one-way tickets

You know how I love to tell dramatic, suspenseful stories that LEAVE YOU HANGING at the end? Oh, so much fun. Well, guess what? It’s your lucky day. Not even gonna drag this out until the 3rd paragraph.

Our family is moving to Cambodia.

I know! Insane! Except some of you are thinking, “Wait? Why is this news? You’ve been saying, ‘Cambodia or Bust!’ for months now. I’m so confused.”

Well, back in March, we decided to start saving for another short-term (most likely 2 months) trip to Cambodia, but not a permanent move. Backing up some more to January 2012, we came home from 5 weeks in Cambodia, pretty sure God wanted us back there for good. But then Gabe’s anxiety/panic started, and everything came to a screeching halt. Two-plus years later, Gabe felt ready to try another trip.

So, we were just plugging along, selling one pack of cards at a time, saving up money for our trip. Life at Abbey Lane was rolling along, and we were content. Maybe we’d never move to Cambodia (oh, but we still hoped we would!). Maybe our new ministry was here in Africa (our apartment complex is predominantly East African refugees) instead, and we’d just take occasional trips back to the country of our hearts.

Then two weeks ago (Sunday night, July 13th), I got an email that would change everything. It was from my middle daughter. In the next room over. Here’s what it said:

We should move to Cambodia!! It’s awesome there! And when we live there we can see if that’s where God wants us! What do you think? And it never snows! And if we can find out where God wants us, he can tell us JUST as well (maybe better because we are happyer) in Cambodia. Right? I feel like we should move. I always think why are we here if we can raise money, go for a trip, and come back, why can’t we raise money, go, and hardly ever come back? I love this thought. I know we don’t know where God wants us, but I feel like we could figure it out better in Cambodia, cause if we are in Cambodia to figure out where God wants us, then we won’t have to move, cause we’ll already be there!!! LOVE YOU!!!

Well. What do you say to that? We had told the girls that part of the reason for our trip this coming January (Lord willing) was to find out if God still wanted us to go there for good. They said, “Um, didn’t he already tell us that two years ago? You’ve been there twice. How many more times do you need to go before you listen to what God said?”


We sat down with Gabe, and his reaction was much like the one he had when we all ganged up on him back in October with, “Hey! Whaddya say we sell our house and move to Abbey Lane??”

He didn’t jump up and down and say yes. But he didn’t say no. He said, “How about we just simmer?” And by simmer, he meant, “Stop all your carrying on, and let’s just pray quietly about this for a bit.”

So we did. We simmered. And by simmer, I mean we prayed a lot and the girls and I wrote a million emails back and forth to each other. They were beyond excited. Especially Ava. Until a couple nights later when she asked to sleep with us. She was crying. What’s wrong? “I just feel like this is moving so fast. I’m scared.”

Me too, sweetie. Me too.

So, slooowly (except not really, because this has all transpired in two weeks’ time), Gabe started saying things like, “You know, I think God wants me to trust him with my health. I think he has a plan for us in Cambodia.”

The one thing that held me back (besides the thought of leaving dear family and friends) was that I wasn’t sure our time at Abbey Lane was over. Were were leaving a good thing here before it was completed??

And I kept stumbling onto this chapter in Mark (seriously, it came up like three different times in a week) where Jesus heals people and does all this stuff, then goes to rest, and his disciples come to him the next morning and say, “Dude! Where have you been? Everyone’s looking for you! There’s so much work to be done still!” And instead of getting back to work, he moves on to somewhere completely different. What the what??

So, my biggest prayer was, “God, if you want us to move to Cambodia, will you please release us from our ministry at Abbey Lane?”

And, um, be careful what you pray for, because holy cow. (Part 2 coming tomorrow.) Wink.

29 thoughts on “one-way tickets

  1. Shelly

    It’s been a very long time since I left a comment on your blog, and I just wanted to say that you have never been far from my heart or my prayers! You inspire me!!!! You are such a breath of fresh air, a true example of love and sacrifice and I am just so happy to read of your new adventures. You will continue to be in my prayers!

  2. Pingback: the good, the bad, & the buggy | Marla Taviano

  3. Glen Bailey

    You guys need to write a book! Love the transparency of your stories and lives. Can’t wait to see how God works in and through you!

  4. Rachelle

    These words absolutely thrilled my heart!! It’s been a joy to watch this journey unfold even though there have been some hard, hard parts. God is faithful.

    A little story: Growing up my grandparents lived hours from my family on the ranch where my mom grew up. When I was 17 and about to be a high school senior, my Grandad died. Leaving my Grandmother alone on the ranch. My mom and her sisters spent some time contemplating how to best help my Grandmother. That’s when God spoke to me and told me we were moving. I guess with my life situation(leaving friends, the town I grew up in) God knew I needed a heads up. I didn’t tell anyone I just gathered boxes and started packing! My mom asked what I was doing and I said, “God told me we’re moving”. By faith my parents listened and then we moved. My dad resigned a long-time job to hopefully find work in the tiny rural town. Yes it was possibly crazy! However God (of course) knew what he was doing. And it would take a book to tell of the mercy, grace and goodness we all experienced because of obedience.
    So, So happy for you! love you guys.
    A Friend (-;

  5. Sheree G.

    I’m so super excited for you guys!!! I really wanted to hug your neck in person rather than virtually before long and next year it seems our family will finally be through OH. But, wow, God is awesome. Praying for you and loving on you in our hearts every day! This is such a lesson for our family as well, just yesterday we discussed a m I ve that seems totally out of reach for us. Who knows what God has in store for all of us. Love you dear Friend!

  6. Arneta

    Well well well……. What an adventure!!! I just LOVE how God takes care of things and moves mountains when we just rest and trust in Him. Wow!! I can’t believe you get to go…to move…wow…can’t wait to hear the rest of the story!!! lol….and…uh….please…I need a Tshirt….. “The bright side goes first”. Love it❤️

  7. Sharon

    HOORAYYYYY! Have to say, when I read the title of your post, I was thinking about how Frontier Airlines is doing a deal right now on one way tickets in my city going to certain other places. I had already checked if an option was Ohio, (it is!!!) thinking of getting to meet you in person. So, when I saw that you were actually talking about Cambodia in the post….AND MOVING THERE! I was totally shocked. But, so overjoyed and I can’t wait to hear part 2. And, the whole having something come up 3 times, I may have already mentioned this, but during some training I was doing at a Church years ago, somebody mentioned about it being important to listen when you hear the same thing multiple times. And I love how the Lord used your daughter to get the conversation going. My Pastor moved here 3 years ago from a Church in another State. He shared with us that he was really hesitant about moving, but finally one of his daughters said something to him that made him realize there wasn’t any reason not to make the jump and move. And, they did!

  8. valerie (in TX)

    Ohmygoodness, I’m speechless! So, so, so, SO excited for you guys, and smh in a good, amazed kind of way!! It has been so awesome to watch (through fb/blog) your journey the last few years and the way God has prepared your family and the way you have chosen to trust and wait (so hard!) AMAZING!! Love you guys!!

  9. Lewis

    Wishing you and yours the best! You have come a long way from Kanagy Rd and being the smartest girl in Geometry class :). Follow what you have been called for. For years I have heard when you give it to God he will handle and provide! There may be those that doubt you but do what you know in your heart because that is what is right to you.

  10. Pingback: free to go | Marla Taviano

  11. Karen

    That’s soooooo exciting! Praying for provision and green lights all the way to Cambodia. Love the faith with which you live your life … and the ways you’ve shared that with your girls! GOOOOO Tavianos!!

  12. A Friend

    Marla there was never any question that you would continue to pressure your husband to eventually move to Cambodia. No one but God knows if this what He really wants for your family but it sure seems this is what you want.

    It’s nice that your daughter wrote you an email but is God’s word to whom should be listening to. I could quote Ephesians but you know better than I what God has told us about our roles. It is your husband who’s voice you should be listening to not your childs.

    I honestly pray I am totally wrong about this, but I can’t but express my concern that you decided to go back to Cambodia with or with out God’s blessings or your husbands.

    1. Melissa

      If you are “a friend” why are you hiding behind anonymity??

      And while you are in the bible looking up the role of wives why don’t you look up the proper way to rebuke a fellow believer. Pretty sure it doesn’t include doing it publically and sarcastically.

    2. A Husband

      I don’t want to blast you with a response. It’s pretty easy to post hateful things anonymously. If you would, please email me at gabetaviano (at) and I’ll make sure to clear things up just for you. Thanks, “friend”.

  13. Nina

    I love Cambodia, (people, place, food) It’s filled of wonderful peeps that will (some already do) know about jesus. It happens with all kinds of things or people, such as, Missionaries, Dreams, MIRACLES! Some people already know about jesus, and, we already don’t live in the richest part of town, whats gonna hurt to live in a country just like it except different people. I like it even better there, so, the bright side goes first!

    Hope we’ll get some visits 😉

    Love Nina! :)

    1. Krysten

      Let the bright side go first!

      I love you, Nina! You are growing up so fast in all the good ways.

      And I’d love to visit you someday in your new home!

  14. Krysten

    1) Ohmagoodnessssssss.
    2) Ava has some really great points, there! (Go, Ava!)
    3) I love you. And Gabe. And the girls. And your heart for Cambodia and everyone around you.
    4) I’ll come visit. :)
    5) Did I mention I love you?? Like really, really do. So happy for this next big step!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *