the greatest love of all

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

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

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

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

Red.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Become the love. Become his love.

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

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

You are ALL LOVED SO MUCH!

Happy Valentines day!

Love Devon ❤

“We love because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

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

1 John 4:12

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

-Jeremiah 31:3

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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

 

 

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

recap on 2017- new wine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He makes new wine in the pressing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another PNN Vision Trip

 

 

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Traveled to Kenya with Orphan’s Promise

 

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Welcomed new children

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

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

Ephesians 3:20

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

Matthew 9:17

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

Isaiah 43:19

You are all loved,

Dev

and happy new year!

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

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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