Tabletop Talk about Serving Our Neighbors

With Regina Lyons, Marynna McLean, Marlynna Pannier, & Karynna Pannier

interview + photographs REGINA LYONS

A couple months back I wrote an article for Homegrown Journal about stepping out in faith and saying yes to fostering. It was an honor to be featured in this online magazine. If you missed it you can find it here.

This month, I’m again honored, and I must admit even more excited, to bring you thoughts on serving from three of the people closest to my heart. Marynna, Marlynna and Karynna and I sat down together at our dining room table to talk about why serving is important to each of them. My hope is you will pull up a chair, join us at the table, and engage in the conversation with us. Enjoy.

Regina Lyons Interviews
Marynna McLean
Marlynna Pannier
& Karynna Pannier

INTERVIEWEE Marynna Mclean, age 17
INTERVIEWEE Marlynna Pannier, age 15
INTERVIEWEE Karynna Pannier, age 11

REGINA: I’d like to start by telling our readers a little bit about each of you in your own words. So, Marynna, can you tell our readers what you’d like them to know about you?

MARYNNA: I’m 17. I love school; I prioritize my academic career. I have been in the foster care system for about two years. I am both active and lazy. I love the outdoors, and I like to stay busy.

REGINA: Marlynna, same question to you. Tell us a little about yourself?

MARLYNNA: I’m 15. My favorite color is green. I like cats. I want to be in the military one day. I love serving with the 2-year-olds at church, and I love my job working at Fat Cat.  I like singing and reading, but my favorite thing is chocolate.

REGINA: Karynna, what about you? How would you describe yourself?

KARYNNA: I’m 11. I like sweets, cats, riding my bike, hanging out with my friends, and I like dressing up. Oh, and I also like singing.

REGINA: Marlynna, you brought up loving to serve and the fact that you serve with kids at your church. Can each of you share a little bit about volunteer or service opportunities you are currently involved in or have done in the past?

MARLYNNA: I did Hands of Hope for a couple years where I helped people in need.

I help with LifeKids, which is watching kids during church. This helps out parents because they don’t have to worry about what their kids are doing during church and the kids because we are teaching them about Jesus. I also helped pick up debris after a tornado that hit our town.

KARYNNA: I helped at Convoy of Hope for about a year and a half.  Convoy of Hope helps people in need with things like hygiene and food.

I’m now helping in LifeKids with the 3-year-olds, which helps them learn what to do and what not to do. 

I’ve also helped out at Sammy’s Window, which provides food and clothing to foster and adoptive families.

And I like to help out when I see a need in our community, like picking up trash on the side of the road or helping people in need at the grocery store.

MARYNNA: I’ve done Hands of Hope for about a year and a half now.

At school when they need someone to take the lead on something, I am always the first to volunteer, and I tutor anyone who needs it.

At church, I have helped with food drives and the 1st-3rd graders for two years now. I’ve seen a lot of kids come and grow through the years. 

I also do community service when disasters or needs arise. I try to be helpful in general.

REGINA: Why do you serve? Why is it so important to you?

MARYNNA: I feel like it’s my purpose in the world. I’m a very service driven person.  I don’t see the purpose of life if you are only living for yourself and not serving others. 

I want to own my own non-profit one day and do what I can to help people while I can.

MARLYNNA: I serve because I feel like, not only does it help parents, but I get to teach the kids. It’s always a good time and fun.

KARYNNA: The reason I serve is because I like helping people, and I feel like it’s God’s purpose of creating us to help people out.

REGINA: What have you personally gotten from serving others? How has it been a blessing to you?

MARYNNA: For me personally, serving is like going through all I’ve done in my life. I’ve been on the side of needing help.

When I started serving and helping others out, it put me on the other side and gives me some redemption for what I’ve done. 

It also reminds me there’s still good in the world.

MARLYNNA: Helping others is a blessing to me because you don’t know what others have gone through that day. It’s nice to make people smile. It makes you happy, rejuvenates you and brings you a different kind of joy.

KARYNNA: For Convoy, it blesses me by knowing that other people are getting what they need, and I get to connect with other volunteers while I’m there.

At church, it blesses me to know the kids are safe, and I get to connect with them and have fun with them. 

In the community, it blesses me to help people and the environment.

REGINA: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about serving? Why should they step out and serve in their community?

MARYNNA: I’d ask the question, “Have you ever needed help?”

If the answer is no, there will come a day when you need help, so you should help others. 

Do unto others what you would have done unto you.

MARLYNNA: I’d say just do it. I think others should serve because it’s always a good time, you find your community and your purpose. It’s always happy, happy.

KARYNNA: Others should serve because it’s God’s calling to help people, and it makes an impact on other people’s lives.

TOP Marlynna and Karynna (along with a furry friend) pack Gardens In A Bag at home for Convoy of Hope. Vegetable seed packets courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. BOTTOM Marynna and Marlynna help with debris cleanup after a tornado hit Strafford.

REGINA: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about serving?

MARLYNNA: If you’re ever looking for a place to fit in or your own community, Life.Church is always open. And if you haven’t served before, Life.Church is a great place to start. There are many opportunities, and God can use you.

KARYNNA: Another community service we like to donate to is Red Rack. It’s a thrift store that employs veterans and offers assistance to veterans.

I want to mention them because maybe God will move others to get involved in helping Red Racks, so they can employ and help out more veterans.

MARYNNA: I think offering yourself to others is a great way to find out more about yourself. 

Due to recent times, being isolated from loved ones and those around us, we’ve experienced most of our interactions through social media.

I feel like it’s important to re-establish those connections and open our eyes to the world around us, and I highly suggest serving as a way to accomplish this.

Regina Lyons and her husband, Derek, are full of love for Marynna, Marlynna and Karynna. They also own and operate Garage Door Guy. Look for the family serving at Life.Church. And watch for Regina in commercials for Everyday Thai. Are you interested in being a foster parent but have questions? Email Regina at She will be happy to answer all your questions, including the ones you aren’t sure how to ask.

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