Archives for March 2017
Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely week. My name is Brianna Thompson, though I am referred to by my nickname, Breezy. I am pleased to say as of this spring I am one of ZOE’s new interns. I am currently in the application process for College of the Canyon’s respected and highly competitive Nursing program, where I will receive the critical training I need in my future career.
The first time I heard about ZOE International was at my church, The Sanctuary. However, I attribute my personal journey with ZOE to my first college course, The Fundamentals of Public Speaking (a requirement for the Nursing program). It was in this class where I was required to write and conduct a speech about a worldwide problem. My brother had visited ZOE’s Children’s Home in Thailand a few years prior, and I knew a limited amount of information about human trafficking because of him. I knew I needed to focus my speech on this atrocious reality. As I nervously stood before my class, a desire began to grow in my heart—I wanted to tell more people about this worldwide problem. That assignment prompted me to talk to Betsy Meenk who is a staff member at ZOE about the growing passion I had to tell people in my generation about human trafficking. Guess what she told me? “You need to go to Thailand and see first-hand what ZOE does.”
God seriously weaves everything together so beautifully! From a college course, to going to Thailand, to joining a college speech team to improve my speaking skills, to starting a MyGenMyFight club at COC. God is using it ALL.
I am interning at ZOE in search of further opportunities to learn more about trafficking. I want to be equipped with the necessary tools to share with others in an effective manner. I am so blessed to be surrounded by these incredible leaders and world changers. I know I am learning far more than I ever hoped, prayed for, or currently recognize. I take this internship as another opportunity to pray: “Thank you Lord for this open door to trust in you once again. Thank you for leading me, even though I often follow with feelings of extreme discomfort because I don’t understand your plans.”
To join the fight and start a club at your school, go to: www.gozoe.org/my-gen/
by Karen Miyamoto
Several months ago, I had the honor of connecting with an amazing girl named Denae Holler. She heard about ZOE through a friend of a friend and came up with the idea to collect instruments for the children at ZOE Children’s Home in Thailand as a part of her Girl Scout Gold Award.
Through a series of email conversations with our office, she inquired what some of the needs were and one of the things mentioned was that ZOE was really short on instruments for music therapy. Denae is a musician herself so she thought this was the perfect project for her and that it would be an awesome way to be able to use her passion and skill for doing good.
She shares, “I had to do an 80 hour project that made a lasting impact, so along with collecting the instruments for ZOE International, I created a website that entails the causes and effects of human trafficking. I was really happy with the instruments I collected. It was incredible to see the way the community responded with generous donations when I put out flyers. Of course I would have always wanted to collect more but I am happy with the work I put in.”
Denae also told us that she learned a lot about how human trafficking happens in the United States and globally by doing a lot of research online which was needed for her website. In addition to the new education she gained about trafficking, she learned how to network and use her resources in order to collect the instruments.
Now a junior in high school, Denae has been a Girl Scout since she was in kindergarten. That’s 12 years! Why has she continued being a Girl Scout for so long? She answered, “What I like the most about Girl Scouts is that it teaches young girls to believe that they can be whatever they put their minds to. It inspires girls to follow their dreams and shows them how they can make an impact in their community and beyond.”
Thank you, Denae from the entire ZOE family. Your dedication, hard work and passion to make a difference in the lives of our precious children means so much to us! Great job!
We are in the last stages of finishing our new vegetable green house, also known as a garden hut by the Thai staff.
This new development is important because it allows us to grow vegetables in the off season which also means we do not have to pay higher prices for these types of crops. With the garden hut, we can grow higher value crops and give our kids a wider variety of food without paying the higher prices. One vegetable that ZOE will appreciate the green house for is chili.
ZOE loves chili. In fact, we use up to 6 pounds of chili per week! Chili is a spice, and like most spices, they tend to be more expensive per pound than regular vegetables. While we consider chili something that is only used occasionally, and sometimes never, it is a basic ingredient for many foods here in Thailand. This led us to the decision to grow our own!
Chili plants can be very delicate because they require both sun and rain, but not too much of either. Unfortunately, Thailand has excessive amounts of rain in the rainy season and way too much sun in the hot season. This is where the green houses come in. It allows us to give sunlight, but not too much, and it protects the plants from too much rain.
The plants have been growing for several months now, and we have finally began to harvest chili. During this time, the chili plants are flowering and producing like crazy! We harvest chili once a week and send fresh chili to the kitchen. Then with the leftovers, we dry and store them for use later in the year.
During the first two weeks, we harvested 30 kilos of fresh chili each week!
Sometimes our kids just need some time to unwind and chill! With school, homework, chores, special events, short term teams, visitors, intercessory prayer, weekly bible study, and more, it can get hectic for our kids.
Recently, we just had a day at ZOE where we did NOTHING! What a treat! The kids were able to just play, run around and sleep! What a great day it was!
During 2016, ZOE’s Los Angeles team:
- Provided support for young survivors of trafficking in response to several requests from federal law enforcement
- Attended a Child and Family Team Meeting to provide insights about human trafficking for a 15-year-old and her parents
- Provided training to several dozen Supervising Social Workers from the Department of Children and Family Services
- Provided backpacks, school supplies, Christmas gifts, and conference gifts for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children here in LA County
We also launched two new trainings in 2016. Both were developed for people who want to consider serving as foster parents; people interested in volunteering to work with young survivors of human trafficking; and people interested in pursuing employment with ZOE in the future. The team trained nearly 200 individuals throughout the year and look forward to training many more in 2017.
ZOE’s staff and supporters are so very excited that we were able to purchase 50 acres of land in northern Los Angeles County this year. The land will serve as the site for our children’s home. Thank you to all of you who helped to make this possible.
2017 is going to be an amazing year for ZOE’s ministry in Los Angeles. We hope to break ground on the ZOE Children’s Homes – Los Angeles campus this fall.
Please continue to pray for kids in the U.S. and around the world who are trapped in slavery. May God bring freedom and restoration to every one.