Valerie Holman, a 2012 graduate of Bullard High School, will soon travel to Spain. Until recently a student at Colorado Christian University, she Holman has found another calling: She will be a cross-cultural worker with Avant Ministries, based in Kansas City, Missouri.
Valerie’s parents are Wade Holman IV and Kim Holman. Wade is a former pastor of Jacksonville’s Craft Baptist Church. His parents currently reside in Waxahachie. They support her daughter’s plans, even though they know she’ll be tough for the two years she’s abroad.
“They just said if I feel like that’s where God is leading me, then they support me,” she said.
“My degree is in Business Administration,” Holman said. “I graduated in intercultural ministries. While in school, I took a class called Mission Preparation.
“I felt called to mission work at an early age,” she said, “but I hadn’t really done anything about it. Part of the class required me to interview a company called GoCorps to get a sense of what mission service might be like. During the interview, the coach asked me if I might be interested in overseas missions.
“My first response was ‘no, I wouldn’t; I need to finish school; not now, maybe later ” ‘she said. “As the director explained everything, I felt a change of heart. ‘Why not?’ he kept going through my head.
Since GoCorps is a broker/recruiter for various mission organizations, they pitched her to Avant Ministries, who gave her a choice of two options. You have chosen intercultural work in Spain.
“I liked the job description. I felt connected. Based on past experiences, I’ve learned to listen to the Holy Spirit and just know that’s where God wants me to go,” Holman said.
As part of the requirements for his program, Holman must solicit donations that will be paid monthly, as well as a certain amount to be raised from one-time donations. She will also have to attend a language school once she arrives in Spain. She already knows some Spanish, as well as some Arabic which she learned during a month-long trip to Tunisia as part of her studies toward her minor’s degree.
“There’s a whole team waiting for me, including my boss,” she said. “It will train me for the job that needs to be done. There will be local outreach activities and extended missions, spreading the Good News in countries with restricted access. Most of the time we will be in Spain, but intercultural workers are placed where there is the greatest need.”
To raise much-needed funds for her work and living expenses, Holman is reaching out to several churches via email, social media and phone calls, looking for opportunities to talk about the upcoming venture.
“The one-time contributions will help pay for my training and my flight,” he said. “I’m halfway to that goal now.”
The monthly donations will support his basic salary, housing, ministerial expenses, group living and medical insurance.
Holman has already faced the need for medical insurance, as he recently experienced the same health crisis as himself.
In the final months of 2021, Holman started developing some breathing problems. After several visits to Urgent Care for respiratory treatments, one of the clinic workers referred her to a hematologist.
“They told me there was a low chance of cancer. I had a bone marrow biopsy – the worst ten minutes of my life,” she said. “Then, I had to wait a week for the results.
“I remember it was a beautiful day. My doctor called me and told me I tested positive for myeloid leukemia. I started crying. By this point, I had already started interviewing with Avant Ministries.
“My pastor’s wife took me to an appointment with the hematologist, who told me radiation and chemotherapy wouldn’t help, but a pill would help me continue living my life for however long it would be.” state”.
During the visit, Holman’s doctor also said she would not be able to have children.
“I hadn’t even thought about having kids one day, before they told me. I mean, I was told I had cancer and also that I could never have kids, all in the same day,” she said.
Stunned by the doctor’s revelation, Holman said that after her pastor’s wife drove her back to the dorm, she called her two best friends to meet her at the park. While she was at the park, she received another call from the doctor’s office.
“He told me there was a clerical error in the paperwork sent to the specialist who reviewed the test results. Apparently, someone else in the area had similar information on their documents and the results had been swapped.
“‘SM. Holman, you don’t have cancer,'” he said.
Shocked by this new information, Holman asked her friends why God would give her eight hours to contemplate the misinformation. One of her friends offered an astute observation.
“He told me to think about my support circle,” Holman said. “She helped me realize that I had all this support: my parents, my classmates, my church friends in Colorado, and my church friends in Texas.
“I have all the support I could ever need,” she said. “My friend suggested that maybe we should pray for this other girl, because we don’t know if she has any kind of support.
“I decided that every chance I got, I was going to tell her story, so people could pray for her.”
Holman said he discovered he had a chronic but treatable lung disease.
“God has never once left me,” she said. “He was there for every test. I have been on oxygen for six months to treat the pulmonary eosinophilia that I suffer from, but despite everything God has been faithful”.
Those interested in supporting Holman in her intercultural work can contact her by email at [email protected]
Valerie Holman will be available on Saturday, January 21 at Neighbors Coffee from 10am to noon for a Q&A session about her missionary relocation to Spain for anyone interested in learning more.