Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quick update

Hi everyone!

So Thailand was amazing, I was thinking of writing my own news but as it is already 5 days since Thailand and it feels like a lifetime... I figured I will just grab content from my friend Dee Dee as she wrote a lot during our time there.

Just since my last email, see below this email what happened with our Iris Thailand team: (written by Dee Dee, from the States). I am including even some of her more "personal" sounding stuff just because it was similar for a lot of us on the team. Even leaving Thailand and arriving in the country I am now in it was such a difference in the spiritual atmosphere. There is still "stuff" going on here, but it is different than Thailand and at the start it even felt sooo restful and peaceful. However now I can definitely tell there is stuff going on that I am struggling with trying to breakthrough. It helps that in the apartment I am staying, there is a keyboard in my room!!! So I have had a couple times of worship on my own and today our whole team of 5 + baby came in to soak a bit. It is such a present from Daddy that I get to play keyboard again, as I hadn't touched my keyboard since before Mozambique and then only for a minute while in the process of selling it. It is such a tool that God has given me for breakthrough. While we are here in this country, myself and Jesse and Tanya and going to go in together to get a guitar, which we will then take to South America as well. Pray we find a great guitar at a cheap price!

God has blessed us so much even with monkeys escaping at the zoo so we could get up close and personal! haha. My highlight by far though was getting to play with and love on the kids at the train station (beggars) while we were waiting for our train. Also we have now bought our tickets into Nepal. We will be arriving in Nepal this Thursday.

Hoping to catch up with some other contacts here - pray for the right connections and the right use of our time here.

See my facebook for some recent photos :)

I have to go now as we are going out for dinner with some Iris friends.

Will update more later!!

Love and bless you all! Jesus is so good! Press in and believe for more! and  people from my church - please let me know what amazing stuff is happening! I love to hear of how God shows up in greater measure in your lives and in church as it really encourages me so much too!

Love Serena

Day 10: Pressing in to see breakthroughDue to a restless night, a few of us stayed back in the morning to catch up on some things and get ready for a jam packed day. A few went to do some prison ministry and pass out waters and sandwiches. Unfortunately they weren't really allowed to take any pictures, but the people who went said it was really good to go and minister/pray for people.
When they returned we all met across the street over at BIG C (which is the shopping center and central location for many ministries such as the Crossing which we will be doing another block party for kids on Saturday and Hand to Hand ministry which has the children day care). From 1 to 5 we were to go help with all the kids’ daycare. There were about 50 kids ranging from ages 1 to about 6. Due to a few miscommunications, things were not as organized as they were usually and the kids were pretty crazy. However, one thing I love about this team is they go with the flow…didn’t stop them from just loving on the kids and playing with them. We orchestrated a few games and songs, but after a few hours, we could feel the chaos set in.  Around 4pm a few stayed back to help clean and prepare with Sarah for some Police that were coming next week to inspect the grounds, and a few of us returned back to the rooms real quick for a break.

We then met up with the guys who had returned from outreach up North and walked over to the Crossing behind BIG C to where the skate park ministry was. Christian and Jesse brought their skateboards and immediately began to just fit right in making friends and skating. The rest of the team walked around the surrounding area and passed out invites to kids to the block party. It was a bit easier in that several of the ministries are already aware and putting the word out for Saturday, opposed to in Bangkok where most people were street people and had no way of hearing so we were eager to invite everybody!

We then broke for dinner, which at this point much of the team just needed a boost. It had been 3 days of not sleeping for Carrie and I and we were starting to feel our minds just shut down. At one point I just sat with a few of the girls and just cried saying my heart is so willing but my strength was just zapped and felt I couldn’t function anymore. Pushing through was becoming harder, but I was grateful we were heading to the prayer room for worship.
Every Thursday night different churches and ministries meet at the Pattaya House of Prayer in the middle of Soi 6, surrounded by bars and open up the downstairs to worship and pray together. It was neat to see many of the people we had worked with in the week and made contact with like Angela, and Bae (who lead worship Wed morning), Sherry and Craig who lead in the prayer room and Jason and Sarah. It was like family knowing so many faces. Christian, Bae and I led and it was a blast. We had three guitars and about 8 jimbay drums in a circle and were just going for it. I just love Christian’s heart and just the unity in the spirit that was happening amongst us all was so refreshing and exactly the boost we were longing for. It’s amazing how when we pour out in the spirit, it is freeing because it’s not coming from our strength, it’s coming from His!
Here's a snap shot of the open doors worship... can't really see everyone, but crammed in the corner is about another 6 people playing drums! It was so loud and powerful!

After about an hour, I decided to walk outside and worship in the street. About ten minutes later a short white man with a beer in his hand walks up to me. He looks me in the eyes and ask: “You guys having a party?” I told him with a fat smile,  “Yea!” He then asked “Are you guys Christians? What kind?” Sarah and Jason introduced themselves and told him it was all churches coming together. He told us that just 5 days ago he had just married a Thai woman and that she was in Bangkok, and he came to Pattaya to have fun. He said he was from Ireland and no joke ten seconds later Christian not seeing or hearing what was going on began to play “You are the God of this City!” which was written in a bar in Pattaya from a group of Irish guys a few years back. As Sarah heard this she told him it was a divine appointment from God he was there and she began to explain to him the song that was playing that that it’s no coincidence.
I invited him to come in and sit down and enjoy. He took me up on the offer and we pulled up two white chairs in the street. I began to pray quiety and felt led to ask him if I could pray for him. He kind of starred at me for a minute blank and almost unsure how to answer, but then said yes confidently. I signaled Jesse who was standing behind him to pray too. Jesse squatted down next to the chair and we asked if we could lay hands on him. Again he was a bit unsure, but said yea. We began to thank God for bringing him here and that God brought him for a reason. At one point he looked up and could feel him start to wrestle. He began asking questions about religions and why then were there so many gods. He told us he was Buddhist. Jesse just began to share with him his past also believing in other gods and the things he experienced and visibly saw, and that it was only Jesus that could save him and satisfy. He told us he had heard it all before, and right then I felt God give me words. I asked him if he had peace. He began to shake his head and say no. I asked him if he wanted peace. He began to cry. He told me he wanted to experience Jesus not just talk about it. I told him if he was open and willing I would pray for peace. But he was so broken at that point he just began to get uncomfortable and got up and walked away.
My heart was just breaking. I knew he wanted to be filled. I could see it. He came to us. I followed him down the street and watched him hide behind a bush to chug the rest of his beer. I started just praying, and then he came back towards me and still with tears in his eyes shook my hand and said. “Thank you, you are very nice.” and walked away. I just began to cry. Sarah and some of the girls came around me and began to pray and break with me. Unbeknown to me Jesse had gone back in to the bar he was at and sat down with him to continue talking with him.
We saw him one last time when we were leaving Soi 6. He was standing there with a Thai woman on his arm and with another buddy. I got to bless him again and tell him I would be praying for him and hopefully run into him again in my time here.
I am unsure what will happen to him, but never did I think in being here that I would get an opportunity to reach one of the men. In first stepping on the plane to come here, I would see all the white middle-aged men and my initial instinct was judgment. As God began to tenderize my heart, I began to love the men, but still not think they could change. God proved me wrong last night. His love is so much bigger and so much better than I think, and He is constantly showing us this.

Day 11: Enjoying some R & R and team catch up time…So finally a decent night of sleep, although others on the team said it was a rougher night for them. It’s like it comes in waves for us all… so pray we all get amazing sleep one night this week!
Today we had a few things on our plate that due to need of refreshment and catch up, we decided to do a swimming day at Hard Rock Café, hang out together and then spend a bit of time re-unifying the team.
A few people left around noon to go back to the slums and help pray for some deliverance and healing for some people for an hour, while the rest of the team hung out waiting for them to return.
We had a few hours to swim, and relax and even enjoy some fun entertainment. It was mainly a huge target spot for tourist, but not a lot of people. Due to it being so hot and muggy here it felt nice to stay in clear water for a while. I took some pics of the place as well as random things we experienced as we sat and laughed.

We then all met up in the afternoon to chat. The boys shared their time in Isaan and that they were really able to spend a lot of the time with favor with different connections. Although nobody spoke English, they were able to join up with their contact at one of the churches and see the Holy Spirit fall on several services and people they ministered to. They said it was really good going up there, and loved serving with Kala and Brandon.
The rest of the team meeting we processed the last couple outreaches we had, shared some testimonies and then brainstormed what we were feeling as far as Iris Thailand so far. It was a good time just to hear from the team and open up what we were sensing and seeing as a whole. We have a few more days here, and will be continuing to process vision and future plans, but for today talked a few things out.
We then headed to dinner to meet up with Patricia King’s Extreme Prophetic team, to hear what they have been doing in Thailand. Malina, who is one of Patricias personal assitants and here for the conference lives in Bangkok and runs a halfway house in Pattaya. The team comes through 3 times a year to lead prophetic trainings and outreaches for a week. Patricia, actually is on a tour through Asia, and won’t be at the training, however will be swinging through and specifically asked to meet up with our team on Monday, so will share more how that goes.
I wasn’t much in the loop with what Malina or their team is involved in, as Yonnie and Naomi and others on the team all sat at her table. I sat with Jess and another guy named Rob who is teaching at the school, and been involved in the trainings the last few years, and it was nice just sharing what God is doing in Pattaya and the unity amongst the ministries and how they feel so accepted in what they do here. He shared a bit of their outreaches with the students and that it’s over 60 students they split up and train in prophetic outreach.
After we split ways with the team, some of the team stuck around in the mall to see a movie while the rest of us headed back to the hotel to use some internet and head to bed.
Us who came back to the rooms then had for the first time heard about the Tsunami in Japan and began to pray and think about how that was going to effect us and possible change of plans.

Day 12: One last party!!!Woke up a little, after a better sleep last night. Had a team meeting to worship, pray and connect. It was a great time of resting, in that we had no rush to get anywhere till later in the afternoon for the last block party. We soaked and rested in the Father’s Presence and it was much needed. Katherine O’Brian delivered a timely word of Jesus’ heart towards the team as many of us were so tenderized by His love and affection for each of us.
Yonnie then explained that they were up till 2:30 in the morning working out the possibilities of Iris Relief Japan and how to get over there right after Thailand. We could feeling the tearing in the team as many wanted to just go and be of aid and love to those in need, but yet still be present in Thailand and finish strong and well. It was a battle for many to really seek quickly and be in both places at once.  But really love this team in that they lay down their life for anything and anything Jesus is doing, and if that meant staying mindful and focused where we are at even though many hearts were just anxious to know the plans of the future, we stuck together and wholeheartedly agreed in prayer to press in reaching out our last few days here.
After a few hours to grab some lunch, get some things organized, and prepped we walked across the street and met up in BIG C with Jess, Janie (who came out for a few days to join us) and the rest of the team. We talked a few minutes some logistics then split up to pass out the rest of the invites to kids around the surrounding area again. It was fun running around the mall and outside finding kids to hand something free to them. We got all kinds of looks from the parents, and it’s pretty hard not speaking the language to tell them we aren’t trying to promote anything. Overall Thai people are pretty receptive and smiled when we would just hand them the paper.
We all then met back up together at the Crossing to blow up some balloons for décor and games, and enjoyed some loud rocking out to Jake Hamilton as we set up wii and some of the kids gathered around to play. The party was to start around 5, but in Thai culture, that’s pretty flexible. So many of the kids didn’t start showing up till around 5:30ish. Mostly we had little kids ranging from 2 to maybe about 10. The older skate kids, mostly stayed away or chose to skate under the parking garage. We played games, hung out, loved on the little ones, but after a while I started to feel this real desire and burning to pray and encourage. It was hard with over 50-60 kids running around screaming to get any one of there attention. As I talked to Jess, we both thought it would be awesome if some of the little kids end up leaving around dark, the older kids might start to merge back towards the skate park and we could have an opportunity to pray for them.

But as the night prolonged, most the of this little kids stuck around later. We ate dinner (which they got a huge roasted pig! It was so tasty!) and other noodle/rice dishes for everyone to eat. Finally after dinner, Yonnie began to grab a few people she wanted to bless and had us pray over them. We began to speak what we saw God was showing us and one by one started blessing people we didn’t even know or had met.

After praying for a few people, I sat back against a wall and started talking to Craig, one of the missionaries here. As we started chatting I noticed a Thai women next to me, Natasha had her hand on her back and was praying, and another Thai woman sat in front of her translating what Natasha was praying. I felt draw to them, and put my hand on the woman’s back with Natasha’s. I could hear Natasha praying healing over her back. After a few minutes, started to really sense a lot of fear over her and that stuff was coming against her and she was having a hard time fighting. Both Natasha and I covered her in prayer and broke off all the stuff we were seeing that was coming against her. After she said the pain in her back completely left, and explained a little bit to us about the attacks she was battling.
Then she asked if we could pray for her daughter and she signaled her over. She was about 4, and sat in her mom’s lap as we laid hands on her and began to pray. As I opened my mouth the Lord started to show me her. I had the translator tell her. “She is a dreamer, and dreams a lot at night and has many good dreams. She has fun dreams. She sees a lot. She is a princess and Jesus loves her. She is very special.” We continued to pray, and when we were done, the mom looked at me and asked how did I know? I told her God knew and shared it with me for her.
She then asked if we could pray for her son. She signaled him and he came over and sat in her lap. He looked to be around maybe 8 or 9. She told us he had to have surgery when he was little and he was never the same in his personality afterwards. He is very hot and cold temperately and still has health issues. We prayed for healing, but wasn’t able to know if he was healed due to it being more of a time will tell issue. So pray for him that he will experience full healthy and wholeness, emotionally and physically. The Lord began to give me words for him too: “He is very good at sports and loves sports. He is an influencer and a very strong man. He will influence and be looked up to by many men and connect especially in sports.”
After, the mom again told me it wad totally true and God. As said before, Thai’s don’t always show a lot of emotion. Both her kids just made it seem like it was common knowledge for me to understand and see that in the spirit. After her son ran off, she shared a bit of her testimony about where she came from. She worked in the bars a while ago, but then came to Tamar, came to know Jesus and started working there. She was going to do a Discipleship Program, but having two kids and needing to provide it was hard for. So she then really had a heart to have a business and is now doing that. So Christian then came and sat next to us and joined us and we got to bless her business and believe that God was going to give her all the finances and favor she needed to grow it and give away to others as well.
We also got to encourage the translator. It’s so much work translating, but not only the act of it, but having the gift to want to translate things accurately and with the heart and passion. She seriously was amazing and afterwards said she prays that she would be used in translating and grow more in speaking the right words and heart behind it.
It was such a fun evening of pouring out. I especially enjoy praying for the families. We got to pray for one more women who came up to a few of us girls and asked us to. She spoke English and we could tell was a fiery one in need of encouragement. After she got pretty wrecked with joy and excitement.
We all were pretty wrecked with laughing and enjoy the end of the evening together. Many of us got to just love on the adults and people who came out to be a part of the ministry. The Holy Spirit had a lot of fun and we were enjoying being a part of what He was doing.

To end the evening we gathered up to chat about the last few days, and we prayed about Japan, in hearing that the Nuclear plant had an explosion. Many in the team were just breaking and crying out, in such a desire and heart to go.
We headed back to the hotel and a bunch of us girls gathered in Yonnie’s room to get updated on the news and help Yonnie facilitate and do some admin stuff. It was fun helping connection and do some media stuff, that even not possibly going at this time, still being able to assist in setting up and preparing them to go after Thailand. The huge benefit is we have such a ready strong team, and Thailand is not far.
A few things though to be praying about:
1.    Yonnie and the IRIS RELIEF team for Japan. To help them get everything they need to get over there and for direction for staying over there. They are depending big time on God to lead and show them how to help, but need favor in getting in right now and working out all the follow go to:
2.    For us to finish strong here in Thailand. We all have enjoyed this time and have a lot of insight and vision being here, but pray we have good insight and direction to what’s next for future prospect trips and where we situate here and how. Tomorrow is our last day

Day 13 & 14: Final daysWoke up yesterday morning and had to get going early. Met in Yonnie’s room around 10am to talk as a team and worship. Then went to True Friends church to worship and fellowship together. It’s fun always seeing familiar faces of people throughout the week we connect with like Jason and Sarah and their family, Craig and his boys, Jess, and Angela again and others we got to pray and encourage throughout the week.

The Thai girl who translated the words at the party for the woman I got to pray for the previous night, preached as the other Thai girl that some of us at the end of the night also prayed for translated. It was fun seeing the duo together tag team and watch the Lord move through them. The message was powerful and passionate!
Afterwards, we loved on and prayed for different people. As it started to get late, we gathered as a whole team for the last time, as Christian had to run to catch a flight and got in a circle holding hands as family. It was pretty emotional, only running 2 weeks with this team, and not knowing most of them, yet the connection of love and closeness we experienced working together and unifying so quickly! It was such a sweet time to just pray and lastly stand together as we looked around seeing the amazing warriors we stood with and fought hard these past few weeks to see God breakthrough in Thailand!
I had to run with Jess to put together worship for the Extreme Prophetic Conference. A lot was happening so fast in transition, that I didn’t really have time to take it all in, but we spent a few hours doing some sound and going through songs, then about 40 people came for the first night to kick off the start of the conference. It’s so fun to worship with Jess. She has such a sensitive heart to what the spirit is doing and goes where He is going. It has been hard for me in breaking through the thickness in this atmosphere. There really is no way to describe it, but it’s like trying to breathe in thick smog. I felt this when worshipping, as if I couldn’t get past the fog or see where I was going. There were definitely times of clearing, but it’s really teaching me how to just press in to listen in such oppression and darkness. It takes a lot of faith to just trust and be confident in what He has given me and go with it.
It was fun meeting the team and sit and hang for a bit with them, but after a few hours started to get tired and wanted to meet back up with the team. Rode back to the hotel, and popped into Yonnie’s room around 9ish to find the team altogether praying and speaking over each team member. Jumped in excited and got so filled just seeing each person get lifted and blessed individually. As it got late, we decided to meet again early to finish praying for the rest of the team.

So woke up this morning around 8:30am, started to pack up everything and get our room cleaned out. Carrie and I walked over to BIG C for the last time together to grab some coffee. Everyone piled again into Yonnie’s room to finish praying for each team member. We ran out of time again, and Kim and I opted to get prayer later after our meeting with Patricia King. We all then threw all our bags in one room, and hopped on a Song Tao to the hotel Patricia was staying at. We ate at the hotel restaurant, and broke into a few tables. Many of us wasn’t too sure what to expect. We originally only had twenty minutes with her, but she was gracious to spend over an hour with us.
Mainly the reason we were meeting with her was because her and Heidi Baker a few months prior were talking in passing and Heidi had mentioned an Iris Thailand team was coming through for a few weeks and Patricia asked to meet with us. Not knowing if it was going to work out with her busy schedule, it was honoring she made it work out and was worth hearing her heart and vision she felt for Thailand and for Iris here.
They have been doing conferences for the past 3 years specifically in Thailand and Patricia just shared her heart for this land and that she saw it was harvest time and that the workers are few, that Thailand is ready and they have seen huge shifts in the spirit in the last 3 years. When we asked what she saw for Iris in Thailand, she really affirmed the heart behind Heidi and what she has imparted for us to walk in and that Thailand is ready for us to come. She talked about us pioneering, stopping for the one and that we were going to get to sow into what other people had already done here and that it was just going to be easy. Also that we were going to raise up people but that it would not be for a long time and that we wouldn't have to breakthrough a ton because of the work sewn before us.
It was good confirmation and in the last minutes we had asked if we could pray over her. It was powerful standing with this woman who has such authority in the spirit.
She then had to leave and we rallied the team up to finish praying over Kim and I. In the whole 2 weeks being here, felt like personally been going strong and pushing through, but when they laid hands on me and began to just speak such strong words of encouragement my heart just broke and I sobbed. I was so deeply touched by each person who saw me and loved on me. I felt so affirmed to be a part of this team, especially being one of the few who have not done the Harvest School, but so many just kept saying I was family. I have thoroughly loved running with these guys and they have really pushed and challenged me so much in stepping it up and laying it all down to see His glory revealed to those who have never seen or experienced the power of His love. I know I will never be the same. I have seen amazing things these past two weeks, in part I have shared, but nothing has blessed me as much as having this humble and fiery team to run a long side with. I thank God for the years of waiting just to experience that!

By Dee Dee, from - go here for pictures!

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