There is a scripture that says “A bruised reed, I will not despise.” I always thought that was beautiful, poetic and truly expressed the compassion of God. It felt very personal to me, because I came to the Lord many years ago with damaged emotions and a wounded heart. Now I know that all of us are bruised reeds in one way or another. It is impossible to navigate this world without battle scars. Fortunately He is Jehovah Rapha, the God that heals.
For some of us, our wounds are more apparent than others. Children are vulnerable and deserve protection from a world that is often full of peril and danger. Unfortunately that shield of protection is sometimes lacking, and the results can be unspeakable horror for the innocent, who are so very precious in the sight of God. Such is the case with the children at ZOE. I don’t know the personal history of each one of them, but I know they would not be in the ZOE home if they had not been in imminent danger. As a mother of four grown children and grandmother of three, how could I turn away from the cries of children who are in both emotional and physical pain? Oh, I know…we would lose our minds if we lingered on these thoughts constantly. The bible tells us to fix our mind on things that are pure and lovely, and yet to deny the existence of dark forces is to live outside the realm of reality and worse convince ourselves that we have no obligation to alleviate suffering.
I always wanted to be a part of healing a suffering world. I’ve known about sex trafficking for years, but I never quite knew what to do about it. It seemed so huge, so daunting, and it is, but our God is larger still. We may not be able to fix everything that ails the world, but we can all do something as God directs our paths. One little fire fly might not make much of a difference, but a multitude can light up the sky.
I learned about ZOE when I was attending the Sanctuary Church in Santa Clarita. It sounded like an amazing organization. I contacted them and learned about child sponsorship. It seemed like an ideal situation for me. I live in Los Angeles now and no longer attend the Sanctuary. In fact, I recently purchased a home out here. This house took a lot of renovation, and I had always wanted hardwood floors. I don’t think God has anything against us living in a pleasant environment, but as I was spending money on various upgrades, I thought “If I can spend money on renovations purely for aesthetic purposes, surely I can do something for a child who might otherwise be locked into a hopeless situation.” I thought of my own children, three of them girls, and imagined them as children in that type of situation.” Sponsoring a child was a no-brainer. I am grateful to be part of the ZOE family!
Written by ZOE Supporter Barbara Byrd
Did you receive a Christmas blessing this past Christmas?
I did. An elderly neighbor who doesn’t even celebrate Christmas (but knows that we do) came over to our house and gave our family a cake. Not just any cake either. The very Christmas cake that I had seen in the shop and deemed too expensive to buy. The one I couldn’t bake myself because we don’t have an oven. The one that reminded me of a taste from home as we celebrate our third Christmas in a country that is not our own.
I was touched. I even shed a little tear. I felt very blessed.
Did you give a Christmas blessing this past Christmas?
As Christmas approached, both our family and the wider ZOE family were looking for ways to be a Christmas blessing to those around us.
With the busyness of Christmas, it can be hard to steer away from just thinking of your own family, and your own needs, can’t it? But it’s so much fun to see how you can bless others too, not just by giving presents, but also with the gifts of your words, actions and your prayers.
On December 22nd the ZOE family, staff, missionaries, and parents headed out to three different locations geared up in working clothes and ready to be a Christmas blessing within our community: whatever that looked like!
We set out, not knowing exactly what our tasks would be.
Cleaning toilets, sweeping, raking, or picking up trash?
The enthusiastic group that I was in, met at a local school.
Our “job” was to clean all the mats used on the floor both in the taekwondo room and play areas. The strong smell of bleach was enough to encourage us to work at top speed. Within a few hours of backbreaking, knee-burning scrubbing, the job was complete.
With huge smiles of gratitude on their faces, it was a joy to witness the appreciation of the school’s staff, who said this task would’ve taken them at least 3-4 days to complete!
I love being a part of the ZOE family. With selfless dedication to each task, the three groups really were a great example of God’s love.
Which, of course, is what we are truly celebrating at Christmas time.
On December 4, ZOE was blessed by two groups of beautiful women from Northpark Church in Santa Clarita. The church’s morning and evening women’s Bible study groups created sixty-five school supply kits for the ZOE kids.
The ladies donated all of the supplies then came together to assemble them into individual kits. The kits are just beautiful. There is one version for younger kids and another for older ones. The supplies are not only practical but fun. The children will be very happy to receive these special and thoughtful gifts.
Education is an important part of the restoration process for the kids ZOE is called to serve. These supplies will help to equip the kids for all that God created them to accomplish and experience.
We are grateful to the ladies at Northpark for making a difference in this tangible way.
Nearly two-hundred people gathered at the Warner Center Marriot Hotel on November 30 for the 2012 Wells Fargo Community Support Breakfast. This special event was held to recognize the work of fifty-seven nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles County.
ZOE was honored with a $1,000 donation at the event.
We are grateful to Branch Manager, Shawn Kamrava, for selecting ZOE as the charity of choice for the bank’s Westridge Plaza branch. We are also grateful for Wells Fargo’s generous support of charitable programs throughout our community.
On November 10th, about 750 walkers, children and adults, gathered at Newhall Park in Newhall, CA for the first ZOE Rescue Walk. The event was a milestone and a huge success! People came from all over Southern California to take part in this Walk to bring awareness to human trafficking. We saw many familiar faces amongst the sea of people. There will be more updates and photos to follow but we wanted to share a newletter with you a highlight written by one of our Walk participants.
Click on the Link Below