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

 

 

One world, one people 

 “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens your faithfulness, to the skies.” Psalm 36:5

These past 2 weeks in Kenya have been life changing. From working in the slums + hanging with orphans in Nairobi to traveling far to this remote Maasai Village, I discovered something worth sharing. Somewhere between sharing meals and meeting amazing people living their day to day lives while exploring this country I was able to realize this.

Our similarities are much stronger than our differences. When we choose to acknowledge this we become an unstoppable force of community + love and see ourselves as a united world rather than divided people groups. It’s known that when we come together as one, as a untied force we become unstoppable in the pursuit of working together towards a common goal.

Rather than judge or perceive others to be different based upon the clothes they wear, their economic status or level of education it’s more important to see and connect with their hearts + souls and listen to their stories and learn from them, and connect on our similarities. Choosing to respect differences and see them as beautiful.

This photo was taken hours after 2 rhinos walked by this Maasai Village. And while not one of the people from this village seemed to notice, I was so excited experiencing a everyday “norm” that was so different than my day to day life.


This village has no electricity + running water and I felt like I had moved backwards in time I was still able to connect and appreciate the beauty of this simple lifestyle, and bond with new friends over dreams they had for themselves and this village. I got to speak with Maasai around my age that were schooling in Nairobi, one studying engineering and the other agriculture. They spoke about their dreams to return to their village after college and make a difference there by uplifting the community. 

We are citizens of not just our homeland but our world. We are all one, when we start to realize that we can push each other to dream bigger dreams, live with meaning and serve others with purpose and love each other the way we’ve never loved before. When we see ourselves as one world we see ourselves as one people, and someone’s dreams+ hardships become as important as your own. God created each of us unique and special, we are his handiwork which he created for good with works to be done in advance. When we love ourselves, we must love our world because we have a commitment to make to the people around us that we all deserve to be treated, seen and valued as equals.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

“So now Faith, Hope and Love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13


“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” John 1:16

The story of “Mine”

This blog is a little different, I’m sharing a story of a little boy I met ten years ago. I’m sharing his story.

Through my years going on different mission trips and experiencing new places and people majority of the lessons I’ve learned comes down to these two things.

There is power in listening to people’s stories, these are our greatest examples of hope.

Love truly changes lives.

The first time I stepped out of my comfort zone and directly into others lives without fully understanding or comprehending it was my church’s first middle school mission trip. I remember hearing my pastor talk about how this would be life changing and “good for young teens” signing up with no clue what would happen during a week in Mississippi. This was after Hurricane Katrina after many families were displaced and hurting and left in devastation with little or no help from anyone.

Our week there was spent rebuilding and painting homes as well as connecting and bonding with the local community. I remember getting close with the little girl who my group was particularly helping. I remember walking through the rainy streets of a local neighborhood in a small and rural town in Mississippi as she told me the different stories of the families that lived there, one sadder than the next.

Although I was in middle school this impacted me greatly, and everyone else on the trip. I remember nearing the end of the street when a little boy in a white t-shirt stood behind the frame of a broken down door looking at the two of us walking down the street. I asked what his name was and what his story was. I honestly do not remember now, I know his story broke my heart, but I will never forget him, and think and pray for him often.

His name was “Mine” and he eventually came behind the door and we bonded and spent the whole week together. He would eat lunch with my group everyday and we would spilt peanut butter and jelly wonder bread sandwiches, he wore my sunglasses and taught me how to dance to the cupid shuffle with other friendly children on his block. I remember one dance party after lunch in a cracked pavement driveway and just laughing and swinging all the kids around. I’m sure every other middle schooler on this trip could remember that dance party also. Mine and I were together the whole time, he even started to help us repaint the home we were working on and introduced me to his friends that started to come around as well. He also wanted to give back to his community although no one ever helped him. He started be affected and changed by love. His rough and mature exterior started to soften and I could see him smile behind the hurt in his young eyes.

I remember the last day it was raining, we were all in clear plastic ponchos putting the finishing touches on the home. I remember knowing we would leave that day and maybe never return again. This reality shook me to my core. And then it was time for goodbyes, we took our last pictures with all the local kids on our disposal cameras and prayed for each other one last time knowing we might not ever see these people again.

I walked Mine to the end of the street for the last time and my heart felt so heavy not knowing what life would have in store for this young child but holding onto to something that God had our paths crossed for a reason.

I might not ever see or hear about this boy again, but I know his story and his willingness to share with me, and be open to feeling love changed my life. And he holds a very special place in my heart.

This mission trip opened my eyes to so much, and I felt as if I had popped this bubble that I had been living in prior. There were so many people in our own country, and the world living in terrible condition with no one to talk to, to listen to them to open their arms and love them. I remember going home after that trip and hugging my parents a little tighter that night.

I will be sharing more of these personal stories from different individuals on different trips that impacted me in different ways, some that I have the privilege of seeing again some that only remain in my memory. Either way I want to share these stories as resources of hope and inspiration for anyone reading that when we listen and love others we can change the world.

Here are two pictures I found from this trip in my room

Some of the sweet kids we got to interact with that week.
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The only picture I have of Mine.

Thanks for reading,

you are all loved.

Dev

What ever you  do to the least of my brothers that what you do to me. – Jesus

To love is to serve

I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me. John 14:6 

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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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