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Zoe Empowers - Kenya Mission Trip

Zoe Empowers - Kenya Mission Trip

This past June, a group of 18 from the Florida conference went to Kenya to visit ZOE Empowers including members from Gator Wesley, First UMC of Lakeland, Good Samaritan (Tallahassee), First UMC of Homosassa, Beach Fort Myers, and Cypress Lakes UMC. All these churches have created a partnership with ZOE Empowers.
Our team ranged in age from 13 to 80. It was incredible seeing the impact the ZOE Empowers children had on the entire team. The organization “empowers orphaned children and vulnerable youth with the solutions to move their families beyond extreme poverty—for good. Zoe Empowers is a global network of local organizations equipping vulnerable youth through a three-year, community-based, indigenous-led program. When young people are empowered by a supportive community, they can lead their own journey from extreme poverty to self-sufficiency, eliminating the need for endless aid.”  (
We were able to meet brand new groups that our churches are partnering with. Gator Wesley and Good Samaritan recently partnered together with a brand-new empowerment group. They were able to spend time with them to encourage them, pray with them, and visit their new businesses and homes – a life-changing moment for all.
Since 2017, Florida United Methodist churches and individuals have partnered with over 127 groups representing more than 11,000 children – children who were once beggars and are now bosses. Together the Florida United Methodist churches/ministries that are partnering with ZOE Empowers are not only changing the lives of these children but entire communities. Florida United Methodist Churches and Florida United Methodist Wesley Foundations are coming together with ZOE Empowers to equip vulnerable children to overcome life-threatening poverty for good. What a thing to celebrate!
If you are interested in hearing more about ZOE Empowers or ways to partner, contact Molly McEntire at

Click on a photo for a closer look.

The entire team with a newly graduated group that partnered with First UMC of Lakeland. These young people are now ending the cycle of poverty and have the skills for long-term success.

Norah Pancoast (13) and her father Joel Pancoast, co-director of Gator Wesley, visiting with some of the ZOE Empowers participants.

Rev. Patti Aupperlee and Rev. Samantha Aupperlee got to experience a once-in-a-lifetime trip with daughters and sisters.

Cypress Lakes UMC members Bill and Jenny Martin with their newly graduated empowerment group.

They were gifted incredible handmade gifts from their empowerment group for Cypress Lakes UMC.

Gator Wesley student Riley Kiefer dancing with a ZOE Empowers participant.

Rev. Michelle Shrader getting her hair cut by a recent ZOE Empowers graduate. He now owns his own barber shop.

Members of First United Methodist Church of Lakeland with their new empowerment group.


Gator Wesley and Good Samaritan partnered together with a new group. This partnership will last for three years. It is a great way to bring together a local United Methodist church and a Wesley Foundation. As you can see from the picture there is some good old school rivalry.

Steve and Marcia Loher dancing with a ZOE Empowers participant.

Brand new ZOE Empowers participant Brenda with her siblings. Brenda started ZOE Empowers six months ago. She recently opened up her own kiosk. She takes care of herself and three siblings.

Newly graduated ZOE Empowers participant. She owns multiple businesses now, has her own home, and has taken in orphans from her community to care for them.

A ZOE Empowers sibling. Her life will be forever changed. She is learning and watching from her older sister. She will be filled with hope instead of hopelessness. She will be educated. She will know her rights.

Young man who just started in a ZOE Empowers group. In three years, he will graduate with the tools and experiences. His life will be forever transformed.