What compels you to be alive? 

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Does anyone else feel like 2018 is moving really quickly?

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

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

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

What compels you to be alive? 

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

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

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

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

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

You are all loved, have a great weekend 🙂

Dev!

here i will be, until he calls me to go

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

New York City

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

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

getting to this exact point wasn’t easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God I trust you.

I trust you.

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

Trust you into the unknown.

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

So here we go,

Moving, again.

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

That sign, it came in July.

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

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

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

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

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

So then what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 43:19

 

Have a wonderful weekend

you are all loved,

Dev

 

 

impact, legacy and love

Impact. Legacy. Love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Be blessed today.

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

Dev

will you join me?

A new year, another year of surprises of all that it’ll bring.

It’s a humbling and sobering moment to think and reflect on how far the Lord has brought us this far.

I’m deciding to be intentional about this one thing for this year, and I challenge and encourage you to join me.

Will you join me in completely surrendering everything that you planned or expected this year to be and all that it will bring at the feet of Jesus.

Will you lay every hope, dream, worry, concern to him. Giving it over to the author of creation , the lover of our souls, the king of all kings. The one whom our souls yearn for. Lay each desire unto him, and say have your way in me. Have your way in my life. Have your way in my job, my finances, my dreams, expectations have your way in my family, have your way in my life!

I’m deciding to trade it all in for what HE has in store for me! I’m trading in dreams that are limited to a limitless God. I’m trading it in to a God who cannot be outdone. I’m trading it in believing that he will expand, multiple, increase and breath life into every aspect.

I’m giving him everything. I have counted the cost, this isn’t something I do lightly. But the more in love I fall with Jesus the easier it gets to surrender it all to the one who gave me it all.

It’s gets easier to give and lay my life down at the feet of my savior who gave me this very life that I have.

He gave me what I didn’t deserve. I deserve to pay for the sins, my wrongdoings, the consequences of my action is death. The wages of sin is death, rather we have life that is offered to us, by the one who died just to know us, to set us free, to break chains and set captives free. And heaven isn’t just opened but now heaven come come to earth through us. Let heaven come down through us and how we will be used.

Free in Christ. I’m declaring that this is a year of freedom, freedom that we know we will be cataylysts to be used to unlock freedom in others lives in the mighty name of Jesus.

Who is bold enough to give up everything and lay it down at the feet of Jesus and say have your way! I’m trading it all in for something even greater than I can even imagine.

I’m trading it all in just to know you even deeper because Jesus you are that beautiful. And even if my life is just is to know you that is worth giving up everything.

I have lived with access to a lot, and I have lived with the bare minimum and I can tell you none of that matters as long as I have my Jesus.

Will you dare to surrender everything to the one who gave you everything. Watch what the Lord will do when you submit yourself unto him and say Lord here I am! Use me, take this little life of me and do the extraordinary with someone as ordinary as me! You alone are worth all my praise and adoration.

Who but God can change a nation in a day? Who but God can spilt the sea?

Who but God can melt a mountain like wax before him?

Who but God can save this world?

Who but God sits on the throne of heaven and earth and sees each one of us, and has the numbers of hairs on our heads numbered?

Who breathed this world into existence but God?

When we have this full revelation and we decide to be radical about our salvation and faith, we grow to be bolder and trust the life we have into the one who gave us life. When we trust our father we trust our lives in his hands because he is worthy!

I attended a conference in DC this weekend and I am leaving now on a train back to New York. Taking each moment in, soaking in each word that was spoken and pray it continues to echo inside my soul.

This morning as the sessions were wrapping up I sat next to a young man who didn’t have arms. I watched him praise God, there I stood near him with two arms lifted high praising my God. And it hit me, we have been GIVEN life, to praise Jesus! And this isn’t new, but it hit home, on a deep and real way. It is so real to me, and I pray it deepens all the days of my life.

With all that we are, and some times we take it for granted, we become complacent or ungrateful. Here is a young man praising God in a way that was so beautiful and touched me. It hit me that I never want take for granted everything the Lord has given me, even as something we don’t think about, like our arms. To praise him with all that we are, for all of our days. To him the glory. I think about the people being persecuted for their faith. They are giving up everything just to know him. That is how real and beautiful Jesus is. That these people lay down their lives just to know him. I think about them meeting in secret, hiding their faith, just to know him. And we have the chance to worship and praise Jesus in freedom, this is a privilege and honor that I never want to take for granted.

I encourage you to spend time in his word, in prayer, invite the Holy Spirit to do life with you, to help guide you and give you wisdom in all areas of life. Seek Jesus in all that you do and you’ll find him. Everything will start to pale in comparison to how beautiful he is. This world and what is offers and throws your way will fade away. Once you look into his eyes, know your worth, know your savior everything changes. You’ll never want to do life apart from abiding in him. Your desires and dreams will change and you will be used to glorify the Lord Almighty, so when people see you they see Jesus, they are drawn to his love inside of you and we get to be his hands and feet in this life. To praise him with all that we are and lead others by love we know through Christ to set captives free.

We are each flaming arrows in the hands of the Lord and we shouldn’t be concerned about where we will end up because we can’t imagine! We are just along this journey with God saying take me father, take me deeper, I’m available and I want to be used for your glory. We can’t even compare our small dreams or hopes to what we will do with our lives when we say yes! All we know is what we will do when we land and that is to light fires for Jesus wherever he sends us. To carry the gospel and share the love with people around us, whether it’s India or Washington DC in the capital building. We are carriers of the gospel and we desire to spend our lives for the one who gave it all for us!!!

I am so excited to continue to surrender it all and watch and see what God does best with our lives! Even more so than we could ask, seek or imagine! To him be the glory both now and forever more.

So will you join me in the greatest adventure of life…knowing Jesus!

You are all loved!!

Devon

trust + faith like Daniel

Daniel 6:1-28

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Here’s a picture I took when I was in Kenya this summer! Thought it tied in pretty well 😉

(I am sharing this believing that there is someone who needs to hear this today!)

We all know about Daniel and the lion’s den right? As I read this for my morning devotion the words seemed to leap into my heart. This simple yet profound story is something we can never stop learning from. I love how God’s word will ALWAYS speak to us, at any age. Younger children love this story, as adults do, God’s word meets us exactly where we are in life and will always minister to us, because his word is alive!
I don’t always have time to jot down some notes alongside my devotion but this morning I did, and when I do that the text seems to open up.

Here are a few things I want to point out.

What makes the story of Daniel and the lion’s den so real is Daniel’s relationship with God. God just opened my eyes to Daniel’s relationship and faithfulness to God. I love the way Daniel was not ashamed of his God, and everyone knew who Daniel was serving (even if they doubted his existence) Through Daniel’s relationship and boldness to worship God, God would protect him for events that were to come, only to show everyone that the God Daniel served was the living God.

We see how Daniel put his trust in God. Trust, complete… trust. Could you imagine being accused innocently and then thrown into a den of lions? Yet remaining calm and TRUSTING GOD because of your relationship with him? That faith is bold and inspiring!

Daniel 6:19-24

“Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”

Daniel answered, “Long live the king!” My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouth so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”

The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.

Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.”

Daniel’s trust in God saved him, because he held his God true for who God says that he is. When we trust in God and fully lay down our fears, desires, wants, needs… our everything we allow God to be God. We allow God to be the father he says he is in our lives. When we do this we give God the glory to show us who he promises to be. This is how he came through for Daniel and received all the glory that he deserves, pointing others to see that He is the one true living God!

People saw with their own eyes the miracle that God saved Daniel from the lions without a scratch on his body, and when his accusers were thrown in the lions’ den they tore them and their families apart before they even hit the ground. See the difference in relationship with God vs not having one?

Through Daniels trust and relationship God got all the glory and through this experience it lead the King to send a message out to the people of every race and nation and language of the world! The decree declared that the God Daniel serves is the one true living God, and that he rescues his people the way God rescued Daniel from the lions.

This is so exciting! It really spoke to me today and encouraged me that my God whom I put my trust and my life in his hands is worthy and deserving of receiving all the glory. When we do this we are giving God the room to move and show us who he says he is, through our obedience and relationship in him, pursing him without fear or hesitation other people will know whom we serve and we never know how the Lord will use our everyday life situations to draw others closer to him. To show others that he is the God our father who he says he is!

I’m not sure what you are going through, if you are being accused of something you haven’t done, if there is a situation in your personal life or family, if you are struggling to place your complete trust in God because you doubt who he says he is, today is the day to place it down. To trust him and have relationship with God, to give it all to him so he can do what he needs to do to receive all the glory and bring others to him, so they see by the signs, wonders and miracles that our God is alive.

I encourage all of you to not fear, to place your trust in the one who is worthy of it all, and to have bold faith that you are not ashamed of. Have a blessed day,

Daniel 6:26-28

” I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.

For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions. So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

you are all loved!

Devon

do you know, that you know?

I am still trying to wrap my mind around everything that I experienced in Ukraine. Trying to find words adequate enough to express the way God spoke to my heart, and showed me his love for people groups across the world. God is good, and his love endures…forever. But today I feel lead to share something else with you, in response to everything that has been going on in this country and around the world.

Coming home, after being truly unplugged from the news, social media and everything for 2 weeks I have seen that it is clear that we find ourselves living in dangerous times. We see mass disaster, and now have to grieve with the losses from the Las Vegas shooting. We are paralyzed by fear not knowing if this could happen to us.

And here is the truth. Anything could happen to anyone of us. At any given moment. We are not even promised or guaranteed that we will be here tomorrow, the next day or next year. And I am not saying this to create fear, I am simply asking you this, do you know that you know that you know that if something terrible happened to you today, where you would spend eternity? Do you know right now where you are going? I pray that God our father would even use this situation to draw people closer to him, to trust him, and to know that their eternity is promised when we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Christ died and rose again for us to enter into an eternal life with him, when we say yes and invite him into our hearts.

I want to challenge you to live boldly and decide today that I will not live in fear. Do you know that 90% of people never step into God’s will for their lives, because they live a life rooted in fear.

“For God has NOT given you a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7

I can admit that there was a time in my life where I feared being alone, I was so fearful that something would happen to me and no one would be around to save or help me. As you can imagine moving to Africa, alone seemed scary for a girl who feared being alone. Yet God worked within my heart and showed me how to trust him, so I would not live in fear, but step into his will for my life, one that I could have missed out on, had I lived with fear inside my heart. As I grew to understand the power of God and how he PROMISES to protect the ones who call upon his name I grew to understand how I am not growing spiritually if I allow fear to cripple myself. My mom taught me the importance that every believer should read and know Psalm 91 so we can speak his word of protection in times of trouble or danger. I challenge you to read this Psalm today and find one verse that speaks to your heart and memorize right, so if a time of trouble comes, you can speak out the word of God which is our protection.

I started to have dreams as God showed me that even when I was alone with no one around me, and once danger began to come near me I called upon the name of Jesus and was delivered, every. single time. It was through these dreams that God showed me I did not need to be afraid. And slowly as I began to read his word, and reach onto his promises as the spirit of fear left my life and God’s peace filled its place. I had grown with confiednce that if the Lord was calling me to Africa and he was the one to send me, He would protect me and I could be in peace about it. You see God’s people don’t always realize that they are fireproof until God’s will for their life is completed. Know this, and walk confidently in his protection that he will protect you until you have completed his work here on earth. I choose to live in peace knowing that even if the worst thing shall happen to me today, there is confidence that I know where I will spend all of eternity. And God wants you to know the same exact thing, right now.

I know a lot is going on in the world, it seems everywhere we look we see headlines indicating danger and predictions of even worse things that lie ahead. Don’t allow this to discourage you, open the book that promises to give you peace, to give you rest, to find a refuge in God, to seek purpose and meaning in his word which is life. Find your peace from the word of God, don’t allow these headlines to keep you in a place of fear. God doesn’t want you there.

Can I ask you this? What does worrying about a situation you have no control over add to your life? What do worry and fear add to your life, other than stress? Isn’t it better to give those fears to God and lay them down at this feet and take peace knowing that he is worth laying our fears and burdens down for?

When I was flying home from Ukraine I had a layover in Germany. I was on a long security line and God put on my heart to speak to the girl behind me. I felt him say “She’s afraid” so I turned around and decided to speak on what God had laid on my heart. We began talking, we were on the same flight back to New York and I simply asked her if she was afraid. She looked at me as if I saw right through her. She started explaining how she used to travel a lot but has grown with a recent fear of flying because the percentage that it may lead to a death. The fear she really was communicating to me was the fear of death. Which is actually the largest common fear of people. With little time left to speak to her before I walked through security I told her that she doesn’t need to fear, she could trust God and he would protect us on our flight, and we weren’t going to die. She smiled and shook her head, “yea we are going to be just fine, you are right, God will protect us.” I walked away and never saw her again, but I was praying God’s peace over her during the flight.

Please do not allow the enemy keep you in a place of fear, where you stop living your life, and you stop from stepping into the will of God because of fear of the unknown. Don’t be the person who calculates everything that could happen to you. Be the person who walks confidently in the peace God gives us! It is such a beautiful place to be. Start your morning with a simple prayer of asking God to give you peace, to protect you and your family and to keep you from any plans or schemes of the enemy, ask him to send his angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways, and he will do it!

You have not, because you ask not! Don’t miss out on the amazing promises God has for those who love him and dwell under the shadow of his wing, don’t be afraid, don’t worry about tomorrow, when God has given you today! We were given ONE life so don’t spend yours being afraid, God has much bigger plans for your life, and you will only experience his goodness when  you step out in faith and peace.

If anyone has any questions or wants to know that they know that they know where they would spend eternity if something happened to them today, please feel free to email me!

Today live boldly and speak of good things, do not fear, ask God to give you his peace for today and take it a day at a time, and join together in prayer for the families and loved ones of those who were taken too soon, that God would comfort them and give them peace. Today I challenge you to choose one of these bible verses and tape it onto your mirror and speak it every morning, as a reminder that God has NOT given us a spirit of fear, that he will protect you and keep you in all your ways. From driving to the grocery store, to taking a subway, attending a concert or traveling around the world. Take peace in his love, because perfect love casts out all fear.

John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Psalm 94:19
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:6-7
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Proverbs 16:7
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Isaiah 26:3
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Isaiah 41:10
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 

Psalm 23:4
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” 

You are all loved,

Dev

encouragement today for the fruit you have not seen

Guess who is packing again!? Any guesses on where I am heading tomorrow afternoon? (Here is a hint, it isn’t Africa, it’s a part of the world I have never been) I will keep you updated along this special journey!

Today I felt lead to share this bible verse

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

I am not sure who needs to be reminded of this but I felt lead to post this verse and remind you in the struggle of your work, family, jobs or ministries that apart from him we can do nothing. Sometimes we have mentalities that it is through our abilities that we can do everything. Unfortunately that can only take us so far.

I believe that everyone can experience seasons of dryness, discouragement, lack of faith, or depression I believe that it is also through these times that God proves to be faithful throughout the desert where we cannot see a way out. I encourage you today to press on, to keep on believing him for his promises, and when the time is right you will see the fruit when you do everything onto his glory.

I remember my first few months in Ghana when I would doubt myself, tell myself that I wasn’t able or worthy to be doing such a large task that seemed bigger than my abilities. Little did I know that the Lord only needed me to trust him, so that I could see how big of a God he is, who epuips us for tasks so big, it could only be achieved through him. In those exact moments I realized that it wasn’t through my abilities anyway, it was through him, and if I trusted him and allowed him to work through me, then in his time I would see the fruit of my labor.

Here is a clip from my morning devotion that I felt tied in beautifully

I understood what “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23) meant but was never sure which of those qualities, if any, would be apparent in me from day to day. God let me stew in my anxiety until I was fully committed to finding out if His Word was true or not. I encountered my answer in a biography of Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Missions. For a long time he, too, felt that his efforts fell short of the Lord’s expectations. But Taylor came to realize that God wanted believers to trust Him fully and rest on His promises. So when Jesus Christ said to abide in Him, He meant that His followers were to stop striving and struggling. Instead they were to trust Him to subdue their flesh.” – this passage was taken from In Touch Ministries daily Devotions 

I was able to recognize that christians doubt themselves, we feel that our efforts fall short everyday, but when we come to realize that God is worthy of being able to trust with the big things and small things, we can remain in Christ for what God has called us to do.

Over a year later, looking back on this moment where I couldn’t fathom seeing any fruit, I see the fruit through my children. I have seen their sorrows and tramua turn into joy and confience. Through loving them everyday, even when I questioned if it was working, I now see how God works in the small moments and produces bigger results than we could ever imagine. I see their love for the Lord, for each other. Their compassion for the needy in other communities and their desire to serve God in their future. I see how when we press on even when it looks as if nothing is happening, our little day to day tasks will amount to something magnificent if we truly abide in him. It is amazing what God can do when we are willing to allow him to work through us, even when we don’t “see” or “feel” him.

Today I encourage you to abide in him, and fruit will appear in his timing, continue to press into his goodness and hold onto his promises when all odds look against you! He will never leave you for forsake you, the Lord your God is mighty to save and he wants YOU to keep pushing into him. Apart from him, we can do nothing, with him we can do the impossible!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

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Here is our Sammy who has a passion to farm. He is able to collect his harvest from months and months of attending to his farm 🙂 Have a blessed day

You are all loved,

Devon

 

 

Desiree’s experience in Kyrgyzstan

Earlier this summer I shared this post and spoke about one of my best friends returning to her first home, many years later. Kyrgyzstan. I felt it was really important to have an open conversation with Desiree and post it on my blog so others, where ever you are reading from can learn about her experience in a part of the world that I personally feel we don’t hear or see much about. I also feel this is such an important example to our generation that we can make a difference, and our voice matters wherever we go and speak life into others. I hope you enjoy as Desiree shares her heart with us…

Can you explain what brought you to Kyrgyzstan and why this was such a meaningful trip for you?

This summer I was given the opportunity to intern with a non-profit called Search For Common Ground in Kyrgyzstan. I was assigned to work on a Youth Leadership program funded by the UN for the youth in Kyrgyzstan.

However, this trip was much more than an internship opportunity. I grew up in Kyrgyzstan as a missionary kid for seven years; my entire childhood was rooted in this beautiful country. I went to Russian school and for a long time would tell people I was from Kyrgyzstan. I was heartbroken when my family left the country to move back to the US. For many years I prayed to God that I would be able to return and visit my old friends. This summer God made this dream a reality and opened the doors for me to go back.

This trip was so meaningful to me because it reminded me how God listens to our prayers and everything works out in His timing. I think if I had gone back to visit when I was younger I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much and I wouldn’t be able to understand the issues in the country as much as I do now. It was also amazing to see the families that my parents shared the gospel to and how drastic their lives have been transformed by God’s love in Jesus Christ. I got to see the fruits of many missionaries’ labor. Sometimes when we pour love into communities we don’t always see the results right away, but 12 years later I got to see the impact of the Gospel in Kyrgyzstan.

 

Can you describe some of the current events going on and how it has changed since you have been there?

I lived in Kyrgyzstan 7 years after the Soviet Union Collapsed in 1991. Kyrgyzstan was in a huge economic crisis and many people were depressed because there was so much instability and lack of jobs. Every person you met In Kyrgyzstan had a very hard life with almost everyone with broken families and living in poverty. When I lived in the capital, Bishkek, there were no malls, grocery stores or many restaurants. My mom had to cook everything from scratch and even pasteurize our milk because nothing was premade. Kyrgyzstan was also very spiritually dry. The Soviet Union had taken away religion and so many Russians were atheist. The Kyrgyz would say they were Muslim out of tradition but were mostly nominal Muslims.

 Going back 12 years later, Kyrgyzstan has changed drastically. Bishkek has 5 huge malls, restaurants all over the city, fast food chains and almost anything you would want from the US. Turkey has invested a lot of money in Kyrgyzstan to make it a stronger Muslim country. When I lived in Kyrgyzstan there only a few Mosques, now there are over 2,000 mosques in the country. Kyrgyzstan is still a secular state so religion, law and state are separate but strong religious influence is coming from other countries and local Muslim groups. When I walked around the city I saw so many women covering their heads with the hijab, I rarely saw this as a child.

How was your expectation vs the reality once you got there?

I kind of expected my experience to be a lot harder and difficult then it was. I was so worried to be traveling alone, that my Russian wouldn’t be good enough to interview participants and that Kyrgyz wouldn’t like me because of the tension between Russia and the US. However, God took care of everything! I had such a smooth transition back into the culture and my Russian came back right away after not speaking it fluently in 6 years! Everyone was so hospitable and loving to me; I never once felt in danger or unsafe. I reconnected with my old friends after not hearing from them in 12 years since we didn’t have each other’s email or numbers.

 I also expected to be in the background during my internship and to just be interviewing participants but instead my boss threw me into the project right away and allowed me to visit communities and select participants for the program! I was so shocked that they would trust me and give me so much responsibility. It was very humbling and I really connected well with the local team despite being the only foreigner. 

God also opened up the door many times for me to share my faith to others and it was usually Muslims that would start asking me questions on what I believed. I did not expect this! But the world is hungry for truth and we should never be ashamed of telling others about Jesus 🙂

What were some experiences throughout the month that really stuck out to you?

A very interesting experience was for the first 3 weeks in Kyrgyzstan I lived with a very devout Muslim family during the Muslim holiday Ramadan. It was cool because I got to learn how they live and what they believe. I got to share the gospel with my family and we had very good discussions. They were never once were hostile towards me, although one girl did ask me to convert to Islam but she did it in a very respectful way.

 Something that really stuck out to me was the way women are treated. Out in the country, women have no rights; they are property of their husbands. In Kyrgyz tradition they have something called “bride-napping” this is when a Kyrgyz man can literally just grab any girl off the streets and make her his wife without her consent. She is forced to live with him and ultimately be a servant to him and his family. In the family I lived with, the daughter-in-law had to do everything for the family. She would cook and clean and couldn’t eat in the same room as us; she was to only serve us. It made me so sad to see her treated like that. When girls are only 6 years old they are already told that they must prepare to be wives. Recently, the country has made a law that a girl must be 18 to get married, but before this law girls were getting married at around 13 (this still happens illegally). When I would meet with young girls, many said they couldn’t go to college because their parents wouldn’t let them because they were already arranged to be married.

My whole internship experience was very meaningful. I got to meet with youth (ages 14-28) all over the country. We traveled for hours on dirt roads, traveling through herds of sheep and cows to get to small villages to speak to young people and invite them to our leadership program. When I met these young adults in these rural communities they didn’t know how to even dream or express the things they longed for because it seemed so far from reality to them. We spread hope to young people who thought that they had no opportunities and showed them that they can go after their dreams and they can do more with their life. We invited over 100 young adults to the capital where they got to represent their communities and work together on solving problems. Many that I spoke to began to cry as they shared about how they have found purpose and reason for their life. They are seeing that just because they are young doesn’t mean their voice doesn’t matter or that they can’t do something meaningful with their lives now. Seeing their faces light up with excitement and enthusiasm is something I will never forget. It was beautiful to experience this and hear the voices of the youth.

How did God use this trip for you personally?

The organization that I worked with was not a Christian organization so at times I felt very alone without fellowship or Christian community. But on this trip I really had to rely on God and really be in constant communication with Him. My prayer life definitely strengthened on this trip and God really put burdens on my heart for Muslim women. God has given me an overwhelming sense of love for this part of the world and the people here.

There were many times that I felt so inadequate for the job and didn’t feel I knew enough. I was reminded of these verses from Jeremiah 1:4-10:

v.4 : Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said:
“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

But the Lord said to me:
“Do not say ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. 

Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:

“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” 

God gives us His words and equips us! When God calls us to something or opens the doors, He will always enable us and give us the right words. God knew that I would return this Summer to Kyrgyzstan, just like He knows where all of you are. God gave me words to share to my host family about Jesus, only by His Power was I able to share it in Russian. I have never shared the gospel in Russian before, I didn’t even know I knew how to say words like “sin”, “grace” and “forgiveness” but God gave me the words as I spoke to them. He gave me words of encouragement to young men and women who felt so hopeless. They were surprised to even have people listen to them because they are so often looked down on. To even have someone sit by their side and listen meant the world to them. Even if we don’t know the language, just our actions can show so much love.

What is one thing you wish to share with other young people seeking purpose or direction for their lives?

Never feel inadequate because of your age. Us young people need to stand up and share our voices! We are the future of this generation. We have the torch to bring our country forward, wherever you are! We all have different backgrounds and different ideas so we can influence different places in this world. And most importantly, we are not alone! God gives us the power and strength and the right words. If you look back in the Bible, every time God has called someone to do His work they have felt so inadequate and said to God, “I can’t do this!” but God said “Yes, you can because you have ME!” The Holy Spirit is our guide and counselor; He will always give us all that we need to accomplish what God has called us to. If you feel in your heart a burden for orphans, people in Africa or the girl in your school that always gets picked on, then trust that this can be from the Holy Spirit and He will give you what you need to help that person and make a difference. Trust in God for your life. He loves you so much and will always be there with you through anything.

I hope you were blessed today by her heart and her passion to follow the Lord wherever he may call her, and also to be a light in the States as she heads into her last year of college! Desiree included some photos from her trip below 🙂

If you want to read Desi’s blog posts during this trip click here.

Desi

Speaking to youth in Southern Kyrgyzstan

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

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My neighbor friend from childhood.

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

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Slept one night in a yurt!

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Visiting Fairytale Canyon!

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My host brother 🙂

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Wild horses

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5 Story Mall in Capital

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The Downtown square in Bishkek at night.

I hope you were all blessed by this! If you know anyone with a story to share, or experiences from a trip to share, please feel free to email me or comment down below! I would love to share your story as well.

You are all loved,

Dev