When I read the statement,
Australians are the biggest exploiters of
Thailand’s child sex industry”
… my heart sinks.
The Johns Hopkins University studied patterns of arrests and prosecutions between 1995 and 2006 and reported that Australians make up the largest portion of foreign sex offenders against children in Thailand.
The establishment of the ZOE Foundation Australia has been largely driven by the overwhelming desire for Aussies to rise up and take action. Now is the time to get involved in becoming part of the solution to end human trafficking in this generation.
When I speak to high school students who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children their age, but born in to very different circumstances, I am certain that together we will continue to see noticeable changes.
And I believe it is these young people of Australia that will lead the charge.
When the students at Maranatha Christian School in Victoria heard about child trafficking, they immediately jumped into action. They have now contributed to the funding of a self-sustainable pig farm for orphans, at-risk children and children who have been directly rescued from human trafficking. They’re helping to feed and nourish the children who have now been rescued and given a second chance; children that will in turn contribute to making lasting change in their own nation.
On December 25th, in many places around the world, Christmas will be celebrated, with a unique cultural flavor.
If we were back in Australia the Aussie’s feast might include roast lamb, roast veggies, seafood, ham, hot/cold chicken, duck, turkey, cold deli meats, pasta and salads galore! And desserts of all types including fruit salad, pavlova, ice cream and Christmas pudding and custard –YUM!
This year at ZOE we have been blessed with a special donation from Pearl Alliance. The ZOE family is very excited about some special items on the menu for Christmas day!
It is rumored to include: Pla Tuptim (BBQ fish) and Larb Isaan (minced pork), plenty of rice! and some fruit from the local market.
So wherever you are in the world, and no matter how you celebrate Christmas, we would like to thank you for all the assistance you have given to ZOE. Your support is enabling us to continue to care for orphaned children and rescue children from human trafficking.
Here is a short Christmas message from the ZOE Family.
At the commencement of the ZOE camp, the team saw an opportunity for some of the youth to jump in and lend a helping hand in a mammoth cleanup effort resulting from the Chiang Mai flooding. Some local residents, whose homes had been left uninhabitable, were helped in the clean up effort by a team of the ZOE youth. As we know, helping others teaches compassion and responsibility, and it often reminds us of all the things that we should be thankful for; things that many people simply take for granted.
At the conclusion of the camp some of the ZOE girls reflected on the times they had spent helping others:
I was very happy to help the flood victims. It was a joy to give, not expecting anything in return. There was one widow whose house we spent a lot of time cleaning. We were able to share with her and she said she would come to our church one day. This lady came last Sunday and accepted Jesus into her heart! -Dook
In reflection of the time she had spent at a retirement home, Ya said:
We were able to bring love to the grandmas and grandpas at the retirement home. They were so happy because not many people visit them. They loved our program, craft, songs, and the goodies we shared with them. -Ya
How can we ever say that we have nothing to give when we always have a smile, a kind word, and helping hands?
Aria Studios: Christine and Kash
While wedding cinematography and still photography are their “bread and butter,” Aria Studios owners Kolby and Jay have a passion to use their gifts and talents to help children who are at risk or in abject poverty. They know that digital media is a powerful storytelling medium; one that can give a voice to those who have none. Exceptional skills in all areas of digital media combined with a heart to help those hurting – we think it’s a marriage made in heaven!
When asked to describe themselves, they are in turn serious and silly:
filmmakers. photographers. writers. artists. dreamers. dancers. risk-takers. ridiculous. curious. cool. sappy. happy. stylish. hungry. addicted to dessert
Thankfully, the recent flooding in Thailand did not affect the mango supply so we were able to fuel Aria’s dynamic duo Christine and Kash with their favorite Thai sweet treat: Mango & Sticky Rice!
The entire ZOE family was excited at the arrival of Aria Studios to film our new ZOE Children’s Home, but no one was more thrilled than the kids! It seems every boy and girl was dreaming of a chance to be a movie star!
We couldn’t wait to see the finished products of Aria’s hard work so we took a sneak peak at the footage and – wow! It is simply beautiful! We can hardly wait to share the final result with everyone.
Team Aria also left us with some breathtaking still photos of the ZOE children. You can bet our Guardian Alliance child sponsors (ZOE’s child sponsorship program) will be surprised and delighted when we send them pictures of “their child.”
Check out the Aria Studios blog for more information and examples of their recent projects.
On behalf of everyone at ZOE, we want to say a huge “THANK YOU Aria Studios!” In our opinion, your focus is just right!
Elli with Ya, at a Sushi cooking class with her mom, ZOE Missionary, Cissy
As we care for orphan’s and rescue more and more children here at ZOE, our ZOE family grows, so, too, does the number of volunteers that we need to recruit.
Over the past few months we’ve had several new missionary families join the team and we are looking forward to having them onboard in the next month or so after they’ve had time to acclimatize to life here in Thailand.
Often on this blog, we share stories from the missionaries about the work that is being accomplished at the ZOE Children’s Homes, but this week, I wanted to highlight some of the ‘smaller’ volunteers that rarely get a mention.
… the missionary kids!
The missionary kids range in age from 1 year old to 17 years old (not including Lauren Tang who is now attending college in America).
They have been living here varying lengths of time ranging from just a few weeks to over six years. These kids have gone places and done things that other children their ages might only ever read about! On the flip-side, however, they have been uprooted from all they knew as ‘normal’ and faced with major adjustment and cultural shock in several ways.
One of the hardest adjustments for my own children has been the distance separation from close family members including grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.
But one of the things that’s helped, has been the welcoming arms of the most caring, loving, supportive group of people you’ll ever meet … the ZOE family.
After an on-campus Sunday church service a few weeks ago, we all had the privilege of enjoying what can only be described as the BIGGEST Sunday Lunch ever! Well, maybe not ever, but with over 200 people present, it sure was quite a feast. Our good friends from the Children’s Hunger Fund provided the meal for the ZOE family and, afterwards, it was time for some good old FUN!
There were board games, a mini soccer match, some American football, and hula hoops, just to mention a few of the activities! And there, right in the middle of all the action, were the missionary kids. I love watching the way the kids all interact. Language is not as much of a barrier in their play and it’s wonderful to see how the ZOE kids are so inclusive with the missionary children.
So this week, we say thanks to the volunteer family members who made the journey to come and help ZOE International achieve its vision.
To learn more about the missionary families at ZOE, click on the links below.
Ginoza Family: Arrived in Thailand, March 2005
Greg: Arrived in Thailand, April 2005
Tang Family: Arrived in Thailand, August 2008
Cross Family: Arrived in Thailand, January 2010
Boyer Family: Arrived in Thailand, December 2010
Chong Family: Arrive in Thailand, July 2011
Ahn Family: Arrived in Thailand, September 2011
Yu Family: Arrived in Thailand, September 2011