Category "East Coast"

Witnessing Jesus in the Midst of Human Trafficking Investigations: A Testimony from Brad Ortenzi

February 28, 2024

During a recent church service at Petra in PA, ZOE’s USA Eastern Regional Director, Brad Ortenzi, had the privilege of sharing some insights gleaned from his experiences with ZOE International and on the heart of God: A Warrior Rescuer, Tender Father.

“I’m often asked what I’ve learned about Jesus through my involvement in child trafficking investigations. My answer remains consistent: Jesus has revealed to me a duality of His nature, manifesting as a fierce Warrior to rescue and a tender Daddy to restore. This revelation has been evident to me from the very beginning of my journey in this work. I’ve witnessed the transformative power of Jesus as He intervenes in the lives of trafficking victims, both rescuing them from their plight and tenderly restoring their spirits.

In CS Lewis’s book, The Chronicles of Narnia, there’s a memorable scene where Lucy observes Aslan walking away from a celebration. Feeling sad, she asks if he will come back. Mr. Tumnus assures her, stating that while Aslan is not a tame lion, he is good. This duality of Jesus—a gentle, loving nature combined with fierce strength—is beautifully exemplified in the work of ZOE International, an organization dedicated to rescuing children from trafficking and sharing the gospel.” 

One of the most emotionally moving moments of the service was when Brad reflected on real-life trafficking investigations that he was part of. He recounted an undercover operation in Thailand, where they awaited the delivery of two young boys to a client at a hotel. The team could feel the tension as they prayed for a successful outcome. Witnessing firsthand the rescue of these boys and their restoration at ZOE’s Children Home was a testament to Jesus’ unwavering commitment to rescue and restore the oppressed.

Other stories Brad shared from Thailand further highlighted Jesus’ tender care for the rescued children. Through corporate prayer sessions at ZOE Thailand, the ZOE team witnessed the transformative power of His love as children found healing and acceptance in God’s loving embrace. Each of their journeys from shame and brokenness to wholeness and joy serve as a powerful reminder of Jesus’ tender compassion and desire to restore hearts that are brokenhearted.

Near the end, Brad encouraged listeners that as followers of Christ, we are called to be His hands and feet in combating human trafficking. While every person has their role to play, the church has a unique responsibility to lead the charge. 

“The journey of combating human trafficking has taught me invaluable lessons about the character of Jesus. His duality as a fierce Warrior and a tender Daddy is evident in every rescue and restoration. As we continue to fight against this injustice, let us draw strength from the knowledge that Jesus is with us, leading the way with His unwavering love and compassion.”

Do you want to learn more about ZOE’s work on the East Coast? Click here! Or interested in having a ZOE leader come speak at your church or event? Fill out our Request a Speaker form and we’ll be in touch!

USA East Coast Outreach: Transforming Lives and Offering Hope through Personal Connection

January 8, 2024
Update from ZOE’s East Coast Advocate After Meeting A Young Woman On A Recent Sting Operation

 

“I met with a lady for the first time since I saw her on the sting operation we did over a month ago. We talked about meeting many times, but she was hesitant. We would plan things and then she wouldn’t get back to me the day of. It was so exciting to be able to see her again and hear how she was doing.

I was able to give her a nice, new winter coat, a pair of gloves and a big bag full of snacks. I also wrote her a note telling her that she is loved and cared for and bought her a sundae from McDonalds. She was so surprised! She said that she is not used to people being this nice to her… 

She also shared with me that she is trying to get sober and hasn’t done any drugs in two days. She said she has a new group of friends that is supportive of her getting clean. She said she has been having video visits with her children and is hoping to see them soon. It was amazing to hear how she is doing better! She said that she can’t stop thinking about the night we encountered her on the sting. 

She said that something one of the detectives said has really stuck with her. He said, ‘maybe the third time’s the charm.’ This was the third time this detective encountered her at a sting operation. He specifically planned to try to get in contact with her that night and have the advocates speak with her. At the end of our visit, she said that she would be willing to look into detox programs with me because ‘maybe I need some help detoxing after all.’ 

Since we met her, she has been saying that she does not need any detox and so this is huge progress! I am thanking Jesus for this opportunity to love on her. I really feel like the meeting built trust with her and I am looking forward to continuing a relationship with her.”