do you know, that you know?

I am still trying to wrap my mind around everything that I experienced in Ukraine. Trying to find words adequate enough to express the way God spoke to my heart, and showed me his love for people groups across the world. God is good, and his love endures…forever. But today I feel lead to share something else with you, in response to everything that has been going on in this country and around the world.

Coming home, after being truly unplugged from the news, social media and everything for 2 weeks I have seen that it is clear that we find ourselves living in dangerous times. We see mass disaster, and now have to grieve with the losses from the Las Vegas shooting. We are paralyzed by fear not knowing if this could happen to us.

And here is the truth. Anything could happen to anyone of us. At any given moment. We are not even promised or guaranteed that we will be here tomorrow, the next day or next year. And I am not saying this to create fear, I am simply asking you this, do you know that you know that you know that if something terrible happened to you today, where you would spend eternity? Do you know right now where you are going? I pray that God our father would even use this situation to draw people closer to him, to trust him, and to know that their eternity is promised when we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Christ died and rose again for us to enter into an eternal life with him, when we say yes and invite him into our hearts.

I want to challenge you to live boldly and decide today that I will not live in fear. Do you know that 90% of people never step into God’s will for their lives, because they live a life rooted in fear.

“For God has NOT given you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7

I can admit that there was a time in my life where I feared being alone, I was so fearful that something would happen to me and no one would be around to save or help me. As you can imagine moving to Africa, alone seemed scary for a girl who feared being alone. Yet God worked within my heart and showed me how to trust him, so I would not live in fear, but step into his will for my life, one that I could have missed out on, had I lived with fear inside my heart. As I grew to understand the power of God and how he PROMISES to protect the ones who call upon his name I grew to understand how I am not growing spiritually if I allow fear to cripple myself. My mom taught me the importance that every believer should read and know Psalm 91 so we can speak his word of protection in times of trouble or danger. I challenge you to read this Psalm today and find one verse that speaks to your heart and memorize right, so if a time of trouble comes, you can speak out the word of God which is our protection.

I started to have dreams as God showed me that even when I was alone with no one around me, and once danger began to come near me I called upon the name of Jesus and was delivered, every. single time. It was through these dreams that God showed me I did not need to be afraid. And slowly as I began to read his word, and reach onto his promises as the spirit of fear left my life and God’s peace filled its place. I had grown with confiednce that if the Lord was calling me to Africa and he was the one to send me, He would protect me and I could be in peace about it. You see God’s people don’t always realize that they are fireproof until God’s will for their life is completed. Know this, and walk confidently in his protection that he will protect you until you have completed his work here on earth. I choose to live in peace knowing that even if the worst thing shall happen to me today, there is confidence that I know where I will spend all of eternity. And God wants you to know the same exact thing, right now.

I know a lot is going on in the world, it seems everywhere we look we see headlines indicating danger and predictions of even worse things that lie ahead. Don’t allow this to discourage you, open the book that promises to give you peace, to give you rest, to find a refuge in God, to seek purpose and meaning in his word which is life. Find your peace from the word of God, don’t allow these headlines to keep you in a place of fear. God doesn’t want you there.

Can I ask you this? What does worrying about a situation you have no control over add to your life? What do worry and fear add to your life, other than stress? Isn’t it better to give those fears to God and lay them down at this feet and take peace knowing that he is worth laying our fears and burdens down for?

When I was flying home from Ukraine I had a layover in Germany. I was on a long security line and God put on my heart to speak to the girl behind me. I felt him say “She’s afraid” so I turned around and decided to speak on what God had laid on my heart. We began talking, we were on the same flight back to New York and I simply asked her if she was afraid. She looked at me as if I saw right through her. She started explaining how she used to travel a lot but has grown with a recent fear of flying because the percentage that it may lead to a death. The fear she really was communicating to me was the fear of death. Which is actually the largest common fear of people. With little time left to speak to her before I walked through security I told her that she doesn’t need to fear, she could trust God and he would protect us on our flight, and we weren’t going to die. She smiled and shook her head, “yea we are going to be just fine, you are right, God will protect us.” I walked away and never saw her again, but I was praying God’s peace over her during the flight.

Please do not allow the enemy keep you in a place of fear, where you stop living your life, and you stop from stepping into the will of God because of fear of the unknown. Don’t be the person who calculates everything that could happen to you. Be the person who walks confidently in the peace God gives us! It is such a beautiful place to be. Start your morning with a simple prayer of asking God to give you peace, to protect you and your family and to keep you from any plans or schemes of the enemy, ask him to send his angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways, and he will do it!

You have not, because you ask not! Don’t miss out on the amazing promises God has for those who love him and dwell under the shadow of his wing, don’t be afraid, don’t worry about tomorrow, when God has given you today! We were given ONE life so don’t spend yours being afraid, God has much bigger plans for your life, and you will only experience his goodness when  you step out in faith and peace.

If anyone has any questions or wants to know that they know that they know where they would spend eternity if something happened to them today, please feel free to email me!

Today live boldly and speak of good things, do not fear, ask God to give you his peace for today and take it a day at a time, and join together in prayer for the families and loved ones of those who were taken too soon, that God would comfort them and give them peace. Today I challenge you to choose one of these bible verses and tape it onto your mirror and speak it every morning, as a reminder that God has NOT given us a spirit of fear, that he will protect you and keep you in all your ways. From driving to the grocery store, to taking a subway, attending a concert or traveling around the world. Take peace in his love, because perfect love casts out all fear.

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Psalm 94:19
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:6-7
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Proverbs 16:7
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Isaiah 26:3
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Isaiah 41:10
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 

Psalm 23:4
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” 

You are all loved,

Dev

love has called my name

“From my mother’s womb 

You have chosen me

Love has called my name” 

As thousands of people gathered today in Ukraine to celebrate the first thanksgiving on the day that marks 500 years since reformation I’ll never forget this

Through Jesus we are able to connect to people we don’t even know.  How amazing is that! We can travel the world and instantly bond with someone over Christ. It’s like finding family you’ve never met. As those lyrics posted above played with thousands of people singing it I know that God calls each one of us, he’s called us for an amazing life. These lyrics register so deeply with me, God has known us each, by name before the foundations of the world were created, and he loves us, he wants us to invite Christ in our lives so God can reveal the plans he has in store for each one of us.  

No we don’t know the plans but that is the beauty of living a life for and with God, it’s part of the adventure, trusting him with the unknown. Having seen what God has done in this country through so many individuals it is a testament to what God will do with someone’s obidence and willingness to say yes. To say yes to laying down your plans, and trusting him with his.  It is so much sweeter to adventure with God. And he doesn’t need us to be anything, we just need to be willing. 

You won’t have all the answers, but he’s calling you, and it is up to you to say yes. It won’t be easy, it’ll be more more than you’d ever hope or imagine. (Trust me, I’ve seen him do it for me, and he’ll do it for you) 

Tonight in Ukraine thousands of people gathered, different speakers all gave similar messages to the people of this nation. I believe that God is doing something big in this nation. So many people gave their lives to Christ tonight. Words can’t really describe how amazing tonight was for the people of Ukraine and the ripple effects it will play around the world. Maybe I’ll try writing about this later on, but before I go to sleep I’ll leave you with this 🙂 

God knew YOU before you were in your mother’s womb. 

That’s pretty amazing, that’s something to be hopeful about, that God knows you, and he is ready when you are, all you have to do is say yes.

You are loved,

Dev

preparing my heart for the next adventure


I wanted to share this with you before I start my journey into a part of the world that I never really wanted to go, or had a desire to visit. Ever. Does that sound harsh? I know we all have those places or parts of the world that we don’t think we’ll ever go, but never say never 😉 

A year ago this trip was mentioned to my dad and I, he asked me if I’d like to go. Immediately I said no, I’m not interested in traveling there. I have a heart for Africa and orphans, that isn’t really where I am comfortable. Little did I know that God was going to change my heart, and show me that our passions are not limited to places or people groups, the same love God gives us for one place is for the world, sometimes it takes a little time (his timing) to understand that. 

Months had passed, we rang in a new year, I was busy in Ghana and this trip never crossed my mind. I was home for three weeks packing before I was traveling to Greece with my family and friends. It was on that trip that God did something amazing. Something he perfectly appointed.  

My time in Greece was coming to an end, and what happened completely caught me off guard. I was in Mykonos with my friends. We went out to a later dinner (like midnight!) because Mykonos is a very late island, families, young children are out and about to 2 am! It’s so awesome how lively the place is and how causal it is. After dinner around 2 am my friends and I went out and around 4 am we were making our way to our last stop when I encountered 2 children who would change my life forever.  I just didn’t know it yet. 

I saw these precious beautiful children in the street. At this point all the younger families had left. They were selling glow in the dark bracelets. They looked exhausted. As I watched them and we approached closer I realized, they were gypsy children. I immediately ran to them and spoke the little Greek that I could. From what I understood they were exhausted, they were siblings and they needed to sell their bracelets all night. My friend Cate bought us all a bracelet and my friends went to the next place. I couldn’t get these children out of my mind, my heart was breaking, I was trying not to cry. God was doing something, God had a divine appointment for me in Mykonos at that very hour. 

I went back outside to just be with them. I told them they were beautiful and the little girl looked at me like she’d never been told that before, she said no you are beautiful. I told them I would never forget them and I would pray for them. 

The next day I was online reading all about gypsies. I read about their lives and how most governments barely recognize their rights or provide any assistance. Some websites said they are treated worse than animals. God was doing something, he was breaking my heart for gypsies, I had seen so I was now accountable for what I had experienced. I thank God for those two precious children.

I texted my dad that morning telling him I felt lead to be apart of the trip that was traveling to work in gypsy camps in September. I told him that God had shown me that the love of Christ is for all people across the world, there is no distance too far, there is no people group that is too low for him to reach. Christs love is for all. 

I prayed about it for months before I gave an offical yes. Here I am at JFK preparing my heart for what God has in store for me in The Ukraine. I am traveling with Orphans Promise who originally started there. I think it’s been 10 years since it began! I cannot wait to experience a new part of the world and see all the amazing projects and programs that Orphans Promise has put in place. 

If you feel lead would you lift our group up in prayer as we set off to be the hands and feet of Christ in the Ukraine. I’ll be updating you as much as I can during my time there! 

I am so excited and thankful for this God adventure. It is so true when they say if you say yes to God you’ll never imagine where he will take you. How true this is today, I hope we all learn to keep on saying yes to God, to keep putting aside what may be a comfortable for us. God is waiting for us to say yes, and then he’ll take it from there! The same way God used two beautiful gypsy children in Greece to speak to me, he is putting things in your life to speak to you! Sometimes we don’t realize that it is him, but it is, God’s timing is perfect and he will never stop pursuing us!

You are all loved, 

Dev 

next stop Ukraine ! 

1 John 4:7-8 

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

encouragement today for the fruit you have not seen

Guess who is packing again!? Any guesses on where I am heading tomorrow afternoon? (Here is a hint, it isn’t Africa, it’s a part of the world I have never been) I will keep you updated along this special journey!

Today I felt lead to share this bible verse

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

I am not sure who needs to be reminded of this but I felt lead to post this verse and remind you in the struggle of your work, family, jobs or ministries that apart from him we can do nothing. Sometimes we have mentalities that it is through our abilities that we can do everything. Unfortunately that can only take us so far.

I believe that everyone can experience seasons of dryness, discouragement, lack of faith, or depression I believe that it is also through these times that God proves to be faithful throughout the desert where we cannot see a way out. I encourage you today to press on, to keep on believing him for his promises, and when the time is right you will see the fruit when you do everything onto his glory.

I remember my first few months in Ghana when I would doubt myself, tell myself that I wasn’t able or worthy to be doing such a large task that seemed bigger than my abilities. Little did I know that the Lord only needed me to trust him, so that I could see how big of a God he is, who epuips us for tasks so big, it could only be achieved through him. In those exact moments I realized that it wasn’t through my abilities anyway, it was through him, and if I trusted him and allowed him to work through me, then in his time I would see the fruit of my labor.

Here is a clip from my morning devotion that I felt tied in beautifully

I understood what “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23) meant but was never sure which of those qualities, if any, would be apparent in me from day to day. God let me stew in my anxiety until I was fully committed to finding out if His Word was true or not. I encountered my answer in a biography of Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Missions. For a long time he, too, felt that his efforts fell short of the Lord’s expectations. But Taylor came to realize that God wanted believers to trust Him fully and rest on His promises. So when Jesus Christ said to abide in Him, He meant that His followers were to stop striving and struggling. Instead they were to trust Him to subdue their flesh.” – this passage was taken from In Touch Ministries daily Devotions 

I was able to recognize that christians doubt themselves, we feel that our efforts fall short everyday, but when we come to realize that God is worthy of being able to trust with the big things and small things, we can remain in Christ for what God has called us to do.

Over a year later, looking back on this moment where I couldn’t fathom seeing any fruit, I see the fruit through my children. I have seen their sorrows and tramua turn into joy and confience. Through loving them everyday, even when I questioned if it was working, I now see how God works in the small moments and produces bigger results than we could ever imagine. I see their love for the Lord, for each other. Their compassion for the needy in other communities and their desire to serve God in their future. I see how when we press on even when it looks as if nothing is happening, our little day to day tasks will amount to something magnificent if we truly abide in him. It is amazing what God can do when we are willing to allow him to work through us, even when we don’t “see” or “feel” him.

Today I encourage you to abide in him, and fruit will appear in his timing, continue to press into his goodness and hold onto his promises when all odds look against you! He will never leave you for forsake you, the Lord your God is mighty to save and he wants YOU to keep pushing into him. Apart from him, we can do nothing, with him we can do the impossible!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

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Here is our Sammy who has a passion to farm. He is able to collect his harvest from months and months of attending to his farm 🙂 Have a blessed day

You are all loved,

Devon

 

 

Desiree’s experience in Kyrgyzstan

Earlier this summer I shared this post and spoke about one of my best friends returning to her first home, many years later. Kyrgyzstan. I felt it was really important to have an open conversation with Desiree and post it on my blog so others, where ever you are reading from can learn about her experience in a part of the world that I personally feel we don’t hear or see much about. I also feel this is such an important example to our generation that we can make a difference, and our voice matters wherever we go and speak life into others. I hope you enjoy as Desiree shares her heart with us…

Can you explain what brought you to Kyrgyzstan and why this was such a meaningful trip for you?

This summer I was given the opportunity to intern with a non-profit called Search For Common Ground in Kyrgyzstan. I was assigned to work on a Youth Leadership program funded by the UN for the youth in Kyrgyzstan.

However, this trip was much more than an internship opportunity. I grew up in Kyrgyzstan as a missionary kid for seven years; my entire childhood was rooted in this beautiful country. I went to Russian school and for a long time would tell people I was from Kyrgyzstan. I was heartbroken when my family left the country to move back to the US. For many years I prayed to God that I would be able to return and visit my old friends. This summer God made this dream a reality and opened the doors for me to go back.

This trip was so meaningful to me because it reminded me how God listens to our prayers and everything works out in His timing. I think if I had gone back to visit when I was younger I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much and I wouldn’t be able to understand the issues in the country as much as I do now. It was also amazing to see the families that my parents shared the gospel to and how drastic their lives have been transformed by God’s love in Jesus Christ. I got to see the fruits of many missionaries’ labor. Sometimes when we pour love into communities we don’t always see the results right away, but 12 years later I got to see the impact of the Gospel in Kyrgyzstan.

 

Can you describe some of the current events going on and how it has changed since you have been there?

I lived in Kyrgyzstan 7 years after the Soviet Union Collapsed in 1991. Kyrgyzstan was in a huge economic crisis and many people were depressed because there was so much instability and lack of jobs. Every person you met In Kyrgyzstan had a very hard life with almost everyone with broken families and living in poverty. When I lived in the capital, Bishkek, there were no malls, grocery stores or many restaurants. My mom had to cook everything from scratch and even pasteurize our milk because nothing was premade. Kyrgyzstan was also very spiritually dry. The Soviet Union had taken away religion and so many Russians were atheist. The Kyrgyz would say they were Muslim out of tradition but were mostly nominal Muslims.

 Going back 12 years later, Kyrgyzstan has changed drastically. Bishkek has 5 huge malls, restaurants all over the city, fast food chains and almost anything you would want from the US. Turkey has invested a lot of money in Kyrgyzstan to make it a stronger Muslim country. When I lived in Kyrgyzstan there only a few Mosques, now there are over 2,000 mosques in the country. Kyrgyzstan is still a secular state so religion, law and state are separate but strong religious influence is coming from other countries and local Muslim groups. When I walked around the city I saw so many women covering their heads with the hijab, I rarely saw this as a child.

How was your expectation vs the reality once you got there?

I kind of expected my experience to be a lot harder and difficult then it was. I was so worried to be traveling alone, that my Russian wouldn’t be good enough to interview participants and that Kyrgyz wouldn’t like me because of the tension between Russia and the US. However, God took care of everything! I had such a smooth transition back into the culture and my Russian came back right away after not speaking it fluently in 6 years! Everyone was so hospitable and loving to me; I never once felt in danger or unsafe. I reconnected with my old friends after not hearing from them in 12 years since we didn’t have each other’s email or numbers.

 I also expected to be in the background during my internship and to just be interviewing participants but instead my boss threw me into the project right away and allowed me to visit communities and select participants for the program! I was so shocked that they would trust me and give me so much responsibility. It was very humbling and I really connected well with the local team despite being the only foreigner. 

God also opened up the door many times for me to share my faith to others and it was usually Muslims that would start asking me questions on what I believed. I did not expect this! But the world is hungry for truth and we should never be ashamed of telling others about Jesus 🙂

What were some experiences throughout the month that really stuck out to you?

A very interesting experience was for the first 3 weeks in Kyrgyzstan I lived with a very devout Muslim family during the Muslim holiday Ramadan. It was cool because I got to learn how they live and what they believe. I got to share the gospel with my family and we had very good discussions. They were never once were hostile towards me, although one girl did ask me to convert to Islam but she did it in a very respectful way.

 Something that really stuck out to me was the way women are treated. Out in the country, women have no rights; they are property of their husbands. In Kyrgyz tradition they have something called “bride-napping” this is when a Kyrgyz man can literally just grab any girl off the streets and make her his wife without her consent. She is forced to live with him and ultimately be a servant to him and his family. In the family I lived with, the daughter-in-law had to do everything for the family. She would cook and clean and couldn’t eat in the same room as us; she was to only serve us. It made me so sad to see her treated like that. When girls are only 6 years old they are already told that they must prepare to be wives. Recently, the country has made a law that a girl must be 18 to get married, but before this law girls were getting married at around 13 (this still happens illegally). When I would meet with young girls, many said they couldn’t go to college because their parents wouldn’t let them because they were already arranged to be married.

My whole internship experience was very meaningful. I got to meet with youth (ages 14-28) all over the country. We traveled for hours on dirt roads, traveling through herds of sheep and cows to get to small villages to speak to young people and invite them to our leadership program. When I met these young adults in these rural communities they didn’t know how to even dream or express the things they longed for because it seemed so far from reality to them. We spread hope to young people who thought that they had no opportunities and showed them that they can go after their dreams and they can do more with their life. We invited over 100 young adults to the capital where they got to represent their communities and work together on solving problems. Many that I spoke to began to cry as they shared about how they have found purpose and reason for their life. They are seeing that just because they are young doesn’t mean their voice doesn’t matter or that they can’t do something meaningful with their lives now. Seeing their faces light up with excitement and enthusiasm is something I will never forget. It was beautiful to experience this and hear the voices of the youth.

How did God use this trip for you personally?

The organization that I worked with was not a Christian organization so at times I felt very alone without fellowship or Christian community. But on this trip I really had to rely on God and really be in constant communication with Him. My prayer life definitely strengthened on this trip and God really put burdens on my heart for Muslim women. God has given me an overwhelming sense of love for this part of the world and the people here.

There were many times that I felt so inadequate for the job and didn’t feel I knew enough. I was reminded of these verses from Jeremiah 1:4-10:

v.4 : Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said:
“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

But the Lord said to me:
“Do not say ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. 

Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” 

God gives us His words and equips us! When God calls us to something or opens the doors, He will always enable us and give us the right words. God knew that I would return this Summer to Kyrgyzstan, just like He knows where all of you are. God gave me words to share to my host family about Jesus, only by His Power was I able to share it in Russian. I have never shared the gospel in Russian before, I didn’t even know I knew how to say words like “sin”, “grace” and “forgiveness” but God gave me the words as I spoke to them. He gave me words of encouragement to young men and women who felt so hopeless. They were surprised to even have people listen to them because they are so often looked down on. To even have someone sit by their side and listen meant the world to them. Even if we don’t know the language, just our actions can show so much love.

What is one thing you wish to share with other young people seeking purpose or direction for their lives?

Never feel inadequate because of your age. Us young people need to stand up and share our voices! We are the future of this generation. We have the torch to bring our country forward, wherever you are! We all have different backgrounds and different ideas so we can influence different places in this world. And most importantly, we are not alone! God gives us the power and strength and the right words. If you look back in the Bible, every time God has called someone to do His work they have felt so inadequate and said to God, “I can’t do this!” but God said “Yes, you can because you have ME!” The Holy Spirit is our guide and counselor; He will always give us all that we need to accomplish what God has called us to. If you feel in your heart a burden for orphans, people in Africa or the girl in your school that always gets picked on, then trust that this can be from the Holy Spirit and He will give you what you need to help that person and make a difference. Trust in God for your life. He loves you so much and will always be there with you through anything.

I hope you were blessed today by her heart and her passion to follow the Lord wherever he may call her, and also to be a light in the States as she heads into her last year of college! Desiree included some photos from her trip below 🙂

If you want to read Desi’s blog posts during this trip click here.

Desi

Speaking to youth in Southern Kyrgyzstan

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Young Uzbek girl who is 17 and is arranged to be married in the fall. Her parents won’t let her go to college.

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My neighbor friend from childhood.

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Exploring glacier lakes. Many of these turquoise lakes all over the country.

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Slept one night in a yurt!

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Visiting Fairytale Canyon!

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My host brother 🙂

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Wild horses

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5 Story Mall in Capital

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The Downtown square in Bishkek at night.

I hope you were all blessed by this! If you know anyone with a story to share, or experiences from a trip to share, please feel free to email me or comment down below! I would love to share your story as well.

You are all loved,

Dev

One world, one people 

 “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens your faithfulness, to the skies.” Psalm 36:5

These past 2 weeks in Kenya have been life changing. From working in the slums + hanging with orphans in Nairobi to traveling far to this remote Maasai Village, I discovered something worth sharing. Somewhere between sharing meals and meeting amazing people living their day to day lives while exploring this country I was able to realize this.

Our similarities are much stronger than our differences. When we choose to acknowledge this we become an unstoppable force of community + love and see ourselves as a united world rather than divided people groups. It’s known that when we come together as one, as a untied force we become unstoppable in the pursuit of working together towards a common goal.

Rather than judge or perceive others to be different based upon the clothes they wear, their economic status or level of education it’s more important to see and connect with their hearts + souls and listen to their stories and learn from them, and connect on our similarities. Choosing to respect differences and see them as beautiful.

This photo was taken hours after 2 rhinos walked by this Maasai Village. And while not one of the people from this village seemed to notice, I was so excited experiencing a everyday “norm” that was so different than my day to day life.


This village has no electricity + running water and I felt like I had moved backwards in time I was still able to connect and appreciate the beauty of this simple lifestyle, and bond with new friends over dreams they had for themselves and this village. I got to speak with Maasai around my age that were schooling in Nairobi, one studying engineering and the other agriculture. They spoke about their dreams to return to their village after college and make a difference there by uplifting the community. 

We are citizens of not just our homeland but our world. We are all one, when we start to realize that we can push each other to dream bigger dreams, live with meaning and serve others with purpose and love each other the way we’ve never loved before. When we see ourselves as one world we see ourselves as one people, and someone’s dreams+ hardships become as important as your own. God created each of us unique and special, we are his handiwork which he created for good with works to be done in advance. When we love ourselves, we must love our world because we have a commitment to make to the people around us that we all deserve to be treated, seen and valued as equals.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

“So now Faith, Hope and Love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13


“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” John 1:16

The Freedom Project

Let Freedom Ring


Today we danced, we sang, we praised, we joined out hearts for the children of Kenya and we celebrated as one in freedom.

As we sang in church, I felt like this is what heaven is. Every tribe, and every tongue will praise God as one people, binding our hearts and souls together in amazement of how great our God is. Today was a glimpse of heaven at Victory Faith Church in Nairobi, Kenya.

Freedom.free·dom
ˈfrēdəm/Submit
noun
the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

What the Lord intended for good, the enemy corrupted, perverted, twisted for evil. Children are in bondage of slavery, of poverty, of disease, of abandonment, of a live sentenced to death. But God comes and sends others to break them out of these strongholds and set them free. Every child in this world needs freedom. Christ can break chains and give the sweetest freedom. I’ve seen children broken from chains, and dance and play in his freedom, the freedom Christ offers us, the freedom that we were all meant to dwell in.

A word that holds so much promise, hope and meaning. A word most people around this world never get to experience. They might not even taste it. Not these children today, they’ve tasted it, they live in it, and they know the Lord is good, and true freedom is found in Him.

Today in Nairobi Kenya we sang in Freedom because that is what God is doing here through Orphan’s Promise projects on the ground who are allowing the children who are apart of them to live in complete freedom. To have a life free of darkness, pain, abuse, or abandonment and enter into a life of freedom, a life found in Christ.

Orphan’s Promise felt lead to start recording CD’s with different projects to give the children they serve a chance to let the world hear their voices. To let their songs be heard throughout the nations. The first CD they recorded was with the children they serve in Ukraine. These children are coming from the gypsy camps which carries so much meaning. These children may have the least ability to share their voices because of the negative stigma they have in society. This was the nation Orphan’s Promise started in, and they called it the Hope Project because they know their projects are spreading and giving hope in a war-torn place.

Then they felt lead to Africa, Kenya in particular. I remember last year when they were setting off to record the album with children who I spent the last two days with, and children in a Maasai Village who I will meet in a few days.

What is AMAZING about this project is that they were able to write the whole album in 2 and a half days! Normally it takes 2 or 3 months to write and produce an album. What I love about this music is it is a real partnership with the children and culture in Kenya. They used Kenyan instruments, wrote in rounds which is common here and allowed the children’s beautiful voices to be heard. From the capital city and the children in a remote Maasai village.

When I heard it played for the first time a song called Holy Fire I got chills and started tearing up. This is the freedom the children are living in, it needs to be heard, and I pray their voices fill our homes and hearts and allows the world to hear their story.

As we sang these praises today I prayed that children all over this continent will sing. That this album will unite the children of Africa so the world can hear their voices and be changed by the power of the holy spirit moving within these songs.

Lora, who works for Orphan’s Promise and is a friend of mine shared something that really touched my heart and is something I feel the need to share. She was on the ground last year recording and writing this album. They needed someone to sing a solo in one of the songs called Holy Fire. Lora felt God tell her that a boy named Samuel needed to sing this solo. Everyone doubted her and questioned her decision, but she was firm in knowing what the Lord had shown her. He did it, and has a passion in music, he knows he is good at singing after struggling in school and questioning himself and his purpose. I thank God Lora listened to his voice. He always has a plan.

I got to see him hear his voice on the CD a year after recording it. The way he smiled was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Watching him sing and praise on stage today as the album was released showed me the power of God’s hand on our life. Here is a boy who was brought up from the dust and now has a future, found a purpose and given hope, finding freedom in through it all. 


Today was one of those days where your heart feels like it is going to explode. Over and over and over and over…again.

I encourage anyone reading this to buy The Freedom Project on iTunes today! You will not regret this and will end up listening to it all day. When you purchase this album you are saying yes to freedom. You are saying you care about the children of Kenya and you stand with them. That you have heard their story and their cry and you make a promise to listen and share it with the world.

As I heard and watched them dance in freedom I prayed these songs would be sung around the African continent. That this album would be an anthem for all African children. When you buy this you are standing with the children of Kenya, the children of Africa and the children of this world whose voices need to be heard.

I stand with the children of Kenya, I stand and believe in their freedom, I see it, and I want every children to not only taste it, but live in complete freedom found in Christ.


Let the world hear their voices today!

let freedom ring throughout the nations

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

 

A day in the slums 


Karibu Kenya. Welcome to Kenya! 

I’m writing from Nairobi, Kenya. This is my second time in East Africa, first time in Kenya. For anyone whose asked or may be curious Kenya is extremely different than Ghana, you may see some things that are similar but African countries are each unique and different and it’s impossible to group them together. Even within one country there’s a mixture of its own cultures, languages and customs. 

I’m here with Orphans Promise which works in over 60 countries seeing some of the projects they sponsor here in Kenya. This is my fourth day in Kenya and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed my experience and look forward to more of what we will do or see. I actually didn’t expect to like it as much as I have! Who knows what God will do down the road 😉 

Today we visited a project called Mission of Hope which exists in one of the largest slums in Nairobi Kenya. We drove through it today, and saw some thousands of shanty homes shattered all around. The amount of trash in the streets was unbelievable. My words can’t do it justice. I would have included photos to help you visualize but we weren’t advised to be holding phones or cameras anywhere near the window. So for that reason, I have no photos. The three below are ones I found off Google Images to give you a better idea. 


 We passed through what seemed like thousands of shanty homes, that barely seemed to stay straight up. These homes fit anywhere between 4-10 people stretching across 3 generations paying 20 dollars a month rent to basically just have a room. To give you a better idea the school the children go to at Mission of Hope costs 40 dollars a month. Now you can better understand how without the school provided sponsorships the kids would never have a life beyond, or chance st education.

With God nothing is impossible! His plan NEVER fails. 

What that 20 dollars a month rent goes to is just a small tin structure. If they are lucky to even have a bed, they can only fit one inside. Nothing else, no bathroom, plumping or electrity. I can say I felt extremely blessed for everything I have. I never want this to go wasted on me, I never want to overlook or forget the reality of how most people live in this world. And just having the chance to shed a light and share it is a blessing. That these stories can pass through from me typing on an iPhone in Kenya can reach you wherever you are is amazing. Let’s not forget that.

Here is one photo I snapped from inside the school. 

What I admire about the organization we visited today was that it existed in the slums and had a presence about it that felt safe, welcoming and God centered. The couple who started this is a Kenyan couple who visited the slums and left with hearts changed and started asking what more could we do? 

 What started with schooling 50 children to 150 in a small and tight room in the slums to now 15,000 in schools across the slums and other rural villages in Kenya! Isn’t God amazing. What started with a simple yes, moved by compassion and taking one small step of faith had led to this growth and expansion. What I admire is their compassion and vision to see a life outside the slums. This is not a place most people ever want to step foot, or ever desire to do ministry work, yet here they are.

This was a great reminder of how God lays different burdens on our heart so all people groups can be reached. I love seeing what God can do through ordinary people like you and I. It doesn’t even have to start with a plan of action, it just starts with a simple yes. And he’ll take us from there. 

 I was inspired to witness so many lives having the chance of getting an education in hopes of furthering their journeys beyond the slums. 

After we toured one of the schools we drove to another school in a different slum community and had the chance to do an outreach with 400 beautiful and joyous children. These are always my favorite parts of these trips. I met a young girl at the age of 15 named Lucy. She was sitting alone and I felt the Lord moved my heart to speak to her. She ended up singing her favorite song to me. Amazing Grace. Hearing her voice and looking at where she comes from and how she can sing a song with lyrics that can actually describe her life up until this point was a moment I’m not sure I’ll ever forget. We sang together and laughed. I took her photo so I’ll never forget her face. I felt this girl needed prayer and direction, if anyone feels lead to pray for her, please join me. 

I think anyone who may experience a slum community can get overwhelmed by the amount of people living in such horrible condition. So much so that they feel as if there is nothing to do. Mission of Hope is an example that nothing is impossible when you have God in it. This place was built from the ground up in a rough place and God is creating such an impact here in Kenya. I can feel it, I can see the joy and hope in the eyes of the school children. 

I looked around at the masses of people walking through the only place they’ve ever known. I see them. They are significant. They matter. They have stories and voices that aren’t heard, but they matter. 

Two things that stuck out to me today was a quote Terry shared on the bus. 

You don’t have to be seen to be significant. 

This applies to each and every one of us, who feels insignificant if we aren’t “seen.” Whatever that means, if you feel you aren’t noticed or important, I’m here to tell you that God sees you. God hears you. There is only one you, and your life has significance. 

Our culture especially millennials focuses on being seen, recognized or acknowledged. We want to feel significant, so that people notice us and our lives. We fear being or feeling insignificant or lost in this world. Where our worth is based on a social media following, a collection of likes or comments yet the fleeting satisfaction of feeling significant in that moment passes quickly and doesn’t last leaving us wanting more, and more and more. Simply know that God sees you all the time. 

Then Stacey shared this when she was interviewing the founder of the schools we visited. Call them by their names, ask them their names. 

I looked around at the vast number of children living in the slums. The thousands in that school, and wondered about how many outside. How many names and stories existed in those slums. Ones that I’ll never know, but God knows them. He sees them and they are significant. 

And then I saw this bible verse and knew that it was what the Lord would want me to share after such an amazing day in the slums. 


Imagine how much greater God knows OUR names, and calls us each by name. 

Thanks for reading. I’m actually blogging from my phone due to wifi connection on my laptop;) it’s not my favorite way to blog or write but I am so excited to share this experience with y’all! Thanks for coming to Kenya with me 😉 if you have any questions or want to know more please reach out! If there is something in specific you would like to me write about, again reach out! 

 I’ll try to share as much as I can on this trip! So far I’m loving my time in Kenya and can’t wait to see what God has in store for us for the next week 

You ARE loved, 

You are seen,

You are significant.


Dev