Lilian, Mary and Isaac

“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” John 14:18

These three pictures, are the pictures of our newest additions. Our family is growing. Meet Lilian 5 years, Mary 8 years and Isaac 7 years.

Our God is faithful. I look at these pictures, as I am in New York now, and will return to meet these children very soon. I see hope, and the chance at a new life. I am looking at the leaders of tomorrow. Their futures are so bright! I’m excited to love them, to meet them, to experience life with them, as they have already changed mine.

Once abandoned, now accepted. God is good. I believe in a day where our world will have no orphans. I believe that every child deserves the right to dream, the right to a better future. I believe that children deserve the right to education, love and a family. Every child belongs in a family. It’s the way God intended it to be.

I’m asking that you join our team and staff in Ghana, and our team in the US in prayer. Would you join our PNN family in prayer? Would you lift Lilian, Mary and Isaac in prayer today. There are days when I am in Ghana, going through a lot, dealing with more than I think I can handle sometimes, and then I feel relief, and I know someone on the other side is lifting me up in prayer. Sometimes I can literally feel it. I know they will, so lets come together and lift them up.

Those three pictures remind me of this picture below. The first children to come to PNN, I love how our family is expanding. I love seeing God rescue and bring light to the darkness. Because darkness cannot win, when we choose to shine light in dark places. I love being apart of something so much bigger than myself. I love seeing God move, and bring hope to the hopeless. And lastly…

I love knowing that there are three less orphans in the world today.

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where there is light, there is life

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with my boy Edward. This boy has my heart.

lets slow down, lets take a moment to reflect.

I’m not sure if this is a personal reflection or if I am just speaking from my heart on what this past year has meant to me.

At the end of the day, when times get rough, when life throws the unexpected your way, to a point where you feel like you are drowning in sorrow, challenges and difficultly, there is light.

There is a way out, and it comes in only one true form. Jesus.

The name above all names, the name that saves, redeems, rescues, loves and forgives. The name that selflessly gave himself so that we could have eternal life. Life that so greatly surpasses the length and meaning of this life.

There is freedom in Christ. A lot of people want to believe the opposite. I have seen this freedom, I have lived in it, I have witnessed it. I have tasted its goodness. I continue to seek it, continue to enjoy this freedom in Christ. I continue to spend my life seeking his face , seeking him, getting to know him.

I have seen the most innocent lives transform finding hope, safety and love in Christ. And it is amazing. It is real. It is happening, because of Christ.

I have seen children who carried around the heaviest of burdens from experiencing abuse on every level, let it all go. I have seen the sadness and despair in their eyes turn into joy and life. Because of Christ. Because they can lay down their burdens and experiences at his feet. Those which do not determine their worth, that can be erased and renewed. Surrendering their lives into his hands. What an amazing God we have.

Hopeless lives that were set in darkness, abused, forgotten, neglected, abandoned. Yet where there is light, no darkness can hide. And there was light and life. And there will continue to be light and life. Darkness did not win, and it cannot win, if WE choose to be the light. To shed the light on darkness all around the world. To what God has called our hearts to.

Christ came so that we could live. But it doesn’t end there. We need to be an active part of bringing love and salvation to the ends of the world, to shed light on the darkness. Even if that means shedding light in the darkness of where you are now. Maybe you don’t even have to travel to get there.

Did you know that there are more slaves today than ever before in history? Most of which are children. We can choose to ignore it because it doesn’t effect our day to day. Or maybe something else touches your heart, orphans, refugees, whatever it is. I am not asking or telling you, I am just speaking from my heart. That if Christ offers freedom, hope, redemption and life wouldn’t you want to share that ?

Because where there is light, there is life.

And where there is light, darkness cannot hide.

Lets. choose. to. be. light.

Let’s make this decision every morning, renewing ourselves and our lives to Christ. Laying down ourselves at his feet to be used for his glory, in this day and age. Because we are here for such a time as this.

And where there is light, darkness cannot hide.

 

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

oh, to be loved by you

 

Oh, to be loved by you.

This is not a Valentine’s post, we’re just talking about love 😉 The greatest love of all time. It’s kind of a big deal, its something to get excited about, something we will never stop getting excited about. 

I believe that our culture loves love. Loves to think about love, finding the perfect love. We sing about it in our music, we watch it unfold in our TV shows and movies. We are kind of surrounded by it. Kind of obsessed with it.

So many people can have a distaste for holidays that embrace and celebrate love, and finding your perfect soul mate. It is the one day that all single people across the country, second think being single, and start to base their worth on that.(Come one now, you can’t tell me at one point or Valentine’s day that wasn’t you!) And that is okay;)

I think we have all understood that for time to time. I have been guilty of putting these false hopes in some relatioships from time to time. The funny part is even during this relationship on valentines day I wasn’t fufilled on the “love we shared.”Because no amount of chocolate, roses or sweet cards can truly fill our souls. Keep reading to understand why. Because even people aren’t the true lovers of our souls. Jesus is.

We want to put pressure on ourselves that our worth comes from love, love with the right person. With the right relationship. It can put pressure on those without partners, and maybe the ones that do, question if their love is “good enough” if this is in fact their soul mate. We so desperately think the answer or fix to the empitness or void deep down is finding the right one. And even when we do, we still might feel that empitness. Here is a little secret, one that we learn over and over, day after day. If you put your everything in others, they will fail you, they will never fill you.

Only God can do that. And we are on the journey to discover his love each and everyday.

Luckily we aren’t here to discuss those topics, were just here to talk about the greatest love of all.

Love. I’m not even sure I completely understand what exactly love is. How to show unconditional love. Why. Because I am human. I have flaws, I have shortcomings, I make mistakes, do I really know unconditional love? I’d like to think that I do. When I think of complete unconditional love I think about God. His perfect love.

We are sinners, we make mistakes, every day. We have selfish natures, we are concerned with things that don’t matter in the long run. We can produce evil and wrong thoughts, sometimes even actions. We all  make big mistakes, but every sin is the same. No sin is greater than the other. And maybe it is easier for us to convince ourselves that well I haven’t done this, or done that, so that makes me a good person. And we all know that good people go to heaven for doing things. Which is not true. 

We have the opportunity to go to heaven based solely on God’s sacrifice of his only son. Lets stop here. Sacrifice, that might be hardest thing to do or understand. I don’t have children so I could not even imagine, but I can try.

Purely out of LOVE. Perfect love. Perfect sacrifice, perfect reason and purpose.

We love to watch these films, hear these songs singing about soul mates, about love, being in love finding love. When maybe, just maybe our perfect love, is right in front of us.

A love so deep that we will spend our entire life just trying to understand. A love that loves so deep through all our flaws, mistakes, shortcomings, and selfishness. A love that will never fail you, will never leave you. A love that will stand by you, and uphold you with his righteous right hand. A love that sees who exactly you are. Who knows every thought and has each hair on your head numbered. And loves you regardless. There is nothing you could ever do from stopping or preventing this perfect love.

People fail us, everyday. Issues and temptations of the flesh arise, and we fall short. People can be untrustworthy, unfaithful, selfish, they might hurt you. I’m sure at some point we have ALL been hurt by others. God will never hurt us, ever.

But there is a love far greater than this. A love so perfect that it will cast out all fears. A love so great that died on a cross just so you could have the choice to live. He loved you so much he left this choice in your hands. And it is up to you.

Oh, to be loved by you.

John 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 

we were made for this

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Hello, I am back in New York! I was going to write a post about turning 23 in Africa, and reflect on some highlights of turning 22, but from a lack of wifi, and being so busy it didn’t happen. I’m home for some time before I head back to Ghana. With that being said I have been so busy this past week. The past 6 days consisted of a lot of traveling, the good thing is I loved traveling and don’t mind traffic, bumpy car rides (on red dirt paths) or long flights. Sitting in Accra traffic has done wonders to improve my patience 😉

I was traveling with my father to new places, which I will share in the right time. But this past week consisted of 7 flights, 35 hours of flying in total, countless hours of red dirt paths, and a 24 hour journey home. You would assume that we are very tired, but we had so much fun along the way and the 3 flights home (with the last being 14 hours home) didn’t seem so bad thanks to good old country music, writing in my journal, reading some awesome books and some in flight movies! One would assume that I am thrilled to be back home, which I am! But in the same excitement of being here is that it hasn’t even been one day since I arrived and I am already missing being in Africa. I know it is really hard for people to understand. And I am sure a lot of you, or others think that I am crazy and question this calling or desire to live somewhere, so different, remote or impoverished. It is the place where my heart lies, where my God created my spirit to thrive and be filled, and where my soul was created to be. I really thank God for giving me such a supportive family to encourage me and understand this calling. They make coming home so easy to always listen to me and the hardships of readjusting to life so different from what seems “normal” to me.

Maybe their understanding has to do with the fact that I spoke about this dream since I was young. Isn’t God amazing. It is almost as if he was subconsciously preparing my parents that one day it would become their reality as much as it would become my own. Before I could locate Africa on a map at the age of 7 or 8 I spoke of one day moving there and working with orphan children, even spoke of building a home for them. His ways are higher than ours, he gives us the desires of our hearts. Each unique and different from each others.

I like to see life as a journey, like I recently blogged about never exactly reaching a final destination. I see myself on this journey called life to show the same love that God my parents and family has shown me my entire life. The love that we are so undeserving of. I know I always talk about love and God’s love, but I don’t even think I can process just 1% of how much he loves us. God has given me this dream and desire to embrace the children I meet to remind them they are valued, loved and important in the eyes of God. To speak of hope and ignite the spark of excitement of becoming the future leaders of society and the world.

It is honestly very hard for me to come back home. I know how important it is that I take time to refresh, have others pray for me, speak about my experience, fundraise and see God move in my life on this side of the Atlantic. I know how draining serving others can be. On. every. single. level. For the next few days I like to take my time to readjust to everything. Something as simple as taking a hot shower, having consistent wifi and power, and not seeing my kids faces every morning and night is an adjustment. It’s hard to live in a third world country and just pop back home and be fine. Sometimes I feel like I see so much injustice and poverty, so much that it can be overwhelming, yet I see a place so close to heaven. Where I feel like I get to taste and reach out to grab it. With people and children that lack everything. But know more about God then most people I know. That trust him for everything, that know his word and sing his praises as they take joy in everything. Then I travel home and see people who have everything. And appreciate so little, and have an attitude where they want more and never seemed to be satisfied with the fleeting and material things of this world. It’s hard because I sometimes feel like not a lot of people understand where I am coming from. For those who do, who listen to my stories, who check up on me and send me words and emails of encouragement support and prayer. Thank you. So. Much. Thank you for being a shoulder to lean on, thank you for being apart of this journey.

Every single one of us is so different. I thank God for that. I never want anyone to confuse being christian with having to move to a place like Africa. No not everyone was called to live among the nations. You can make an impact and serve God in your 9 to 5 or in your hometown. We all have our own journey.

I’m on this journey to show God’s love to those marginalized, forgotten, abused, or orphaned in society. God has sent me to embrace those children in the exact place where he wanted them to feel that love, because he has a bright future for them. Because they are SO important and valued in the eyes of God. And if just one of those children knows that then through me God has changed the world. Just by reaching the heart of one.

We all have a different journey, that is what makes this world and beautiful and interesting place. We all have a heart for something unique and different. These journeys are fueled by different passions and dreams, motivations and hopes, sorrows and heart breaks. I’d encourage anyone to follow those dreams, because God is the one who gave you the desire of your heart. And if your reading this and you feel confused or lost along your path, and so desperately want to hear the voice of God and see his hands move in your life to show you the reason he created you for such a time as this then get in touch with him. Spend time with the creator of your heart, read his word, and speak to him. He is listening and he will answer you, and he wants to give you so much that this world could never give you, that the world could never fill you. Obviously this comes with a price of sacrifice and hardship, and discouragement. But we shouldn’t ever give up on our dreams, we shouldn’t ever let anyone or anything discourage us from living the life God created us to live. Because you were created to be here, for such a time as this! Don’t forget that. You. were. made. for. this!

Love Dev

Your destination is never final 


Today I packed up my bags, loaded them into the van, hugged my children goodbye for a little while and set off with my dad for South Africa. As the van drove up the red dirt hill away from the site I saw there little faces, until we turned onto the main road. It hit me, as it always does, that I have really been “living in Africa.” I don’t think this is something I will ever wrap my small mind around. We serve a God whose plans are bigger than ours, whose ways are higher than ours, and who gives dreams that seem impossible, only by achieving the impossible through his glory. 6 and a half years ago, this was all a dream, a concept and now it is a reality, children’s realities and home who before now had nothing and no one. Again, I cannot wrap my small human brain around that either. 

Watching the plane descend into the sky as we drifted through the clouds, watching the large city buildings become smaller and smaller, and seeing Ghana in the distance as we turned over the Atlantic Ocean I felt a sense of peace that God has me exactly where he wants me. I am his, and nothing can remove me from the palm of his hand. I grabbed my journal and spent the first hour of the flight just writing everything down to document and keep these precious and exciting moments. I feel asleep on the flight and woke up somewhere over Namibia thinking about how excited I was to be traveling around this beautiful continent. Your destination is never final, that means no matter what in life there is always room to grow, learn, keep gaining wisdom and knowledge, grow deeper in your faith, and explore. 

One thing I always told my parents was I never wanted to be comfortable, I never wanted a life where I wasn’t being challenged by my circumstances, and felt no reason to push forward. What that means is I never wanted to live a “normal life” I never desired to just exist by completing the same task over and over again without seeing some changes made on this earth. 

What I am asking you to consider this year is to see your destination (whatever or where ever it is) as never final, don’t accept complaceny, push to better yourself and your world everyday. We all have been created for something beyond ourselves, beyond our own abitlies, only to be used as vessels so God gets ALL the glory!

When God has you where he wants you, he will equip you with peace. Perfect peace that surpasses all human fears or logic. You cannot run before you walk, you cannot jump somewhere or take up a task if God himself did not speak it into existence for your life! Don’t miss out on being used for him! You will make a difference for eternity!  

God wants us to be in a state of being completely dependent on him. So much so that he can continue to mold, shape and move us to be more like Jesus, more like who he created us to be like. God would never call someone to something without equipping them. I know I am where I need to be because I have peace, and no fear. A lot of people ask me if I am scared to be living in Africa. The truth is no. I am not scared, what scares me more is living a life with no passion. So never see your destination as final and ask God to move in your life in HIS perfect timing and he will equip you when your surrender yourself and your life into his hands. 

Love from Dev 

in South Africa 😉