And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
I would like to start by saying I do not want to be perceived as someone who could pull anything that I am about to write about on my own. This was all perfectly orchestrated by God, in his perfect timing, with his hand over my life and the events which lead to Project Name Nsa. My desire to build in orphanage in Africa was instilled into the deepest parts of my heart, and my mind since I can remember to speak. Crazy, right? That’s what everyone thought, my family, friends, teachers, and classmates. As most children would dream of being successful as a singer, dancer, movie star or athlete (which are great dreams, just not mine) I didn’t let their discouraging attitudes affect this dream inside of my heart. It’s hard to even put into words my feelings, I had felt since I was young that I was completely destined to do something great… in Africa. I grew up with nice things, we lacked nothing, and had traveled all over the world but never to any place like Africa. As I grew older I prayed that one day I could go, I felt like I had loved this place, yet I had never been. In a couple of years that would all change. I knew in my heart that I would do something, I just knew I would have to wait until I was older, yet again I was wrong.
Years had passed, but my determination to go to Africa had not. My sixteenth birthday was coming and I saw this as an opportunity to raise money to build wells in Africa. I thought about the gifts that I could receive and how I had everything I want plus more. I lacked nothing, and I didn’t need these gifts. Through the generosity of everyone who came to my birthday we raised 7,000. Enough to build three water wells. I had begged my dad to bring me to Ghana (where the wells were being dug.) Thank God for him, because for some crazy reason he decided to take a chance on his 16 year old daughter. I will always admire my father and his decision to take me to West Africa. If it weren’t for him allowing me to go, then I don’t think I would be sharing this story. (So thank you Dad, I love you so much!) Our first trip to Ghana was life altering, in every way possible. I had come to love this place, and found myself broken hearted as I was confronted with various needs that weren’t being met for people. I went with an attitude that I was going to change these peoples lives for the better. Then God does what he does best, he humbled me, these people changed my life for the better.
My second to last day in Ghana was spent visiting rural hospitals and villages. Our last stop was much further than the rest. We drove so far that the roads had stopped and we found our van bumping up and down red dirt hills through luscious green forests. I locked eyes with my dad for a moment we exchanged that just stay calm even though we’ve been in this car for hours kind of look.Where are we going, do people seriously live all the way out here? I thought to myself, and then the van came to a halt. We had reached our destination. As soon as the van door opened we were greeted by 1,500 village people that welcomed and celebrated our coming. We spent the day getting to know one another, playing games, visiting their huts and hearing their life stories. They were so honored by the gift of the well that they made me queen for the day. I saw how much clean drinking water had meant to these people. Something I would not have thought twice about back home, yet without access to water it caused disease, death, and the demise of education.With clean drinking water there is life, there is hope and there is a future.
Everyone was happy, yet this happiness did not derive from material wealth. This was different then the place I had come from. People had everything, yet wanted more, and found themselves unhappy. I admired these people, they taught me something that I can never forget. I can also never forget the devastation and lack of basic human needs that these people didn’t have. How can I help, what could I do? Immersed in a culture far different then my own, covered in dirt, and african cloth, I felt happiness, I felt peace, and I felt at home. It was in this moment so far from everything that was comfortable and normal about the life I was blessed to live that I had refused to merely exist. I wanted a life with purpose, I wanted a life driven by passion. Passion I had found, now it was time to do something about it. I took one last look at these smiling faces, exchanged prayer requests and hugs then got in the van as the we rolled down another dirt hill. The village disappeared behind the trees, but these people could never disappear from my mind. This place was the inspiration behind the non-profit. I just didn’t know it yet. My eyes swelled up with tears, I never knew if I would see these people again, I didn’t know when I would be back in Ghana, but I knew I needed to. This is what I know for sure that God has called me to Africa. My dad looked at me as if he was reading my very thoughts. “Don’t worry Devon, we will be back here one day.”