helping me to change. I am not the same person I used to be. I have experienced and felt love that I have never felt before. I always thought that I was all alone but I know now that I was never alone. I know that God is always with me and that He has been with me from the very beginning. My mother is getting better and we are starting to repair our relationship. I have hope for my future and I am so thankful to my ZOE family and to God for helping me to become who I am today. I know that no matter what my future holds, I can face it because God is with me.”

From Whimpers to Smiles: A Restoration Story at ZOE Thailand

June 26, 2024

At ZOE, our mission extends beyond rescuing children from human trafficking. We also provide a safe haven for those at high risk of trafficking, including orphans without family support. Recently, we welcomed a toddler into our care, and the transformation we witnessed in just a few months is nothing short of remarkable.

One of our ZOE Thailand staff shared that they first encountered a child during a Sunday School class at their local church. The scene was heart-wrenching: the toddler clung tightly to one of our ZOE parents, face turned inward, emitting soft, constant whimpers. Though tearless, the sound spoke volumes about the fear and uncertainty this little one was experiencing. “All I could do was pray.”

Fast forward a few months to our ZOE family celebration, and the change was astonishing. The same child who once whimpered in fear now strutted around with confidence, laughing and playing without a care in the world. It was a joy to behold, a testament to the power of God’s love and a nurturing environment.

This child’s transformation is not unique. At ZOE, we’ve seen it time and again in children who come to understand they are truly loved and protected. The shift from fear to confidence is a beautiful reminder of the impact a loving family can have on a child’s life.

None of this would be possible without the dedicated ZOE parents, siblings, and extended family who surround these children with love and support. And, of course, to our loyal and faithful supporters who make this work possible.

Your support allows us to provide these precious children with the love and care they need to reach their full potential. Together, we’re not just changing lives; we’re fulfilling God’s promise of a full and abundant life for these young ones.

Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey of restoration for these young children. Your continued support helps us turn whimpers into smiles, fear into confidence, and uncertainty into God’s hope.

To give to the restoration work at ZOE Thailand, click HERE.

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.

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 USA receives license to open ZOE Home for Youth in Los Angeles

September 17, 2021

We are so excited to have finally received our license to open the ZOE Home for Youth (ZHY). “From 2016, when we closed escrow and submitted our plans to receiving our license to open, God has been guiding us, answering prayers and performing miracles along the way,” said Vickie McCoy, ZHY Residential Manager.

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

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

ZOE Means Life!

September 9, 2020

Did you know that the Greek word for ‘life’ is ZOE? It’s no coincidence that founders Michael and Carol Hart chose the name with this in mind when they began fighting child trafficking back in 2002.

Most people who know about ZOE are aware of the trafficking side of our work. 

But have you ever wondered why a name that means ‘life’ was selected? 

In the Bible, the word zoe ζωή refers to eternal life with God but in fact, it changes our earthly lives in every good way too, and is offered free for all who believe and accept Jesus. 

As a Christian organization, we want the whole world to have the opportunity to have this kind of abundant LIFE with God. It’s why ZOE exists!  

So how do we actually bring this ‘zoe-life’ to the world?

We reach people who do not yet know about God’s love, or the gift of eternal LIFE. 

Oftentimes this looks like bringing practical help, meeting physical needs and sharing God’s plan with people in remote, small, vulnerable and unreached places. 

But we also rescue children who are orphaned, trafficked, or abandoned. 

We fight child trafficking through prevention, rescue and restoration. 

When we see freedom and healing, it brings us so much joy of course, but when we see people choose to receive God’s ‘zoe-life’, we know that they will experience freedom and life forever!

At ZOE, we are on a mission to show people God’s love, and have them experience His LIFE, for themselves.     

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

 

Letter From A Child Trafficking Survivor

June 18, 2020

First, I thank God for bringing me to ZOE. My life and heart have been changed by Him. Second, I am so thankful for each of you. I am thankful for all ZOE leaders and staff. I feel grateful that I was rescued and brought to ZOE. 

Thank you for creating a new world with great love for me and all kids here. Thank you so much for loving me and many other kids. It has helped me understand the value of my life. It helps me to be bold and not give up no matter what comes into my life. I have gained understanding and wisdom. 

Thank you for introducing me to new things and for taking care of me to the best of your ability. Thank you for assisting me in every area of my life. I feel warm because of you and this is a feeling I never had in my life. 

It’s been just a short time that I got to know everyone at ZOE but you all became my family as we spent time together as a family. I can now say that I have a warm and loving family! I am so happy to have met and to know you all. Thank you for loving, caring, listening to what I say, and understanding me. You are my family. 

Before, I never knew what true and beautiful love was, but now I realize how beautiful it is. You have shown me through your love, care, and doing what’s best for me. You are my brothers and sisters, my mom and my dad who love me sincerely. Your love is a great inspiration. 

You give me confidence to overcome this hard life with God and your love. You all are my heroes and I know there are many children out there who need your help. Without you all, I may not have today. I might not know how precious my life is. I might not be able to move forward. Without you, my face would not be filled with such a big smile. 

You have shown me and other kids how to exit from darkness. We used to live in the darkness and you all have rescued us and given us wings to fly away. Now we can fly in the sky with your love. 

I cannot stop saying “THANK YOU” to you all. I have realized and seen how hard you work for all kids. You all are merciful. Thank you so much for loving me. I may leave ZOE soon, but I am not alone. Now I have God and ZOE who will walk alongside me. 

Thoughts From A ZOE Social Worker During Covid-19

May 8, 2020

While the world is confronting crisis, God’s blessing is still present. His helping hands are with His children as He promises.

When we were first told that we would need to work from home, I began brainstorming… How could we work efficiently and how could we plan, manage, and assign a tasks to each other? God has shown me new ideas and helped me realize that my work should be run well everywhere! If we still need to work from home, our work performance should still be professional. My home can become a home office.

During a quarantine time, I’ve had the chance to think on God’s mercy and blessing in my life. Many times God shows me the face of our ZOE leaders and I am thankful for them. They are great blessings, good role models, and have servants hearts like Jesus.

I feel grateful to be able to serve Him together with ZOE. Thankful for God’s faithfulness and goodness.

Many people are crying for help during this time, and God allows us to be the answer. The coronavirus may lock us at home, but it cannot stop us from serving our almighty God!

Thankful for all ZOE leaders and our supporters so we can continue serving children and others in many areas.

– ZOE Social Worker