While many people hear of something wrong in the world and merely think, “Wow, that’s too bad,” 12-year old Rachel is taking a stand against it. In response to hearing about modern-day child slavery on the radio, Rachel, a 6th-grader from Washington, D.C. created “Pens of Love.”
Pens of Love is a unique business combining art with duct tape. Yes, that’s right, duct tape. For those of you who have used duct tape to mend the binding of a book or tow a car from a ditch, have you ever thought about fighting human trafficking with the adhesive fix-all? Rachel has taken what she learned from art class to make duct tape roses that she then attaches to the ends of pens. She then sells the flower pens so the profits can go directly to ZOE.
The result is amazing and people are lining up to get one! Rachel has not only sold her pens to friends and family, but more than 80 have been purchased through local businesses and non-profit agencies. Rachel has also started a Facebook page to market the product and receive orders. Rachel says “Every time someone buys a pen, they are showing love to help a child gain her/his freedom.” This is a real commitment to see the end of child slavery in the world, and we at ZOE are so very proud of her. In fact, we totally agree with her when Rachel says: “My hope for the world is that one day, child slavery will end and that kids all over the world will feel the love that they deserve.”
Rachel’s story is the perfect example of I Timothy 4:12 taken to heart: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (NIV). This young lady is showing everyone through her love, faith, purity, and life that she can change the world around her.
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
A mighty team from Rockford First Church in IL visited ZOE for a two week short term mission trip recently. They were such a huge blessing to all of us and accomplished so much. Thank you to each and every one of you for spending your precious time with ZOE and the people of Thailand.
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.