All Posts in Thailand

November 4, 2020 - No Comments!

Recreation Interview: Cissy

I first met Cissy at the end of 2010 when she and her family moved all the way from Hawaii to Thailand. Her life brings new meaning to the phrase ‘multi-tasking.’ Graduating with a degree in Marketing, she managed her family’s restaurant and catering business for 16 years. She then went on to become a successful realtor and property manager, but the career she is most proud of is homeschooling her two children. Since joining ZOE, she has become equally as passionate about her work here in Thailand, dividing her time between directing the English as a Second Language Program, instructing in the ZOE Leadership School’s business classes, establishing ZOE’s on-campus store, library and reading room, and consulting with ZOE’s kitchen!

What’s also very exciting is, because of Cissy’s ‘make-it-happen’ work mantra, she has also established an exercise program for ZOE’s children and staff. If there’s ever an activity happening at ZOE in Thailand whether it’s trampolining or swimming lessons, dance classes, English camp, sports competitions or reading challenges in the library, it’s usually Cissy who is behind it! Few people could achieve this much in ten years!

Recently as we talked about the gym, sports courts, pool and family area, I had the chance to ask Cissy why she feels that sports and recreation are so important to the children and teens who have come to live at ZOE.

“Since becoming a missionary, I have been able to use many of the skills and
passions that God has nurtured in me. I see the influence of both my parents on
my life: my Dad was a food and beverage consultant who had a dream to open
his own restaurant chain and my Mum was a social worker with a heart for foster
care children. My desire for the kids at ZOE is the same as for my own two: that
they are equipped with the skills and drive to reach their potential, achieve their
dreams and realize all that God has planned for their lives.”

At ZOE we never underestimate the social aspect of sports and recreation. Playing together helps to form bonds based on trust and fun. For children recently rescued from trafficking, socialisation skills can be enhanced through various games and activities.

*If you have a passion to end child trafficking and ideas on how you could use your interests, skills or hobbies to influence your sphere, then please reach out and discuss your plans with us.

August 4, 2020 - No Comments!

Mina’s Story of Survival

One Thai New Year's holiday, I went to stay at my aunt’s house. While I was there, my aunt asked me if I wanted a job working at a restaurant in the big city. I thought it sounded like a good idea and would be a way to earn money and help my grandmother, who I lived with.

I took the bus as my aunt had directed and, after many hours of travelling, I arrived at the restaurant. The city was so busy and very different to what I was used to.

When I got inside the restaurant, a few other girls were also waiting to hear about the job. That night a man met us at the restaurant to explain. He told us that our job was not serving food – but that we would be giving sexual services to men.

I didn’t know what to do. I had no idea how this promise of a “good” job had turned out like this. I didn’t even know where I was, or how I could escape to find my way back to my grandma’s house. Had my aunt known about this all along? I felt confused, alone and uncertain about what to do next.

I felt scared I was trapped.

Unable to escape, we were taken to another location where we started “work” the next night around 9pm and didn’t finish until 5am. Night after night, once the clients had all left, we girls would collapse exhausted and sleep upstairs above the club until it would all start again the next night. The owner forced us to work every day.

One night, the owner was very nervous and told us to stay out of sight. We did not know why but we heard shouting and the sound of police sirens. We were crouching down in a laneway just outside the back of the club when some of the other girls took a risk and ran away down the street into the night. I was too scared to run and remained hidden, my heart pounding.

All I remember next was that a bright light was shining on me and suddenly I was pulled up out of my hiding place.

I felt confused at first, but the reassuring voices of the rescue team were telling me that I was safe.

____

The ZOE Child Rescue team alongside local police, successfully rescued Mina and some of the other girls that night and brought them to a safe house.
The owner of the bar was successfully prosecuted.

ZOE was able to reunite Mina with her grandmother. Mina is now safe and working a job that she loves.

Mina thanks God, and ZOE, for giving her
"new life… life to the fullest"
which is what ZOE means in Greek.
____

*Based on real life events. In an effort to protect her identity, her name and the details of this case may have been changed.

July 3, 2020 - No Comments!

Good Food

You may have heard it said, “Good food is not fast, and fast food is not good.” 

Our family started down a different dietary path about 5 years ago when one of our children had some health and wellness concerns. We were curious to see whether eliminating certain foods would make any difference. What happened actually amazed us … but that’s a whole different story. Since that time, I have been on a steep learning curve to adapt recipes, substitute ingredients and create new ways of doing things with our family’s meals. In the beginning, I felt completely overwhelmed, but now I can cook from a place of increased confidence, experiment with new ingredients, and actually enjoy the experience. 

There’s something very satisfying about cooking from scratch and knowing exactly what we’re eating. It might sound like I love to cook, but it’s more than that. I love to nourish. I love to make sure that my family not only leaves the table full, but that they’re full of good food that will sustain, energise, fight off infection and help them to grow. But most importantly my goal, each time we gather around the table, is that we also nourish our spirits. We do this through being grateful, sharing devotions together, reflecting on the loving kindness of God and by spurring each other on towards love and good deeds. When the time comes for my children to leave our home, my desire is that they’ll not only know how to cook amazing, nutritious meals themselves, but that they’ll be spiritually healthy and strong as well. 

One of our goals in Australia is to raise awareness about child trafficking. Although this can be a dark topic, I love how ordinary people like you and I can use our skills, talents and interests to bring about conversations and change. Just like the right foods can heal and turn a life around, at ZOE we get to see hopeless situations, broken lives and lost children experience new life in an amazing way! I’m going to be using my interest in cooking to highlight the monthly need for food as well as to share stories of hope and life - the taste of ZOE!

Food For Thought! 

    • Join our ZFA Prayer nights on Monday evenings (email Brett for details) 
    • Cook one of our ‘Taste of ZOE’ recipes, share it on social media, #atasteofZOE and tag us
    • Watch and share videos, blog posts and social media feeds. (here and here)
    • Order a Taste of ZOE cookbook and pass it on to a friend. (email Sharon
    • Have a Taste of ZOE potluck dinner, watch one of ZOE’s videos from youtube and have a discussion about it. (YouTube)
    • Petition for ZOE’s Year 9 or 10 curriculum to be used in your school. (click here)
    • Parent of a teen? Watch the free online Chapel video with your child. 
    • Person of faith? Pray for ZOE’s work in Prevention, Rescue and Restoration. (join a prayer group or get a prayer guide)