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All Posts in Missionaries

October 1, 2018 - No Comments!

Freedom Frees Others

by Abigail Jennerson

Sometimes people ask me what compelled us to move to Thailand to work with ZOE… They ask how we gained this passion to see an end to human trafficking…

After meeting with a woman named Rosi Orozco, I finally have my answer.

I wanted to share about the unique experience my husband and I had with Rosi Orozco. We had the privilege of meeting with Rosi to interview her about trafficking in Mexico. She is a human rights activist in Latin America, with her main focus being human trafficking.

This woman is friends with top political leaders, making amazing strides in policy and restoration. She had just gotten back from a trip to meet with the pope. She is no joke. And so inspiring!

Rosi inspired me to continue fighting for the victims of human trafficking, and to continue fighting in humility.  She brought everyone in our meeting to tears with her powerful words.

When the interview came to a quiet moment, the pastor asking the interview questions tried to thank and compliment Rosi for everything she does for human trafficking victims in Latin America, to which she quickly interrupted him with, “No! We are just blessed. It is just justice.”

Which then led into the greatest monologue I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing. And my answer to anyone who wonders why we decided to move across the world to fight human trafficking:
“The people around us, the victims of human trafficking, have experienced injustice, on top of injustice, on top of injustice. It’s so terrible what they have lived. When we give, we are just doing an act of justice. We are not good people, we are not generous...We are just...just…

From a home where my parents are now 60 years married, a lot of love, I lived in the United States, I lived in Europe, I have everything a person could dream. So when I stand beside [a trafficking victim], I realize that not one of us chose where to be born. So why do I believe I am better or being “generous” to her? It is only justice!

If you were a bank, receiving the deposits of love, of generosity, of blessing, and you feel you are good because you give a check with money? No. They were an empty bank that received zero, and after that they took away their dignity. So, it’s not an act of goodness...no we are not special. We are just conscious of how responsible we are living in this world with so much.”

She said it all! Everything I feel, everything I have wanted to say but never knew how to say!

I grew up in a wonderfully loving family, parents 30+ years married, a loving church community, an amazing husband. So when I stood next to victims of such abuse, neglect and injustice, I knew that all the blessings, all the protection of God on my life, were for the very purpose of helping others experience freedom and blessing!

Friends, we––me, you, ZOE––give because it is our responsibility.
We give because we were given SO much.
We give because we are blessed.

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ––Nelson Mandela

June 25, 2018 - No Comments!

Missionary Quarterly Meeting

by Andrea Cross

Once each quarter, the missionaries in Thailand get together for a day to worship together, have devotions and hear testimonies about what God is doing throughout all the different departments, areas and countries that ZOE is involved in.

It’s a highlight for most of us because so often we are focused on one or two areas of the ministry and these meetings give everyone a chance to hear updates, praise points and developments. They are also a chance to pray for needs, be encouraged and have a few laughs (and sometimes we shed a couple of tears too).

This quarter I was wondering if our meeting would be cancelled because so many of the missionaries are back in their home countries right now but I was excited to hear that it was going ahead.

Once again, there was a wonderful spirit of worship, a great devotion lead by Ben Wood and a praise update given by Lynne Ginoza. The surprise of the day though was that after watching a very encouraging movie called ‘Greater’ and fellowshipping over lunch, Brandon Kim had some super fun, team building games for us all to play.

We had a guys verses girls, Family Feud competition which the women won as well as gamecalled BFF – where Dave Cross and Jessica Dodd came out champions!  What an amazing blessing it is to be in a team who pray, praise, worship, cry and laugh together.

I look forward to the next quarter where we can gather once more and celebrate all that God is doing in and through this wonderful team here in Thailand.

  

  

June 20, 2018 - No Comments!

How far would you go?

by Lori-Ann Tsang

Are you familiar with the song by The Proclaimers, “I’m Gonna Be?” It’s a catchy tune and the chorus goes…

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

It’s a song about what a man would do for love of a woman. In many ways, what our Road of Justice team chose to do was for love as well. But it was out of love for God and for the children who are in need of rescuing.

As Simpson and I supported our ROJ team for two weeks as they biked through Colorado and part of Utah, I was constantly amazed at their fierce determination, perseverance and strength.

We had the easy job of supporting them and making sure they were safe, hydrated and fed. They were doing all the heavy lifting… biking 70-100 miles a day in all kinds of weather and climbing thousands of feet in elevation. They are an inspiration.

Each day was a lesson in endurance, obedience and willfully choosing to keep pedaling. Why would anyone choose to bike 3700 miles over the course of 64 days? Obedience. God gave them a vision and a purpose to raise awareness of human trafficking and to raise funds for ZOE International that saves children who have been or may be trafficked. This was their call, their reason, their purpose. This was why they endure and continue to pedal on.

In the short time we were with them, they climbed 6000 feet a day at least 3 times. They biked up hill against 25-30 mile winds for many miles. They sat out a hail storm that covered a once green field in white pellets of ice. They climbed the Rockies to an elevation of 11,312 feet and crossed the continental divide. Even as I write this they continue on toward the West Coast and the completion of their journey. They have been biking through record high heat of 100+ degrees farhenheit and hot desert winds.

They will finish their ride on Saturday, June 23rd in Santa Monica, California.

As we have cheered them on and supported them, I

have had to ask myself “What would I do?” “Would I bike 3700 miles?” Many of us can’t or don’t have the capacity or ability to do this. But I have to ask myself, what can I do? What can YOU do? What is God asking of you?

Please pray for our team as they make their way west. Please prayerfully consider joining us in our fight to end human trafficking. I hope you are inspired and encouraged by our team. I know I am.

www.roadofjustice.com

June 6, 2018 - No Comments!

The Real Enemy

by Yuri Yamamoto

We at ZOE Japan, often go out to the downtown streets to pray for the city, people, and children. We believe that prayer is the first thing we always have to start with if we want to change something, especially to end human trafficking. Human trafficking exists in Japan, as well as in other countries. We know as a fact that not everyone willingly chooses to work in the red light district.

One of the nights during our prayer walk, God brought to me one middle-aged man who was sitting down in front of a train station. As we talked, he slowly shared his life story with me.  His mother is very ill and always in the hospital, his liver is in a critical condition that he could die at any moment, he does not have any friends that he can talk to, and amongst all of his struggles, has AIDS. He shared that it was because of his past lifestyle of many unsafe sexual relationships and having gone to many brothels in the past.

He said, “I will die alone like an animal. There is no hope or joy in my life.” Listening to how miserable he feels about life really broke my heart. I felt the urgency to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. I told him how Jesus came to die on the cross to forgive him and to wash his sins away. He refused at first saying, “No! I have done too many sinful things that shouldn’t be forgiven.” He also rejected my offer to pray for him. So I continued listening to him and shared God’s words about how much God loves him and wants him back.

After talking with him for a while, he started trusting me more and allowed me to pray for him. After my prayer, he had a BIG smile on his face and said “It is impressive how you prayed for every little detail that I shared with you tonight. I hadn’t had a conversation with anyone in forever!” He thanked me numerous times and told me he would go see his mother in the hospital the next day and tell her about the things I shared with him.

How wonderful it is to pray for people like him and see the change in his heart! Meeting him reminded me that our real enemy of exploitation is not people, but the one who blinded this man’s eyes and kept him captive for many years.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12

Please join us in prayer for many people like him and ZOE Japan missionaries as we continue to go out and share the love to Jesus as well as the Good News! We want to see the change and be God’s instrument to bring true freedom to this country!

May 30, 2018 - No Comments!

ZOE from a Missionary’s View

Interview: Lori-Ann, ZOE Missionary

It’s about this time of year when in the office, the desks start to empty and the workspace gets a lot quieter. Where is everyone? From about the months of May through to the end of July, many of our missionaries take their annual trip back to their home country to share with supporters, churches and schools about what ZOE is doing to fight child trafficking and raise support to stay working on the field in Thailand.

Lori-Ann Tsang and her husband Simpson

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing one of the newer ZOE missionaries, Lori-Ann Tsang who is here with her husband Simpson. They have been here for almost a year and I was able to chat with her right before they head back home to Hawaii for the first time. Check out what she had to say about life and working in Thailand.    

What’s the best thing about being a missionary?
It’s way better than I expected! There are two best things: working with our fellow missionaries (I don’t think I would’ve met them anywhere else in the world, even though some of us are from the same country) but also being able to affect and impact the lives of our ZOE kids and also the rescue part… being able to see that what you’re doing every day impacts their lives so directly.

What local Thai sayings have you picked up?
“Su su” is one of them for sure (don’t give up) or instead of saying “Ummm?” they will say “Aray na” which is like, “What?” or they will say, “Pay nay?” which is like a greeting and like “Where are you going?”

Have you had an answer to prayer recently?
God has continued to be faithful but one thing that happened recently was an immigration situation.  We had booked our tickets back and we didn’t realize that it conflicted with having to be here (in Thailand) for our check-in.  We were really disappointed about it but God was faithful and despite us not knowing, the error being on our part but now because of our change in dates, we are able to be back for a close friend who is grieving right now.  If the change didn’t happen, we would not have been able to be with them but now we can be there for our friend and I can see God’s goodness in all this.

What are some cultural differences between living here and yours when you grew up?
Actually there are a lot of similarities because of the Asian culture but with the American culture in general, it’s been about getting used to how things get done. Urgent things don’t seem as urgent here (not so much at ZOE) but in general, if you need to get something fixed then the amount of time it takes or the amount of follow up is different. But I think it’s about learning to be in a good place of understanding that it’s not a sign of disrespect or that they don’t care, it’s just a different culture and understanding that and being gracious even though it’s not the way I have done it in the past. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to is that things just take a lot longer and also the fact that you’re still learning the language and so you’re not just able to do things on your own but you have to ask for help to get something done and that’s very different and a whole different level of dependence on God too. You have to lean on other people and you have to lean on Him.

Has your testimony grown since leaving home?
Definitely! God has shown us so much about who He is and who we are and just being humble and learning from Him but also seeing the amount of faith that our fellow missionaries and our fellow Thai staff have and seeing God at work. It’s given us a lot more boldness about the Gospel and believing God for miracles and healings.

What’s the scariest thing that’s happened to you so far?
When we first got here, a couple of things happened but it was because it was so new and we didn’t really understand. So one day Simpson backed into a car, which left very little damage at a mall but we didn’t really know what was going to happen. Or being pulled over by the police but not knowing why and wondering what’s going to happen.

What’s been the best part of your mission so far?
I think the best part has been a deepening reliance on God and God putting in our hearts more of a desire for intimacy with Him which is the best part. There are so many good things but Him teaching us that if we seek after Him always and we put Him first that He is with us. He’s always with us. And that all the other things will fall into place.

In closing, I wish to thank Lori-Ann for her honesty and openness and for letting me share some of the ups and downs from her journey here so far with our blog readers. We trust that your upcoming trip back will be full of encouragement and sweet times with your families.

March 14, 2016 - No Comments!

It Doesn’t Take A Rocket Scientist…

With each military satellite safely launched and maneuvered into orbit, Rob Tang and his engineering team would beam with pride at another successful mission. At the peak of an exciting and challenging aerospace engineering career, Rob was living the American dream. He worked in an exciting field with brilliant co-workers, and enjoyed job security and satisfaction that others would envy.

Read more

October 19, 2015 - No Comments!

Finally, Something to Get Excited About!

Missionary Teaches Student Excitement

Being the Vocational Training Director at ZOE, I have plenty of opportunity to interact with teen boys and girls, and I am thankful for my time with them. It is certainly a change of pace for them, as many are used to traditional education like math, science, history, and language study. Instead of pushing a pencil all day or reading books, they get to use their hands. They get to learn by doing.

One student in particular has blossomed. Before, it was hard to figure him out. No one really knew what his dreams or goals were, as he stoically participated in whatever was put in front of him. Nothing seemed to excite him. Recently, I began to see a change in his attitude and demeanor, and I had the chance to sit down and talk with him.

I asked how he liked the construction class, and I expected the same answer I’d received from the other students, “It’s a lot of hard work.” I was mentally preparing myself to respond, as the class was only a few hours a day, and if the students were to continue in the construction career path, much harder work would be in store for them. I thought about tactfully saying something like, “It’s only going to get harder” or “This is preparing you for more difficult work.” However, he interrupted my line of thought with a response I did not expect.

“I love it,” he blurted a bit louder than he meant to.

I was shocked by his enthusiasm, but I thought back to his performance over the preceding months and it made sense. He has been the first to respond to duties and lessons and, rather than preferring to sit and watch others, he would jump up to practice his new skills.

We continued to talk over the next few minutes, but one thing became clear. Whether he would eventually work in construction or not, he had finally found something he was excited about and this excitement was teaching him how to work hard and devote himself to a goal. I am very excited to see him progress over the next few terms, and I know that he has begun to put himself on a path toward success.

It is the heart of a missionary to make God known to those around them. This story is one of many that play out every day at ZOE as our missionaries love, direct, and teach our ZOE children. Think about supporting one of our missionaries, as they pour into the lives of the child trafficking survivors at ZOE.

October 7, 2015 - No Comments!

Living Humbly for a Cause

ZOE Missionaries Help Victims of Child Trafficking

"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."  -  Mr. Antolini, Catcher in the Rye

This quotation makes me think of ZOE’s many amazing missionaries. Our missionaries are men and women with professional experience in law enforcement, banking, business, rocket science, teaching, social work, and administration in a state government department. These are people who were effective in their careers. They experienced success and carried influence.

In the midst of their success, they chose to change their professional trajectories. They chose to live humbly in the service of children unseen or discarded by others.

These gifted men and women have chosen to live humbly. As a result, victims of child trafficking are experiencing safety, love, family, education, and vocational training. They are experiencing God’s love. The impact of these humble lives is truly magnificent.

I am deeply grateful for the missionaries at ZOE. I also suspect that, in truth, they were never more successful than they are today.

May 13, 2015 - 1 comment.

Celebrating “Mama” Vickie

About Mama Vickie

Many of you know that Vickie McCoy is ZOE’s first stateside missionary. In 2013, after years of sharing her time and talent with ZOE, she left her job of over 20 years to begin serving here full-time. As she was preparing to make this major life change, she shared with coworkers that she would serve as a houseparent, providing loving hands-on care for children rescued from human trafficking in Los Angeles.

One of her coworkers called her a short time later and said, “All I keep hearing is ‘Mama Vickie.’”

Working alongside Vickie, I often have the privilege of seeing what a strong and tender mother’s heart she has. Even as she manages the many administrative tasks of developing the program and preparing to open ZOE Children’s Homes – Los Angeles, she keeps her eyes on the deepest purpose. God has given her a love for kids she has yet to meet.

Vickie is characterized by wisdom, compassion, and a contagious sense of humor. These qualities will help her to do an outstanding job in her new role. I have no doubt that God will work through Vickie to bring restoration to children whose hearts ache for a loving mother figure.

“Mama Vickie” will be a blessing to many and an extension of ZOE's belief in the healing power of family.