This is my Joy...

I know a lot of people who have the same struggle as myself, feet. I am just not a big fan of feet for many reasons. They are not the cleanest part of our bodies, you have to work hard to have manicured and pretty feet. I don?t mind feet as long as they are cleaned and well taken care of otherwise I really have a hard time concentrating on anything else but keeping the look of nausea from showing on my face. 

I love though how God will speak to us in our own ways?our own pettiness. Only He would reveal this to me? in a very real picture He revealed my heart. 

Here in Africa feet are the means which these people travel from home to work. Feet allow them to climb these dirty, dusty roads to fetch water and food. The water though can?t be used to…

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I just recently read a blog about “10 things missionaries won’t tell you” and I found myself saying, “yep” on each one because the man spoke truth.  One that really resonated with me was the point: We will never tell you our worst days. I never tell people my worst days here for so many reasons. Mostly because no one realizes how complicated things are here and usually has so many layers to it that just to tell you about my day there would be at least an hour conversation just trying to explain, or it’s hard to really grasp the weight of it all and how even the smallest task during a day can drain all the energy out of you. Or you would question my salvation or sanity. Or as he said in the blog, tell me to throw in the towel and come home.  Many times I just don’t want to be a Debbie Downer so I just give the “well we are just walking through a difficult season” and leave it at that because I don’t want to pour out what I see and feel on a daily basis to everyone that ask.

Thursday was one of those worst days. If someone would have handed me a ticket to leave I wouldn’t have even stopped by my house to get a bag. I will spare all the details. I came home before lunch and sat down at my computer just wanting to shut my brain down for a minute. I remembered that my husband sent me a link called “why women need their girlfriends” and I opened it and tears began to pour. It spoke about how a group of girls now in their late 40’s had been taking a beach trip together every year for over 20 years. The reason why they did it was because those girls had walked from the carefree, simple young life to the season of life where cancer began, difficulties in marriage, losing jobs, moving, where they needed those who had walked every season to still get together and laugh. As I read the words that my heart knew to be so true, I just wanted more than anything for my girls to be sitting at the table with me. Some of my girls would have been crying alongside of me, others would have been trying to fix all that went wrong by taking immediate action and some would have been making us laugh because they don’t do well with the emotional type. I wanted all of them there in that moment.

So, all I could do was email them. I let it all out. Told them about how we were struggling financially in our ministry at the moment and I was in the midst of a day where I just needed God to remind me, “Hey Dacia, you are not alone.” I wanted Him to break through and help us with some great needs we had at the babies home. I felt so much better after emailing the girls and getting a good cry in.

So, I went back out to face the world.

By the afternoon I had received 3 emails in response from my girlfriends telling me that they were going to cover the cost of one the main things I needed at the time. I laughed.

You see, Jesus knew that I needed more than just a “hey, I got this…”. Anyone could have donated for that need but Jesus was so sweet to me in that it was my closet girlfriends, once again, walking through a season with me from a thousand miles away. It was more than my heart needed that day to have a financial need met but through the ones who have been helping me face big and small mountains for over 10 years now.

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When you get slapped in the face

I am currently going through Jen Hatmaker’s bible study “Interrupted”. It’s written to the American church and she ask probing questions about how we as the church have neglected the poor, the suffering, and the “Judas” of our time. At first I thought this would not be a practical study for me to do, because well my pride…my pride telling me “Dacia, obviously your life has already been ‘interrupted’ and you are half-way across the world with the poorest of the poor and you see the neglected every day. You don’t need to do this.” Then I get slapped in the face with daily frustrations and a heart that is struggling to love the poor that I came to serve. I struggle with being asked for money day in and day out and begin putting up a very large wall. Daily saying words in my head that I know shouldn’t come out due to cultural differences and the slowness of the culture I live in. Instead of treating everyone in front of me with the same treatment of grace, mercy and love, I pick and choose based on what I think of them and if they will be thankful, not demanding, and will put to good use the resources we provide them.

So, actually, this study was for me, sitting here in Uganda and not on my couch in America.

1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now I am the body of Christ.”

“Doesn’t this concept of being broken for others ring true? It’s a spiritual dynamic manifested physically. Why is it so exhausting to uphold someone’s heavy, inconvenient burden? Why are you spent from shouldering someone’s grief or being an armor-bearer? Why is that lifting someone out of his or her rubble leaves you breathless? Because I am the body of Christ, broken and poured out, just like He was.”

Mercy has a cost: Someone must be broken for someone else to be fed.- Jen Hatmaker

When I read these questions, I felt like she had spent the week with me.

The burden I am carrying: 57 children who are wondering why they have been left behind? Why don’t they have family? Having to look at those who work for me and say their salary hasn’t come yet. I don’t know how they will feed their children until it comes. I have NO idea what it’s like to have absolutely no money or resources to survive on, yet I have to look into the faces of those who do, and it falls on me to provide. Who’s grief am I shouldering? A little baby who has no idea what hate is and is full of ignorant bliss and happiness to know one day the hurt of knowing that no one in her family wanted her. That her aunts believed she deserved to die because she killed their sister in childbirth. My heart is overcome with grief that this little girl will not know her birth mom because of a simple complication in birth that took her, but could so have easily been fixed if the healthcare was decent. Why am I breathless? Because last week I felt like I couldn’t do enough, daily I had people look me in the eye and desperately ask for help and I had nothing to give- emotionally and physically.

I honestly didn’t want to be the broken for someone else. I just wanted to put up my walls and hide. I wanted to look at everyone who asked for money and scream, “Just because I am white, doesn’t mean I am an endless supply of money”. I wanted to look at those who I know have had opportunities to rise out of their situation yet have not and say “you don’t deserve more help”. I wanted to look at that father and instead of me being slapped in the face, I wanted to slap him. I wanted to pick and choose who I wanted to bestow my brokeness upon, ones that I knew it wouldn’t be wasted on. That is the brutal ugliness of my heart.

But what about Judas? Did Jesus not know that there would be countless Judases that would take for granted His brokeness? Did Jesus pick and choose; only died for those who would appreciate and live out their lives for His glory?

So He tore me up. I could easily sit here in Uganda and think, “I have sacrificed enough…I have left my home, my friends, my culture. I have sacrificed what is familiar for the dirty and frustrating day-to-day here. Please don’t expect more from me. I depend on others for my financial support, which is humbling. I work 7 days a week. I bear the burden of leading so many without family. I don’t get to go on vacation without feeling guilty. So, I think I have done enough God. I am in such a better place than people who haven’t tasted suffering in a third world country, who haven’t put themselves in a place to even let their eyes see, who feel good about their church programs. But He is not comparing me to others, He is comparing me to Himself. And I have a LONG way to go and just like my theme, He has called me deeper. It’s time to go deeper. I have not arrived.

So as I am processing this and remember I have to be broken for someone else to be fed this week He has sent me opportunity after opportunity.

Here was my week:

Found two of our babies with temperatures with 107 and above…one was one that I am partial to the other is our newest and I haven’t created the same bond with, but both needed a mother’s love and care. Did I pour myself out for both or just the one I had a bond with and was easier to nurture?

Went out with our medical team who was doing medical clinics. After people are treated, if they aren’t Christians they have the opportunity to sit and listen to the Gospel in a one on one setting. This is not something I like doing. I am more a relationship builder and sharing over time after knowing they trust me and knowing for sure they understand the decision they are making. But He stretched me and told me to sit down and share the Gospel. There were two ladies that grabbed my heart and sharing the Gospel was easy with them and my compassion spilled out. The other was a man who immediately asked for money and my instinct was to go back to how I had previously responded…but He said, extend Grace.

After a long and exhausting day, I finally laid down and my eyes were shutting when my phone rang. One of our sweet staff was having a seizure and was needing immediate care by a doctor. Ashley (our nurse) and I rushed over to find her not in a good state. So, we rushed her to the closet thing we have as a hospital here and prayed she would be ok. The frustration of the health care here is beyond words. I have NO background in medicine but sometimes I think I could treat better than what they get. In the middle of our sweet friend suffering we found out that she had just lost her mom and her aunt, had been so sick and was having to work so much because of the season we are in. She had received a phone call that her dad was also sick and she was scared. Scared she would also lose the only parent she had left. So, we could take care of just the one that was ours and guarantee she got the best treatment, no matter the cost or we could also take care of her father, who we did not know.

You see what God was doing this week….I did. And I would have proudly told you, I think I did well in all of those situations and I kept what He was doing at the forefront of my heart and mind as I wrestled through this life that is brutal here some days.

And then there was another slap.



Josh and I went on Saturday to speak to our Secondary School leaders at a workshop. When we walked in this young lady was sitting in the front and I was confused as to why she was there. I didn’t understand why no one had kindly asked her to leave? As we sat there she just contented to stare at us and would inch a little closer every time I looked down. Here was my heart rearing its ugly head again…I could only see her dirty feet and skin that hadn’t been washed and it was very clear that she had a mental disability. So, I hear Jesus saying to my heart…here is another opportunity Dacia to go deeper into what I am teaching you. She is the least, the lowly and definitely the outcast extend Me to her. But I couldn’t. I was paralyzed by my own pride and just wanting to have one day where I can imagine things like this don’t exists and I can turn a blind eye. But here she was, looking up at me smiling, and all I could do was just smile back. It wasn’t a few minutes later one of our students came and grabbed her kindly by the hand and took her outside. I thought she was just kindly excusing her from the front of the room until I looked back and she had given her new clothes and was leading her back into the room. She didn’t sit her on the floor, she sat her down with her on the chair next to her and the rests of our girls.

OUCH! It has been a long time since I felt a punch deep in my gut of conviction and guilt. It was like Jesus knew I was wrestling in my spirit to not turn my eye to this girl who clearly needed acceptance and love and I refused so He showed me His love for her in one our students that I am supposed to be leading. They sat her at their table during lunch and gave her the largest amount of food. Now that is what it is supposed to look like, Church. I was humbled by those I am supposed to be leading, they lead me.

I will never arrive. How dare I sit here in Uganda on the “mission field” and think I have accomplished and have this down? How dare I look at others and think I am doing it better! He has me on a journey to go even deeper. To take me further out of my comfort zone and to love even those that I don’t think I can love.

Doing nothing is a blatant sin of omission. Jesus joined these at the bottom, the outcasts, and undesirables. And He has invited everyone into a journey of downward mobility to become the least.-Shane Claiborne.

Are you on the journey to become the least?



“Oh, for a closer walk with God, A calm heavenly frame, A light to shine upon the road that leads me to the Lamb.

Where is the blessedness I knew, When first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul-refreshing view of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void…

The world can never fill.”

-William Cowper


Joshua, my man and I are planning a wedding!! I have been so absent from writing because He has been writing for me, in my every day, a beautiful story of writing specifically to me. All the letters, prayers and tears I have poured out waiting for Josh, the Lord has spoken to me so many times…”I have heard every prayer”.  It truly is an incredible love story. One that only the author of marriage and relationships could write. Josh and I have quickly seen how He has brought us together to fulfill one of His main reasons for marriage, it is to display the Glory of God. What a crazy ride it has been thus far….

Let me start from the beginning. I was actually going through my photos on my iphone and amazed at how the new ios7 categorizes your pictures so well. My last few months of my life are told in this camera roll and it’s dates.

So I will recap the last year in pictures. To sit here and go back, to go back to my chaos and pain, my mountain tops, my magical moments, the first kiss, the first cry, the first time I held her and saw her smile, the first time we prayed over here, him down on one knee, celebrations, and the continued orange road….

13176_629905314067_1302704336_n February 2013– I traveled back to Uganda for my second year. I came with my church from home, Austin Christian Fellowship, who I began this journey with five years ago! Before they left to return back to the States, they circled around me and had one of the most incredible prayer times I can remember. This girl, Emily, her prayer rocked my world as she began praying over a very specific fear and area of my life that I had a lot of unbelief in. I hadn’t talked in-depth with Emily about this but she prayed as if she and I had hours and hours of conversation discussing the state of my heart. She prayed that God would bring my husband, one that would love ministry and this country as much as I did. One that would join me in the field. She prayed for my patience and a heart that would continue to wait on Him in a place where it seemed impossible. I remember the Lord stirring in my heart during that time of sweet prayer and lots of snot 🙂


I also must remember the miracles. Agnes, who had suffered from many seizures had one of her worst at the beginning of March. She was unconscious for several hours and her little body was too weak. After many prayers lifted up around the world and around her bedside, the little sweetness came to life and since then…NO SEIZURES!! We have seen great improvement in her life from the physical to the emotional.

IMG_0742Then there was this guy…a friend that I had been hanging out with a little bit. The night before Easter I was preparing and matching flowers, headbands and dresses. This guy came an helped me and even modeled some for me. If he had the patience to sit through that junk, I knew he was going to handle girls well. I might have formed a little crush that night as he helped me make the perfect dresses for my girls that night.

DSC_0457 DSC_0472On a day that Joshua was extremely busy, he cleared his schedule to come to our home and capture the joy behind his camera. One of the many talents I would soon discover that he has. Jesus was so evident in this story in particular. Friends from home contacted me that their little girl instead of asking Santa Clause toys for her, she wanted Santa to bring 56 pairs of shoes so she could give them to our babies. How amazing is that? The love of Christ so pure and innocent in the lives of those we should look to more to as our examples. We had such a fun day telling the children that these dresses and shoes were package with love directly from Jesus.

IMG_0915The Lord was faithful in sweet friends that donated money for me to buy a car!! This car has been the biggest blessing in more ways than just getting me from Jinja to our babies home 45 minutes away-it also brought Josh and I together. When I first got the car we realized quickly that there were many problems that needed to be fixed. Yet again, Joshua stepped up to the plate and begin fixing my car 🙂 On our multiple trips to Kampala, the capital city, we had many conversations that showed our hearts were beginning to depend on each other for friendship. Jesus knew I needed a man who could fix things, living in this country where there is constant fixing to be had.

IMG_1036 P.S. I want this long hair back….and yes this is the Nile. Still seems crazy that I get to hang out on the Nile. Who wouldn’t fall in love here?

Amy came to our rescue. Amy and I still laugh about the way we were connected. It is again, one of God’s ways of showing us that He has the great big world in His massive hands and if he wants two people’s paths to cross, He can make it happen. Amy has adopted Favor, her little girl, from our home and does a beautiful job of always bringing her girls back to their original home. Amy came to help us as our nurse for our home and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her during this time. The Lord used her to be a friend here to witness what Jesus was doing, help guide me and sit up late after my first date to hear all the details.


Amy and I were out at the home in April when I was told a father was there with his child. We do not just accept children into our home with no paper work and proper steps with the government. I was greeted by a gentle man and a very quiet woman with a very small bundle in her lap. You would have thought that it was a baby doll wrapped in a sheet it was so small.

Meet Fatuma:

IMG_1134Forever my heart is changed. This child has brought life. Life was brought to her through our faithful Daddy who allowed her to brought to our home to put meat on her bones and a smile on her face. My heart felt what I have heard so many of my “momma” friends say but I have never been able to relate. The times spent at 2am in the morning feeding a baby creates a bond that you didn’t know your heart could form. This sweet girl, who we call Leah, has taught me so much and I know He is going to continue to use her life to teach me more.

IMG_1226She has taught me submission. Submission to my Father and to my soon to be my husband. I have been independent for quite some time and this little one without knowing it took my heart to a place of submission even with Josh that was the first of many. It has been beautiful to watch what has happened after I have given all control over to the Lord.

IMG_1469Unfairness: I have always struggled with the question, “why me, God?” but in the sense of why was I born in the western world where we don’t have to worry about losing a child due to just a common sickness. Why did I get to be born in a place where malaria wasn’t rampant and babies didn’t suffer from the sin and curse of this fallen world like I see every day here? Never more have I fought God on His sovereignty as I did when I was holding this little one with a fever so high she was going unconscious and they couldn’t get a line her in her little tiny dehydrated veins. As I prayed that God would hold this one and hold me as I hate moments of anger, moments of desperation, and moments of fear. He held us both and once again, I see Him. See and hear him saying, Trust me. Even in death, trust me. Even in life, trust me. When something is so far beyond your control, it pushes me to His arms.


I have learned after being here for 2 years that there are many days when I would pick up the phone to talk to my parents, who I have always called when I needed wisdom, guidance and prayer, I would want to pour out my heart about my current world. But I couldn’t. It is hard for others to grasp it, hard to understand the multi-layers of everything here. I prayed and prayed that my parents could come together, to experience my life here with me, so when I needed to pick up the phone, they would understand more. It was a HUGE miracle to get the call that they were able to come because of our sweet family and friends that helped them to get here. To do ministry with my parents was incredible. I loved sharing with the two that have taught me what servanthood and ministry looks like and to see how it was their parenting that lead me here.


DSC_0560Thankful for Dress a Girl Around the World who allowed us to go into the poorest area around, Masese, where we have a church and hand out hand-made dresses. Sweet Joy.


Can’t leave out my first boda accident. For those that don’t know, it is a very common form of transportation here, a motorbike that can carry one person or a whole house. As you can see I had a choice of either falling off and eating concrete or losing my entire skirt in town.

IMG_0695Hallie, my Rock Star of a friend came to find more fair trade for her amazing store #halliebrockwall! It is my dream one day to do the same with her because I love fashion, helping women realize their beauty, and to help organizations like Arise Africa all at the same time.


HOME! For the first time with my man to meet his family and see where we come from.

The time finally came where I was able to sit with the girls that have walked every season with me and we have had countless conversations about when we will meet the guy that we have all so patiently been waiting on. I will never forget this one. Lots of shrieking, crying, and laughing with the friends that I hope I walk with for many more years to come.

Ten years since I graduated High School with these lovelies. SO thankful for friendships that continue to last even after our adolescence.

IMG_2016And then my life changed with this scene.


eng 73Thus begins “our story”. The one He has written for us to now get our feet dirty with orange dirt as we learn to do ministry together.

IMG_2254And how gracious is He to give me these girls to be there for every celebration.

IMG_2467We are excited to see where this leads. We pray that while He has us here, in Uganda, we give all we have and pour ourselves into this amazing ministry that we are so privileged to be a part of.



I haven’t blogged in almost a year. I have tried. I will sit to write and I can’t finish a post. It has really bothered me because writing has always been my way of processing and reflecting back to what the Lord has done. Since May, nothing has come. It’s not because I have nothing to reflect on or that life has not brought me new experiences. In fact, my whole life has changed. Literally. In every sense of the word “change’, I have experienced it in the last 10 months.

He has wanted me to take it all in. To process alone. To take in the moments and not always share in the public eye that I so easily feel obligated to participate in. It’s been a journey of my Savior and I and those around me in those moments.

Tonight though, I am ready. Ready to try to put my thoughts back into words that will reflect an honest heart.

My days now are mostly administrative, which is never what I saw myself doing here in Uganda, but the Lord has taken me to a place where I am uncomfortable. Imagine that. Not only in a different country, different culture, but into a place where it is hard to balance between the call to serve those here and also administrate those He called me to serve. So instead of just going to the home and holding babies and playing with the children, I am now in the office pouring over budgets trying to keep our food budget from going too high, meetings, and planning. A lot of days I want to just leave that job to someone else and go and do what I want to do, be a momma. But then being a momma is taking care of your household. It is not glamorous.

Glamorous it is not. So often, for my heart’s selfish sake, I detach. I busy myself in the details of budgets, managing, and computer work. I have found that I can hide there and forget sometimes the stories and the eyes that captured my heart and the small hands the Lord used to release mine of everything I held dear to move across the ocean. Some days it’s too much. Just going to the market to pick 50 pounds of beans and 50 pounds of rice, pouring sweat, the stench of the garbage piles makes you nauseated, the countless times you are told the higher price because your skin resembles what they know as money, and needing to use your phone but not having any airtime to call anyone. It does me in. In one hour I am fighting my flesh and the words that come into my mind that I should never say out loud, the anger of how nothing is ever simple here. By the time I drive an hour to the home on roads that will, well, they will just leave you speechless, I am greeted by the children that I love with all my heart. Yet, I am detached somehow. Detached because my day has already been frustrating beyond belief and I don’t have it in me to remember their little hearts and that all I really need to do is stop and listen, stop and hug, stop and touch their hands, stop and be present.

AriseAfrica1435He reminds me. In His sovereignty, which I will never comprehend, He has carried me through today. After a day full of unexpected situations, attacks of the enemy, I found myself at the end of me. Literally. Most days when I get into bed, it’s not a moment too soon because I know His mercy and grace has been spent and I am waiting for the morning, where His new mercies rises with the sun. It is new every morning, and I drink deeply. But today, I found a place where I could just breathe and I cried out to the Lord, “there is nothing left here, Lord. I have exhausted my strength today and what I am facing, as one who needs to have answers, I am utterly helpless. A situation beyond my knowledge and experience. You have brought me here. Take us from here.”

To know this Man…that has been the desire of my heart and it is in the moments which I don’t want, I taste and know more of Him.

I walk into our home, where the children are supposed to be getting ready for bed and there is chaos all around me. I don’t mean just a handful of children a little rowdy before bedtime but 56 children running in every direction, 10 babies crying, darkness because the solar has gone out, children playing in the water they are supposed to be bathing in, clothes flying everywhere as they try to find pi’s. I want to just turn and walk out. It’s beyond. At that moment one of my 13-year-old girls brings me a 10 month old, who she is helping by giving her a bottle.

It hits me. I am in the middle of what I strive daily to make a home, to make the details of the home run smoothly, but ultimately to reveal the love of the Father. Reveal the love of the Father.

The scene around me is not normal. It is the repercussions of a fallen world. Children whose parents were taken from them due to sickness and disease. Parents that just left. Parents that discarded of them. No matter how they ended up there, it was due to an imperfect world, one awaiting the return of our Father. And I stand there and everything around me goes quiet as my heart aches. Aches to the point I feel it. As parents around the world are taking their children out of the bath, telling them to brush their teeth, climbing into bed, and telling them they love them as they kiss their heads and turn out the lights, I stand in the middle of 56 children who don’t know what that is like. The ten month old in my arms, I could rock her to sleep but then what do I do with the other 9 that need the same thing? Oh, my heart. Even writing this my emotions well up again.

Reveal the love of the Father. Father. Father….

He whispers to me, “I am near. Dark is light. Depths are heights, and far is near. I am near. I am their Father. In the chaos, I still hold them in their sleep. Sometimes I even reveal my fullness to them. My sovereignty. Dacia, it covers it all.” 

He is good to all, all who call on Him. He hears our cries and He saves us. A much-needed reminder in the midst of a place where suffering abounds. Here in Uganda, in America, in this broken world. A reminder to this heart that so easily gets caught up in the details and needs her heart to be awakened. He carries me. And when I believe I am doing well on my own, He loves me too much to not remind me and place me in the midst of His presence.

A reminder that He, only He, carries me. And He carries those crazy little ones running around. Carries them close. He is the one they need.



It takes a Village to Raise a Couple: Written by my fiancé…

Well since I have forgotten how to blog I thought my first blog in six months should be from the newest addition to my life! My sweet fiancé, Joshua, who is the Lord’s sweet faithfulness to me. But I will save my post for tomorrow-he is better with words than myself.


That’s me and my Dacia on our first date.  It was terrible, and I won’t get in trouble for that because she will tell you the same thing.  Due to various circumstances, we had known there were feelings between us long before our first “official” date.  So when it came around, there was this big sense of “finally!” and we felt the need to try an American style date.  For future reference, those don’t work very well where we live: in Uganda.

We rented a car and drove to the capital, Kampala, for our “American” date – dinner, ice cream, and a movie.  Dinner (sushi) was great, and really expensive.  The movie was awful.  Traffic was awful.  We both came home thinking the same thing – that was anti-climatic.  Not simple, not us.

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As bad as our first date was, it obviously wasn’t tragic, because on September 1, I put a ring on it.  Actually, we were laughing about it the very next day.  Yes, we’ve come a long way since then, and we have a long way to go.  But I can truly say the last seven months have been the most challenging, rewarding, God-centered months of my life.  My Dacia is the Godliest, most respectful, loving woman I have ever known.  Our relationship has been filled with joy, laughter, hard seasons and seeing more of Jesus every day.  We are forever only because He is.

As much as our story can’t be told in a single post, we can sum up where it began:people.  Our mentors and our friends.  Our blood families and our church families, because as God would have it, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.  Those who have prayed for us and challenged us.  Those who have rejoiced on our mountain tops and mourned in our valleys.  You are why we are here, and this is not the end.

We’re beginning a life together.  Actually, we already have.  I set aside my vision of Xchange International and now we’re both serving with Arise Africa International in Jinja, Uganda.  We are planning a wedding and honeymoon on missionary budgets.  She oversees the welfare of 56 children in a babies home, over 300 students in AAI’s primary and secondary school, and child sponsorship.  I have been charged with starting income-generating projects for 200 churches around Uganda, developing over 4,000 students through Arise Africa’s 24 community schools into educated, God-fearing leaders, and managing the organization’s vehicle fleet.  You know, small, simple things.

It is obvious we can’t accomplish these things on our own.  We can’t hold a healthy marriage and serve in ministry without God.  She can’t submit and I can’t lead without His constant presence in our lives.  We also know that God uses people to accomplish His work.  God has used those who have supported us in ministry through their prayers, counsel, and finances.  As we join our lives and ministries together, we need you more than ever.

On November 7, we’re flying to the United States to share what God is doing in and through us.  And believe me, the Spirit is in the details.  The things God has done thus far are hilariously reflective of His character.  Our goals are simple – to give Him the glory He is due and to invite people to walk with us.  We’ll be newlyweds on the mission field.  We need your love, encouragement, prayers, and financial support.  And it doesn’t stop there.  As members of the body of Christ, you need ours, too.  And we’re ready to give it.

Below is a rough schedule of where we will be and when.  If you’re close and want to meet up, we would be honored.  We both love coffee, food, and as my mother would say, any place with “atmosphere.”  Contact either of us and we will get the ball rolling towards a date and time confirmation.  We would be happy to share about the organizational goals and needs of our work in Uganda as well.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.  If our life together so far is any indication, God has bigger things in store for us all.  See you soon.


Because of Him,

Josh and Dacia

josh@xchangeinternational.org  |  dacia.newton@gmail.com



He has outed me.

You can only lead as far as you have been led with Him.  This has been weighing on me. Such a great responsibility to lead. I desire to go deeper with Him, I desire for Him to speak, but yet I find myself getting busy with the ministry to-do list and the schedule that we have even here, and I fail to stop and listen. So today, I am stopping. I am listening. I am going to write.

He has done so much these last few weeks that I have failed to share. Here is a sweet recap of what has been going on in my job and also in my heart.

I have new responsibilities! Here is what I do on a day-to-day basis.

1. Donations Office //  I am still helping in this department, which means that I help coordinate the sponsorships and updates for those who sponsor and give to the ministry.

2. School Coordinator // Responsible for the spiritual and physical well-being of the babies at our home, our nursery, primary, and secondary school.

3. Assistant Guesthouse Manager // I assist Sarah, our amazing manager, in the evenings and on the weekends at our guesthouses.

4. Developing a micro-loan finance department where we can help our 200 pastors develop projects that will sustain their income and help their community as well.

When I type all of this out I can literally feel myself start to panic. I can feel myself start to feel so inadequate and overwhelmed. I know myself well enough to know that when these feelings come, I tend to shut down and become paralyzed. I have been wrestling with fighting these fears for the last few weeks. I will sit down at my computer to write updates and nothing comes. I will begin to try to get into the Word and ask God for wisdom on how to lead and what our babies and students need to walk through first, and there is silence. I can’t seem to move forward. I lay in bed and think, “Did you really think I could do this? Why? I feel like there are so many more out there that have experience in all of these areas, and I am not one of them.” It keeps me up at night. I look ahead and see a mountain that I have no experience climbing.


It wasn’t until a few days ago that He spoke. He spoke into every fear of my inadequacy. An image. An image that took me back to a blog post that I wrote last year that was inspired by my sweet friend, Katie. Learning to bend low

For when I am bent low, serving, with my face to the dirt, that is where I find Him in all of His fullness. But today, I know that with me bending my knee, placing myself in a position of surrender, I can only take this position because He first bent towards me.

I feel as though I have to measure up. I still feel as though I need to perform accordingly. But I have to, once again, know the Biblical love of Jesus. And so I have to go back to this image: He came for me. I have quoted John 3:16 so many times but today it is different. “For God SO loved the world that He GAVE his only son”…the love of God is initiated towards me. He moved towards me. He bent towards me. Me at my best is never going to be adequate. Ever. That is why in His great love, He leaned in.

God has publicly outed me and because of that I am set free. So, that means I need a Savior. I don’t have to be more than I am. Sometimes I still think that He will love me when I get it all right and thousands of students and babies are living for Him. I don’t have to pretend through what I post on Facebook, Instagram and even my blog, that I know what I am doing. I don’t have to wrestle with putting an image forward that I can do this and because I am living in Uganda that I am doing something unique that deserves attention or praise, but just the opposite. I do not deserve a Savior that would call me, find me worthy, and set me in a place where He constantly reminds me that I cannot do this. Reminds me that He bends towards me so that I can also bend with a heart that tries to reflect the heart of my Father. Oh how I fail. I often do not serve well. I often expect others to serve me. I often miss opportunities to love well and to sit with someone because I need to accomplish a list. It is a daily battle to remember that I don’t have to sit in the guilt and run away from Him, but run towards Him because He already told me I would need a Savior. And He came.

It is my desire that each student at our Secondary School, all 188 of them, would come to know a Savior that bent towards them, so they can understand the spectacular love of their Father. That as orphans, as those who have been sexually abused, abandoned, scared, starved, the Creator came and got down on His knees before them, cupped their faces, held their hearts, kissed their wounds, and embraced them. My heart feels the weight of doing everything in my power to point them to His heart. Not just a religion that we spoon feed them in a Christian school and home, but that we would guide them in a relationship, that would give them Hope and show them the way to Life.  Would you pray for me? Would you pray that in my weakness, He is shown strong? That I would not play the comparison game. I would not be paralyzed by fear but would run set free.

That together we will run with our heads held high in the confidence of our Father’s love for us. Together, we will bend low and serve one another. Together, we would place ourselves in a surrendered position. Together, we would allow the picture of our Savior bending towards us, make our hearts bend towards Him. And with a posture like pictured below, I am capable of doing the things He has called me to do.


Name Suggestions?

photo-1You know, today was one of those days that I felt literally overwhelmed by His love for me! Where I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face and I literally felt like I needed to pinch myself.

He has shown His faithfulness to me time and time again but sometimes I just stand in awe. I stand in awe of those who gave in order to bless me with an amazing new car that not only blesses me but blesses my family here at Arise Africa.

I have to say the most joy I have felt was not when I received the notice that the target goal had been raised so we could go and look at a car but it was yesterday as we drove 2 hours to the Capital City to pick up the car. I was excited, don’t get me wrong, so excited but it did not compare to the excitement of my father here, Pastor Godfrey, who is takes wonderful care of me and made sure that we picked the very best. He was like a little kid on Christmas morning. Here at Arise God has provided for every single car that we have. Every single one. But yesterday was a little different, no one had ever gotten a big “New” nice car like this one. The joy that I received from seeing him so excited about driving the new car was worth it all. Thank you so much to those who gave, I wish I could have captured it on video as we drove off the lot and he beamed with pride. It was literally a proud father who had made a great choice for his daughter and was excited. A daughter being 28 years old and experiencing for the first time in a long time what it felt like to not make “big girl decisions” but to let a father do it for me, it brought me more joy than I remembered.

As I was driving along the dirt roads today, I didn’t feel the potholes like normal because I was seated behind a wheel of a great car! I didn’t breathe in the fumes and exhaust and eat the dirt because I am blessed to have air conditioning. I had my music blaring and I was surrounding by a scenery of a developing country, and I literally wanted to scream with pure joy! How is this my life? I say this so much but I really mean it…I have only given up a few luxuries. I don’t deserve to be here. He has just lavished His grace upon me to be able to call this my life. I am truly humbled. And it was moments like today, overwhelmed with what He has done for me through faithful servants that donated, it is so beautiful and fulfilling to follow Him. Even without a car, even if it meant that I didn’t get to drive a car…He is still good and He is still faithful. But how sweet is it when He surprises us?

We are all so thankful for the blessing of a new car!! It was so needed. I can now drive back and forth to Bukelaba daily and have a reliable car to get me there and back each day! Even tomorrow, Pastor Godfrey is taking it far out as he goes to encourage one of our churches. He gets ALL the glory!

Now, we just need a name for her….open to suggestions 🙂



I was so hungry for Him. It is Easter weekend and I hadn’t even stopped. I laid down to take a nap, I was missing home and the familiar. I woke up and just turned on some worship music. I wasn’t expecting Him to show up, but He came. It is not often that I wear the weight of the cross, personally, for me. That I wear my sin and realize that I don’t have to wear it. When was the last time I cried tears over what my selfishness, my pursuit of my own happiness, the neglect of my Father, had done to Him? When was the last time my heart was truly moved by what He did?

Today as I sat in my room. The tears came and I sat in the weight. And this song came to me…

I could hold on to who I am and not let you change me from the inside. I could safe be here in Your arms, and never leave home and never let these walls down. But You have called me higher, and you have called me deeper and I go where you lead me, Lord. I will be yours for my life, so let your mercy write the path before me. –

This song keeps finding my lips as I face each day here. Asking God to show me how to live out the Gospel. Today, the Saturday where the world was dark and was wondering who this man was…I embrace today and know there will be many days where I wonder…But then there is tomorrow. Where He awakes my soul to all He has done for me. And there I want to be. Because there is freedom and there is the life my heart longs for.

I accepted Him into my life as a 6-year-old girl, and although I was young I have never questioned my salvation. I knew that it was real the night I accepted Him in my living room with my mom and dad. But I don’t really know life without Christ. Oh, his mercy. How many times I have longed for a radical testimony? How many times have I looked at those who really walked in darkness and when they were made to see, they always have the feeling of being found. Their gratefulness runs deep. I sometimes have to search. It wasn’t until I realize that He didn’t have to choose me. My eyes didn’t have to be opened. The Holy Spirit didn’t have to speak to a six year old’s heart, waking my spirit to my depravity. How did the Lord restore to me the joy of my salvation? He reminded me through scripture that He chose me! He chose me! That changes everything for me. I could still be searching. I could still be living in darkness.

Tonight, as I write this my background music is a Ugandan thunderstorm. The thunder and darkness that I see outside me reminds me that all of this really is real. It’s not just a story I have heard all my life. He has opened my eyes to life. Let me sit in the darkness. Let me sit with the weight of the rain falling on me. How can I be blown away with everything that is in my being, if I don’t know from where I have fallen?

THank you for giving me a thunderstorm to remind me that you are more than a passing fantasy. Thank you for allowing me to fall asleep with a heart that knows. A heart that sees every day…you are still God. God in the death. Oh death…where is your sting? Thank you for Hope. A hope that when I look death in the eyes, I celebrate. For death is my reward because of this darkness I sit in now and the light that will awaken my eyes tomorrow.

Thank you that I am with those who know and walk in your suffering. May I learn to drink of the cup. May I beg for the cup.

Tomorrow I will celebrate with those who have been abandoned, those who have been left, who have every reason to not have hope. But tomorrow, on Sunday, we will celebrate because we may live because you died. May every throne before you fall. Usher us in, Lord. Usher us…orphans. We come as one. Orphans but no longer because you have died for us. May they grasp the story tomorrow. We are no longer orphans because you Reign.

Praise God who reigns, Forevermore. DSC_0587