What compels you to be alive? 

image1

Does anyone else feel like 2018 is moving really quickly?

This year has movement on it, you can feel God breathing a new wind through it.

There is something new that he is doing. I continue to feel the Lord say it is time to step out and step in. I shared this in a past blog post. This is the year to step out of everything that has held you back for too long. It is time to confidently step into what God is calling you towards.

Compel. This is a word that God has placed on my heart, a word that seems to play on repeat through the most recent days.

What compels you to be alive? 

….

What compels you to get out of bed everyday? What compels you to stand up for, or fight against? What compels you to be alive?

I pray this is a year that we will be so compelled into God’s heart, and his calling upon our lives, as we embark on new assignments  and journeys, ones that we might have NEVER expected. It’s the new thing he is doing within us! But he needs our action and our yes, he needs our trust and obedience, he needs us to step into what he has waiting for us on the other side. Trading it in for something much better.

Would this be a year of new things, surprises, trust, and faith that walks blindly after his heart, trusting him every step into the unknown. I am praying for all of you that 2018 will be one of your best years yet. I feel like this year especially God is looking for the ones who will walk by faith! Who trust EVERYTHING in his the palms of his great and wonderful hands. He is looking for those souls who are compelled to chase after his heart with every fiber of our beings. This would be a year to leave every fear, doubt, and insecurities in the past and JUMP into what he has, no looking back, just walking confidently into the future he has promised us not by sight but through faith.

” I will walk by faith even when I cannot see.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

So, what is God compelling you towards? Take the jump, take the leap of faith!

You are all loved, have a great weekend 🙂

Dev!

recap on 2017- new wine

Last year I sat by the water in Ghana writing a post on my phone about all the lessons I learned in 2016, and how much I had grown, and how much I had changed. It feels like so long ago. Isn’t that what we all do each year? Or at least hope to?

I sit now in New York City, on a much colder December day writing and thinking about all that has happened in 2017.

To refresh I celebrated my first holiday in Ghana last year away from my family, rang 2017 in with high hopes and celebrated with the kids. It seemed that I was entering into the new year with the highest of hopes, and the biggest of dreams. I wish I could say that 2017 was one of the greatest years of my life, and I learned so much, and grew so much, but to be completely honest that isn’t how it all went.

2017 was possibly one of the most difficult years of my life. I endured some of the hardest and darkest months of my life, I questioned everything, I had doubts, I had to overcome situations without fear, I had situations happen that didn’t seem to make any sense, that I couldn’t understand why God would allow to happen.

I came to wanting to give up, in so many areas of my life, I endured a lot. And I don’t want to get in detail because this post isn’t supposed to be a venting session where I complain and tell you how terrible my year was, because that wouldn’t be entirely true.

In the pressing of the hardest year of my life, I see how God was making new wine. And trust me this isn’t something I realized right away. Stay with me. I am not blaming God for what happened this year, and as tempting it is to point our fingers back at him, and say why me God! We are better to praise him in the storm. And I know this sounds cheesy or maybe some are reading this and think that is easy for me to say, but it isn’t. Because I had to walk through it and learn it myself. I had to hold onto the promises and words spoken over my life even in the hardest of times. I had to remember that he is still good, when that was the last thought I wanted to speak out. I had to walk through a path of remembrance with him and write and remember all that the Lord had done in my life at such a young age. I had to look at all the answered prayers, miracles and God sightings throughout my life. Not just look but grasp onto.

I had to tell myself this is just a season, this too will surely come to pass. I had to. I had no other choice. It was around 7 months until I felt things changed, I wasn’t myself, and after months and months the Lord restored me and got me through such a hard time. I am sharing this and “putting it all out there” so someone, even if it is just one of you can relate or see that whatever you are going through will surely pass. Whatever valley or trench that you are currently “stuck in” I pray that you soon climb to your mountaintop and see the vibrant colors and see the lush view from the top. I pray you receive your victory, and see things from this new and beautiful perspective. Keep climbing and praising even along the way to the top. Even in the in between.

This year was a year of overcoming, and receiving victory through our praises. Sometimes we are taught to put ourselves before the Lord and say oh God why me? Instead of praising him in the “in between” even when it doesn’t look as planned.

I was at a church service in Nairobi, Kenya and this was right before things were about to change, and we were praising God through the worship part of the service. During this service I praised God with all that I had left in me, and right at that moment I felt something lift off me, all the sadness, hopelessness, darkness, all the “stuff” that had been over me for so much, just broke off me through the praise. I was restored in an instant, I felt like “Devon” again. I’ll never forget that moment or what it felt like.

He makes new wine in the pressing.

Looking back from this point, of where I am today I am able to know that I came out stronger in my faith, having endured something I never expected. Even through that season the Lord gave me dreams and visions and everything I would need to get through and still help me do what he sent me out to do. I can say that I am even more in love with Jesus today than ever before. It isn’t based on a feeling, it is based on knowing who he is in my life and what he is doing, always doing, and how the “fuel” we need to get through this life comes from a place of intimacy and relationship with him

I got the chance to travel around the world and had time with other people who were in a dark place. I could know having come out and see from the other side pour into these people, lay hands and pray for them and tell them that this was just a season that the Lord will bring them out of, you just have to praise him and trust him!

There was so many big moments and things that happened that we could only say THAT WAS ONLY GOD! More to share in months to come, that God was still working on my behalf, he was still fulfilling every word and promise, that he was even doing a new thing in me! That he was doing abundantly more than we could ever hope or dream for the ministry in ways I cannot begin to explain! He was connecting me with individuals who are apart of this story and there is so much to celebrate and share over this new year.

2017 was a year where dreams grew, expanded, vision was refreshed, hope was restored, lives continued to be transformed, God is glorified, God is faithful and fulfills his promises. This was a season of new wine, through the pressing he makes new wine.

I am not writing this from a place of hurt looking back, no I am writing this from a place rooted in purpose that can look back and I don’t see pain. I see God’s faithfulness, I see God’s hands actively at work throughout all the days of my life, I see how he even protected me in places I didn’t realize. I see that even through the hardest of days, and darkest of hours he did not waste one tear, he even used that for my good. I see that HE IS GREAT and he is going to use this for his glory! He has a plan for my life! He always has!  The same goes for you!

I am not the same girl I was writing this same blog post a year ago. I did not know what was in front of me, I didn’t know what was about to happen, I was hopeful and I sit here even more so. I was full  of dreams and vision, and I sit here and I still am. But I am not the same girl who wrote this post last year. I’m here with a new perspective on things and I see and hear my father in such a real way. My relationship with God is so much deeper and I have so much more appreciation for him now more than ever, and I hope to say that every new year! My deepest desire is to never stop growing in relationship with Him.

I am hopeful to see where God will take me this year. I am hopeful and excited. I am full of new vision and excitement that he has placed inside me. I am thankful that even in the pressing of life, God is making new wine.

My prayer is that 2018 would be a year like no other, a year of advancement, acceleration, growth and change. A year of all unfulfilled promises to come to life! A year of expanded dreams and restoration. A year that we have been waiting for. A year to celebrate our overcoming! Another year to give glory to God and seek him in all that we do. I think I came to a place where I set aside all “my” hopes, dreams and expectations for the new year and just let God do what he does best! I wait in expectation for what he will do this new year! I am ready for the unknown like never before and I can’t wait to bring you along with me! In the right time I will have so much to share in 2018!

What was 2017 like for you? There was so much amazing things that happened this year! There is always something to celebrate.

IMG_0653

IMG_0721

IMG_0740
Another PNN Vision Trip

 

 

IMG_3100.jpg

IMG_4835.jpg

a655b4e9-b78c-4b09-a009-9450c1da242b
Traveled to Kenya with Orphan’s Promise

 

fullsizeoutput_4ce0
Welcomed new children

DSC05203.JPG

Traveled to Ukraine with Orphan’s Promise and got wrecked for the nations like never before.

“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”

Ephesians 3:20

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” 

Matthew 9:17

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:19

You are all loved,

Dev

and happy new year!

a burden for the nations

I have felt a burden placed on my heart and in my spirit over the past few months for the nations. For the forgotten people groups around the world. The people groups that are being sold into slavery today in our modern word, the groups that are being innocently massacred by evil and unjust people. I feel the desire to just go. I know this might not be the right time, I trust my God. I will stand in the gap and pray for them. I might not see them with my physical eyes, but my God does. He sees his children, in every nation, in every tribe, who speak every tongue. He is close to the broken-hearted. I don’t know what the Lord is calling you to. I don’t know what God is stirring up within your heart. Maybe it is the modern-day slave trade in Libya, maybe it is the refugees in Syria, or South Sudan. Maybe it is the millions of people who go hungry everyday. Maybe it is the Rohingya people group that are getting innocently massacred in Myanmar that have to flee as unwanted refugees to other nations. I don’t know if this something you even care about. I believe that many people do, because God is calling them to.

” Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God.” Psalm 62:6-7

Today was one of those days where you just want to go. You know you can’t so you pray. You pray without even having words to phrase what the spirit is moving you too. I prayed with such a burden for these forgotten people groups. We might not see them, but God does, we might not hear their cries, but he hears them, he sees them and one day he will bring justice to them. I believe that we are moving into a new year where God is pouring out a desire and heart for the nations for his people. Whether he calls us to go or stand in the gaps praying for the rights and salvation, and freedoms. I believe that people are having “new things” placed within their hearts. These desires, and dreams are being unleashed from heaven. We are being called to the nations, to pray for the nations. To be aware of what is happening to our brothers and sisters around the world. You might not think your prayers matter, you may not think praying for people you haven’t seen or met will make a difference, but it does. Your prayers have power and your prayers can change nations! So pray if you feel this burden, don’t underestimate the power of prayer that God has given us. If God has laid a nation in particular or almost highlighted it to you, pray for that nation. If God has done that with a certain people group, pray for that very people group. We have the honor to come before the throne of Heaven and lay down what  the Lord has placed on our hearts, even if it is nations, that are oceans away. There is no distance in the spirit, we can pray and stand besides these people and say no more. We can pray that the enemy be removed from these places because Jesus has died for the nations. He has already won for the nations, it is already done, so can we pray with this in mind. That is already done and we have the victory.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

As I prayed with this burden for the suffering and forgotten in the nations not knowing if God is calling me to go, or just to stand in the gap and say I see them too. I feel the father’s heart for his children even though if I am not physically with them. As I prayed I was led to read Psalm 10. This Psalm almost explains how I was feeling and what is happening to these innocent people around the world.

Psalm 10 17-18

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that merely earthly mortals will never strike terror.”

If you feel this way, or just want to say I may not see, but I am committing to pray alongside my brothers and sisters around the world because I believe God’s love is the same for all. I believe this breaks our fathers heart and this is not what he wants. I am committing to set aside time to remember and pray these forgotten people groups. Thank you for allowing me to be open with you, I really appreciate it and am praying this post inspires just one heart to have a desire to pray for the nations, to stand in the gaps and to speak justice, light and freedom into the darkest, most dangerous places in the world, knowing that our prayers are heard and will be answered even if we do not know in this lifetime. One day we will, and we will have the honor of knowing that God called us to be apart of that. If you liked this blog post and want to read a similar one click here.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you; for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9

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

2.png

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

des3

My neighbor friend from childhood.

Picture1.png

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

yurt.png

Slept one night in a yurt!

mountains.png

Visiting Fairytale Canyon!

Picture2.png

My host brother 🙂

horse

Wild horses

mall

5 Story Mall in Capital

square.png

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