What compels you to be alive? 

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Does anyone else feel like 2018 is moving really quickly?

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

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

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

What compels you to be alive? 

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

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

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

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

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

You are all loved, have a great weekend 🙂

Dev!

impact, legacy and love

Impact. Legacy. Love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Be blessed today.

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

Dev

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!

encouragement today for the fruit you have not seen

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

Today I felt lead to share this bible verse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are all loved,

Devon

 

 

Desiree’s experience in Kyrgyzstan

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did God use this trip for you personally?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

let’s make our presence present

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I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. What I assumed would be my first post in Greece wasn’t, isn’t that how blogging goes? Expecting to be able to write about something but when you start it takes you in a new direction? Can any other writers/bloggers relate to this?

I’m writing from Limnos, Greece a place where my dad’s side of the family is from, a place where I spent most of my childhood summers and a place where we spent quality time with ou Yia-Yia who is no longer with us. To say we miss her, her warm and welcoming spirit, her laugh and loud voice and smile behind her large eye-glass frame would be an understatement. Limnos isn’t the same without her presence, we will always remember and cherish our times with our Yia-Yia. She was one of the most loving and generous people I knew who would do anything for her family that she cherished most in her life.

For anyone who doesn’t know Limnos is one of the geographically bigger Greek islands found in the North Aegean Sea located 20 miles from Turkey but it’s not a tourist hotspot. That always made me appreciate the simple beauty of this island where I feel so connected too. A place where I came as a child with not a care in the world.

Returning brought back a flood of feelings and emotions that my brother and parents can relate to.

Being back on the island after ten years has stirred up many emotions. Has it really been ten years? This place feels the same and different at the same time. It’s given us a chance to look back on our past ten years and talk about everything that has happened. Deaths in our family, accomplishments, hard times, good times, life. 

I cherish so much about this place, and will always return when I can, feeling a strong connection to the simple and local culture, feeling again far removed and at home all over again.

Being older and have traveled around the world you really appreciate each experience as unique and treasure the present moment, or try your best too. I’ve tried to become more intentional about not getting caught up in the future but trying to be present exactly where I am today. Too make our presence present. A friend of mine shared this quote that truly resonated within my heart. Imagine if we could all appreciate and be grateful for where we are today. Externally and internally and not look around us to compare ourselves to other’s lives, adventures, experiences, but appreciate the beauty in this fleeting and current moment.

“Each moment is a place you’ve never been.” Mark Strand

We are all on our own journeys, and we each have the opportunity to make this moment a place we’ve never been. That’s inspiring. We are not even technically promised a tomorrow, or a next month not knowing what change may come but we can be hopeful in enjoying the beauties, dealing with the pains and appreciating moments of today with a grateful heart. 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

When we landed in Athens I switched my phone on only to be have told of something that broke my heart and left me feeling completely helpless and out of control of the situation. Not really what I was expecting to happen the day my vacation began. Wishing I could turn back the hands of time, but knowing this was not a possibility. But that’s life. Leaving me with no power to do anything. I realized in that moment you can travel the world but you can’t expect to run from your problems. There is nowhere you can go where your troubles will not follow. There is nowhere you can escape where life will not reach you.

In that moment I had a choice. I could have broken down and worried myself and ruined the time with my family with “what if’s” and dwell in the future which I have no control over. Or I could choose to have peace knowing that on this particular day life happened. And it hurt. A lot. 

Naturally I tried to keep my cool, but the emotions of this surprising situation kept surfacing to the top. I knew I had to deal with it somehow, someway, I had to do something when I had absolutely no power to do anything. I had to relinquish control and be intentional about my reaction.

Those two words kept popping into my mind, control and intentionality.

Our layover in Athens had ended and we boarded the flight heading to Limnos. A short enough flight to get through, but it seemed long enough to dwell in the sadness of what had happened.

I rested my head against the window of the small old-fashioned plane flying over the North Aegean Sea with amazing views of the mountains. Hearing the flight attendant tell us we had 10 minutes until the plane would descend, hearing the Greek brought a rush of familiarity and feeling at ease knowing I was heading home after so long. Looking down out my window the beauty overwhelmed me as I gazed over mountain tops peaking through the clear blue Sea, the clouds and the sunset that made the water turn gold and sparkle.

I didn’t want to use my mind as a flush of memories of the situation that had left me feeling devastated, confused, and heart-broken. 

I wanted to be intentional about my reaction. I grabbed my notebook and wrote how I felt I looked back of my favorite bible verses I had jotted down in the first few pages. I ended this particular entry with this…

This is a testimony in the making, and I choose to trust in him, even though it hurts, a lot.

Then I flipped to the beginning pages “DO NOT FEAR” written in all caps were the first words my eyes glanced over and it hit me.

In that moment I realized this, that we ultimately have no control over our lives. Of course we can control our attitudes, and our efforts but the major things in life we are out of control. I didn’t want to get caught up in fear. I wanted to have peace knowing that I have no control. This might sound strange or weird to many people.

Isn’t that what we all want? To be in control of a situation? To be the pilot of our own lives? Isn’t that what society teaches us? To always have it all together, or when we don’t have the power to make it all better? But ask yourself, what do you really have control over? Can you promise yourself a tomorrow? That you’ll be in perfect health in ten years, that your loved ones will live forever? That your job will never fail you? That your home will always be safe?

The truth is we don’t, we can try, but in the end we have no control over what happens or what life may bring. What we do control is our reaction and we control our decision to be intentional about that reaction. 

In that moment I accepted what I didn’t have control over and chose to trust God with this situation. He is the author and he works things our for good. He see’s it from a different perspective than me, and I know I can trust in him what I have no control over. Even when it makes no sense, even when it hurts. I want to choose peace. I want to choose to not loose minutes or hours of my day worrying about tomorrow or what my future may or may not hold.

The things we value most like family, relationships, health, job, our futures, our governments, the state of this world, our security, if you really think about it we don’t have control over it. Anything can fail us at any time, and these things are things we have no control over.

“In You I find my rest
You are in control”

Lyrics from In Control by Hillsong

Today I want to be intentional about choosing peace over fear, and trust over worry. I want to cast my cares on to the Lord. I don’t want to be the author of my life, I trust the one who created it to complete his story in my life. I want to “not get caught up in things I have no control over.” I want to enjoy my time in the island that I’ve dreamt of coming back home to for the past ten years and face tomorrow when it comes. I want to make my prescene in this moment present. I want anyone who is reading this to know it is okay to not be in control, it is okay to trade it in for something much better, peace and cast our fears, hopes or worries on God.  Even if you forget everything you’ve read up to this point I want anyone who is reading this to remember what God tells us

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 all loved,

Dev

 

1 1/2 till takeoff!

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It’s about that time where I pack up after three weeks at home, and head off, only this time not straight to Ghana. I’ll be in Europe with my friends and family (blog post coming soon about that) It felt so strange to walk past the flight boarding Accra, part of me wanting to just jump on, but in two weeks time I’ll be flying back to Africa.

Being here at JFK setting off for another summer away with so many new adventures it makes me reminisce about leaving and setting off for Ghana last year jumping into so many unknowns, and trusting God to take me through it all! side note- he did! as he always will, even when we doubt and have fear, he never fails to take us through!

As I sit here I still feel as if this summer holds so many unknowns, which holds within itself a new journey and a new adventure that I am excited about

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20

A year ago I started this blog, unsure of what I’d be writing about, how often I’d use it, or who would come along this journey with me, or be reading on the other side of the screen. And then an hour until takeoff I wrote this…. a blog post of everything I was feeling jumping into the great unknown boarding that flight with my dad

To read or look back on that post click here  

Somewhere along the lines I started to love “blogging” and reading about other people’s experiences all around the world and connecting with so many new friends.

I got to connect with people living all over the world who have felt a strong burden on their hearts for orphans, particularly in Africa. I’ve spoken to some of you with dreams of starting a non-profit, and have been invited on other adventures occurring all around the world.

And it inspires me. So much.

To hear from you, to hear your dreams and read along with you, feeling like I was in Asia, East Africa or other parts of the world with you through your posts.

My first blog post was called “Home” about a year ago I was packing my bags to head off to Europe to explore 5 countries with 4 of my best friends. Then I came home unpacked and started putting my life back into a suitcase this time for the big move, to Africa, not knowing how long I’d be there.

to read that first blog click here

Where is home for you? I’d love to know! Comment down below 🙂

My first blog post I talked about home. What exactly that word meant to me, and looking back on it, I feel the same way. Home becomes the people you are surrounded that make “a place” become “a home.” And now a year post starting my blog I’m back where I started yet everything has changed. I leave today for Europe (my best friends the same 4 girls are coming next week) and and after I’ll  be heading back to Africa for a busy and exciting summer of new experiences as God is continuing to take me places I’d never imagine going.

It’s amazing what 365 days can do. What you can learn from them, how you have full circle moments of relearning the same lessons you have in new contexts and situations.

so many lessons. the good, the bad and the ugly, they are still lessons, and God will never stop using them for OUR GOOD!

So cheers to one year on the blog, and many more sharing adventures, stories, lessons good and bad, sharing God’s story and connecting with many more awesome and inspiring people. I look forward to so much this summer!

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Hopefully I’ll have time to blog about what my next two weeks will look like and why it is so exciting/special to me personally and how awesome God has been through it all.

Next stop Greece!

You are all loved,

Dev