Thailand 2010


Dates:  June 30 - July 15
Ministry Partners:  Garden of Hope (, Zoe International (
Ministry Focus:  Outreach to women and children; Culinary and Hospitality training

Grace’s team will work alongside Zoe International, a christian orphanage ministry focusing on at-risk children, and the Garden of Hope, which reaches out to women and children who are trapped in human trafficking and prostitution with little hope of escaping the lifestyle. 

Updated Friday, July 16
With the safe return last night of our Thailand team, our ministry in Chiang Mai comes to a close.  Thank you for praying for our team, and for continuing to pray for our partners who are reaching out to women and children in that needy country.

Be sure to mark September 19 on your calendar, the date of our Summer Missions Celebration (6:00pm in the Worship Center), where you will be able to hear an overview of all of our summer ministries, and first-hand reports from the Thailand team.

Updated Thursday, July 15
Monisha writes:
Well, our last night in Thailand was full of emotion and heart and sorrow and happiness and quiet contemplation and childrens' laughter (and screaming) echoing all throughout the Garden of Hope Drop-In Center in the red-light district of Chiang Mai.   

The children filtered in slowly but it seemed that there weren't as many kids today as there had been in the last couple of times we were together.  Nevertheless, there they were!  We had another 1/2 hour of improvisation - today we sang songs and some of us reenacted the Three Little Pigs.  They loved it!  After dinner, we again broke up into small groups and went out in ministry to the community.  

The evening ended with a wonderful time of de-briefing with Rob and Judy Griffieon, the missionaries who run the Garden of Hope.  We shared highlights, lowlights, things we learned, and ended with Ed praying for their team and Rob praying for ours.  Each leader knows that this fight that lies ahead is one that will continue to be fought for the days and months and years to come.   

Our time in Chiang Mai has been wonderful and enlightening, heart-wrenching and heartwarming, thrilling and saddening, uplifting and spirit crushing!  We learned so much and were reminded of so much.  The simplicity of life here is just awe-inspiring.  The children give wholeheartedly though they have nothing, those in the slums give completely although they live in stark poverty, the Zoe and GOH staff leaders and members give willingly even those days that difficult decisions have to be made and treacherous pathways have to be travelled all for the children...all for HIM.    It is a sad time for our team to come now to the end of months of planning and meeting and getting ready and revamping schedules and agendas.  It has culminated in these two weeks of service to the missionaries, to the children, to God.  Memorable? Absolutely!  Life changing? Without a doubt.   

Thank you to our team leader, Ed Stimson!! His unending grace, immense patience and immovable strength and his awe-inspiring ability to keep 12 women (and one man) focused and uplifted was what kept us motivated day to day, week through week.  To our team members who took on this challenge and went out there and did what God has asked of each of us.  To our supporters whose prayers could be felt through some of the darker hours - when we really needed it.  To our wonderful families and loved ones who supported us through this journey.    Thank God for His mercies, His strength, His protection, His purpose, His plan.  May His will be done!

Signing off, for the last time, on behalf of the Grace Baptist Church 2010 Thailand summer missions team, Good night and God Bless!  

Updated Wednesday, July 14
Monisha writes:
Yesterday, the fourteen of us split up into four groups to do some prayerwalking.  We went walking through different parts of the city and if we felt led by the Holy Spirit, we would stop and pray.   One of the things we talked about was how we need to pray for the hearts of the Thai men.  To pray that their hearts may be changed - that they would value their women more than just as sources of income or sexual objects.  Though we were unaware of any ministry out here that targets this demographic in particular, we are praying that they do exist and if not, that there would be one that is started.  

Chiang Mai truly is a city that is filled with facades.  Bars named "Butterfly Bar", "Happy Bar", etc. mask the atrocities that take place behind those walls (and sadly, sometimes, out in the open). Some of the women who greet us with a smiling "Sawadee Ka" are victims of prostitution and lead just horrible lives. Then, there are the children. Those smiling faces that greet us every night- those same smiling faces that have known such horror. Horror that, by the Grace of God, we will never know.  If we didn't know their backstory or know that each has experienced some type of abuse, you would never be able to tell.  Those smiles are truly a facade that hide so much pain!

We finished prayer-walking and then grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading to the Drop-In Center for the evening.  Our team would split up once again for the evening. Some would help the cook, Pee Bua prepare the evening meal for the children, some would help with the different lessons being taught, some went to a massage parlor where Judy was teaching the workers how to speak English, and some went on an evening prayer-walk.

Before we left, however, our team had a 1/2 hour slot to use as we wanted to entertain the kids.  The word improvisation seems to delight some while absolutely terrifying others! However, we did it....we sang "If You're Happy and You Know It", acted out the story of Noah's ark among other things.  It's surprising how much you can fit into a 1/2 hour.  The kids just loved it and we loved being completely silly!!!  

As I write this morning (yes, finally have time to write at a reasonable hour), there is a cool breeze that carries in the smell of rain and freshly washed earth.  To me, it is like God washing away the sins of the city - slowly but surely, through our work for Him, in His time, may this be a sign of things to come- an actuality of the cleansing of Chiang Mai - in more ways than one.

Updated Tuesday, July 12
Helena writes:

This year's trip has been one of extreme highs and very low, low's! Today was a mixture of both. This morning we broke up into four different teams and walked around different areas of the city, praying and talking to those we came into contact with. This was one of the highs. It was very cool to walk & pray for this city.

After lunch, several of us went to the slums to prayer walk. How humbling it was to walk through these alleys and ask people if we could pray for them! Most said yes and we would take off our shoes & enter their homes, ask them how we could pray for them and then pray. After praying at one house, we were given the whole story of the family &, although I can't share it here, it broke my heart!!! The unspeakable things that one person can do to another!!!

That was only the beginning of my heart break! Many of you may remember my story of the young lady who I met last year & had many "conversations" with.  I wondered if she would be "working" the massage tables with her family the next time we came. Well, since we arrived, I've been keeping my eyes out for her & hadn't seen here -- until today.  She was arriving in the slum area after school. She acknowledged me, but wouldn't look me in the eyes!!  When I looked in her eyes, I saw nothing -- her eyes have a dead look to them.

After we got in the truck, the staff person told me that she no longer comes to the center, that her mom "needs" her to work with her at the massage tables. My heart is broken & I can't stop thinking about her (or the other child). Romans 8:28 is one of my "go to" verses, but I'm having a hard time with that right now. This is the very real side of ministry -- not the fun stuff I've been sharing so far. Of course, it is all real -- it is just that right now this is what is heavy on my heart and mind. I will not soon forget the dead look in this young girl's eyes and I ask that you pray for her. I can't reveal her name here but God knows who she is. Thanks!

Updated Monday, July 12
Monisha writes:
After a wonderful night’s rest, we are going to church this morning.  This church – Abundant Grace Church meets in one of the ball rooms at the hotel Shangri-La.  It is an aptly named hotel - beautiful grounds, dark woven furniture, polished floors, ornate decorations, impeccable service. As we climbed out of our Song Tao (Thai transportation), we went into the hotel and were met by some of the kids from Zoe and some of the kids from the Drop-In Center.  That was a really neat experience.  To see these children not just as poor kids from the slum.  Yes, they are that and there is no denying it.  But, we have been blessed to know these children on a deeper level.  Some of them have shared with us their dreams, their likes and dislikes, what they are learning in school, what they do on a typical weekend.   

Watching them yesterday at the carnival, our hearts broke as we saw the complete poverty that surrounds them.  We would be remiss in thinking that they allowed their circumstances to steal their joy. Not a chance!  Each of them was neatly dressed – in their Sunday best.  I kept thinking…do we at Grace dress in OUR Sunday best? Each was proud of who they are, happy to be there, happy that we were there, ready to worship completely!  

After church, we retired to our rooms and rested until we met up again to go to the Night Bazaar.  The bazaar is in a lot surrounded by twenty-foot high walls and a huge gate.  These are remnants of the original wall surrounding Chiang Mai.  There is also a moat that surrounds the “old” city.  This is where we find what seems like an unending stream of foot traffic and vendors as far as the eye could see.  This place is just unbelievable and is a sight to behold.  Throngs of people milling about, countless vendors selling clothes, jewelry, wall hangings, mango wood bowls, games, candles, shoes, etc. 

Weary from the Night Bazaar, we made our way back to the Hotel.  Then, off to our rooms for a good night’s sleep.   Good night and God Bless All!!

Updated Monday, July 12
Monisha writes:
Ladies and Gentlemen…Step Right Up!  It’s the day of The CARNIVAL!  

We thought our first order of business would be to clean up the dusty concrete lot selected for the carnival.  When we arrived, we saw a few women who lived in the area sweeping up.  They made the lot look so clean and so devoid of trash, dirt, etc.  Amazing! 

Each of us gathered supplies for our individual stations and began setting up for the day.  It was so much fun!    Slowly, some of the children started to spill out of their homes on to the lot eyes filled with wonder.  We recognized a number of them as indeed they were at the Garden of Hope Drop In Center the night before.  We continued to set up making sure that all that would happen today would be for the children!!   

We had about 150 kids at this carnival (less than what we thought).  Kids weren’t the only attendees.  Mothers, fathers, grandmothers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, dogs, cats were all milling about enjoying the day.  Thankfully the uninvited guests (i.e. mosquitoes and fleas among others) stayed uninvited!

Towards the end of the day, we handed out goodie bags to the kids who attended the carnival.  We had assembled these bags during our week with Zoe.  Those kids were so appreciative of this gesture!  A few of us were lucky enough to go into the slums to hand out the rest of the bags.  It was amazing and heart breaking and astounding that in today’s world, poverty such as this is sustained and rampant. Yet, there was a sense of peace among the residents.   

We ended the day sitting around a tented part of the lot waiting for transportation back to our hotel.  All of us were tired and hot and yet all of us had smiles on our faces …today’s carnival was the manifestation of many days of planning and praying.  Thank God!  Now, to “freshen up” and then, off to dinner.  A well-deserved break!

Updated Monday, July 12
Monisha writes (in a message sent last Thursday, but only received Sunday)
Okay, here is my final report for our time with Zoe!   We had a powerful and encouraging de-brief time with Mike and Carol, the founders of Zoe.  We LOVE this ministry!  One of their compliments to us was that they have never established trust with a team so quickly and considered them as family so completely!

After lunch, we finally got to visit the new site that was still under construction, about 40 minutes outside Chiang-Mai.  What a site - what a sight! These buildings were built according to Mike and Carole's vision and Carole's insistance that the buildings can't just be "blocks", they have to be "special" for the children who will come to live there. Special like those kids themselves - seems fitting!   This is just the beginning!! Phase I was definitely "livable" and with a targeted move-in date of July 19th.

Once we got a tour of the buildings, we went down to the grounds again about 200 - 300 yards from the buildings to plant a tree - a mango tree to be precise.  We also presented them with a plaque as from Grace.   

When we returned to the "old" site, Betsy told us that tonight's service was just a pure prayer service. When we entered the darkened room, some of the children were already praying.  All of us prayed -alone, with each other or with some of the children.   What touched us to the core was that the children and some of the staff members would come up to us and lay their hands on us and begin to pray.  They are so genuine in their prayers!  We could feel tiny hands pressed up against our backs or little hands clasping ours, some would touch our shoulders, some would just hug us and some would just weep while praying over us. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.  I think all of us started crying at this outpouring of love around 7 and didn't stop until the lights came on again at 8.   

None of us could completely take all of this in. This body of children who so selflessly asked us "What I pray for you?".  Really?  After the hell from which they were ripped from, they are asking  how they can pray for us? They suffered through some of the worst atrocities through no fault of their own and yet were completely full of joy and happiness and selfelessness. If that isn't Christ-like, I don't know what is. 

After difficult and tearful goodbyes to the children, we made it back to our hotel.  Once again, weary but happy though a little piece of us was definitley left behind with those wonderful children, those wonderful staff members, Carol, Mike, Betsy and Dave.    God bless their vision, their hard work, their tireless efforts to protect those children, to care for them so deeply.  Thank God that we got to spend some time with this amazing organization.  The time was wonderful but fleeting.   

Our work is not over yet.  We are off to the Garden of Hope today.  We will have orientation and will visit the Garden.  I'm sure the week to follow will be just as amazing and full of joy and sadness and love and hope as the one that we just finished.   Onward we go.   Have a blessed day!

Updated Friday, July 9
Helena writes:
OK -- all you wonderful prayer warriors!!!  Please be in prayer for the team tomorrow (Thai time); CA time will be from 7 pm. Friday until about midnight. We are holding a street carnival that started out to be expecting about 150 kids -- grown to over 300!!! We will be in an area of weeds, concrete and a couple of basketball hoops. We have 7 games planned, face painting and balloon animals. We will be feeding everyone a snack late morning. Then there will be a Bible lesson -- I have the privilege of teaching the Parable of the Lost Coin again.

So, please be in prayer for: 1) the weather -- we would really like overcast skies and a slight breeze! 2) the kids we come into contact with. 3) our stamina in the heat/humidity.

Thanks & I look forward to giving a GREAT report!!! Blessings!

Updated Thursday, July 8
Mary writes
Good Morning from Thailand! Just a quick update on what we have been doing so far. Thank you again for praying for us while we have been here. Our time is just flying by and we are now going into our second week.

Wow- what a week we have had so far. Ed and I have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams. This past week has been filled with joy, happiness, sweat and lots of joyful tears. The pain that these children have gone through we can’t even think about but the joy that they have for each other and also for us brings me to tears (even as I write this). The joy and love that they have for our Lord puts me to shame.

Our trip to the Hill tribe village was one that I will never forget. The faces and hands of these hard working farmers show that their life is very simple but their love for our Lord is strong. We were welcomed with open arm, hugs, and warm smiling faces. We had a great time with the children and women giving testimonies, doing crafts, and just watching the joy in their faces. Sleeping on the ground, under mosquito nets, no running water, using a squatty potty is really out of our comfort zone, and yet this is their life. I hope that I will have the heart and passion to be more like them and their love for Christ.

We were able to visit the new ZOE home.  What a wonderful blessing the children will have to heal from their hurt in that beautiful place. We prayed over and took a tour of the new facility and planted a Mango tree - next year we hope to have some Mangos!

Our last night with the ZOE staff and students was a time for prayer, worship and singing.  What a wonderful time that was. We were scattered around the room and the children came and laid hands on us and prayed for us and we prayed for them - tears flowing from everyone (again as I write this tears are in my eyes). Even though we don’t speak the same language we pray to the same wonderful God!

As we start our second week today and look forward to seeing how God will use us, we ask for direction as He guides us.  Thank you again for all your prayers and support. Grace to everyone!

Updated Tuesday, July 6
Monisha writes:
It has been a wonderful day today!  One that took many of us back to just being a kid!   Once we were done with breakfast and devotions, we piled into the awaiting vans and were whisked off to Zoe for our day of activities.  

Today, we painted banners, made wordless books, etc. that would be used at the carnival that we will be putting on for 200 slum children while we are with The Garden of Hope next week. We made banners to advertise the activities we were going to have at the carnival - face painting, bowling, balloon animals, etc.  We had such fun making the banners with paint and markers. We also made evangelistic wordless books that will be used at the carnival.  

After a delicious lunch - a traditional soup dish from Northern Thailand - we started our work with the ZMS kids.  Once we broke into groups of six - each led by two or three GBC team members. , we played a game - an ice breaker- that required each of us to pick up a card and do or say what the card stated (i.e. whistle a happy tune or rub your tummy and your head at the same time, etc.).  Needless to say, we had a blast just doing that.   Once that was done, we spoke about building relationships with God and how if that relationship remains strong, then we can build strong, fruitful relationships with one another.  We also brought along "brag books" with pictures of kids, grandkids, moms, dads, football, golf, etc. Some of us also sang songs and prayed for one another - but all had an enriching experience that again was powerful!  The kids were very appreciative of this as they were so eager to learn and to use their English in this setting.  

It has been a wonderful day today and much of the same will be done tomorrow.  However, tomorrow, the task at hand is teaching the little ones, manners!!!   Tune in next time to read about the wonderful adventures of GBC Thailand Team, 2010  

Updated Tuesday, July 6
Monisha writes:
When we last "met", we talked about the 4:30 a.m. alarm.  No, none of us set an alarm. In fact, we all wanted to stay asleep until 6 as breakfast wasn't until 7.  The local rooster,however, had other ideas.  So, he started his serenade at 4:30 a.m. and continued through 6 or even through breakfast.  We did our best to remain "cheerful" at that early hour.   

8:00 a.m., service began.  However, the men, women and youth are in separate rooms for their prayer/sermon before all reentering the main church to worship as a body of one.  Some of us contributed stories or testimonies, songs or words of encouragement to the women, the men, the youth or even in the main church. Again, prayer in unison was present and as always just awe inspiring! Once this hour was over, we all moved up to the main church.  

Once the church service began, we had some spririt-filled worship time and then the children were dismissed for Sunday school.  Some of us went with the kids to set up a VBS-style worship time with them.  There were skits, crafts, and story time.  Those children were elated!  Some of us stayed in the main sanctuary and gave our testimony or words of encouragement!     GBC presented the pastor of this church with a "love offering".  Later on we found out that the Youth group at this church is trying to facilitate a youth conference where people would be coming in from far reaching places (i.e. youth would be coming down from the hills) to attend.  However, this youth group mentioned that they were short on funds.  We don't know that the money that was presented would go specifically for THAT purpose, but, then again, maybe God WILL allow it to be used for just that purpose!  

Our time in the village was just exquisite.  A once-in-a-lifetime experience. We have experienced Zoe's committment to family and the structure and love and compassion it shows all who are at Zoe or those who visit. They take the time to care for the children and for the staff.  They care for their missionaries, whether short term or long term. They are constantly looking out for their family.  It was really heartwarming to see the ZMS students care for the younger children.  It wasn't at all a foreign experience to see a litte one on the hip of an older student or a young one being loved.  It is this way at the village as well. During service at the church or while we were ministering to the smaller groups of women or men, it is amazing to see how each generation cares for the next.  How the older children care for the younger ones - protecting them, loving them, playing with them, correcting them. 

It truly does take a village!   Good night and God bless!

Updated Tuesday, July 6
Monisha writes:
On Saturday, July 3, our team made a trip to visit the "Karen" tribe in the hills of Chiang Mai. Words like "Awestruck", "powerful", "humbling" were used to describe our visit.  During our time there, we were able to participate in a church service, pray together, give our testimonies, have some amazing fellowship with the locals (as much as you can when language is not a common factor), and experienced "God's country" (the scenery driving up through the mountains was just awe inspiring).   

We left Zoe mid-afternoon on July 3 after we spent the morning with the children making crafts such as dragon flies out of pipe-cleaners and colored beads, jewel boxes, painting and racing little wooden cars, etc.  I think the GBC team had more fun being able to become child-like than the kids had with the crafts.  Actually, the kids were so appreciative of the crafts and they had such a blast...just having fun!  

The GBC team, some of the ZMS (Zoe Mission Students) and some members of the Zoe staff (including Carol) climbed into one of the vans and we caravaned up to the village of the Karen (pronounced "KI-Rin) people.  We were captured by the scenery of the wood carvings up and down the street, the lush scenery, the elephants that sauntered through the streets(yes, you read that correctly),pigs, chickens, etc.  

Once we got up to the village, we pulled into the church parking lot where we unloaded ourselves as well as our luggage.  It was breathtaking! There were whisps of clouds that gently hugged the tops of the dark mountain tops.  All around us were lush green trees, beautiful flowers and smiling faces to greet us. The air was just so clean and I think all of us just took in lung-fulls of air (foreign to our bodies, I'm sure). We had lunch and then rested for a couple of hours before service.   

Service began at eight as the villagers work until it gets dark.  Once it DID get dark, we all went to church and began to greet guests in their native "hello" - "Tabloo".  The church soon began to fill up (though not to capacity - maybe a hundred members of the congregation) with moms with their babies strapped to their backs, grandmothers, grandfathers, fathers and mothers.....atleast three or four generations. We had quite a few attendees that evening.  The women sat on the left side of church and the men on the right.   After a long, hard day of back breaking work, they were there ready to worship.  Worn faces, cracked feet and hardened skin didn't keep them from giving their best to God!    After a lively worship time and a few speakers, our team was introduced and we sang out team song "More Than Anything".  Then, we dispersed ourselves amongst the congregation.  More speakers and then the sermon.  All in Thai or the tribal language.  Towards the end of the service, we encircled the tribespeople and prayed for them. Then, they encircled us and prayed.  We all prayed at the same time - some in sober tones, some shouting out their prayers to God, but ALL in UNISON.   The prayers were like thunder inside the church and the hum of all the voices truly could be felt penetrating your flesh and bones - right to the core!  A powerful experience!!!  

Once we finished church service, we were given the "go ahead" to get to bed.  We all went to bed which were air mattresses under canopes of mosquito nets. Once we settled in, it was off to least until our alarm went 4:30 a.m....  

Stay tuned for more from the village in our next report....

Updated Sunday, July 4
Helena writes:
In the short time we've been here, we have helped at Zoe Int'l by packing 800 gift bags, conducted elective classes where the kids at Zoe made 4 different crafts, traveled to a village four hours away up in the hills, worshipped w/about 75 of the villagers in a special praise/prayer meeting, spent the night sleeping on a cement floor covered by mosquito nets, assisted in the children's ministry, women's ministry, youth ministry, and men's ministry.

Far and away, for me, the church services today have been the most impactful so far. The church services in this village last 4 hours -- and everyone stays for all that time!!! We started the morning about 5 a.m. when the resident rooster woke us up. The first service wasn't until 8 a.m. We were scheduled to assist in the men's ministry and the women's ministry. I didn't have any assigned duties so was sitting in the back of the women's class. One of the Zoe Ministry students poked her head in the room and asked where our team was that was to help with the youth meeting. We didn't have one -- so I grabbed two other ladies and we went over to the youth meeting. It was so AMAZING to sit and listen to these young people praise God thru music! Their faces said it all, even though I do not speak Thai! I was then asked to share my testimony with these kids. What a privilege that was for me!!!

During the main worship service (which is 2 hours long), the kids are dismissed to their own class (which is sorta like a children's church). We had 70 kids, ages 3-12 or so. What fun it was to teach the Bible lesson on the Parable of the Lost Coin. The kids then did 3 different crafts. Amazingly, they all turned out pretty well! I watched one little girl clutch her Wordless Book craft to her chest as if it were made of precious gold -- she wouldn't let go of it! I also became quite attached to a little girl who has Down's Syndrome. She is about 9 years old and does attend school, but she does not speak. She is absolutely precious!

Our team has three more days serving with Zoe, then we will switch gears and start service with the Garden of Hope. Please be praying for us as we are already tired and the humidity is CRAZY. The other night I lay away & watched a pretty spectacular electrical storm!

Thank you all for your prayers!

Updated Friday, July 2
Monisha writes:
We arrived in Thailand safely though a little tired - but not too bad especially after over 24 hours worth of travel.  Any fatigue that we may have had was washed away by the amazing welcome we were given by Zoe.  Once we cleared customs, we were met by about 20 students and some of the Zoe staff. They came up to us to welcome us, to help us with luggage and to thank us for coming here.  As we completed our meeting everyone slowly made our way to the vans outside where we were greeted with loud cheers, clapping and a beautiful sign that they had made to welcome us.  As you can guess, we were all just absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from all of them.  Completely appreciated but so unexpected! 

At our hotel, the beautiful Zoe staff took our luggage up to our room so that when we were finished with our meeting with Carol and some of her staff, we just had to go into our rooms where everything was already set up for us.  Amazing!  What was even more heart-warming was that some of the kids at Zoe made up "goodie bags" for US!  Along with the goodie bags were hand-made cards by the little ones with loving messages inside.  On the back of the bag was a picture of the children waving!  There wasn't a "dry eye in the house"!!  

Day 2:   After breakfast, we met Carole and some of her staff at the hotel conference room to receive an orientation - to  learn more about Zoe, and about Carole and Mike's amazing vision.  Once we were done with the orientation, we piled back into the Zoe vans and made our way to Zoe's facility for a tour - a facility that they will occupy for only two more weeks at which time they move into their brand new facility!! 

Once we finished lunch, we got down to business - making 800 goodie bags.  Yup, you read that right! We made the 800 bags to take with us to the village - or so we thought.  Carole informed us that 300 of those bags were earmarked for the carnival we're planning at the Garden at Hope next week.  Here we were thinking we were helping Zoe out with what they needed to accomplish and they in turn ended up helping us out with our task at hand.  Amazing.   

After dinner we went back to Zoe for a worship service.  This service was overwhelming in every sense of the word!!!!  When we walked into the large warehouse that doubled as the service area, we were met with cheers, screams, clapping.  We stood up in front of everyone and before we knew it, children and staff members descended on us.  They hugged us, they loved us, they were showing us Christ's love.  Not one of us was prepared for that kind of "hello".  We were treated to some beautiful "words of encouragement" by some of the children at Zoe as well as some amazing singing by the kids!  The service ended with the Grace team members asked to stand in the middle of the room while all the kids and staff surrounded us and prayed, with Mike leading the prayer time.  They prayed so fervently over us by so many of the little ones praying so hard for our safety and for our journey.  Ed said it best when he stated that the evening's worship was "Overwhelming".  It seems like this is the only word that accurately fits all that we have been exposed far.  Tune in in about a day or two (as we head off to the village tomorrow and won't be back until Sunday evening) to find out the rest of the story...  

Good night and God Bless!   All of us here in Thailand :)

Updated Thursday, July 1
Team Thailand arrived safe and sound in Chiang-Mai, to the tear-provoking sight of children from the Zoe orphanage holding up welcome signs in the terminal.  The team is settling in and recuperating from 19 hours in the air, and preparing to serve this week at the orphanage.  Pray for strength, health, and Kingdom impact!