a burden for the nations

I have felt a burden placed on my heart and in my spirit over the past few months for the nations. For the forgotten people groups around the world. The people groups that are being sold into slavery today in our modern word, the groups that are being innocently massacred by evil and unjust people. I feel the desire to just go. I know this might not be the right time, I trust my God. I will stand in the gap and pray for them. I might not see them with my physical eyes, but my God does. He sees his children, in every nation, in every tribe, who speak every tongue. He is close to the broken-hearted. I don’t know what the Lord is calling you to. I don’t know what God is stirring up within your heart. Maybe it is the modern-day slave trade in Libya, maybe it is the refugees in Syria, or South Sudan. Maybe it is the millions of people who go hungry everyday. Maybe it is the Rohingya people group that are getting innocently massacred in Myanmar that have to flee as unwanted refugees to other nations. I don’t know if this something you even care about. I believe that many people do, because God is calling them to.

” Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God.” Psalm 62:6-7

Today was one of those days where you just want to go. You know you can’t so you pray. You pray without even having words to phrase what the spirit is moving you too. I prayed with such a burden for these forgotten people groups. We might not see them, but God does, we might not hear their cries, but he hears them, he sees them and one day he will bring justice to them. I believe that we are moving into a new year where God is pouring out a desire and heart for the nations for his people. Whether he calls us to go or stand in the gaps praying for the rights and salvation, and freedoms. I believe that people are having “new things” placed within their hearts. These desires, and dreams are being unleashed from heaven. We are being called to the nations, to pray for the nations. To be aware of what is happening to our brothers and sisters around the world. You might not think your prayers matter, you may not think praying for people you haven’t seen or met will make a difference, but it does. Your prayers have power and your prayers can change nations! So pray if you feel this burden, don’t underestimate the power of prayer that God has given us. If God has laid a nation in particular or almost highlighted it to you, pray for that nation. If God has done that with a certain people group, pray for that very people group. We have the honor to come before the throne of Heaven and lay down what  the Lord has placed on our hearts, even if it is nations, that are oceans away. There is no distance in the spirit, we can pray and stand besides these people and say no more. We can pray that the enemy be removed from these places because Jesus has died for the nations. He has already won for the nations, it is already done, so can we pray with this in mind. That is already done and we have the victory.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

As I prayed with this burden for the suffering and forgotten in the nations not knowing if God is calling me to go, or just to stand in the gap and say I see them too. I feel the father’s heart for his children even though if I am not physically with them. As I prayed I was led to read Psalm 10. This Psalm almost explains how I was feeling and what is happening to these innocent people around the world.

Psalm 10 17-18

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that merely earthly mortals will never strike terror.”

If you feel this way, or just want to say I may not see, but I am committing to pray alongside my brothers and sisters around the world because I believe God’s love is the same for all. I believe this breaks our fathers heart and this is not what he wants. I am committing to set aside time to remember and pray these forgotten people groups. Thank you for allowing me to be open with you, I really appreciate it and am praying this post inspires just one heart to have a desire to pray for the nations, to stand in the gaps and to speak justice, light and freedom into the darkest, most dangerous places in the world, knowing that our prayers are heard and will be answered even if we do not know in this lifetime. One day we will, and we will have the honor of knowing that God called us to be apart of that. If you liked this blog post and want to read a similar one click here.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you; for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9

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

Lilian, Mary and Isaac

“I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” John 14:18

These three pictures, are the pictures of our newest additions. Our family is growing. Meet Lilian 5 years, Mary 8 years and Isaac 7 years.

Our God is faithful. I look at these pictures, as I am in New York now, and will return to meet these children very soon. I see hope, and the chance at a new life. I am looking at the leaders of tomorrow. Their futures are so bright! I’m excited to love them, to meet them, to experience life with them, as they have already changed mine.

Once abandoned, now accepted. God is good. I believe in a day where our world will have no orphans. I believe that every child deserves the right to dream, the right to a better future. I believe that children deserve the right to education, love and a family. Every child belongs in a family. It’s the way God intended it to be.

I’m asking that you join our team and staff in Ghana, and our team in the US in prayer. Would you join our PNN family in prayer? Would you lift Lilian, Mary and Isaac in prayer today. There are days when I am in Ghana, going through a lot, dealing with more than I think I can handle sometimes, and then I feel relief, and I know someone on the other side is lifting me up in prayer. Sometimes I can literally feel it. I know they will, so lets come together and lift them up.

Those three pictures remind me of this picture below. The first children to come to PNN, I love how our family is expanding. I love seeing God rescue and bring light to the darkness. Because darkness cannot win, when we choose to shine light in dark places. I love being apart of something so much bigger than myself. I love seeing God move, and bring hope to the hopeless. And lastly…

I love knowing that there are three less orphans in the world today.

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where there is light, there is life

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with my boy Edward. This boy has my heart.

lets slow down, lets take a moment to reflect.

I’m not sure if this is a personal reflection or if I am just speaking from my heart on what this past year has meant to me.

At the end of the day, when times get rough, when life throws the unexpected your way, to a point where you feel like you are drowning in sorrow, challenges and difficultly, there is light.

There is a way out, and it comes in only one true form. Jesus.

The name above all names, the name that saves, redeems, rescues, loves and forgives. The name that selflessly gave himself so that we could have eternal life. Life that so greatly surpasses the length and meaning of this life.

There is freedom in Christ. A lot of people want to believe the opposite. I have seen this freedom, I have lived in it, I have witnessed it. I have tasted its goodness. I continue to seek it, continue to enjoy this freedom in Christ. I continue to spend my life seeking his face , seeking him, getting to know him.

I have seen the most innocent lives transform finding hope, safety and love in Christ. And it is amazing. It is real. It is happening, because of Christ.

I have seen children who carried around the heaviest of burdens from experiencing abuse on every level, let it all go. I have seen the sadness and despair in their eyes turn into joy and life. Because of Christ. Because they can lay down their burdens and experiences at his feet. Those which do not determine their worth, that can be erased and renewed. Surrendering their lives into his hands. What an amazing God we have.

Hopeless lives that were set in darkness, abused, forgotten, neglected, abandoned. Yet where there is light, no darkness can hide. And there was light and life. And there will continue to be light and life. Darkness did not win, and it cannot win, if WE choose to be the light. To shed the light on darkness all around the world. To what God has called our hearts to.

Christ came so that we could live. But it doesn’t end there. We need to be an active part of bringing love and salvation to the ends of the world, to shed light on the darkness. Even if that means shedding light in the darkness of where you are now. Maybe you don’t even have to travel to get there.

Did you know that there are more slaves today than ever before in history? Most of which are children. We can choose to ignore it because it doesn’t effect our day to day. Or maybe something else touches your heart, orphans, refugees, whatever it is. I am not asking or telling you, I am just speaking from my heart. That if Christ offers freedom, hope, redemption and life wouldn’t you want to share that ?

Because where there is light, there is life.

And where there is light, darkness cannot hide.

Lets. choose. to. be. light.

Let’s make this decision every morning, renewing ourselves and our lives to Christ. Laying down ourselves at his feet to be used for his glory, in this day and age. Because we are here for such a time as this.

And where there is light, darkness cannot hide.

 

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

we were made for this

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Hello, I am back in New York! I was going to write a post about turning 23 in Africa, and reflect on some highlights of turning 22, but from a lack of wifi, and being so busy it didn’t happen. I’m home for some time before I head back to Ghana. With that being said I have been so busy this past week. The past 6 days consisted of a lot of traveling, the good thing is I loved traveling and don’t mind traffic, bumpy car rides (on red dirt paths) or long flights. Sitting in Accra traffic has done wonders to improve my patience 😉

I was traveling with my father to new places, which I will share in the right time. But this past week consisted of 7 flights, 35 hours of flying in total, countless hours of red dirt paths, and a 24 hour journey home. You would assume that we are very tired, but we had so much fun along the way and the 3 flights home (with the last being 14 hours home) didn’t seem so bad thanks to good old country music, writing in my journal, reading some awesome books and some in flight movies! One would assume that I am thrilled to be back home, which I am! But in the same excitement of being here is that it hasn’t even been one day since I arrived and I am already missing being in Africa. I know it is really hard for people to understand. And I am sure a lot of you, or others think that I am crazy and question this calling or desire to live somewhere, so different, remote or impoverished. It is the place where my heart lies, where my God created my spirit to thrive and be filled, and where my soul was created to be. I really thank God for giving me such a supportive family to encourage me and understand this calling. They make coming home so easy to always listen to me and the hardships of readjusting to life so different from what seems “normal” to me.

Maybe their understanding has to do with the fact that I spoke about this dream since I was young. Isn’t God amazing. It is almost as if he was subconsciously preparing my parents that one day it would become their reality as much as it would become my own. Before I could locate Africa on a map at the age of 7 or 8 I spoke of one day moving there and working with orphan children, even spoke of building a home for them. His ways are higher than ours, he gives us the desires of our hearts. Each unique and different from each others.

I like to see life as a journey, like I recently blogged about never exactly reaching a final destination. I see myself on this journey called life to show the same love that God my parents and family has shown me my entire life. The love that we are so undeserving of. I know I always talk about love and God’s love, but I don’t even think I can process just 1% of how much he loves us. God has given me this dream and desire to embrace the children I meet to remind them they are valued, loved and important in the eyes of God. To speak of hope and ignite the spark of excitement of becoming the future leaders of society and the world.

It is honestly very hard for me to come back home. I know how important it is that I take time to refresh, have others pray for me, speak about my experience, fundraise and see God move in my life on this side of the Atlantic. I know how draining serving others can be. On. every. single. level. For the next few days I like to take my time to readjust to everything. Something as simple as taking a hot shower, having consistent wifi and power, and not seeing my kids faces every morning and night is an adjustment. It’s hard to live in a third world country and just pop back home and be fine. Sometimes I feel like I see so much injustice and poverty, so much that it can be overwhelming, yet I see a place so close to heaven. Where I feel like I get to taste and reach out to grab it. With people and children that lack everything. But know more about God then most people I know. That trust him for everything, that know his word and sing his praises as they take joy in everything. Then I travel home and see people who have everything. And appreciate so little, and have an attitude where they want more and never seemed to be satisfied with the fleeting and material things of this world. It’s hard because I sometimes feel like not a lot of people understand where I am coming from. For those who do, who listen to my stories, who check up on me and send me words and emails of encouragement support and prayer. Thank you. So. Much. Thank you for being a shoulder to lean on, thank you for being apart of this journey.

Every single one of us is so different. I thank God for that. I never want anyone to confuse being christian with having to move to a place like Africa. No not everyone was called to live among the nations. You can make an impact and serve God in your 9 to 5 or in your hometown. We all have our own journey.

I’m on this journey to show God’s love to those marginalized, forgotten, abused, or orphaned in society. God has sent me to embrace those children in the exact place where he wanted them to feel that love, because he has a bright future for them. Because they are SO important and valued in the eyes of God. And if just one of those children knows that then through me God has changed the world. Just by reaching the heart of one.

We all have a different journey, that is what makes this world and beautiful and interesting place. We all have a heart for something unique and different. These journeys are fueled by different passions and dreams, motivations and hopes, sorrows and heart breaks. I’d encourage anyone to follow those dreams, because God is the one who gave you the desire of your heart. And if your reading this and you feel confused or lost along your path, and so desperately want to hear the voice of God and see his hands move in your life to show you the reason he created you for such a time as this then get in touch with him. Spend time with the creator of your heart, read his word, and speak to him. He is listening and he will answer you, and he wants to give you so much that this world could never give you, that the world could never fill you. Obviously this comes with a price of sacrifice and hardship, and discouragement. But we shouldn’t ever give up on our dreams, we shouldn’t ever let anyone or anything discourage us from living the life God created us to live. Because you were created to be here, for such a time as this! Don’t forget that. You. were. made. for. this!

Love Dev

writer’s block&new directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dev

When the storm comes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 41:10

You are loved,

Dev