Monday, March 19, 2012

ZOE Children's Home March Update.

Well, the activities around the children's home have been numerous.  There's been so much excitement recently as the last exams have been finished and the children completed their schooling for the year (Thai school year).
This year we had several children graduating Grade 6.  
Their last day and graduation ceremony was on Friday.
I felt kind of reflective as I tried to remember my own Grade 6 graduation (many moons ago) and I took a moment to also consider what these children have accomplished in their short lives to even reach this point.  For many it has been a struggle.  Not just on an academic level but in ways that we can only imagine.  The resilience of these children, their persistence, their courage and their strength challenges me in my own life.  These guys are truly inspiring!
Can you spot me? LOL

Congratulations (or "Congratulation" as the big sign at the entrance of the school read) to the 2012 graduating Grade 6 class.  Everyone at ZOE is so, so proud of you.
What was also great, was that many of our ZOE kids from the other year levels also received awards on Friday for English either for being most improved, the highest mark or having a great attitude.  Well done to all the award recipients too on a great year of study.

For the past couple of weeks, we've had an American team visiting.  They have been such a blessing to us all here at ZOE.  There were so many great things that the team did but a couple of personal highlights were the two Saturdays that they organized special activities for the ZOE family.  
The first Saturday they were here, they prepared several elective classes for all the ZOE and missionary kids and teens.  
Our children, Tobi, Eli and Spencer, enjoyed the fitness/ exercise class and it made for a few laughs to see all the little ones taking on the big American guys in a huge tug-of-war.  The team kept trying but these kids combined obviously had some muscle and remained undefeated!  
After the classes had finished, the team blessed us with a ZOE favorite for lunch- sticky rice and chicken. Mmmm YUM!

Then, this past weekend, we headed in to ZOE on Saturday night for a very special barbecue dinner.  

I'm going to write more about this over at ZOE blog, but I just want to say {um} DELICIOUS!
And just when I thought their was no room left to eat any more, the team brought around the ingredients to make "smores" (because they leave you wanting some+more).  
Made from Graham crackers, marshmallow and Hersheys chocolate.
Now, I'd only ever seen smores on the kid's show 'Barney' but I'd never actually tasted them.  Can I just say that the Cross Family were just a little bit excited, okay that's not quite true, we were very excited and......WE LOVED THEM!!!!!
So, thanks Wintersburg Team.  You took that barbecue to a whole new level.
Well the past few weeks have seen Dave here, there and everywhere.
He went to Chiang Rai a couple of weeks ago with Greg and Rob to look at a possible self-defense training program for our guards and Child Rescue Team.   
Pictured below, the guys learning some of the moves.

Then last week, Dave attended a three-day conference here in Chiangmai.  It was put on by the San Jai network.  The network’s main focus is to build a strong Christian network with members who support one another in working on child protection issues. In order to achieve its goals, the network meets regularly to share ideas and work on initiatives.
Together, the member-organizations explore more diversified type of trainings and technical assistances. 

David met some wonderful people over the three days also working hard to tackle many of the issues that surround sexual abuse, trafficking prevention, aftercare best practices, child protection etc.
Back at the office this week, Dave is setting about planning for the next Child Protection Training.  A couple of weeks ago he did training with the children and next it will be with the staff and parents.  Child Protection is an important aspect to maintaining safety for everyone at ZOE.  
He is also continuing to work on raising the profile of ZOEAustralia too.  This will be the main focus for us for a little while now and I will get Dave to explain a bit more about it soon.
Please keep checking the ZOE blog for more updates from the Children's Home and hopefully soon, a new-look ZOE web page will also appear!  
Thanks for your ongoing prayers for our family.  
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