If it’s April in Thailand, it must be 100 degree weather and graduation time for Bible School students! This year, 18 students graduated from ZOE Ministry School (ZMS) after completing a rigorous two-year program. The curriculum included Bible lessons, business and vocational training, English language class, outreach and evangelism to the villages and communities throughout Chiang Mai Province and all of Northern Thailand, and serving in children’s ministry. Students must be Christians and go through an extensive application process before being accepted. They pay a nominal fee to attend ZMS and are provided room and board.
A typical day for our students begins at 5 a.m. with an hour of prayer. An hour of personal Bible study follows. Breakfast is at 7 after which the students shower and put on their uniforms (skirts and blouses for the women; slacks, dress shirts and ties for men). The student body assembles at 8:30 a.m. for a half hour of corporate worship. From 9 a.m. all students are in Bible class until noon when they break for lunch. English class is from 1 to 2 p.m. Students are in one of 3 classes depending on their level of English proficiency. At 2 p.m., the first year students have an hour-long business class followed by one hour of vocational training. Second year students have vocational class followed by business class during that hour. From 4-5 p.m. all students have assigned work duties at ZOE Children’s Homes followed by an hour of free time before dinner at 6 p.m. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the students go to the city for street evangelizing. On Wednesday evening, it’s intercessory prayer for all ZOE students, staff, and missionaries. Friday night is the weekly ZOE worship service. The ZMS student body is divided into two teams for weekends. Each team goes out two weekends per month to hill tribe villages to deliver food, clothing, medicine and the Word of God. The team which is “off” during the weekend attends Sunday service at an area church but otherwise has the weekend off to study and relax.
After graduation, students head off in a variety of directions. Some have committed to return to their home churches to serve while others will start a brand new church in villages that have no church. A few will return to ZOE as staff and some will take the skills and knowledge they learned in ZMS to open their own businesses or go into a trade. ZOE will provide seed money to those who want to go into business or establish a trade.
ZMS is by no means easy. But the smiles, hugs, and joy on the faces of the students and their families on graduation day proved it was worth all of the hard work! We know our ZOE grads will bring glory to God! Congratulations, graduates!