she's got the itch. we all do.

She looked up at me with those big, blue, four-year-old eyes and said, “Mommy, when can we go to Canada?”

“Canada? That’s a new one. Why do you want to go to Canada?”

A look of confusion, a sheepish grin, then a lightbulb. “Not Canada! I mean Cambodia! When can we go to Cambodia? When our jar is full?”

I want to see the world. So does Nina. And I can’t speak for her, but I don’t just want to see it to see it. I want to see it because I know who created it, because I want to know what He’s up to, and I want to be smack dab in the middle of it someway, somehow.

Going to all those zoos, seeing all those animals, visiting all those places, meeting all those people? Got my motor going for more of the same.

As much as I love being at home with the people I love (provided we’re all healthy), I love traveling with the people I love even more. Last year was something special. We connected in a way that’s (unfortunately for me) stinkin’ hard to convey on paper.

We want more.

More zoos. More people. More countries.

One of our big dreams is to go to Cambodia as a family. To meet the orphans our church supports and to hang out with our missionary friend Jen as she shows us what God has sent her to do over there. Her latest assignment is both thrilling and heart-wrenching. She and her teammate are starting a school. In a community with a sordid history of exploiting children.

They’re hoping to have the school up and running in September. For now, they hold Kids’ Club in the afternoons where kids can come and sing songs, play games, do crafts, eat a snack, and hear about Jesus. Some of these kids have been sold before. Some are currently being trafficked.

My heart can hardly take it.

The girls and I started a Coins 4 Cambodia jar (old milk bottle from my grandma) a few months ago. Our original plan was to save up so we could go to Cambodia ourselves (and give 10% to the ministry there). But when I heard about these kids and this school, I asked Jen if there was any way we could help now. She said that they need snacks. Her team has been providing the snacks but can’t keep doing it. And for some of these kids, that snack is all they get all day long.

I showed the girls Jen’s blog post and the pictures of the kids. Livi and Ava know what human trafficking means. Nina just knows there are bad people who hurt children. We talked about what it would be like if the only food we got all day was our after-school snack. We talked about emptying our jar and sending “snack money” to those precious kids.

I thought how appropriate that we’ve been saving snack money in a milk bottle all this time.

I’m thinking of ways that you can get involved with us.

And we’re not letting go of our dream to go to Cambodia as a family. That day will come. Maybe in 2010. Maybe in 2020. I’ve seen enough of God in this past year to know that His timing is EX-QUISITE.

Have a great day, friends!

16 thoughts on “she's got the itch. we all do.

  1. Tiffani

    Oh, how I love to teach my children about missions. Because we cannot go at this season doesn’t mean we can’t teach/share/give as if we were and I so want them to know that…

    We save our coins for “Love a Child Ministries” in Haiti. I showed the kids pics of the kids who eat mud b/c they are so hungry…the kids always go on “hunts” for change to put in the jar..

    In such a crazy crazy self-centered world and especially the current and upcoming children/teens, I SO want my kids to boldly be different.

    This sounds like a wonderful ministry…looking forward to reading more about it!

  2. Omom

    You guys are amazing. I know you have a few struggles yourself, yet here you are getting out the milk bottle and starting something amazing for someone else. Thank you so much for the reminder that it doesn’t always have to be something huge. Just do something! and let God turn it into something huge!

  3. Gretchen

    You know, this is lovely. Thank you for the reminder. Our church supports a mission for young girls at a place called Eden House in Thailand. I can only imagine where they would be if not for God’s hand on them.

    But really…Canada is super close to me, so if you change your mind about Cambodia vs. Canada, I’ve got your back. 😉

  4. mary kate

    i’m telling you, cute lady, i just keep loving you (and your blog!) more and more. praying you’re all better!! can’t wait to see you your two oldest kiddos soon!!

  5. whimzie

    What a great idea! It’s so important to seize those teaching moments wherever we find them. Since you can’t go to Cambodia this year, you could plan a trip back down south. Louisiana or maybe Florida later this year?

  6. Lisa H

    I would love to help send snacks for the kids also. Let me know if I should send you the $ now or if I should wait for the official fundraiser.

  7. Liz

    I have the itch too. I want to go to Haiti and visit the orphanage that our church built and sponsors. I want to go to South Africa where my cousins teach children the Gospel. I want to go to China where our friends are missionaries. I love this big wide world and I want to see more of God’s creation! But more I want to share in giving to those who have next to nothing. It’s on my heart, big time.

  8. Marla Taviano

    Thanks, girls, but PLEASE don’t give me credit! Yes, God has laid this on my heart, but I have SUCH a long way to go in my self-centeredness!

    Meg–I’m thinking of ideas! You could always send $ now for me to include w/ours or just wait until I come up with a little fund-raising plan. Love you!

  9. Sarah Montanye

    Really cool Marla. I can’t wait to see how God uses your willingness, open heart, and coins in Cambodia. 2 friends of mine went there this past spring and I was amazed at the stories they came back with of these precious children.

  10. Jody Hedlund

    Wow, Marla. If nothing else happens, you’ve accomplished the best thing of all–passing a passion for the lost on to your children. What an awesome gift you’ve given them in that alone.

  11. Holly B.

    I love hearing how you’re getting your girls involved in missions/giving! How great it would be to hear of more parents doing this! Beautiful initiative, friend!

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