The Land of Smiles

~~We have officially arrived, and are beginning to get acclimated, to our new home in Chiang Mai, Thailand! This place is fascinating and far different from our American lifestyle. After a 12 hour day in the Atlanta Airport, an 8 hour flight to Amsterdam, a five hour layover, a 12 hour flight to Bangkok and an 11 hour drive to Chiang Mai, we are FINALLY home. I love it!!

 Our home is called Zion Hostel at Zion café, and it's truly a light in the darkest of places. Located on a corner right down the street from the Red Light District, Zion Café is a fortress for so many women. Not only is it a lighthouse, but it's a delicious coffee shop. A little slice of home right beneath our feet!

 Each morning we wake up and walk down a few flights of stairs for breakfast…. On our first morning here we had banana bread, watermelon, pineapple, eggs and a fruit smoothie…. Needless to say, we feel like royalty. Our meals have been a nice balance between American comfort and Thai cuisine, and it's heavenly.

 The last few days have been dedicated to orientation, so we have been learning from our incredible contact Emmi and her staff about Thai culture and the ministries that she runs. I am so thankful that I get to learn from her. She is absolutely revolutionizing this city for Jesus, and I am so pumped to be a part of the jigsaw puzzle at Zion.

 My team is so incredible. I laughed while telling my parents that I'm with 19 other Kirbys, which is true and false at the same time. This is a wide variety of personality types and humor represented in our group, but each one of us is a warrior for Jesus. We aren't afraid to hit the front lines of the war. We are passionate about seeing freedom in our own lives as well as the lives of the people we are about to meet in this city, and I am so encouraged by their faithfulness to complete the work the Lord has started in each of them. I've known them for about 7 days and they're already some of my very best friends. I am thrilled to see where the Lord leads us together.

 Today we split up into groups of five and explored Chiang Mai by hitting the streets for a scavenger hunt. We were given a map and list of places to find and instructions for what to do at each place…. three hours into it, our feet were hurting, our clothes were soaked in sweat and we were thanking Jesus for GPS.

 Although this has already been the most encouraging time with my teammates, we have definitely felt the spiritual warfare around us. We are each very aware of what the enemy thinks he's doing in this city, and we are determined to shut him down. So this is my call to all my prayer warriors at home: There are six girls on our team who have been battling autoimmune diseases throughout their lifetime and the Holy spirit has put the desire for healing in my heart for each girl. Last night we had a big prayer meeting and prayed over each girl. There was a major battle taking place in that room and disbelief played a major part in it. The truth is that Jesus came to give us life and to give it to us abundantly. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Lord wants for us to be sick. He bore our diseases on the cross, and by His stripes we are healed. That is the promise, and there is victory in that. We are more than conquerors in Jesus, and we are co-heirs with Christ. So when we ask for anything in his name, He is there to give it to us. We believe in the faithfulness of Jesus, and we believe that His spirit remains the same in me as it was in the disciples at Pentecost. In order to be as effective as possible for the Kingdom of Heaven in Thailand, we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us.

 I need you guys to stand by us in believing that the Lord has so much to do in Thailand, and it begins in us. He cares about our sicknesses, and He cares about the sweet girls around the corner. I am standing on His promises, and I am expectant to see Him move in this place. He delivers us from the traps of the enemy.

 Next week we will begin ministry, and each day may look slightly different. Some days we will be teaching English and building relationships with college students at a near by University. Some days we will be doing prayer walks throughout the Red Light District before a group of us head out there that night. Some days we will be traveling to near by slums and villages and playing with the little ones: playing soccer, painting nails, laughing…. Some days we will get to chat with the Monks! I am super pumped about that one.

 I'll be sure to keep everyone updated each week – please be praying for revival in us and in Chiang Mai… It's about to get wild up in here.

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