Monday, March 14, 2016

Big News

Greetings!  I have decided to blog  to make it easier to communicate and share photos and videos.  What have we been up to? Well,  after going to Greece from February 12-29, Jeremy spent 10 short days at home with us and then went back to Greece on Thursday, March 10.  Our church, Dunwoody Baptist Church, has a mission team there now, so it is an exciting time!  Jeremy will be in Greece until Sunday, March 20, when he heads to Turkey to investigate a ministry that Conscience is working on there.   Jeremy will return home on March 25, which is Good Friday!  It will be GOOD for us for several reasons.  Our Savior being the greatest reason!

The big news is that our family will be going to Greece (and possibly Turkey) for 3 months to a year.  We aren't sure of the timeline, but we are trusting God to lead us every step of the way.  We expect to leave home at the end of April or the beginning of May.  Jeremy will be apartment hunting for us while he is in Greece this week.  Would you please pray that he would find a 2-bedroom apartment that will work for our family?  Would you also please pray for the Lord's favor for Jeremy to get a volunteer visa in Greece?  That would allow us to stay in Greece for more than 3 months.  There is a limit of a 3 month stay in 180 days in the EU unless you have a visa.

While our family is in Greece, we will be working at the transit camp on the north end of Lesvos Island, the large camp in Moria, and the family center on the west coast of the island in a town called Mitylini. Mitylini is home to about 40,000 people, so it isn't tiny.  Mitylini is where we expect to stay while we are on Lesvos.  All of the above ministries are important to Jeremy and where he has focused his energy since November.  Once we are there, I will be posting pictures and updates as possible.  Wifi can be spotty, but I hope to make regular updates.

I want to share a compelling one-minute video by David Platt, who is head of the IMB (International Mission Board from the Southern Baptist Convention).  Have your tissues ready!  How will we respond to these open doors to share Jesus with people in crisis?  The first thing we must do is pray for these refugees to get the help they need and to be drawn to Jesus Christ. There is another step though.  Will we use this opportunity for furthering the Kingdom by going to them or helping others to go?  

If you have children, please share this five-minute video with them.  An 8-year old missionary kid in the Middle East shares her life and the refugee crisis as she sees it. It is thought-provoking and on a level that will engage your children.    I also showed our boys the David Platt video because I know they are ready for it. If you like the video from Kids on a Mission, check out the Kids on Mission website for more resources.  They have a free subscription as well as paid subscription.

Kids on a Mission video

If you feel led to give toward the effort to help refugees in Greece, we would be so grateful.  For one-time gifts, send a check made out to Conscience International to our home.  Write Greece on the Memo line. Contact us for our home address: or

If you would like to give to Conscience International on a monthly basis, we will put you in touch with Kurt Geibel at the Conscience office in order to set up a bank draft or give you an address where you can send a check on a monthly basis.  Just email us using the email addresses above.

Please keep our family in your prayers as we prepare to leave. 

Thank you and God bless,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Headed to Haiti on Monday at 9:45 AM

Monday is a big day for our family. We fly to Haiti at 9:45 AM. It will be a long day for us, as we have to leave home at 6:15 AM and won't arrive in Haiti until 3:00 PM Central Time. Please keep us in your prayers. The boys have never flown, and flying makes me nervous. I will be so relieved and excited when our plane lands in Haiti!

Since we fly in late and Grand Goave is 3 hours from the airport, we will be spending Monday night in Port Au Prince at a "guest house" (rooms with hall baths for relief workers/missionaries). By spending the night in Port Au Prince we will be able to drive to Grand Goave while it is light outside and make a stop at a grocery store with American products on the way.

Our boys have no idea what they are about to experience, so please pray for them as they enter a country full of visible poverty, devastation, and less comforts than they have at home. They will be taking cold showers for the first time, sharing a bed for the 7 weeks we are there, eating different food than they are used to, and learning what it's like not to have air conditioning. That is just the beginning of the differences between the US and Haiti, but I truly believe God will use it for good, and that they will learn so much. I pray it is just the beginning of a life of service for them. :)

Thanks in advance for your prayers! You will hear from me again once we are settled in Grand Goave, Haiti. :) Please continue to pray for us until then- protection, safety, easy transition, and good health. Thanks!

Here are a few recent pictures:

Daddy and Samuel on the big testing day at the rubble home in Marietta on the Southern Polytechnic State University campus



Samuel and Vance

Jeremy with the Atlanta Haitian Consulate and Southern Poly President

To God be the Glory,
Marianna (and the boys)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Latest

As most of you already know, Jeremy is currently building a rubble home on the campus of Southern Poly in Marietta, GA for the purpose of testing. They installed a live webcam, so you can watch the progress of the home. It is very interesting to see. Today we watched them put up the frame. They are still working on the frame. Tomorrow or Friday they will add rubble. Southern Poly also has a website for the project. If you are local and would like to visit the home, please let me or Jeremy know. He works there Monday-Friday (and some Saturdays). Come Sept. 15 he will no longer be there, as we will be in Haiti, so make a point to visit before then.

We want to thank our supporters for their prayers and financial support. Without them it wouldn't be possible! (If you would like to join our support team, let me know.) Our family of 4 leaves for Haiti in 2 weeks. Please keep our family in your prayers while we are gone. Here are some specific requests: no issues at our home while we are gone, safe travels, good health, specific prayer for Vance's lungs and Samuel's stomach, God's protection, quick adaptation for the kids, memorable times as a family, and that we would be salt and light to all we meet (Haitian and American). I am getting excited, but as you can imagine, I still have so much to do before we leave.

God has blessed our family with the opportunity to spend a little over 2 months in Haiti, and if you would like to follow my blog while we are gone, I am going to go private and will add your email address. If you have already told me to add you, I have your information, but if not, please make sure you let me know to add you. I will blog as I have time and internet permit. As most of you know, there is internet in Haiti, but the connection is spotty and doesn't allow for video (not even Skype). Phone service is also spotty. If you want/need to get in touch with us while we are gone, I will NOT have my cell phone. Jeremy will have his cell phone though. We will also be checking email daily if the internet is working.

One verse that is meaningful to our family as we prepare for this trip is Joshua 1:9- "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Even the children have learned this verse through a Youtube video (song). I know some of you may wonder what we are thinking going to Haiti during hurricane season or at all for that matter, but I think the above verse pretty much sums up my answer to that question. I am not afraid because my hope is in the Lord, and I know that fear is from Satan himself. I choose not to fear, and I pray you won't fear for us. When you watch the weather or the news, instead of being afraid for us, just pray for God's protection over us. He is in control!

Before I close, in November 2010 Chris Tomlin came out with a song called I Will Follow, and that song has meant so much to me that I want to share it with you. Jeremy has traveled back and forth to Haiti every month for 18 months (other than October 2010 when he had Giardia). It seems like just when I was missing Jeremy or having a tough day alone with the boys, I would hear this song: I Will Follow. It ministered so much to me! It was a clear reminder that Jeremy was following God, and I knew that, that is exactly what I wanted Jeremy to be doing. I praise God that he has etched this song on my heart, and regardless of the outcome, I will follow Him all the days of my life.

Thanks in advance for your prayers! We thank God for you! He has blessed us with so many friends and family who love us and lift us up to the Lord in prayer. :)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

After a long hiatus...

MoneySavingMom posted this saying today, and I think it pretty much sums up my life right now. Our family of 4 is headed to Haiti in a month. This is something I never anticipated or planned, but God did. He knew this long before I did. He worked on my heart for months to get me to the point that I can say that I am EXCITED to be going to Haiti with my boys in tow. You see nine months ago I told God that there was no way I could go to Haiti with our boys. I was nervous because of Vance's recent health issues (that turned out not to be anything major- PTL!) I had my reasons, but mainly I wasn't ready to leave it all in God's hands. How we love to live in our comfort zone! Well, come September 15 we are flying out of our comfort zone and making our way to a place that Jeremy has worked and lived off and on for 18 months. Yes, 18 months. How time flies! Can I say how excited I am that for the first time since March 2010 the boys and I will be with Jeremy for 4 months straight (Aug.-Dec.)? I couldn't be happier, nor could the boys! God is so good!

Thankfully God is our guide, our protector, and our fortress. And as Samuel sings (mainly chants), "God, you are all powerful and in control of all things." Yes, Samuel, He is! We need not fear, my sweet boy!

That being said we still need your prayers as we make this journey. Please pray for us as we prepare to leave. Please pray for God to provide for all of our needs- financial, physical, emotional, and spiritual-as we prepare to leave and while we are there. In Haiti my job will be to homeschool our boys and also to help with the mission teams that come to build rubble homes and stay at our "compound". We will live at a safe place, but naturally, we will still be living in a country that has obvious risks. You can pray for our health and safety. Please add to that Vance's lungs in a humid place with no a/c. You can also pray for God to use this time for us to grow even closer as a family and to also love on the Haitian people we meet. Pray we are salt and light to a people in need of Christ. Pray lastly (but not least) for God to protect our boys from any fear that might come from being in a strange place far away from home.

Keeping up with a blog became next to impossible for me with 2 kids, but now that we are headed to Haiti, I am having second thoughts about leaving it behind. After all, a blog would help me keep in touch with family and friends that I won't talk to or see. That being said I am going to attempt to post from Haiti, but I am going to go private before we leave. If you would like to keep up with us, please send me your email address, and I will add you.

We have been so busy that the thought of catching up is daunting, but I would like to share a few recent pictures.

Jeremy's Dad's visit- April 2011

Easter Egg fun

Samuel at the AWANA Awards Night- April 10, 2011

Brotherly love- April 2011

Samuel's 5th birthday balloons (a Holloman tradition)
Marianna's 36th Birthday

Samuel's Pre-K Graduation- May 2011

Marianna's first trip to Haiti- June 1-8, 2011

10 Year Anniversary Trip to Dominican Republic (2 months early)

Vance's 3rd Birthday

Family Vacation to Waynesville, NC and the house of some dear friends- July 30-Aug. 4, 2011


Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: For the Tough Times by Max Lucado

For the Tough Times by Max Lucado

When we go through tough times, we have lots of questions, and we want answers. For the Tough Times by Max Lucado walks us through the reality of difficult times in our lives and answers those important questions. Every single one of us will go through tough times. Life is difficult! This book did a good job of reminding me of things I knew but tend to forget when I am hurting or struggling. First of all, God is on His throne through all of life's struggles and heartaches; He is still in charge of all things. Also, Just because we suffer doesn't mean that God isn't listening or doesn't wipe our tears. Next, He loves us unconditionally and nothing can ever separate Him from his love. The one constant in our crazy life is God. Lastly, God uses these tough times in our lives to do a work in us. Through the tough times God is making us more like Him if we would only listen and pray more. God is right there reaching out to us!

Max Lucado has always been a favorite author of mine because his books are easy to read. He uses scripture throughout, which is also important to me. I know what it is like to go through tough times, and since we all face trials, I recommend this book to everyone. It is a good book to read when you have a few free minutes or an hour to read it all. I am going to keep it on hand to read again one day when I need a few reminders. That day is sure to come!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Praising God in Every Season

This has been a season of grieving for me. Two months ago my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the grieving began for me. I am very emotional when it comes to family and friends (well, even heart patients that I don't know). I love to pray for them and pour my life into them. It isn't easy when they don't live nearby. This was part of the reason it was so hard for me when I heard that my grandmother had cancer; I knew I would not be able to be by her side through it all. I so longed to be there...

I was unable to return to see her before she passed away on October 29. I had to give it to God because every time I tried to work out a trip there, it just wasn't possible. I thank the Lord for one last conversation I had with her. It was the day before she died, and my mom called to say that the Hospice nurse wanted us to call her. I say it was the Lord because even though she was unable to speak to me, she did indicate to the nurse that she heard me. I was able to tell her how much I loved her for the last time. That was bittersweet. It felt so good, but then the next morning when I got "the call", it felt final and was devastating. Many times I cried out, "God, I wasn't ready for my time with her to be over."

I was sick with a sinus infection when I got "the call" and actually had a doctor's appointment a few hours later to have my ears "cleared to fly". Thank the Lord for the timing because I was in fact ok to fly. I left town 2 days later.

Traveling alone was not easy for me. I was emotional. Oh, and did I mention that I have a fear of flying? Thankfully, that was the last thing on my mind on the way up there. (The way home was another story...) When I got to Baltimore, I rented a car and drove to her house where my parents were staying (and I would stay too). Talk about difficult.

During my trip, the Lord blessed me with time with my family (parents, cousins, uncle, ex-aunt, and a distant cousin and his wife). I arrived on Saturday, and the funeral wasn't until Monday morning. We had time to sort through her belongings and also be given the things she left for us. That was special and hard all at the same time. I could still smell her on some of her things...

When Monday morning came, I wondered how I would be able to sing in her service. She had asked me to sing "How Great Thou Art", and I wanted to do it for her. It is a miracle that I made it through the song without crying. I would like to think she gave me a chance to compose myself during Communion which preceded my song.

Speaking of the service, it was awesome. She planned the entire service about 8 years ago. Needless to say, that made me more emotional. I knew that these were the things she wanted us to hear. She had quite a heart for God.

As I look back on my trip for the funeral, I wish I could have stayed longer. I guess being there made me feel closer to her; it didn't feel as final. Once my parents left town days after I did, it felt so much more real to me. It hurt, and it still does. I have good days and bad days. I have a hard time believing she's gone, but at the same time I feel a deep loss. Crazy...

This was my last living grandparent and the only one that died suddenly. Jeremy would say because of those things I took this death the hardest. (He has been in my life for all 4 of them.) It is not easy to see someone looking well (with a few symptoms but nothing major) and then hear they are going to die quickly. It was such a blessing for her not to suffer for long though, and I thank the Lord for that. We all prayed that she wouldn't linger. After seeing her body, I wouldn't have wanted her to stay here. The Lord was merciful!

A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to a video by Hillsong. It spoke to me. You will have to watch it to understand why it ministered to me. My prayer is that through this season of my life I will praise Him! We are to praise Him in all seasons.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tall Timbers Trip- Labor Day 2009

I am experiencing so many emotions right now as my grandmother is on her death bed. Hospice gives her a few days. It all happened so suddenly. One day they found a lump on her breast and the next thing we knew, she was diagnosed with breast and then lung cancer. It has been a whirlwind... I do thank the Lord for prompting me to make the trip to Tall Timbers for Labor Day. I know it was His prompting since it gave me one last time to spend time with my grandmother and the chance for her to meet Vance for the first time. 3 of her 4 grandkids were together for the first time since my grandfather's funeral back in 2005. I wish I had made this trip every year. I wish I had done several things differently. I am learning the hard way.

This is my Facebook status for tonight:

Hard lessons learned: Pick up the phone and call your loved ones when they come to mind even if you only talk for a few minutes. Plan trips to visit them even if it means long car trips with little children. Life is fragile and things can change so quickly. You never know when your time with them will come to an end. It will most definitely be sooner than you wish.

I am going to end with some pictures from our trip. This trip was from Sept. 4-8. My grandmother had not yet been diagnosed with breast cancer, but she was not feeling well. You wouldn't know it from her smile. She was so happy to have us all together! I will miss her like crazy! I already do!

Grandmommy and the grandkids -Huge smile on all of our faces

Samuel enjoying the hammock

Samuel fishing with Daddy

Samuel caught his first fish- reeled it in before Jeremy knew it

Samuel and his first catch

Cousins playing together

Samuel (3) and Caiden (6)

Vance playing in the rocks

Jeremy was obsessed with fishing

Vance smiling

Vance and Ma enjoying some time together

Vance and Da

My brother John, his wife Nani, and baby Ertter due in February 2010