All Posts in Stories of Survival

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.

June 29, 2020 - No Comments!

A Taste of ZOE

We are excited to give you a little "taste of ZOE" this month as we share stories of hope. Children who have been found, rescued and restored, radiate life! If ZOE were a food, its ‘flavour’ would be freedom, hope and healing. Fresh and delicious! 

This month, in Australia, we are highlighting one of ZOE’s greatest areas of need. You guessed it: Food!

Anyone raising growing children and teens knows just how much they can eat! I certainly do! Families in Thailand are no different and, like all mums and dads, the ZOE parents want to feed their growing families with wholesome nourishing meals! 

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Have you had a “taste” of ZOE yet? If you’ve been to ZOE in Thailand, heard us share, seen one of ZOE’s videos or just follow our social media channels, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t know about you but when something tastes good, I want others to try it too. So please join me in sharing a little taste of ZOE this month! 

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)

January 3, 2020 - 1 comment.

Beautiful Stories of Healing & Hope

ZOE is a place where beautiful stories of rescue, hope, life, and love can easily be found.

With permission to share, we think this powerful testimony of one girl’s journey from rescue to healing, will bring renewed hope for the future and great expectations, to all who read it. Please continue to uphold all ZOE’s rescued children in your prayers as they embrace new seasons, new beginnings, and the New Year.

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It’s hard for me to tell my story. Before I came to live at ZOE my life was not good. Many times I felt like I wanted to get out, but I never could. I felt trapped. I knew that children shouldn’t be doing what I was doing but whenever I got a small amount of money, it gave me what I needed to survive. For a while, that little bit of money numbed my pain.

To survive, I tried to block out anyone who would show me real love. I no longer cared how anyone else felt. I just focused on the money, but deep down I was not happy. I felt like my life had no value, so I would just keep doing the same things. I was ashamed, broken and lonely.

Coming to ZOE really changed my life. I learned that I am VALUABLE in God’s sight. It was strange at first because I wasn’t used to people being kind and caring. I was welcomed into a warm and loving family and the longer I stayed, the more I grew to love the ZOE staff and the mothers so much. They helped me learn many new things. For the first time I saw and understood what real love looks like. I learned about forgiving and sharing. I learned that my life is important… that I am important.

It is hard to explain how different I feel and how much I love God. I understand how much He loves me and I am trying to change the way I had thought about myself and now I have new thoughts about the future.

There are many things that I want to thank God for. God does more than I ever think He can. Even just the other day, I was worried because I thought I would need to leave ZOE and go somewhere else, but I wasn’t ready to leave and I was scared. I kept praying to God. I did not want to go but I knew I would be ok because I knew that God would be with me. When one of the ZOE staff came and reassured me that I could continue to live at ZOE, I knew God had answered my prayers.

I will now be able to finish my grade level at the ZOE Learning Center and then in the future I want to study Business Administration. I would like to become an expert in English. These are the new thoughts I have about my future.

I know that sometimes I still make mistakes. I know it will take time to change, but I want to try. Thank you God for rescuing me!