Welcome to my home. I can guarantee that there is no other place that will welcome you “home” like my place. You are surrounded with lush beauty, smiling faces, Ugandan handshakes, birds singing and Old McDonald’s animals welcoming you. 

I am truly a blessed girl to have such a “quiet” place to bring my tired body at the end of the day. I no longer use my iPhone alarm clock the old fashion rooster crow does just fine…the snooze is about every five minutes. I wake and hear the chitter chatter of the women outside as they begin to wash clothes and prepare cooking. The smell of fire smoke begins to fill the air as everyone begins cooking over the open fire. 

I come up for breakfast which is the only thing I can count on every day to be the same…toast, bananas, pineapple and my Ugandan coffee. My favorite is everyone asking “Dacia, how was your night?” like clockwork every morning. I have my breakfast while overlooking the women bent over sweeping the dirt, the staff filing in, the guest filling the dining room and the hazy fog begin to lift. 

I then sit as the day unfolds. Every day brings new challenges but one more glimpse of just who Jesus is and what He does for us. I am so thankful that I have found myself in a position where everything is far beyond what I can fix, control, or answer. It allows me to see just how big He is and return all the glory to Him. All of this is too much for me…I can’t do it…I am just the vessel. I get to step aside and watch.

I end my day with tea, darkness, and an overwhelming heart of gratitude. Reflection of what how much I still have to learn, how my heart still has a long way to go to really understand how to love like Him, and the daily wrestle with my flesh and culture. Eyes close…asking for mercy that is new every morning. 

Rooster crows.

Two years ago today I experienced death in a way I never have before. I stood next to my sweet friend Casey as she fought for her breathes and I saw just how terrible cancer is. I will never forget that day because I captured with my own eyes a weak mortal body that death wanted the victory, but I was able to also see the Holy Spirit rush in and WIN the victory. “Oh death where is your sting?” 

Little did I know that God allowed me to walk that journey with my sweet friend and experience just how hard death is so that I could stand just a few months later in a third world country where death is common and be able to know the pain of watching a friend go to be with Jesus. It taught me more than I could ever imagine. It taught me to know suffering and the Sovereignty of God. That all things pass through His hands first, the good and the bad. So when I am comforting a family, a wife, a friend, or a child that has lost a loved one…I go back to this day. 

I pray as you read what He did for me, you will also know He does the same for you. Casey, I miss you still. So thankful for Ashlyn…her smile is the exact replica of yours and it makes my heart feel joy every time I get to see her. I love you and I thank you for loving me. I’ll see you soon my friend..in the presence of our Lord. Come quickly, Lord, Come quickly. 

 I was so upset and disappointed to get on a flight to go to Africa, only to have to turn around and come back home due to the volcano is Iceland. I did NOT understand why God would allow our team to get prepared and head over, only to have to let people in Africa down and wonder what the reason was. Jesus, who is so precious to give us the desires of our hearts…not only sent me back to Austin, but I was going to be missing a weeklong meeting in Lubbock, so because my trip got cancelled I went to Lubbock to work for the week. On Monday Casey had the stroke and I was able to spend Monday-Thursday with her. He took care of the smallest details and gave me the most precious gift I have ever received, being able to hand my friend over to our Father.

Casey fought with incredible strength until her last breath. For over 2 hours I along with her parents and sweet boyfriend and another best friend stood beside her bed and prayed over her as she prepared to meet Jesus. At one point it was just her other best friend Ann and I in the room with her and I asked her if she could hear and understand me to squeeze my hand and she did. I was able to tell her how much I loved her and what an inspiration of strength and courage she is, I got to tell her to go home and meet Jesus but to tell him to hurry and come get us as well.  To see her eyes, made me wish more than anything that I could see what she was seeing!! About 6:00pm she had finally calmed down and was starting to sleep…I was about to leave when her dad asked that I would pray over her again…and so I did, and it was about 15 minutes later she left this earth. We had Chris Tomlin playing all day and when she passed “Amazing Grace, My chains are gone” was playing.  I was able to go back into the room after the doctors left and I was very leery to go but I am so glad I did. It was just her and I and there is no words to describe my last moment in that room with her body…this is what was playing in the background,

“There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring

And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives

And I will walk with You
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give

How can I keep from singing your praise? How can I ever say enough, how amazing is your love? How can I keep from shouting your name? I know i am loved by the king, and it makes my heart want to sing

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing ‘cause You pick me up
Sing ‘cause You’re there
I can sing ‘cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I’ll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

I sat there with her earthly body and it was overwhelming to hear this song playing and knowing that 5 minutes before she was here with us and now she was singing with the saints and angels around the throne. I could not get my head around it, and more than ever I wanted to talk to her to see what she saw, how He came for her and see her in her healing. Casey texted me just over a month ago saying..”I don’t believe God is done with me yet, I believe He is going to heal me” well He healed her in the fullest and at her funeral yesterday…He was not done with her story.

She left a precious piece of her here, her daughter Ashlyn…I watched her during the service yesterday and with a child like faith she sang at the top of her lungs when we sang “Amazing Grace” and cried when the slide show of her and Casey was played. She expressed yesterday that she wants to be baptized because she wants to be able to go and be with her mommy. He is so sweet…even in the storm.

 I have learned so much….the value of friendship and how God really does care beyond our imagination about the desires of our hearts, that he would literally shake mountains for me to be in His presence with my sweet friend when she made it Home.

Thank you all for praying and I ask you continue to pray for Casey’s parents and Ashlyn in the coming days and years…I am now even more ready and excited to hear the trumpets, Casey and I will have a lot to catch up on!
Be encouraged…for He is in the details and He comes for us, always.

Jesus knows how to minister and encourage my soul…friends and Mexican food 🙂 

Relationships here are deep. At home when our friends face tragedies, depression, or life is just hard we often don’t know what to do or say to our friends in those moments. We often find ourself backing away leaving our friends or family to cope alone. It’s not because we don’t want to be there or help it’s because we honestly don’t know what to say or do, so we do nothing. It’s safer and easier for us. Here in Uganda they have no choice but to get in the trenches and walk with each other. It is a part of their nature to step in and help their family or friends who are experiencing a tragedy. They give of their selves even if they have nothing to give physically. I often wonder if this comes natural to them because life here is hard, death is a part of every day living, hunger and poverty bring depression and all they can do is bind their hearts together and walk as one? Or is it because they know what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ? To give is better than to receive whether that is a kind word of encouragement or the only food that they have for a week given to one that has none. Maybe it’s a little of both. 

I have found that there is an unexplainable bond that develops when a friendship is born here in Uganda. I can confidently say that I am blessed with the most incredible friends in the world. Honestly, I believe that. So it would take a lot to impress me in the friendship realm. I have been blown away. Not only are the friendships I have developed here with my Ugandan friends been deeper than anything I have ever experienced so have my friendships developed with others who God has brought to this country whether that be Ugandan, Australian, American, Canadian, Irish…

I could write about many and tell every detail of how the Lord has uniquely tangled our stories together. So many amazing stories that only He could be creative enough to compose. I am thankful for each one. Each one has brought a new friend into my life that has seen what my eyes has seen, walked the orange roads, held dirty hands, seen miracles before their own eyes and been changed in a way that only this place can change you. It is a true treasure to experience that with another Believer. It is beautiful to watch someone else come to life here. 

Last night was a night around a table eating good food with old and new friends that were all gathered together because of one thing..He had brought us all here to Uganda. All stories and journeys different…needs assessments, water development, adoption, and this random girl that He graciously allowed me to be a part of what He is doing. Curtis and Laura, from Canada have been here three months doing need assessments were getting ready to leave to head home. As we discussed their time here and what they would miss the most they answered, the relationships we have created. I loved it because here we sat all together as friends and some had just met a week ago, some over a month ago, and some that same night but we shared a Love that binds any heart together and that is Jesus. 

For me He sends people into my life some for a night, some for a couple of months, some for seasons and some for a lifetime to teach me, sharpen me, laugh with me, and encourage me and I am so very thankful. I am learning to go deeper in my relationships and not hurry on to the next. I am learning to sit and listen. I ask God to allow my heart to feel the weight of what my friends here are walking through whether that is a Ugandan or someone else He has brought into my path. I ask God to teach me to be silent or to speak. I ask that I would fall more in love with Him so that my relationships here are just an overflow of my relationship with Him . 

Tonight I just imagined a banqueting table bigger than my mind could conceive, filled with the most fabulous wine and food (of course mine had mexican food) and faces of every color, every age, and every background just laughing, enjoying and telling stories. We all are different and we have different journeys that led us to this table but we all have one banner. 

His banner over us is Love. 

Thankful for relationships. Thankful for laughter. Thankful He chose me. Thankful for Tex-Mex in Uganda that lives up to Texas standards. Thankful for the One relationship that makes this all possible. 

Take time to take inventory of the relationships He has placed you in. 

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“We will not hide these truths from our children, but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did. He commanded our ancestors to teach to their children, so the next generation might now them-even the children not yet born-that they in turn might teach their children. So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying His commands.”

Psalm 78:4-7

My prayer is that these children from 7 months old to 24 that God has entrusted to us to love, teach, and guard would tell future generations to come of His miracles. I pray that He gives us all wisdom to lead these into His plans for each of them. That we will be sensitive to His spirit as we make mistakes and fail but He would allow us the grace to always be genuine to those who are watching. 

Today is my Granddad’s 87th Birthday. Candles are lit and instead of our voices singing, he hears the voices of his brothers and sisters, angels and Jesus singing. I long to be at that party, the never-ending party. 

Today my heart aches because I miss him so much. I miss his humor, holding his hand, and the rock of our family. Today my heart rejoices because he is gathered around the throne and as hard as it is to imagine, he would never choose to be here celebrating again. He is home, where he was intended to be all along.

I celebrate him today and the years to come. I will tell my children of these things:

  • I learned to drink my coffee black because that is how he took it
  • Never take a wooden nickel
  • Never wear TT (tee tee) on my shirt
  • That everyone can blow up their muscles and pop out your teeth
  • Everyone in the cemetery are dead
  • How to do the jitter-bug
  • How to milk a mouse 
  • You always eat cornbread and buttermilk together
  • His world war II stories
  • He was fearless
  • He had the strongest hands due to being the hardest worker
  • He was always the first one up
  • He was called Alleycat
  • I never saw him in anything other than work boots or cowboy boots
  • He never met a stranger (could be where I get this) 
  • He was wrapped around my pinkie all my life
  • He only wore 3 flannel shirts a year
  • I always ask for a cigarette when someone has Jolly Ranchers

So thankful. “I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me? Did I choose to love? Did I point to Him enough to make a mark on things?”

Russell Hudson, yes you did. You left a mark on your world. Proud to call you MY Granddad. 

O Lord God,
Thou hast commanded me to believe in Jesus; and I would flee to no other refuge, wash in no other fountain, build on no other foundation, receive from no other fullness, rest in no other relief.

His water and blood were not severed in their flow at the cross, may they never be separated in my creed and experiences; May I be equally convinced of the guilt and pollution of sin, feel my need of a Prince and Savour. Implore of Him repentance as well as forgiveness, love holiness, and be pure in heart, have the mind of Jesus, and tread in His steps.

Let me not be at my own disposal, but rejoice that I am under the care of one who is too wise to err, too kind to injure, too tender to crush. May I scandalize none by my temper and conduct, but recommend and endear Christ to all around, bestow good on every one as circumstances permit, and decline no opportunity of usefulness.

Grant that I may value my substance, not as the medium of pride and luxury, but as the means of my support and and stewardship. Help me to guide my affections with discretion, to owe no man anything…
To be able to give to him that needeth…
to feel it my duty and pleasure to be merciful and forgiving…

To show the world the Likeness of Jesus.

The Valley of Vision…

Puritan Prayers. 

“Where love takes you in. Everything changes. A miracle starts with a beat of a heart. When love takes you home and says you belong here. When loneliness ends and a new life begins.”- Stephen Curtis Chapman

“Everyone has oceans to fly, as long as they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe, but what do dreams know of boundaries?”- Amelia Earhart

Especially the ones our Creator breathes into the chambers of our heart.- Kimberly Smith

Not one day has gone by where I haven’t thought, “I am actually here”. It feels surreal on some days that I have quit my job, been a gypsy for two years and I don’t know when for sure I will be returning home. When those thoughts come they are quickly followed by a hug from a new friend here, a child that needs to just be held, or a conversation that allows my heart to feel the hurt and desperation of so many of my friends here. Then gratefulness flows. He has moved mountains for me to be here. I have friends and family that have helped me accomplish my dream that I see now has no boundaries. 

I do not feel like a missionary, I just feel like a girl who Jesus knew a long time ago what He was preparing me for. Praise the Lord not by my might but His grace I have walked into what He has been preparing me for since I was in my mom’s womb. The best part is, it’s not over. There are still journeys ahead, hardships to endure but I now know this…all you have to do is say yes to the little things, not always the big ones. Just a small simple Yes in the day to day, just a quiet whisper of the voice of my Lord. 

One of my best friends just shared some words the Lord has given her and I just keep saying them over and over…

“Surely I am loved beyond compare, present in the storm and every moment You are here. I worship you my God. I’ll glory in Your presence all my days, mercies every morning, I am constantly amazed. Father have my heart, for my heart is yours.”