Category Archives: Updates

a HUGE jump in support!

Friends!! We have exciting news! After being “stuck” for awhile at 67% of the monthly financial support we need, we just added SIX new supporters in ONE week, and we’re up to 84%!


The biggest reason we hadn’t moved much is because we really hadn’t mentioned our need to anyone. We got from 50% to 67% just by people approaching us (online) and saying, “Hey, God told me I was supposed to support you guys financially.”

OKAY THEN. Who are we to argue with God??

But, now that we’re in the States, and part of our responsibility while we’re here (besides raising a year’s worth of expenses for the center) is to get to 100% support as a family, we decided to get it in gear.

I wrote a quick paragraph on Facebook, and the response was overwhelming.

You cannot even imagine how grateful we are. Our schedule has been so packed these past 3 weeks (and doesn’t appear to be letting up for the remaining 5). We honestly don’t have time (or the desire) to go around begging people to support us.

THANK YOU (thank you thank you thank you) for being so quick to say, “Yes! Me! I want to join your team!” so we don’t have to do that.

We are so, so, so grateful for each and every one of our supporters.

Praying BIG for God to bring us up to 100% by the end of July. It will be SO amazing to go back to Cambodia ready to rock and roll.

how many ways can we say this?

Oh, social media. I love you like crazy. How else could we possibly hope to maintain relationships with the people we love on the other side of the globe? Despite the miles & oceans & time zones, we can see/read what you, our friends, are up to, and you can do the same with us.

But my goodness, the overwhelm.

I post a pic on Instagram, and it goes to Twitter and Facebook too. I blog about something, and you might see it on Facebook and also get an email. We have a Taviano Family in Cambodia Facebook page & this blog & our own blogs & all the other social media platforms you could want (or not).

And then there’s our “monthly” newsletter. We just finished #2. And we’ve only been here 7.5 months.

Sometimes this all feels so redundant. But, on the other hand, you want to reach as many loved ones as you can, and different media is better for different people. And different times are better. And some people like pictures & videos, while others actually read your 1100-word blog posts.

I sometimes write and write and post pics and post pics and then… stillness. Sometimes because I have nothing more to say or show. Sometimes because I have way too much. Sometimes because I’m just filled with joy and soaking up moments. Sometimes because the sadness feels too fragile to share.


We haven’t figured out exactly how to balance all the social media hullabaloo. Maybe we never will.

Bottom line: it is very important for us to share with you, stay connected with you, let us know we care & hear that you do too. But we NEVER want to turn this into an impersonal trying-to-get-people-to-pay-attention-to-us kind of thing.

We don’t want followers. We want friends. And family. And friends that feel like family.

Thank you SO much for being that for us. We love you.

3 things we need

Maybe I should have put “need” in quotation marks, because we will definitely survive without these three things. However. They sure will help us get where we’re wanting to go (literally and figuratively).

In order of cost:

1.) A scanner. This purchase is primarily for Livi, our 14-year-old. She is a budding artist (and has filled up several sketch books since we’ve been here) and would love to use her skills to help us earn money for things like eating and plane tickets to visit America every now and again. Her dad had this great idea that she could sketch things, scan them, then color them & add phrases (or whatever) in Photoshop. Then we could get them printed as cards and sell them (somehow) to friends & supporters in the States. We have lots of other ideas, but this is where we’ll start.

The scanner is $115. Scanner has been paid for!!

2.) A moto. Getting around in Cambodia isn’t difficult. But sometimes it’s a little inconvenient. Among the 5 of us, we own 3 bikes (1 we bought, 2 were given to us). We take a tuk-tuk to school ($2 each way) and call our favorite driver when we need to go somewhere (and he’s available). But Gabe goes a lot of places by himself and doesn’t like to go by tuk-tuk if it’s just him. He rides his bike most places, but sometimes it’s a 45-minute ride, and I hate for him to ride it at night. So. We rented a moto for $70 this month, and we are loving it. We would like to buy one (I might get one in the future but, for now, I’m cool with not trying to drive in this craziness.).

A used moto in good condition is $750. A huge thanks to Gabe’s brother, Tug, and his wife, Angie for starting a GoFundMe campaign for Gabe’s moto. They raised enough for us to get a nicer moto, helmets, moto license, gas for a few months, and some to spare. Woohoo!!!

3.) Language school. I’ve blogged about this here and here. Our school has been one of the biggest surprise gifts to us since we’ve been here. We didn’t know it existed before we came, and we can’t imagine life in Cambodia without it. We are learning so well and so quickly and altogether as a family. We can’t put a price tag on it. (except there’s a price tag on it) It’s money above and beyond what we’ve been trying to earn for our monthly living expenses so, if we’re to continue (which we’d like to do for a year), we need your help. Modules 1 & 2 are paid for, and we’ll start Module 3 in May.

School for 5 is $1500 for each 5-week module. There are 8 modulesEDIT: We need $940 $870 $600 $550 $528 more for Module 3. PAID IN FULL!! THANK YOU!!

We would LOVE for you to consider a one-time donation for one of these things. (Or you can join our monthly support team! Yay!) There are two ways to give.

1.) Through IOM, our servicing agency. You get a tax deduction. We pay an 8% fee (which isn’t bad). We can’t use this $ for the scanner or moto, but we can get reimbursed for school. (it all works out in the end, though, if you prefer this route) Click here for that option.

2.) Directly to our PayPal account. No tax deduction for this one, but we have direct access to the $ and can use our PayPal card to buy the scanner or withdraw money from the ATM for a moto & school. (Just go to, click “send $ to family or friends” and use our PayPal email: In the memo, jot a note about what the money’s for.)

We will update you as the money comes in! Even the smallest gifts are so appreciated! Thanks so, so much, friends!!

four days under our belts!

Hello from balmy & beautiful Cambodia! Thank you so much for praying us here and for your support & encouragement these past few days. God is good.

I (Marla) have written a few posts over at my blog, so I won’t repeat everything here. Check out these links if you’d like:

Doubts & fears & all that.

We can’t do this on our own.

People praying for us.

Finding a place to live.

Four days in, and we’ve already experienced pretty much all the emotions in our repertoire. We’re so thankful for friends here and back in the States who’ve got our backs.

We’re at 15% of the monthly support we need. We’d love to have you join our team! Thanks so much!

p.s. We’re posting lots of pics on Instagram & Facebook if you’d like to follow along.

Hello, friends!

Hi there! Thanks so much for stopping by our new site. It’s a work in progress, so check back in a bit to see a more finished product. We’re so excited to have an easy-to-remember (as long as you can spell t-a-v-i-a-n-o) way for us all to keep in touch. We hope this will be a place of mutual encouragement and spurring one another on to live out God’s call on our lives, wherever in the world we might be. Talk to you soon!