will you not forget the forgotten.

12:50 am, a little past my bedtime. late night blogging = the best blogging… sometimes, I’m trying to be brave + going out on a limb here + share some thoughts, hopes and new dreams…this late at night, can you tell I can’t sleep + have something on my mind? i’m deciding to overcome my fear of being judged of sharing my heart by knowing this.
there is something powerful that happens when people unite, things change, and our world changes too. and if i care enough about this, then someone out there does too
ref·u·geeˌrefyo͝oˈjē/
noun
plural noun: refugees
  1. a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
    “tens of thousands of refugees fled their homes”

What is a refugee, what does it feel like to be forced to leave your country? What does it feel like to live in a constant state of fear of a war, a bomb, hunger and the displacement of friends and family members. What does it feel like to run away from home and never look back? What does it feel like to have your family killed by evil people? What does it feel like to see your home burned or destroyed to the ground? What does it feel like to have no one show up for you? What does it feel like when other countries don’t want you either? What does it feel like to watch thousands around you die? What does it feel like to starve to death? What does it feel like to be persecuted for your faith, what does it feel like to be a forgotten people group? What does it feel like to be a forgotten person? What does it feel like to be a refugee?

Maybe you want to click away, maybe this is going in a different direction than you thought. And that is okay, I am not pushing any political views or opinions. I am simply sharing the deepest burdens on my heart. I am just sharing my vision I have for the future. I am just sharing hope in knowing among this evilness,  God still reigns, and God can always interfere in a bad situation, that God can turn things around. That God can bring rain to a dry wasteland. From my heart to your screen, I’m sharing something very different today. And different happens to be a good thing from time to time. 

These questions weigh heavily upon my heart as I sit behind my screen reading stories from different ongoing civil wars around the world that have left millions of innocent people misplaced, forgotten and in severe devastation.

I am not sure what I can do. My heart says go, but I know this is not a logical answer at this exact moment. Sitting on my bed writing this blog from a safe and comfortable place not living in fear I want to do something. I don’t want to just sit back and not do anything. So I’ll write, and spread awareness in hopes that this ignites the interest of one other heart, we we can join our hearts and pray for these nations experiencing this together in Christ.

I wish I could show up and be there for them, to listen to their hardships to provide them with a meal, to show them love. To show them that they matter, and that I care about what is happening in their life. I wish I could physically hug them, or hold their hands and give them promises of hope, unspoken promises of a change in their lives. I know I can pray and I will be praying for these people all around the world who suffer hourly, who live in fear, and who struggle to keep themselves alive.

Refugees are people like me and you. They are no different, we are all people. We all deserve to enjoy the same rights no matter where we are in this world. We don’t deserve this, and we shouldn’t allow it to happen in this day and age.

What has caught my attention and has weighed so heavily upon my heart, which brings me to tears and I am not even sure why is what is going on in South Sudan. But it has truly been on my heart, for some reason I love this place and I believe in these people. I want to see peace and I want to see victory for them.

A year and a half ago I felt a burden on my heart for this country and have since been praying that one day things will change. Because we serve a big God who turns things around, and makes the impossible possible.

The world’s newest country, a place where civil war has been going on since 2013. More than 3 million people where half are children are displaced and scattered throughout Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia. I pray these people feel accepted in their new home, isn’t that what we all want. To be accepted and to be wanted. Imagine not being wanted anywhere.

This civil war is not just fighting, it is forcing their own people to leave.

This is a humanitarian crisis. The UN is calling for 1.4 billion to help restore and create programs for the South Sudanese people. Thousands of civilians are being killed for their ethnicity or perceived political views. Schools, hospitals, clinics have been destroyed and abandoned.

People are fleeing from their own homes, from their own countries. Where is their hope, what is their outlook on life? How can they have hope when everything around them is so dangerous, violent and uncertain?

And we have to do something. We have to use our voices for these people, because we are all one, we are all people, and we should all care. 

We have the ability to use our voices through social media connecting the world and making it a much smaller place. It’s a dangerous and cryptic divide of the advantages and disadvantages the internet creates in our lives. But I know for a fact that millennials have experienced what no past generation has before, and I believe that if we come together in a common cause we can make a difference. It has been done before and it’ll happen again, and I pray it happens for South Sudan in our lifetime.

Maybe this means nothing to you, maybe you don’t think about refugees often, or South Sudan, or other countries that are struggling to find relief or solutions for corrupt and unjust situations. And that is okay I am not urging or telling you  what to believe in. I’m just using this space to share the thoughts that keep me awake at night. The dreams of one day going to a place like South Sudan, or the hopes that one day things WILL change. Not only here but other suffering and forgotten people groups around the world. For the unreachable, for the forgotten.

I believe in a day where South Sudan will have peace, I believe in a day where South Sudan will have just leadership and I believe that in the 21st century we shouldn’t allow mass famines to happen, we shouldn’t forget, what if we were forgotten?

If you feel led would you join your hearts with these people, will you remember to pray for them, will you not forget the forgotten in South Sudan. Would you hope for peace to rule over this nation sooner than later.

We are the world, we are created for a purpose. I believe we all have a similar purpose to stand up for humankind, I believe that we were created to love, serve and be evolutions of change and innovation. Let’s make this world a better place before we leave it, let’s unite our hands and hearts together. I hope this inspired just one of you. Let’s make a change, let’s be the change, let’s be changed.

your heart + their hearts = one united people 

Be the change = be the changeD

Romans 12:9-13

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 

Thanks for reading, 

you are all loved,

Dev

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

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

writer’s block&new directions

Call it writer’s block, a busy day, whatever you want to call it. I haven’t found the words to describe past experiences, feelings, really anything.

One way I can describe it is having your heart feel full and empty at the same time. I’m not sure if anyone who is reading can relate, or maybe you can completely relate.

What I am trying to get at is the part of life that is hard, complicated, frustrating, sometimes even sad that brings you to a point where you feel like you’ve hit empty. zero. nothing.

Then on the other side, you see God’s glory and light upon your life. You see all that you have been spared from, protected from. You see a new path, and a new direction that the Lord is taking you. Sometimes I wish I could pour out my heart completely and write about everything that has made my heart to feel both empty and full at the same time. But I want to keep somethings private.

I am not perfect. I fall short everyday. I am learning as God takes me through steps now as someone placed in a position of leadership, and he shows me which ways to walk, to help remind me of my own selfishness in thinking in my small human sized brain not always understanding God’s magnificent and beautiful picture that he is painting. Recently I heard a preaching about learning “how do you know it is bad thing” basically the preaching was telling us that when things happen, moments where we find ourselves asking God why? How do we really know that it is indeed a bad thing?

We don’t know how he is molding us, shaping us, preparing us, guiding us, saving us from. He uses it all for his glory, for his purpose for our lives. Even the moments where I find myself being confronted with a feeling of being fulfilled and empty at the same time I know that God is teaching me something, my faith is being tested and strengthened.

Maybe some of you have felt this feeling before, maybe in a different way than I am. Maybe your experiences are different, but you feel a sense of sadness mixed in with your joys and countless blessings. Asking God why? Some of us pointing our fingers to him, some of us shaking our heads, some of us bowing down before him on our knees pleading God why, desperately waiting for an answer.

God answers prayers, in different ways at different times. And sometimes when bad things happen to really good people, we might never see the reason here. And sometimes we might never get the answer that we expected, wanted or could understand. Some things we will never understand. It’s part of being human, right? But to simply KNOW that the creator of heaven and earth is working things out for YOUR good is enough for me. It is enough for me to know that these feelings and experiences will pass, but his love will never fade. It WILL last forever. Just ask yourself right now, simply by thinking of your loved ones, your jobs, your money, your health your homes, friends…will any of it last forever? Is any of it guaranteed to last till tomorrow? No. None of it will last forever. I don’t want what kind of year you are having, or what is on the horizon for you?

If you are walking with the lord and things are looking good. Praise him

If you are walking with the lord and things are looking bad. Praise him

If you aren’t walking with the lord I am not here to tell you that you should, that is your decision to make, but I will tell you that when you accept Jesus into your heart and as your personal savior, believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that he died and rose again, and by his blood that was shed made a way for you to enter into an eternity with God, sparing you of death, having a relationship with him, talking to him, being comforted and knowing that you are never alone. Gives me peace, purpose and a new understanding of who my role model should be. Not looking to this world for validation, searching for something to fill that place deep inside of your being where you feel alone, sad, and unfilled. I will tell you that there is only one true thing that can “fix” or “fill” that void and it is Jesus. Always, only Jesus.

I am not sure I ended this blog in the way I was planning, just sat down to write. I guess God took this another direction than what I had originally planned. That could be another blog post on it’s own. I have tried to write these past couple of weeks but the words just didn’t come, and I never want to publish something if it is not sincere and from my heart. I don’t know what tomorrow looks like, or if my power will be on in one hour from now. I don’t know all that 2017 will throw my way, or how the enemy will try to distract, or discourage me from working in this ministry but I will promise you that you have a better chance of clinging unto God’s promises when those times come, rather than clinging to a worldly foundation that will never last, that will fade and erode away. Again, if anyone wants to talk more about anything, please do not hesitate to email me 🙂

You are all loved and appreciated, your life matters, and you were created with a purpose!

Love from a very Sunny and hot day here in Ghana!

Dev

When the storm comes

Happy new year! I have missed blogging and will be posting a Life Lately Holiday edition very soon! So you can see all that we did since my last blog post. New years brings many things, everyone likes to start making goals, setting resolutions for the new year as it feels like a clean slate or a chance for us to hit the reset button on our lives. We can make a list of goals, we can choose to be intentional about those goals and we can put forth our best foot forward to better ourselves in the new year to come. One thing that we have no control over is our circumstances or storms that may come, after we have set these exciting and refreshing goals.

I am sharing only from personal experience. I was so excited about the new year and still am. I can hear what God is speaking to me about what 2017 will mean in my life. If 2016 had a theme it would be “a dream come true” and “God’s faithfulness” getting the chance to actually taste God’s goodness and the promises that He had made from my childhood. Watching precious and innocent lives being healed, restored and renewed. With that also came trials, and hardships as we believers can expect.

What I have learned is this. Trials will always come. Never once in the bible does it say that once we are one with Christ we will never face hardship! No God tells us over and over again this will surely come, this is something we cannot be blind from. I have faced trials and hardships in my life, some darker than I’d like to share, but it seems as my faith is strengthened they seem to get harder or bigger. Because God would never allow one without us having the ability to handle it. God knows our limit, He knows how much we can take. God tells us in the bible He will never give us more than we can handle, He makes so many promises that He will see us through, that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.

I love reading Matthew 8:23-27. And if you have time today! You should too!

Jesus calms the storm. This is something the Lord has really put on my heart and spoken to me this past week as the storm in my own life seemed to overwhelm and sadden me. I felt like God was saying don’t look at the natural, look to me, trust me. I will see you through. I can’t imagine being on a boat with Jesus, and a great storm approaches. I wonder what my reaction would be. If I would wake him up or sit watching the storm approach trusting that because he is with me no evil could overtake us! But then I think of my initial reaction to this knowing that Christ is with me, and see that TRUSTING is hard! That we must remove our eyes off what is going on in the natural, pray about it and look unto him. God wants storms to mold us to become more like Jesus. The most perfect example of who we are to become more and more like everyday.

So let me ask you this. So why is so hard to believe it when you are walking through it? One hardship that changed my life as I know it happened a few years ago. The only thing I could do is cling onto His promises for my life, choosing to see all the good in my life and speak his goodness into existence. Speaking that only by His grace I would get through, so in the end all who saw or heard would know it is only God who could do such a thing. So that HE gets all the glory, so others can see that it is not by or through our abilities, it is only through His.

It seems that once the new year began, and plans were being made, a storm had emerged, and amidst that trial more seem to intercede. More than I felt like “I” could handle, facing one that seemed much “bigger” and harder than the others. I found myself feeling completely stripped down of everything and everyone that makes me feel comfortable. I also found myself feeling completely alone. The thing is I AM NEVER ALONE. I have a God who doesn’t sleep or slumber, a God who called me to such a thing, that He would never leave me in. This is what I know. That we are to go through these trials knowing that God will see us through. We have three choices.

We can

1. Question God, ask him why me? Why are you doing this to me? How could you allow this?

2. Turn from God, and try to run as far as you can to avoid the trial in your life. Which will never help.

3. Hang in there, persevere and draw even closer to God, praying and relying on the promises he has made us, filling yourself with his word to get you through.

God allows trials in our lives to strengthen our faith and reveal to us things that we couldn’t have seen before. We see how deep our faith is, and we see how fully dependable we truly need to become. And if God wants to build and strengthen your faith he has to STRETCH YOU!

I find myself thinking “God I can’t handle this anymore” “God I am being stretched more than I think I can handle.” This makes me think about lyrics from one of my favorite songs Oceans by Hillsong United.

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Singing these words, that even among the waves I would keep my eyes above the waves. That through following God into the unknown my faith would be made stronger. Knowing that we are in the presence of our Savior. I can say with hope in expectation that He will see me through, that He is building my faith, preparing a path before me for the works to come. You can never stop learning, you can never stop being stretched, you should NEVER give up as hard and dark as it will seem! God blesses those who persevere. He even tells us this…

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”James 1:2-5

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

You see God promises us over and over again that even in storms, dark times He is at work making it turn out for our good. God will NEVER allow a bad situation to occur without producing good, even if we cannot see it right away.

So be encouraged through anything you face that you can rely on the one who has created this earth, in the one who gave you a purpose for this life.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ” Romans 8:28

It doesn’t say that God works somethings for the good of those who love him. He says ALL THINGS! So through this new year, would you keep this in mind, would you try to spend time in God’s word so He can speak to you, strengthen you, encourage you. So you would understand and know His promises so when trials come you can pray them back to Him. Faithfully expecting a good outcome, an outcome that you will thank God for in the long run, because through hardship your true character and faith will be revealed.

I am praying for all of you and your families, whether we have met or not. Your life has purpose, all of ours are different, but remember how special you are in the eyes of the one who created you. Don’t forget to call out to Him, He’s listening.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

You are loved,

Dev

 

reflecting on a beautiful year

In one week it’ll be Christmas, and soon after that it’ll be New Years and then 2016 will come to a close. Every New Years I get super emotional, and end up crying about something (happy tears) on how amazing, fast, surprising and exciting life can be, and how I wish I could treasure and remember each moment or hold onto it before it becomes a distant memory. So on this post, I am sharing some lessons I learned in 2016.

Watching my four years at Carolina come to close. It’s true when they say college will fly by. That was hard to close a whole chapter, say goodbye to friends, not knowing when I’ll see them again. I learned that graduating from college is an emotional experience ( I cried a lot) and education is an amazing resource to better yourself and prepare you for your future. To my time at UNC I’ll never forget it, to those who were a part of it. Thank you. I miss seeing your faces everyday. Walking on the most beautiful campus in the country, and seeing the old well. Those were truly the best 4 years of my life. And I’ll never like Duke 😉

Almost tasting a NCAA National Championship. That loss was heartbreaking, but watching UNC students come together and share the loss together was a life changing experience in itself. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Living with my best friends through it brought us closer together. Sports bond people together, they will forever.

Saying goodbye to life as a student. That was interesting, to finish what you have done your whole life. I wouldn’t be lying if I told you that I miss going to class and seeing my friends, and just “being a student.” 

Traveling with your best friends. 2016 was a year where I traveled so much with my friends. That was amazing, I am not sure when I’ll ever get that time again with my best friends to laugh, travel, experience new cities and just enjoy each other’s company before going separate ways and entering into a new phase of life called “adulthood.” To Tara, Marisa, Cate and Sarah, I miss you all and will never forget the places we went or experiences we shared. Thank you for being the best friends. My life wouldn’t be the same without you four.

Moving to Africa. That was a life changing experience (and still is) in itself. The exciting part quickly became reality and hardships will come and go but I am learning every. single. day.

Write. Write, journal, document, blog about your life and experiences. Nothing captures life better than writing. Write your story down, your life matters, and you’ll want to one day read it and be so present in that moment again.

Saying goodbye to friends and family. That was difficult, but I came to see Ghana and the people here as my family too. 

Family. I got to have all four of my family members to travel to Ghana and experience the Village of Hope. Having a supportive family is everything. Watching my passion become their own is so exciting! I wouldn’t make it very far without  their love and encouragement.  My kids see my family as their own. 

Friendships. The right friends aren’t only concerned about sharing laughs, they are there to hold your hand and hear you cry. TO build you up and encourage you. Distance won’t create a difference when you find true friendships. And when you do I am confident you’ll be friends till the end.

Watching my childhood dream come true. That was a moment that no words could describe. It was truly an out of body experience, a day that I will never forget. A day that will always be the best day of my life.

Dreaming. Dream, don’t stop dreaming. Have a dream, set a goal and work toward seeing your dream come to life. And when it does start all over again. Don’t stop dreaming. 

Leadership. Stepping into a different leadership role, making decisions is hard and emotional, especially working so close with people and kids. But God will ALWAYS equip you and give you wisdom and discernment, just ask, pray and seek His will.

Hope. There is always hope, on the other side, through any darkness or brokenness. There is hope in Christ. There is hope for all lives to have limitless potential. Unlock hope. 

Meeting the kids that I prayed for my entire life. That embodied every emotion that we experience, they are my kids, and always will be. 

Becoming a mother figure to 22 kids. That was incredible, hard, difficult and amazing. Still learning more about being seen as their mother, and how family is the most important thing. Family is for life.

Life in Africa. For once in my life I know that I am laying my head to sleep and waking up in the place I am supposed to be.

Spending my first holiday away from my family in a different country, on a different continent. I have a week left to experience that but I will let you know how it all goes.

Saying yes again and again and again. Say yes! To new experiences, say YES to life and all that it has to offer. Don’t let it slip through your hands! Your life matters, you were created for a purpose, don’t just be content being content! Live your life to the fullest the way GOD created you! 

Don’t give up, on anything, especially what your created to you. Hardships will come, storms will come, disaster will come, but don’t stop doing and fighting for what your created to do. No one said it’d be easy not even God. But He assures us, He promises us that HE WILL NOT LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU. Don’t be discouraged, going through the storm and coming out the other side will only teach you more, and build your faith and character.

When things get rough. It means God is working, He’s on your side, just hold onto His promises and see things come to pass, even when you don’t “feel it.”

Love. That is not a word, feeling or emotion, it is an action, an action of commitment. Loving something or someone is hard, but it is the most invaluable thing we as humans can do. Love is the strongest power there is in this world. Love breaks boundaries, love has no language, love has no limit. And love always wins.

God revealing the next step for PNN. That came much sooner than expected, but His ways are higher than ours. His thoughts are higher than ours. I can’t wait to watch this unfold much sooner than I could have ever imagined. Excited would be an understatement. 

These are just to share a few.

2016 was a year of change. It was a year for me to slowly say goodbye to my life as I knew it, and enter into a completely different life that many people don’t even understand. A life that 2016 was a year of watching God’s faithfulness unfold, in my life, the children’s life, family friends everything. Just as I talked about his faithfulness at the dedication ceremony back in July, this lesson triumphed all others. Here are the lessons I want to share from 2016 that I personally learned.

Life is hard. Life is amazing. Life is exciting. Life is made to be celebrated. Share your experience. Write it down. Your life has significance. You were created for a purpose. Don’t just be okay feeling content. Life is made to be lived. Give your time to people. People whose voices aren’t heard. Choose happiness. Seek the will of God. Everyday, even when it gets hard. Don’t give up. Ever. You have a destiny. Walk into it. Actually run into it. Don’t be afraid to let go, and let GOD. Family is a beautiful thing. Love will always win. Love restores. Love gives life. Love does. Love restores. Love heals. Love is an action. Don’t miss out on your calling. Whatever it is. Don’t look back and say “what if” Have a relationship with Jesus. Get to know him. Talk to him. Spend time in God’s word. The words will jump off the page into your heart. Being young is awesome. Being old is awesome too. Don’t let your age define you. You still have time. Find your passion. Dream. Never stop dreaming. And when your dreams happens, keep dreaming. Let it lead your life. Don’t chase the money, chase your heart. And watch where it’ll bring you.

2016 you’ve been so good soo good. 2017 I’m ready for ya, let’s see what you’ll throw my way.

Your life has significance, you are all loved,

Dev

 

 

22 names

(I wrote this two days ago…but just now posting it)

I don’t know about you but I love writing. I enjoy blogging and sharing my journey with you all(was tempted to say y’all) but it doesn’t stop me from journalling as often as I can. Something about physically writing out your thoughts and seeing your words hit paper is therapeutic. Ever since I was a young girl I would just fill journals up with my thoughts, hopes and dreams for the future. I think God was using this as a way to be writing to myself to prepare my heart, mind and soul for the work He has prepared for me in life. And I haven’t stopped writing, it is my most treasured thing I have. Why? Because it is a true and accurate picture of sharing hopes, dreams, aspirations, inspirations, passion, faith, brokenness, hopelessness and all of the emotions that we feel throughout the course of life.

Going to boarding school and then college journaling was something I slowly stopped doing. Then mid junior year I started again, even if I was wanting to write about UNC, my friends, life or classes I would always end up on the same subject. Ghana(shocker right?) and starting to just write out prayers for my move, preparation for my heart and the unexpected and most importantly for the children. Every night for as long as I can remember I prayed for these very children, without knowing their name, age, place of birth, story or testimony. I just prayed, through my journalling. I filled up an entire journal just of these prayers for these children. 22 was the number of kids that first moved in, and I was 22 when this all came about. 22 and 22, this is surely God’s way of speaking to us, telling us that this is His hand upon our lives. Then I had the chance to write all 22 names on the back of the notebook sitting outside with my kids.Watching them run freely, play in the rain, dance, sing, some sat next to me and wanted to make sure that I had included their name. One even wrote his name 3 more times on the front of the notebook. This was a funny moment that reminded me of all the different and amazing personalities that I find myself living with and loving.

Tonight in particular was that amazing night that made me to pull out this pink notebook that I started in 2015 full of everything that I feel I witnessed tonight. We had our prayer night and tonight one of our boys led it. I cannot tell you the strength and wisdom that God has given this young boy in particular. The way he prayed really left me to be speechless. God doesn’t care about your age, background, anything. He just looks at the heart. I prayed each night for them, and now I am hearing them pray these exact prayers of protection, guidance, unconditional love, and provision back for me. He even went on to pray for all the staff, foster moms and even the supporters in the US. He prayed for any supporter that he doesn’t know who is mindful enough to donate that God would richly bless their lives.

Tonight was one of those nights where you feel grateful to just be alive. Grateful to just serve a God who is so much bigger than we can understand. Grateful to be able to love, and be loved by a God, and by these children who show me how much the father’s love can grow. How deep and never ending love is, how powerful it is, and how perfect love casts out all fear.Grateful to serve a God who so carefully pieces together our lives, and unites us with the ones were supposed to be with from different sides of the world. In our prayer circle I look at the different faces of our children and remember their stories. Their stories are a real life examples of the father’s love and how the father has listened to our prayers. I see their faces and think about how crazy it is that he picked me up and placed me in this rural part of Ghana, and brought children from different parts of the country, and some other countries, and placed us all here. I feel humbled everyday to be a small part of God’s work and how he is moving so powerfully in 2016. At this very moment. I see how God is moving in their hearts, and minds, and I am in awe. 

You see when I wrote this journal

  • was a student at UNC
  • had no clue what life in Ghana would really look like
  • who, or how many children would be coming into our care
  • how truly amazing they each are
  • how difficult this work is
  • how much GOD would come through for me time and time and time again
  • how long I would even stay in Ghana

And then I…

packed up my bags

moved to a new country

across the ocean

on a different continent

far away from everything and anything I knew or was used to

not knowing that I’d stay more than a few months

not knowing that I’d start to see and call Ghana home

(cross, check and check)

You see there was SO many questions, and unanswered things, yet I just kept writing and writing and praying to prepare myself, I am not sure if anything could ever fully prepare myself for this, but just like my other post God is near, He is with us every step of the way.

I continue to fill  a new journal up, with hopes, dreams, aspirations, passions and stories of life in Ghana, so this moment will never escape me. Trying to capture the real moments that makes my time so unique here. The hardships, the frustrations, the difficulties, the amazing moments and all the in between moments.(Like watching the kids play a game on my phone, or watching them dance after school, writing down the funny things they say and do, and hearing their future dreams.) So that when I am older and have seen where God has taken my life and PNN I can just open my journal and find myself right back in Ghana. Where it all began.

With the first 22 names written on the back of my pink notebook. The 22 names who have become the greatset lawyers,doctors, engineers, presidents, pastors, nurses Ghana has yet to see. And in that moment I will smile, and just remember them as my first 22, and be able to treasure these amazing moments.

You are all loved,

Dev