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

Unknown-1

What compels you to be alive? 

image1

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? 

….

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

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

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

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

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

You are all loved, have a great weekend 🙂

Dev!

here i will be, until he calls me to go

image2.png

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

New York City

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

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

getting to this exact point wasn’t easy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God I trust you.

I trust you.

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

Trust you into the unknown.

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

So here we go,

Moving, again.

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

That sign, it came in July.

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

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

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

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

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

So then what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 43:19

 

Have a wonderful weekend

you are all loved,

Dev

 

 

impact, legacy and love

Impact. Legacy. Love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

image1

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.

 

IMG_1513

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

sorry… we are SOLD OUT

africa

COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!

on Jesus, for Jesus!

I believe 2017 was one of the most TRYING years for the body of christ, not just me personally. For each one of you saying “How long oh Lord will this last” 

and as we asked, waited, endured, and wondered “how long” and we faced and warred against trials designed to knock us out. Yes I said it schemes from the enemy that were created to KNOCK US OUT…

Take courage because YOU stood firm and were not moved God is going to move quickly and powerfully for you all the days 2018. You stood firm and your faith was strengthened in each trial, and know we can have a new appreciation for how even in times that were trying God as STILL making new wine through the pressing.

1 Corinthians 16:13

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

I say 2018 is a year of OVERFLOW and excess. It is time to lay down our vision for this year and trade it in for supernatural vision, for vision from the Lord to see past the things of this world and see into his plans for us.

It is time where the Lord will turn things around, he is turning it right now, and every trial you endured prepared you for these very days that we are living in.

So my friends, my brothers and sisters BE EXCITED!!!

Philippians 1:6

” being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to competition until the day of Jesus Christ.”

That means, our best days are ahead of us!

It is time to be sold out to God to the point that if he asked us or moves in us, we don’t even have to doubt because we are SOLD OUT on loving and trusting and knowing our father that we don’t even have to worry! We just say yes!

If we know our father and love him, we trust our everything in his hands.

The promises are yes in Christ!

2 Corinthians 1:20

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

COMPLETE SURRENDER

wholehearted  DEVOTION TO FOLLOW GOD

BEING SOLD OUT TO HIS WILL!! BECAUSE HE IS THAT GOOD

I am praying for a spirit of Caleb to fall fresh upon the body of Christ because he wholeheartedly followed God. Full devotion, no doubt, full trust in God and his word.

Jeremiah 29:13

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

If God told him to move, he moved, he didn’t look around at the natural, because he knew who his father is, he knew that the Lord would surely protect and do what he said he would do. All Caleb and Joshua had to do was WALK IN IT and leave the rest to God! God needs us to move so that he can work through us.

Numbers 14:24

“But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”

You see Caleb and Joshua trusted and moved on God’s spoken word because God said it. Their generation was marching in fear because their eyes were fixed on their circumstances and natural surroundings, when God is saying LOOK AT ME! Let us be like Caleb and Joshua when the masses are marching in fear and surroundings. Let our gaze be every fixed upon the Lord and HIS WORD that we are firmly planted! Let us follow him with our WHOLE HEART. Let’s take our eyes off the natural and look to the supernatural! Our God.

2 Corinthians 12:9

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 

I love how whole heartedly can also mean unqualified in the terms of the world, that God might be asking us to step out into things that the world labels “unqualified” on us. God equips us, he isn’t looking for qualifications he is looking for a yes that comes from a heart that loves him, that wholeheartedly seeks his face in all that they do.

Because Caleb wholeheartedly followed and loved the Lord, the Lord blessed him.

I want to be sold out, completely to the point that whatever God asks of me in 2018 I will do because his word is where my feet stand firm, his glory is revealed through my weakness. That people would see “this could only be God.” I honestly think I was “unqualified” for a lot of what God has done through me at this point in my life, that is why HE GETS ALL THE GLORY. His strength is made PERFECT in MY weakness. Even Jesus we who are desire to be like surrendered to his father’s will. If Jesus is the perfect example and even Jesus surrendered to his father’s will, we should do out of a place of whole heart devotion, love and trust because our father holds a will just for our lives.

Luke 22:42

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

You know I struggled to write and read when I was younger, I was so insecure about it. I used to hide behind books and pretend I was reading in fear that someone might call on me to speak up. I struggled to write. And while everyone around me excelled, my teacher at the time spoke over me lies and said things that I couldn’t be able to be good at. Eventually I caught up and caught up quite quickly to the point I was reading at a 6th grade level in 3rd grade. I remember a very special women who played a role in helping me read, looked at me and said look what you can do! You are reading above the level that the teachers spoke over you. And there, BAM it hit me! In third grade, my greatest insecurity or what the world would say my weakness, where teachers and classmates spoke over what I wasn’t and what I could not be good at, was quite the opposite, that area my weakness was made perfect in the Lord’s strength. And the Lord changed the “couldn’t” to can in the name of Jesus.

I share this story because the very thing that you might be most insecure about, or shy away from because a lie was spoken over what you cannot do, I am here to speak the opposite and break that over you in the name of Jesus. And that very thing might JUST BE the greatest area that God will display his strength in your life for his glory.

So be ready, we are moving into great days! Since I started this blog it has been read in over 80 countries!!! Wow I never imagined I would make friends and have readers from all over from 6 of the 7 continents. So welcome!! I never imagined when I started this little blog sitting on my back porch writing my first post called “home” that God would use it to reach people all over the world! It feels like God has done SO MUCH since that day, it feels like a different girl that sat under the sunset writing my first post, not knowing where this journey would take me, and how look at what the Lord has done! I love how God multiples what he does in our lives, but first we need to just step out and say yes! I remember feeling resistant to start this blog the year leading up to it! AN ENTIRE YEAR…then the holy spirit nudged me to start, and I was scared of who would judge me or be reading behind the other side of the screen, and then I felt vulnerable, and sometimes still do, not knowing who is pointing fingers or only reading to make fun of me or call me a Jesus freak… but I chose peace and purpose over that fear, and know I am NOT writing a blog to attract followers or please man. If I did my reward would be on earth, and I’d never please everyone, and after trying and trying to I’d waste my time! No I am writing for an audience of ONE! Jesus, the one who called me to step out and write, so I write for his glory and see what he does with it and who joins me from the other side of the screen from all ends of the earth!

I love you all and will start praying for God to move in your nations, because he has been stirring my heart for the nations like never before!! And wherever you are reading from whether it is Jordan, Algeria, India, Peru, China, Philippines, Israel, Uganda, Bahrain, Russia, Brazil, Canada, Norway or South Africa!!!! God is going to USE YOU MIGHTILY in these days! Wow just typing some of these nations gets me excited, I wish I could hug each one of you and hear how God is moving in your life and in your nation! Pray for your government and your leaders wherever you are in this world that God has created. Be excited. WOW, wow!

Psalm 105: 1

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”

I also wanted to share that don’t think that you need to be in full-time ministry to be used by the Lord. Don’t believe that lie either, God has strategically placed you in your exact location to be a light wherever  you are. You carry influence in your streets, your cities, your offices, your countries in the name of Jesus.

Whatever city, state, nation or job. Let your light shine before men, let others see the love you carry, and let them be drawn to Christ inside of you. If you aren’t carrying the love and walking in love wholeheartedly seeking God they might not want what you have, because “what you say you have” might not look attractive in their eyes.

Walk in love and love where you are, see how things will change when you start to declare “I love my job” over the atmosphere, even if you don’t believe it, speak it out, your words matter! Speak it out over your cities and nations!

THIS IS NOT THE YEAR TO DULL DOWN OR BE ASHAMED!

Romans 1:16

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

You have been given influence in your sphere of influence. Whatever job you have, don’t demise it, be encouraged because God is using you to speak life into the location you are, and to let your light shine into the darkness around you. God needs his people in all areas and fields of life. Where there is light darkness cannot hide. You carry love and you are a changer of the atmosphere around you, so do not think you are not where God needs you! Stay planted, but be ready to move out if he gives you a chance to! Whether that is a location change, or job promotion.

With all that being said, God has put a word on my heart for my generation. I am praying about how to share this word whether that is in the form of a video on social media, so can you join me in prayer that God will make this SO CLEAR! Will you join me that God gets this message in front of those who need it the most.

And if you are new here, and you are wondering who Jesus is, you can say a pray TODAY for salvation so you can know with confidence where you will spend eternity. The bible tells us salvation is today, not to wait another day! You will be made a new creation, and the old will go. You start by confessing your sins and believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus died and rose again after three days, you can invite him into your heart, and there he will dwell.

2 Corinthians 6:2

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.”

Romans 10:9

“Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

If you have questions about this, feel free to email me!

Blessings and love

TODAY is the day for salvation.

you are loved,

Dev

Ephesians 3:20

“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,”

 

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

2.png

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

des3

My neighbor friend from childhood.

Picture1.png

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

yurt.png

Slept one night in a yurt!

mountains.png

Visiting Fairytale Canyon!

Picture2.png

My host brother 🙂

horse

Wild horses

mall

5 Story Mall in Capital

square.png

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