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Monday, May 30, 2016

Your Beautiful Hands Can...

“All ‘hands’ on deck!” is what one of our kid’s church pastors shouts when it’s time to pray.  It’s a good reminder for the children to stop what they’re doing, clasp their hands and focus on God.

Hands are so amazing aren’t they? The fact that they can do so many different things as well as communicate so much about how we’re feeling. 
They can show others when we’re nervous, tired, appreciative, mad, hurting, thoughtful… and so many other emotions!

They can also do so many things too.  They help us to swim, hug, cook, drive, write… this list goes on and on!!

Our hands also tell others information about us like whether we are married or single, our taste in jewelry, our age group and whether or not we bite our nails!!

But have you ever considered that your hands could also help fight child trafficking?  We know that most of you don’t have too much time on your “hands” but we’ve found a way that you can help without having to feel like time is slipping through your fingers.

We have produced an intricate colouring book called “Your Beautiful Hands Can” and in the right “hands” this book can do amazing things!

On one “hand” you can be having fun and doing something relaxing but on the other “hand” you will be helping kids in Thailand.

“But I’ve never tried my ‘hand’ at coloring or doodling,” I hear you say. 
Well this book would also make a lovely gift for someone or can be used as a fundraising activity for youth groups, churches and schools.

We’ll leave it in your “hands” to think creatively about the many other ways that this book can assist with the business at “hand” which is rescuing and caring for children.

I personally will not sit on my hands, or twiddle my thumbs, waiting for the right time.  The issue of modern day slavery is already out of “hand”!!!

The time is NOW! 

Wouldn’t it feel great to say that you had a “hand” in helping to fight child trafficking? 

I say, let’s use whatever we have at “hand” and make slavery disappear forever.

Will you lend a “hand”?  Watch the short video below!!

Email andrea@gozoe.org for quotes and expressions of interest for bulk ordering in packs of 50 or 100.  Books will be ready in June 2016!





Tuesday, May 17, 2016

7-ELEVEN


As I drove around doing errands, my mind wandered from thought to thought. 
My to-do lists. 
What to cook for dinner. 
Things to remember.
And then I saw it.
Another one. A new one, which had just been built.
A brand spanking new … 7- ELEVEN store.
My daughter and my husband like to play this game in the car called “7-Eleven”. It’s basically just spot the 7-Eleven store and the person who spots the most during the trip is the winner or the game can be carried on from one trip to another, depending on what they decide {sigh}.
It drives me crazy because I might be mid-sentence, saying something really important {a-hem} when all of a sudden “7-Eleven!” erupts, followed by lots of excitable screaming and yelling about who’s winning and who saw it first … yadda-yadda … hence, my important sentence gets lost. You get the picture.
But, in case you’re wondering how I could let this simple game drive me crazy, I just want to point out that in Thailand, there are over eight thousand 
7-Eleven stores! Yep! As Suzy Strutner said in the Chiangmai Times,
"Your life in general comes from 7-Eleven. It's where you pay your bills. 
And re-load your phone. And shop for groceries. 
And most importantly, it's where you get toasties. 
7-Eleven IS LIFE."
We used to pass at least 10 just on the way to school. You might understand now how it might, kind-of, just a little bit, get annoying after a while {nod here}.
And then my thoughts trail away to other things. Things I’ve been reading. 
Strangely enough an article from Family Education talks about what to expect in the second grade, and helping your child aged 7-11 to successfully face challenges that the school year may bring. My youngest is now 7 and I am trying to think ahead and be prepared (as much as possible) in relation to the social and emotional issues that this age group generally face.
And then my mind races once more, this time to the ‘other’ kids in this age group, the ones who don’t have a mum or dad reading up on all the latest educational advice. Whose mums or dads never had the chance to learn to read. Whose parents are no longer alive. Whose parents, for whatever reason, couldn’t protect them. This is the group we came here to help: the orphans and the little ones who cannot fight for themselves.
And while I sit in my car noticing the 8001st 
7-Eleven to be built, I think of the many little 7-11 year olds who still need rescuing. 
 At ZOE Children’s Homes we have at least ten children who fall into this age group who have been rescued and are now safe in the care of a new family. [There are also many children who are both younger and older than this].
The team at ZOE not only works hard to prevent child trafficking from occurring, but we will intervene when a child is in danger of being sold or has been sold into prostitution or slavery. But it doesn’t finish there, we commit to caring for these children from then on.
Did you know that there are more than 58,000 
7-ELEVEN outlets worldwide? You see them too.
As you drive home from work.
As you race to pick up your kids from school.
As you rush to that meeting.
As you dash out to go to the gym.
On your way to church.
But what can you possibly do? Right?

Well here’s a really easy thing. Every time you see a 7-Eleven store, let it remind you about what you have just read.
I’m not going to give you a bunch of statistics to remember. If there is one child who has been trafficked, it’s one too many.
You’re valuable to us!
You have the potential to share what ZOE is doing with an audience that we cannot reach – your friends, family, work colleagues, sports team, mothers' group, church, school and neighborhood.
You can create awareness about the atrocities of human trafficking, child trafficking and modern day slavery.
You can address these issues through your Facebook page, your blog, your local newspapers or any other link to mass media that you have.
If you've been touched by the work going on at ZOE or if you've seen or read or heard or experienced something that affected you, then go on and share THIS with others. 
Will you?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What's the Plan?

I'm not sure if you have someone in your family that continuously asks the question, "What's the plan?"  But I must admit, I like knowing what the plan is too!!

The other day, I was getting nervous and trying not to stress-out about it, but misplacing my diary (planner) felt like half my brain had just been wiped. Thankfully, after turning a few rooms upside down, and praying about it (ashamedly, in that order) the diary appeared tucked under a basketful of sewing things! Sigh.

Well now that it's back, I am looking at the calendar with disbelief... there's only 37 days till we're back on Australian soil!! What? How? Okay, that means I have a lot of planning still to do in a very small amount of time. But apart from all that, we are all very excited.  Our children haven't been back since September 2014 so they are SUPER excited!

In the mean time, I thought that I’d share with you a bit about what we’ve been up to lately.

Back in April, we enjoyed having David’s sister, our brother-in-law and our 2 nephews visit us. Especially for the week when our three kids were on school holidays, it was such a joy to have “cousin” time. There was a lot of laughter and fun that occurred and we made some great memories.



Also in April we had some of the children from ZOE come for a play-date as it was also their school break. We had fun Zentangling, making creations out of Paddle pop (popsicle) sticks as well as playing Lego.

The rest of the break included water, water and more water. The Thai New Year, also known as Songkran is a three-day celebration/ water fight.  As some of you may know, Thailand has had a big heat wave this past month so three days of throwing water and being wet is a welcome relief from the scorching heat. 



After Songkran, our kids went back to finish their final quarter/ term for the year feeling kind-of exhausted after so much fun. School finishes in June for them so they’re very much on the home stretch now.

I have been working on a project called “Family Baskets”. It’s a fairly new initiative to bring a basket of new ideas to the parents at ZOE every three months. It’s a way of encouraging family bonding, good memories and strengthen the family units.  It empowers the parents with new ideas and activities to try.  I try to provide activities based around these three areas:

1. Some sort of family bonding task or challenge or goal to work on.
2. Some type of craft/ something to learn/do e.g. make something/music related/arty/ fun etc
3. Something relaxing/stress relieving/ fun or a new game/activity.  

I love trying to fit within the budget and think of new and exciting things to do.

Dave and I are also working towards a big event this Saturday night where we are organising a project for ZFA. I am really looking forward to being able to share all about this soon… keep a look out! This is going to be COOL!

Aside from all that, there’s been LOTS happening here in the Transitional Home aka The Nest.

We are learning to keep handing the big and little issues over to God whilst continuing to love and reach out to these precious young people.

I shared with friends this week how I have struggled personally these past couple of months, often times feeling very disheartened. Praise God though as I have felt the fog lift. Whilst we feel like so much of this is unchartered waters and we don’t know what the next week looks like or how things will pan out; with our trust in God, we do not need to be afraid or discouraged. We need only to keep our eyes focused on Him. God is so good. He is faithful time and time again.

Within our little family, I am really enjoying watching our three as they grow and change. I really want to freeze them at their current ages but I am also excited to see each new step they take in becoming ‘themselves’; their beautiful, unique selves!  I love seeing them try new things and find the areas that they love to participate in.
Other than that, I have really valued the opportunity to be a part of the leadership team for the PTG (parent-teacher-group) at our children's school this year. I gained a lot of insight into the school and the annual events etc. I met some lovely people too and I will continue on being a part of this group in future.

Here are some pictures from the past month or so:
One of the young adults at The Nest bought 2 rabbits home the other day. Needless to say, there is always someone around to cuddle them!

ANZAC Day Dawn Service.

A particularly smokey day...

April in Thailand is typically hot and sweaty, but this year's scorching weather has set a record for the longest heat wave in at least 65 years. The average peak temperature each day this month has been above 40 degrees celsius.

Growing up so fast: healthy and strong.