Meet Taylor Summers, founder and executive director of Zoe Children's Tribe in Kenya. He saw a need and now spends his days working to advance the Gospel through the love of Jesus by placing orphans into loving homes where they're equipped to become Christian leaders in Kenya
What led to the creation of Zoe Children’s Tribe?
Zoe would’ve never started if it wasn’t for the vision Jesus placed in my heart years ago.
Zoe went from a vision written on paper to reality in a short period of time. My heart has always been to work with children, and after my first mission trip to Kenya in 2013, I gained a clear sense of how that would look. After seeing the need of Christ in the nation of Kenya, I knew exactly how God was calling me to be apart of advancing the Gospel here in Kenya through His children.
Advancing His kingdom through orphaned and vulnerable children is something that I believe strongly in, and that’s ultimately why Zoe was started. I believe it’s amazing how we rescue children who’ve been abandoned, abused, and ultimately orphaned and place them in loving homes where they are fed, sheltered, and educated, but it’s not why we exist. Zoe exists to bridge the gap from physical to spiritual by teaching our children the Word of God and giving them hope through Jesus Christ so one day they may advance the Gospel through what they learned while at Zoe.
The vision of Zoe Children’s Tribe is Elude. Equip. Empower. Care to elaborate on this?
Our vision for our children comes in three assets; elude, equip, and empower. These are three methods we hope to instill in our children from a young age. We believe it’s our job to help our children elude poverty and darkness, while equipping them with the Word of God and educationally so that one day they may empower a nation to come to Jesus and ultimately make their nation a better place to live in.
ELUDE (poverty & darkness)
EQUIP (a generation)
EMPOWER (a nation)
What was one of the challenges you faced in getting your ministry up and running, and how did the Lord help you overcome this?
I would say the toughest challenge since our start in Kenya has been the process of bringing in children and giving them a forever home. This process isn’t always easy for us; it comes with several ups and downs.
I’ll never forget standing with three young girls four days after their mother had been buried and two weeks after being abandoned by their father. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing and it didn’t make it any better that we were standing twenty yards away from their mother’s grave. Several thoughts starting going through my head; should we take them right now or try placing them with family?
We tried placing them with the only family we could find, to only find out a week later they’d been kicked out by that particular family member and forced to fend for themselves. After hearing this, our Zoe social worker and I decided it’s time to step in and take them.
Among the three girls was an 18 month old baby who’d just lost her mother and wasn’t ready to open up to anyone else. The first two weeks were extremely tough for us all. Baby Elizabeth couldn’t be separated at all from her sisters and if she wasn’t sleeping she was crying. I won’t lie; it was the toughest two weeks of Zoe.
That was early March and here we are in early May, Elizabeth’s story has drastically changed. Now instead of crying all day, she plays with our other children and has made drastic improvement. I honestly believe it’s through God’s grace that Elizabeth is where she’s at now. Many prayers and much attention have gone to getting her to this point. The Lord has shown me with cases such as Elizabeth, prayer and unconditional love helps us overcome our toughest challenges as an organization.
Part of your hope for your ministry is that you’ll help bring up Christian leaders in Kenya. What are some practical ways you’re working to meet this goal?
The most practical way is of raising up Christian leaders is raising them up in a Christian home on a Biblical foundation. I believe that it all starts in the home, and I believe our model of raising children in Christian homes will have a huge impact not only now but also when our children leave Zoe and start their own families. Our model suggest that every house is pastored by the father of that house, so one day our children will know what it’s like to have their own Christian household.
Out of every child that we’ve taken in, only one has known what a Bible was. Now, they all know exactly what a Bible is and can recite memory verses and have a general understanding of who Jesus is. I believe it’s Zoe’s and my job to better help our children understand who Jesus is so they may too become fully devoted followers of Christ and let their light shine in all aspects of their lives to come after Zoe.
Name three ways people can come alongside you to help serve the children of Zoe Children’s Tribe.
Pray: I encourage everyone to pray for our children, our future children, our staff, our board of directors, myself, and for our mission and vision will go on to point others to Jesus Christ.
Go: I encourage everyone to reach out to us about joining in one of short-term mission trips to Kenya. We generally host 3-4 trips a year that range anywhere from construction trips to VBS trips and all things in between. We also have an intern program that I encourage people who feel called to missions to look into. I would love you to join in on what God is doing through Zoe here in Kenya!
Give: I’d also encourage you to pray about ways you can join in partnering with our tribe financially. Zoe is solely funded through the body of Christ. Your donations go on to bring life to a child who’s been abandoned, abused, or ultimately orphaned. If you feel called to partner with Zoe financially I encourage you to visit our website. Zoe is an accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit organization; allowing all donations to Zoe to be tax deductible.
If you could say one thing to someone who has a dream of serving and making a difference in another country, what would you say?
If I could some it up with one phrase it’d be: DON’T WAIT! I went into starting Zoe thinking I was too young, and wow was I wrong. I told myself if I don’t follow God right now to Kenya then I never will. I knew putting this vision on the back burner would be the biggest form of disobedience to God.
Follow the vision God has placed in your heart no matter where you’re at in life.
Put it on paper and follow it.
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