Friday, October 28, 2011

More good news! and Please Pray...

The night before Guatemala, two of the girls on our team went to find a birthday for another of the girls who had just turned 21! So they ventured into the town to see what they could find. They really wanted to be able to find a chocolate cake. They went into many different places and could not find anything, then all of a sudden this man came past carrying chocolate cake!! The pieces were too small though for our whole team. So the girls asked if he had anything big enough to feed 23 people. He said he did, and he called his wife to check if she could bake it. She could and he took the girls back to his house to wait for it. As they were in the house they found out that the people were Christian. They were able to pray for and encourage these people.

The uncle was also able to help our friend Godfrey to find somewhere to stay, to escape from all his old drinking/drug buddies up in his old town. So we have been able to set him up in a house for a month as he looks for work, AND he now has solid Christian friends to help support him in his walk with Jesus :) God is so good! Godfrey also addressed us as a team on our last night in Belize, thanking us from the bottom of his heart for taking us into our family... God is so good... I know I said it already but He really is so good! We are so privileged as a team to have been able to love on this precious one.

Also on our first night here in Guatemala, this one kid was following us on foot to three different places that we stopped to potentially stay overnight. He sold us some tomales (which tasted really good!) As we hung out with him, both Mario (10 yrs old) and his friend Fernando (13 yrs) ended up giving their lives to Jesus - knowing that this will be a living, talking relationship, not just going to church! yay Jesus!

In other news, PLEASE PRAY as one of our vehicles transmissions failed while we were entering Guatemala. They can't fix it here so two of the guys went back to Belize this morning to find parts. They came back a couple hours ago and they hadn't been able to find parts in Belize, so we now need to ship parts from the US. It will take at least 1.5 weeks to get here and will cost us $1800, plus shipping. Please pray as at this point in time we do not have to finance to get those parts.

If you would like to GIVE towards these parts, please go to and click "Donate" up the top right of the page. This is secure credit card giving through paypal.

Thank you for helping us do what the Lord has called us to do in spreading his fire and glory love through Central America!

Belize 2011 (written October 24th, 2011)

We have been here in Belize now for 6 days. We came with no contacts and so were really open to the Holy Spirit’s leading for what he wants us to do. Jesse (team leader) texted Heidi saying what we were up to, and she texted back saying that we would find our greatest treasure here in Belize!

I was excited about Belize, as it is one of the Central American countries that God specifically spoke to me about while in the Prayer Room at IHOP (the other being El Salvador). We stayed in an RV park in the town of Corozal for 4 nights right across the road from the Caribbean sea, where we found out there were alligators – later confirmed by the guys who went out at night to check! Across the road there was also a restaurant where we could go hang out and use the internet. We went there straight away on the first day, to worship as a team and see what the Lord would say to us. Tanya felt from the Lord that while we were in Belize we would make specific friends here, that they could take us into the villages and we could pour into them, letting Jesus do whatever he wanted through that.

Godfrey and Kareem
During our time in Corozal the team went out each night to the town square, just to talk with people and love on them. We met one man named Godfrey, who had decided to come off drugs and alcohol two days previous. He said he could take us into the hospitals to pray for people, and also into villages. So Godfrey was our guide the next few days. We found out he was trying to get a job on an island so that he could be away from all his old friends and be able to get out of is old lifestyle. However it turned out that he would not be able to have the interview until 3 weeks time. He worried that once we left he wouldn’t be able to keep being sober. We prayed as a team and every single one of us felt a peace to take him along with us as long as we are here in this country! So he came with us yesterday as we drove to the next town, and this morning he said he wanted to be baptised! We all walked to the ocean, along with a Canadian couple who are staying in the same place as us and a few other Belizean interested onlookers. The guys who had met Godfrey first were the ones to baptise him. Behind us, another of the guys was explaining the gospel and baptism to another man, Kareem. After Godfrey came out of the water, Kareem decided he wanted to be baptised too!! We feel like Godfrey IS this greatest treasure that Heidi was speaking about.

Testimony from Hospital
One woman was in the hospital because she drank bad water. She couldn’t sit up without a nurse helping her and had sharp pains in her stomach. She couldn’t take a deep breath. Some of the girls prayed for her. She said the pain had been at a 15 and it changed to a 7. She tried and was able to take deep breaths. She also tried to sit up and did it by herself! They girls prayed again and the pain went away completely! She said she was ready to check herself out of hospital J Praise Jesus!

Stopping for the One…
As an Iris team who is doing missions as life together, we know the need for rest. This is not a 2 week missions trip and as such we can’t just push through forever. Therefore every team member has freedom to stay behind and rest when they feel to, or even more importantly stay behind and be with Jesus alone when they need to! In Corozal I found that all times except one, Jesus asked me to stay back and be with him. So I did. It is so important in all life seasons to stop for the ONE (Jesus) first before stopping for the one. I had kind of noticed a little recently that I wasn’t feeling as loved as I normally do, and that is because I hadn’t been stopping for Jesus as much I should! I need to stop for Jesus every day, to fill up on His love before I can pour out on others!! I have always made it my goal to “practice the presence of God” – to constantly live out of awareness of His presence. I still do this but there is also always the need to take time out and be alone with Him, with no other distractions. Both are needed. Every day. Take the time, give him your whole attention. This is how to live a life of revival and this is how to keep the flame burning… Oh, how He LOVES us!

Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for praying! I value each and every one of you and you are so important to me. Please let me know if you have any prayer requests :)

Love Serena

Ways to Give: (please let me know if you would like to become a monthly partner)
Prayer! - Pray for more of Jesus! Supernatural health, Protection! Leading to more of His treasures :) Team Unity. Please pray for finance to come in for the month of November.

Paypal: Go to and click on “Personal”, “Send money internationally”. Fill out all your details. My email address registered with paypal is

Direct Deposit: email me for bank details

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Iris Latin America Blog

Remember to keep looking up the official Iris Latin America blog at - more photos there and blogs from other team members!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oaxaca, Mexico

Nochixtzlan, Oaxaca, October 12th-14th, 2011 - will add photos eventually...
This is a longish one so I’ll put it in bullet points for those who have less time to read!
-       The team split into two, my team stayed at a church with 24/7 prayer, and noticed the amazing sense of peace over the whole property
-       Saw the sights of Oaxaca City – Hot chocolate!!!
-       Visited a heavily persecuted church in mountain village. Woman healed of blindness! Led church service, Holy Spirit poured out in tender healing! Hearts restored J
-       Loved on a woman who is paralysed all down her left side. Jesus…
-       Our translator was healed of partial deafness! Joy poured out!!
Wednesday, 12th Oct we left the beach at Chachalacas, Veracruz where we had been resting as a team. We left in our convoy of 2 RVs (“Open Heaven” and “New Wine”), 2 4x4s (“Overflow” and “Shekinah”) each pulling a camper (“Shalom” and “Glory”) and a station wagon (“Counsel and Might”).
Oaxaca was the goal, we got there in 9 hours where we slept overnight in the home of the pastors there. In the morning we split up according to what we felt the Lord was saying to us individually. 7 of us left the larger team and went to the town of  Nochixtzlan, Oaxaca, about an hour away.
This town has been my favourite part of this Latin American journey so far! We arrived to find out we were staying in the church grounds, which also had a school and they were building a missions base there. They have 24/7 prayer there where they take different shifts of about 2 or 3 people at a time and pray throughout the day and night! We had noticed that as soon as we entered the gates in our vehicles we felt a significant atmosphere shift to peace. 24/7 prayer had to be the reason why! We popped up our camper, “Shalom” for the girls and the boys were given a room to sleep in with a bed and couch… so happy for them, as mostly they have been sleeping in their cars or tents. It was freezing cold there after having been hot at the beach. We layered up and went to visit a friend of Maria’s (team leader, from Mexico originally). We went there to pray over the family and as we visited we were fed a 3 course meal! It turns out they own a catering business. We were so happy to eat a real 3 course meal, and it was healthy good food as well! We prayed over the 2 Grandparents, their children and their 2 grandsons. Speaking prophetic words over them we later found out that they were spot on and exactly what they had been going through. We were so blessed to be able to visit and pour out in the supernatural as well as get fed in the natural! Maria’s friend then took us to see some of the sights of Oaxaca City – we big churches, beautiful architecture, we found ourselves in the middle of some kind of parade (“Arriba!), we had hot chocolate from Mayan times and I was able to finally buy a phone for Central America.
Thursday, we all piled into Overflow and drove up the steep mountains to a little community about an hour away. We visited the church there – 5 families who have come to know Jesus over the last 10 years. They have experienced a lot of persecution from their community. They were kicked out and had to travel to appeal to the government so they would be allowed back to their homes. They are still persecuted and we could not go door to door as we normally do. A couple of years ago some Canadians visited and had to leave the town in a hurry. We still had an amazing time, praying for the families there and leading a church service that night. Before we even headed down to the church, we were at a pastors house and prayed for one of their mother’s who was blind in one eye. We prayed over her, asking Jesus to come do what He loves to do and declaring her healing. We then tested it out - Maria asked her how many fingers she was holding up, “two, five”, yes Jesus! Then one of the boys had her following his finger with her eye, and finally Maria asked her to name the colours on her top. Thank you Jesus for pouring out your healing power!
That night Maria, Taylor and I led worship – we translated a couple of songs into Spanish, and went for it… Personally I felt like it was hard lead the people into the presence of God. It felt hard and different I guess because it was a different culture. Also the keyboard didn’t have a pedal… if you play keys you’ll understand! But it turned out awesome. While we were preparing, one of the guys encouraged me to just go with the Holy Spirit and leave the Spanish if I felt let to, and just sing whatever He led me to in English. So we were there trying to break through in worship in Spanish, and we kind of came to a standstill… Maria confirmed to me to just sing whatever in English. So I started to sing the chorus of “I Just Want You” (Planetshakers). We ended up translating it on the spot to Spanish and the Holy Spirit came in greater presence and power. We ditched the original plan of “worshipping for ½ hour” and Maria sharing her testimony, and just kept worshipping instead. His sweet presence was there so thick and so sweet that we just could not stop worshipping. Maria called forth everyone who was sick to be prayed for. One of the significant testimonies out of that time was a young couple with a baby whose marriage was restored, forgiveness was released and they wept and hugged each other as the Lord did his work in their hearts of reconciliation. Breck (team member) did an awesome job of driving us home in the darkness down the mountain trails, following only the GPS’s blue line of the way we had come previously. It’s quite funny because a lot of the time, the roads we are on are just not even on the GPS – it just says the direction we are travelling and shows the terrain!
Friday, we had a sleep in, then met up with a local missionary (Marie) to visit some of her people. First we visited the mother of one of Maria’s friends, where we prayed over the mother, her husband, the grandmother (great –grandmother age) and another of the mother’s friends. The friend and the grandmother both gave their lives to Jesus!
Marie took us to another mountain village, where we went house to house and prayed for people. Some of them were believers already, others were not. We prayed for many people, including a woman who had had a stroke and was paralysed the whole of her left side. Her left arm and hand was curled up and she could not talk, however was able to understand us. We bent down and greeted her one by one – as I took her hand, she lifted mine up and kissed it. I think she thought I was Mexican. Myself and a couple of the other women knelt by her bed and loved on her. I tried to ignore the smell and the bits of dried up skin all over the bed. As I looked into her eyes and stroked her hair I could feel Jesus’ intense love for his daughter. We found out that the people around her all thought it was God’s judgement on her that she was sick. This mindset mainly comes from the particular religion that prevails around Mexico. They had also been to the witchdoctor in the past in regards to her healing. We spent a bit of time with her and her husband, just loving on her… I know Jesus would have done something in her heart, and pray that she would know complete healing in Jesus’ name! Most of all, that she and her husband would know such a deeper intimacy with Him than they ever have before. It makes me think of the elderly men and women in our own hometowns and cities in the west. Who takes the time to go visit them? In these villages out here and even in Africa, I have seen the sick and elderly stay in their homes while relatives look after them. In the west, they go into nursing homes… While some do get visits by family on a regular basis, many do not. What does love look like to them? How can we love on them? You don’t have to be extra specially talented or amazing to go and love on someone :) Listen to their stories. Share with them, love on them.
We were running at least an hour late to get back to the church, however had to stop one last time to pray over the family at the place we had eaten lunch. We also prayed over our translator who had been translating for us from Spanish to Mixtteco. He has a strong prophetic anointing and is going to see the fire of God spread all over his village and the villages around. He mentioned to us that he couldn’t hear properly in one of his ears. We didn’t know that! So we prayed and Jesus healed his ear! We asked him if anything was different, he stopped, checked, and a look of absolute amazement spread over his face! He said, “It’s normal!” and burst into tears, grabbing each of us one by one into a fierce hug. He then grabbed his wife who was also in tears, and they laughed and wept joyfully in celebration of what Jesus did for them!
We then drove back to the church, dropping Marie (missionary) off on the way so she could take a bus back and catch a bible college class. She has been there for 10 years and is so faithful – having just seen real breakthrough and release in the last couple of years. I want to encourage any of you who have been ploughing for years, to keep ploughing, continue to make JESUS and INTIMACY with HIM your first and primary goal and time taker… Listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will lead and guide you, obey what He says and you will see Him pour out!
Lots of love and hugs!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Update from Mexico!

Hola Amigos!

My time in Mexico so far has been great :) Ministering mainly in and around the town of Actopan, I have seen Jesus at work in the hearts and lives of the people here, setting them free and transferring them from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.

Our Team is currently taking a few rest days here on the coast where we can see the lights of Veracruz City just down the shoreline. The drug cartels have been taking over the city and apparently it is now one of the most dangerous places in Mexico. There are a lot of people getting killed and bodies dumped in the streets. It is so peaceful here and hard to imagine that just ½ hr to 45 mins away there is such strife. We release the peace of Heaven to Veracruz in Jesus’ Name!

Camped out at the beach for some REST time! As Mama Heidi says, "When you're tired, SIT DOWN!"

A gem found at the home of one of the couples who hosted us. It was found there the day we were originally meant to arrive!

October 2-4th, 2011 // Mexico City and beyond
I arrived at the airport on Sunday where Christian and Rowan picked me up. We headed to the RV park where a few of the team were staying, and the rest joined us later from Mexico City where they had been ministering in the dumps for a few days. It was so great to see Jesse, Tanya and Zoe again who I had travelled with earlier this year in Asia. Also Christian and Katherine who were part of the Iris Thailand team, and Ted, Caitlin, Melissa and Liz who were from my school in Mozambique. Altogether we are a team of 21 Iris Alumni plus baby Zoe, from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, England, South Africa and Australia.

Monday, we packed up the campers and set out for Actopan. After a few run‐ins with the police, we decided to stop behind a gas station for the night, worship and soak for a bit and start again in the morning. That time was so needed and it was so great to take communion together and hear everyone’s hearts on their time so far. We drove for another 8 hours the next day, travelling through beautiful mountains and at one point through thick fog for a good stretch of road. We passed two snow‐capped mountains, one which was smoking as it is an active volcano.

October 4th-7th, 2011 // Actopan, Mexico
We stayed at one family’s home, parking the campers in their driveway and the motor homes on the road. The believers here were very hospitable, feeding us a great range of Mexican cuisine and letting us all use their (cold) shower!

We visited two different villages the first day, splitting into teams to cover the whole area going house to house, talking with and praying for the people and inviting them to a “program especial” later in the day. The second village was a village where they said there were “African” people, so we were quite excited, as we had all done school in Mozambique and missed Africans! We got there and could tell some had some African blood in them, being darker skinned and some definitely had African facial features and tight curly hair.

Jesus was lifted high in those villages as individuals burnt their witchcraft, were healed and set free and gave themselves to the only One who can ever fulfil and satisfy their hearts. One team member reported to us later of praying for one blind man and not seeing him healed. He walked away frustrated and determined to contend to see the Lord’s healing break through. So he found another man who had one blind eye and one seeing eye. He prayed for him and prayed again and prayed again… and watched as the man’s eye went from white to brown! Praise Jesus! He then went and found another man with the same situation: one blind eye. He and the Mexican pastor who was with him watched as under their hands this man’s eye went brown as well!! This pastor was encouraged (as equally was our team member!) to continue praying and believing for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth!

We prayed for many during the services later and the Holy Spirit touched them powerfully, laying them out on the ground and encountering them. At one point there was an altar call where the people came up for healing, on the right of the speaker and the others came up for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, on the left. There was one lady in an orange dress who came up to support her friend who seemed to be having trouble walking. I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to pray for her, instead of the friend. So I laid one hand on her shoulder and started praying. As I prayed I felt specifically to release an encounter for her with Daddy God, that she would have a revelation of His heart for her and how special she was to him… I felt that she needed deep heart healing, as opposed to physical healing. As I prayed, tears started to run down her face and the Lord touched her beautifully. I am finding that often the Lord asks me to pray for a long time and stay with someone, soaking them in His love and presence rather than going from person to person. As I obey he often does a deep work in their hearts. He started training me in this during my time at IHOP and now I am seeing it was to prepare me for Latin America as well!

The same happened the next night as we served in a church service run in the actual town of Actopan. There were a few older ladies there who I had the privilege of loving on… It’s amazing how much can be communicated even with just “pocito pocito espanol!” (very little Spanish). There seemed to be a few mothers here whose children went off either to Guatamela or the States and they have not heard from them for years. The Holy Spirit is the best comforter. We prayed that their children would encounter the Lord wherever they are and that they would in turn come back into contact with their parents. God is in the business of turning the hearts of the Fathers to their children and the children to their fathers.

That night quite a few of the team were tired and were free to leave back to the campers as they felt to.
However I stayed to the end and as I did the presence of God just came thicker and thicker, and we saw Him do more and more in the hearts of the many teenagers and adults there. There was one teenage boy who was resistant to responding to the message. He was on drugs and alcohol, and as one of the team guys went over to pray for him he started to throw up slime as demons left him. Thank you JESUS for this boy’s freedom! Towards the end of the service, we laid hands on and prayed for the pastors and leaders of the church. They also blessed and prayed over us.

More and MORE of Jesus for you! I pray that the heavens open with everything you need today – even what you don’t realise that you need! Lord do whatever you want in their lives today!
Lots of love and hugs, Serena xo

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Texas - 1 Week

2 weeks ago I was excited about heading to Tennessee for the Iris Ministries/Mercy 29 conference in Nashville. This was partly to launch the new Iris Base there. Heidi Baker would be there, as well as David Hogan.  I would get to stay with my friend Rachael from school in Mozambique, and meet up with Karina (Brazil, from Moz school) too, as well as other friends and Iris family. However sitting in the prayer room one night God spoke to me clearly – He didn’t want me to go to Nashville. He wanted me to go to Mexico via TEXAS instead!
So after a few days of wrestling back and forth and going – “is this really you, God?” I found a friend in the internship at IHOP who was driving down to Texas straight after graduation. God worked it out that I got to stay with 2 amazing families.
Bastrop, TX //  24-26 September
Bastrop is a small town kind of like Beaudesert where I spent a few growing up years. To me the atmosphere felt wet – dry and parched yet it felt like the storm clouds were gathering and ready to break – Lord bring in the harvest in Bastrop! I could feel the hunger in the land both in the physical – they’ve been in drought for a long time and recently had devastating bushfires – and in the spiritual. There is a hunger for the rain of Heaven!  I got to visit a church in Austin who are hungering for the Kingdom of heaven to break in on earth.
I stayed with fellow Harvest School graduate Cherie, who introduced me to her whole family: 3 brothers, 3 sisters, a brother in law, 2 nephews and a niece and her parents! My stay in Bastrop was again an absolute gift – just like Pemba. I felt embraced by this family and was totally blessed by the presence of Jesus in and around them. One day hopefully I’ll get to revisit!

Houston, TX and SPHOP // 27 September - 1 October
I was blessed to stay with fellow intern Abby and her parents (and cats!). While there I had the chance to visit Solomon's Portico House of Prayer. This House of Prayer was started by Abby and her friends last year. They first visited IHOP in Kansas City for a few months, just spending time in the prayer room and attending a few classes. They then moved back down to Houston and were given a building to use by the local Baptist church as a place to lift up the name of Jesus and intercede for the city. They have since been training up teams to serve there and have been running sets a few times a week. 

The presence of God is powerful in this House and it is definitely something special to see a group of friends who have grown up together, get to do now do ministry together. Those of you who have dreams from God to step out in something new – I just want to encourage you to take steps to see it happen! And those of you who have had a dream to start Houses of Prayer in your towns or cities – again I encourage you to do it! Start even by having people over in your lounge room to worship and pray. This is where it starts. Fan the flame, stir up the gift, put your burning log next to some others and lets see our hometowns changed by the fire that results! Human trafficking (for an example, but seriously) cannot be stopped by action alone. Prayer is the power behind the action. It is what will enable the action to happen! It is what will enable the action to be effective. Prayer is the power behind revival. Prayer and INTIMACY with JESUS is what will keep us faithful to the end.