Meet Zak Koftinoff – Extreme Love & Personal Ministries
Serving God on mission in Cambodia since 2018
My name is Zak Koftinoff and I’m originally from Vancouver, Canada. I moved to Cambodia in 2018 after visiting on 2 shorter term mission trips with my church. Throughout these trips the Lord broke my heart for the people of Cambodia resulting from the devastation that followed the genocide in the 1970’s. In Canada I served as a volunteer Police Officer for 2 years followed by 8 more as a Regular Member of Canada’s national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Little did I know, this provided me with the skills and training that would be required to oversee anti-human trafficking projects.
Extreme Love Ministries
ELIJAH Project – Extreme Love Investigations for Justice and Hope
I am currently responsible for the creation and oversight of the Extreme Love Ministries Investigations branch. The organization has a strong presence in many poor and vulnerable communities around Phnom Penh and our social workers, community outreach partners, and pastors are eyes and ears everyday. As a result of this we receive a lot of information about high risk activities occurring in these communities. Much of this information involves the abuse and trafficking of boys, girls and babies. Until this point Extreme Love has been limited in capacity to act on this information. The ELIJAH Project is directly focused on investigating claims of severe abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking. This team will be a highly trained and specialized team of investigators who’s focus and mission will be to protect children, and youth.
The ELIJAH Project team will perform a variety of duties. This includes, but is not limited to:
* Investigating reports of severe abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking
* Following up on reports of human trafficking and information gathering
* Locating victims of human trafficking, exploitation, or severe violence
* Providing training for communities to assist in keeping children safe
* Working collaboratively with communities in order to help keep the community safe
Further to these, the ELIJAH Project will be experts in human trafficking and investigations and will provide training for staff and volunteers to further their knowledge of human trafficking and exploitation in Cambodia.
I also oversee this project which is still in the pilot phase. Even though we are still piloting this project we have already seen fruit from our labor. What we know is that men, women, and children are being sold daily in Cambodia. We also know that they must travel from their communities and homes to the place where they will eventually be exploited, abused, and, sometimes, lost forever. Our Transit Monitoring team goes to strategic points of transit in order to monitor people as they travel around cities and regions. Our team is able to identify people who are traveling and are at high-risk or are in fact being trafficked in that moment. The team interrupts and intercepts these people and conducts interviews in order to gather relevant information on the travelers. To date we have rescued 3 women. 2 under the age of 18 and a 30 year old as well. The youth were returned to their families safely and the adult was counseled and transportation was provided to her home.
Additionally, I oversee our children’s aftercare home. We currently have 15
children ranging from 5 months old to 18 years old in our care. All of these kids
come from severe abuse, neglect and abandonment, and/ or were trafficked.
In our home they are safe, have hope for a future and are raised in a Godly way.
The kids become part of a big, happy, and loving family and are provided
everything they need to grow healthy and full of hope.
Further, I help to oversee our community outreach team which connects with street dwelling communities and high-risk communities. We visit and share meals with the poor and vulnerable in Phnom Penh as well as visiting places of prostitution and exploitation. During these visits, our primary goal is building relationships. We earnestly desire to build a strong relationship with exploited men, women, and children as well as those living on the streets. In Cambodia these groups are often marginalized, silenced, and hidden. The team brings the love of Christ into the dark and lends an ear, a shoulder, and prays with anyone who desires to further their relationship with us, and ultimately with Christ. Follow ups happen outside of ministry time and God has built some beautiful relationship with some exploited and marginalized people.
Currently, I have a younger Cambodian man living with me. The Lord placed live- in discipleship in my heart from very early on when I moved to Cambodia. I had prayed for nearly 3 years for the right person when a young man approached me and asked to live with me and learn to grow spiritually. Further to this, there are 2 or 3 younger Cambodians with whom I am quite intentional in spending time with, living life with, being friends with, and simply loving them best as I know how. This includes meals, worship, Bible study, and just hanging out. The Lord is faithful in all that He’s given me and in leading me, counseling me, and providing me both energy and rest. Thanks be to God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit for their mercy, grace, and love given to me to be poured out.
Click here to donate directly to Zak and his mission.