the greatest love of all

Today in NYC I am reminded of the greatest love of all. His love…

Who else grew up LOVING Valentine’s day! I loved bringing in little cards and candies to school and exchanging them with my friends. I loved coming home to seeing my dad bring flowers to us, and see my little brother write cards for my mom. I loved celebrating LOVE! Because it is so good and so awesome and so worthy of being celebrated!

To read my post from last Valentine’s click here!

I love seeing the color of red everywhere, but this month the color red means something different to me than it did in my childhood. This month the color red has been popping everywhere I look. It’s almost like the father is pointing me back to this color for a reason of remeberance of this month dedicated to love. And then I am reminded of the greatest love of all. His love.

Red.

I am reminded of the color of my saviors blood that was shed out of pure and undeserving love for each. one. of. us.

I am reminded of the blood that washed us to be made clean and pure in the eyes of our father.

I am reminded of the blood that was shed for all of humankind. For every race. For every tribe. For every tongue.

I am reminded of the innocent blood that was shed for sinners like us.

I am reminded of the blood that was shed to make a way for us to enter into eternity with God.

I am reminded of the blood that was shed as the only way to the father, and the grace that he displayed for the world by the sacrafice of his one and only son.

I am reminded of the greatest example of love the world has ever seen.

His love does not pick and choose, it isn’t selfish, it’s perfect and it casts out all fear.

There is no fear in his love, the more we know him on deeper and inimate levels the less we fear because of how great he is, and how much we grow in relationship to trust him at all times, through every season of life.

As we celebrate love today I smile because of the love the father has shown me, his love that makes me whole, that sets me free, that washes away all fears, that instills confidence into me knowing that someone laid down their life, just to know me. Wow, I don’t know about you but that is powerful, that kind of love shouldn’t be overlooked or taken lightly.

His love is so great, he is love himself. I was thinking about our father and his love, and wanting to become more like my father is to become more like his love. Don’t you want to exude love in all areas so when someone looks at you, they know whose daugher you are, whose son you are based purely on the love we become in his image! The love that he himself gives us that grows each day, even when we don’t “feel” it. His love doesn’t end, it isn’t selective and he loves at all times. Today I challenge you to become more like our father, to become his love each and everyday. Even when it is really hard, and when we don’t feel love, let us become love, and show love to everyone!

Become the love. Become his love.

I am changed by his love, set free by his love, captivated in the greatness of his love. If you want this too, then I encourage you to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, the greatest lover of our souls, the one who died just to know you! Because he sees past every mistake, there is no condemnation, he isn’t judging you, he is waiting with his arms open wide for you. He chooses to love us back to wholeness regardless of what we have done wrong.

When he looks at you, he loves you, and all he wants is you! He will never leave you or disappoint you, he will have a plan even when life gets tough, he will hold you close through every trial and storm, he will be the only one that will give you peace and love that will cast all fears of this life away. You can say that prayer today and have him live inside of your heart everyday, changing you into his image as we walk closer and live life with Jesus! It starts by believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is the son of God, he died and rose again, that he is the only way to heaven and he is our salvation!

You are ALL LOVED SO MUCH!

Happy Valentines day!

Love Devon ❤

“We love because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

“If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

1 John 4:12

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

-Jeremiah 31:3

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What compels you to be alive? 

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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!

here i will be, until he calls me to go

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It has been two months, since I have called this place my new home.

New York City

and until the Lord calls me out, or to go , here I will be, here I will stay.

I trust him, even when I didn’t want to,

getting to this exact point wasn’t easy.

From red dirt roads, to shining lights and busy streets, this is where I will be.

I too had to learn again to let go and trust him, even when it was really hard.

I remember saying “goodbye” to the kids until I returned a few months later, and will always go to and from Africa, but in that moment, on my end it was the closing of my year living in Africa. A significant and sobering moment for me. 

Holding myself together as the kids each wanted to roll my luggage and throw it into the back of the van. Climbing in asking if they could come with me to America. Holding onto my hands, wrapped themselves around me, goodbye. Looking into their little eyes, sparkling with life and joy, radiating light. Hearing their little voices say “Auntie Devon, when do you come back?” 

As hard and devastating moment that was, I saw a glimpse of why God even called me to this nation years ago. The prayers I prayed as a young child, each standing before me, a name, a face, a story, a salvation, a future. A nation changed stood before me in the form of young faces and bright eyes with hopes to become something they once never imagined. 

The faces of tomorrow, the dreamers, silence breakers, world changers. There they stood. God’s children who were once lost, and now found, there they stood. Healed and transformed through his love.

I caught a glimpse of this purposeful life I speak about, seeing a small bit of the fruit of a year loving on children who became my own when there was nothing I could offer but love, and knew that if this is all God had called me here to do, I was amazed, but I know there is more, a lot more! 

Being strong for them, waving to their little faces until the car drove up the hill and turned on the main road, I started sobbing the whole ride to the airport with my face cupped in between my hands. Gazing out the window to see the sun rise and give the orange dirt roads a golden glow, the very dirt roads that felt like home the first time I stepped foot on them 7 years ago. My heart was breaking, it felt like it was being ripped out and torn apart, telling myself this, God I trust you.

God I trust you.

I trust you.

I trust you with my life, even when it doesn’t make sense to me.

Trust you into the unknown.

I’d like to think I had a back and forth with God about this. I wanted to hold onto each and every memory and moment. Wanting them to last forever, which they will, but he needed me elsewhere and I needed to be obedient to what he was calling me, because there is NO place I would rather be than the center of his will for my life. That doesn’t mean easy, or it doesn’t make sense sometimes on paper, but if God calls, he needs our action, he needs our movement. He needs our yes.

So here we go,

Moving, again.

I went to Africa with this mindset. I will be here as long as the Lord needs me. It could be a month, it could be 2 years. Either way I am here until he gives me a clear signal that it is time to go home, until he sends me out again.

That sign, it came in July.

For months I prayed, and waited, waited upon the Lord wondering when he would answer this question. I felt overwhelmed, and didn’t want to figure it out on my own. I didn’t want to make a decision in my own strength. I wanted this to be clearly of the Lord.

I was in Kenya in July, that was a hearing trip for me. I heard clearly from the Lord it was time to now go back to New York City. This was confirmed by many others.

I struggled at first because I wanted to hold onto my time in Ghana, but I felt the grace that he had given me for this part of my life was lifting, it wasn’t as “easy” as it once was. I felt myself getting annoying sitting in hours of traffic just to get a simple task done, I found myself not being able to deal with the lack of power and constant humidity, when there were months I didn’t even think about it or seem to mind it. I started to get frustrated that I couldn’t just pick up the phone and hear my parents voices when I felt I needed to. These things that God had given me grace to was starting to lift. What that means is he is starting to shake you out of where you have been because he is bringing you somewhere brand new.

Somewhere different. I look back on those days, the most joyful and challenging days of my life. I know that was not something I did in my own strength, that was all his grace that was made perfect in all my weaknesses.

Grace is simply this, a simple person doing what they could never do through God’s strength. This is what it all comes down too. Grace.

So then what?

I bought my plane ticket and started to prepare for my last few weeks living there. This isn’t something I have closed the door on, in my eyes this is a season, a chapter that the most perfect author has written, God needed me there in that exact time frame for a reason, he was preparing me for where he has placed me now, and until he calls me to go or move, here I will be, waiting and trusting his ways are higher than mine.

I had different things presented to me but I felt strongly that New York City was where God was calling me. That is all I knew and I trusted him.

There was a time where I really reconsidered not coming back, and staying there. My love for the nation and children hasn’t left, the calling is still there, but I want to share with you a little secret, you can be called to Africa, and that calling doesn’t mean you have to drop everything and move there forever and ever and ever( and if you do that is wonderful too)  you can be called to Africa and never even step foot there, but God has placed a burden so strongly on your heart where even your prayers are changing nations and people’s lives.

Callings look so different. Don’t think you can’t be called somewhere if you don’t permanently move there. I think of people like Katie Davis, who is called to Africa, I think of my dad who has never lived there but has a strong calling placed upon on his life with a heart and burden for orphans in Africa. I’ve learned that those burdens and hearts are the fathers, he gives us his heart for what breaks his, and he will give you a heart and burden for what he needs you to do, because if you weren’t moved, you probably wouldn’t care, and not caring is not doing or taking action! So God calls to different nations and cities and places, because his light needs to shine in the darkness! He needs to reach everyone, so we all have a heart for what he has given us! It is a blessing 🙂

So, I really had to trust him with what he was calling me back to. I needed a heart for this new place, this new city, I needed a heart because I know He is always going to use you wherever he sends you.

Last year, I was in the city, and said to the Lord, “God if I never get to live here, its okay, I surrender even this dream to you.”

Here I am, a year later, and NYC is my new home, I love following his steps, he never gives us the full picture, but he calls us, and he wants us to step out, again and again and again.

I think about all that God has done in my first 2 months in the city, and I think about how I would have missed out if I choose in my own strength to stay. I know God is growing and expanding this to change even more lives both in America and Africa and beyond for his glory.

So right now, on this day, he needs me here in NYC for such a time as this. There is a lot that I will be praying about to share with you!

If God is calling you and he only gives you a little bit, take it and trust him for the rest. I love how grand things can only start with small steps of trust and obedience. Big things never start with big things, they start with small steps and complete trust in who is directing their steps!

Obeying his will and knowing our father has the best for us in mind, better than we can imagine, even when we aren’t sure. It is easy for us to doubt but when God says go, we go in his name! Because when we know who our father is, we trust him with our lives.

“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

 

Have a wonderful weekend

you are all loved,

Dev

 

 

impact, legacy and love

Impact. Legacy. Love.

These three words keep resurfacing to my mind. They remind me of what truly matters in life.

At the dedication ceremony the night the Village of Hope opened Terry Meeuwsen shared something I will never forget and I quoted her in this blog post. And just like I said in that blog post I will say it again, it will truly never leave me. And I will share it again today. The best investment we can make…

 It’s not enough to make a lot of money, it’s not enough to live in big houses. You want to leave your mark on the world and I admire that, that is a God call on your life. 

The world will have loud voices that will try to deter you from that, don’t listen.

Because the only game in town that matters, is the game that touches lives. You see none of these things we have not our clothing, not our houses, not our possessions, we don’t get to take any of it with us. There’s only one thing we get to take, other people. So you have the opportunity to invest in something of eternal significance. Not everybody gets that. 

This is what it all comes down too, leaving an impact for Jesus and leaving a legacy for Jesus and what he has called us to do. To play our small parts in this earth to fill it with his glory. To love others, and spend our lives sharing the love of Christ with everyone he leads us too. We don’t all have to go to Africa, but we all have the chance to love, create impact and leave a legacy. We all have the chance to invest in what truly matters.

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I think of my father and the love he has for people. He just radiates love, and everyone loves him back. It is so natural and so inspiring to see. He embodies Christ’s love and he already has made such a powerful impact on this world for the kingdom, I am excited to continue see God use him. An example and mentor that I am blessed enough to call dad.

 

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This women and her heart. Her love alone has left an impact that rings throughout the world and continues to change and uplift so many vulnerable lives for God’s glory.

To fall more in love with Christ is to become more like him, and when Christ is love, we become the love of Christ and other’s will see that inside of us. Each one of us has the ability and chance to create impact somewhere in our world, even our own homes and families. We have a chance to leave a legacy for his glory and kingdom and a chance to spend our lives loving the one who gave everything for us.

Be blessed today.

you are loved! you WILL create impact and leave legacy in his name!

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.

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Another PNN Vision Trip

 

 

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Traveled to Kenya with Orphan’s Promise

 

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Welcomed new children

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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!

purpose, identity and new realizations

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” Psalms 138:8

 

It has been a crazy, beautiful, exciting past 6 months to say the least. ( Can anyone else relate!? ) Side note: how are we so close to 2018! Has this year not flown by way too fast! I’m hoping to write another blog about what I learned in 2017, like I did with 2016.

I have flown on more flights than I would like to count (or hours slept/not slept on those flights 😉 drove more hours than I can remember, but met countless individuals from around the world whose stories I will never forget. Stories that I will treasure forever. 

Somewhere in these past 6 months God has done a new work inside me, showing himself in ways more profound than I have ever seen before. Seeing his hand move across the world to reach all of his creation, all of his precious children. There is no-one too far or low in the eyes of God that he will not reach.

There are many things that He has brought to my attention and almost highlighted to me, laying new burdens upon my heart. He never ceases to stop expanding it as I continue this journey with Him. Even when it doesn’t seem humanly possible that He could expand it, He does, and it humbles me each time. Through it all I came to this, and I know I already “knew” this but this never will get old, you never stop understanding this, it actually becomes more beautiful as we mature in our journeys with God, loving and emulating Christ and pursuing His will even when it looks crazy, or uncertain.

The same Jesus that we worship and love, the same blood that was shed for each of us, was shed for all of humanity. Think about that. One blood covers all of humanity. It does not pick and choose, it does not leave out, or forget. It covers each one of us. One blood for one people, that’s us, all of us.

This is so simple yet profound to not just hear or read it, but to have the chance to travel places you’d never imagine, seeing people groups you’d never heard about. And seeing these people for who God created them to be. To experience a small part of their reality, as some are “forgotten” people groups, outcasts, mistreated or left to fend for themselves. To see these people with a new heart that God has, and how our hearts starts to break for what breaks His. It’s not His will for his children to live like this, and it grieves him, the same way it grieved and broke my heart in ways I cannot even explain. And to know that Christ died for each one of them, that he covered them with his blood to have eternal life is a humbling, simple and a profound realization coming face to face with this reality.

We are all one, we all struggle and love, we all struggle to love. We make mistakes, we get impatient or jealous. We get insecure, we want what we don’t have, we are too harsh on ourselves, we choose to base worth on things that don’t matter, we all have the potential to hope and dream, we all can become something great. We all have the ability to fear, and overcome that fear. We all fail. We are all created with purpose.

Purpose in identity that Christ gives us when he died on the cross for all of humanity. I think one of the biggest things that people today struggle with is identity. They don’t know who they are, but they want to. So they try things, they spend their lives trying to figure out. When they never had to “try” in the first place.

“Who am I”, “What is my worth” “Why am I here.” 

I am excited to write another post and share how I struggled with these same questions. I wouldn’t want anyone reading this to think that I never thought this either.

The root of this issue is identity. Once we know who we are IN CHRIST, everything changes. Everything changes!

Each one of us is created with divine purpose. We aren’t just on earth right now, for such a time as this, on this very day to try to find in our own strength what the purpose is. We have it because HE gave it to us. Christ died for us out of selfless love, and because he knows we each have value. There was a price and he paid it, ask yourself, if there was no value or purpose on my life then why did God send his only son to pay such a large price? Why? Because we HAVE value and purpose, and because he loves us so much, he gives us identity in him.

Sometimes it takes jumping out of your comfort zone, loving others, using the gifts God gave you for His good to figure it out. It takes spending time in his word and reading His will for our lives. It is about spending time with the creator and lover of our soul.

I am looking forward to really sharing personal stories from my past trips to Zambia, Ukraine and Kenya and even trips I have taken here in the US. I have so much to share so you think it would be easy, but sometimes the things we feel the most are the hardest to put into words. Because even the words we try to use don’t seem adequate. There are so many things I look forward to writing about and sharing!

Is there any suggestions you have, anything you want me to focus on in particular? Any trip or experience you would like to hear about! Please comment or email me, I really would appreciate it.

You are ALL Loved,

you all have purpose, value and identity in Christ,

Dev

 

 

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

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