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Schaller Family 2016

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. - 1 John 5:11

Our family back in January 2016

Merry Christmas!

We hope this letter finds you well as we celebrate the anniversary of Jesus’s arrival on earth. This year we celebrated two brothers getting married, a sister getting engaged, our families meeting Rachel for the first time, Lydia turning 3 and starting “school,” Rachel turning 1, our dear neighbor seeing progress in chemotherapy, his wife desiring to learn about Jesus, and finally, that we had zero trips to the ER.

Tara's brother Troy married Sarah.

Trent

started the year with a work trip to Thailand. Although he got food poisoning, he says it was worth it. God brought together technology specialists from all over the globe to collaborate on a few key projects. The things they learned ended up shaping the entire year for Trent’s team.

Trent's brother Cameron married Kayla.

Tara

started out the year in a heap of diapers, spit-up, and shredded pajamas. She wasn’t doing well. She doubted that God would provide the kinds of friendships she wanted. She couldn’t imagine Him providing someone that would help care for the girls regularly for no cost. She couldn’t imagine meeting someone who wants to learn about the Bible, much less having time to spend with them. She couldn’t imagine patterns in our marriage changing after 9 years. She couldn’t imagine Lydia enjoying French school. She couldn’t imagine Rachel sleeping well. She was so tired, she couldn’t imagine anything! God blew her away by proving her wrong on all counts.

We started off the year feeling far from each other and the Lord. By His grace, we found godly counsel and the quality time we needed. Our marriage is now better than ever, and still improving. God will never steer two spouses apart. We are so thankful for the Holy Spirit. It’s incredible to remember that we and all believers have the same Spirit who unites us in full agreement and love for one another.

Lydia

started the year a toddler and ended the year a big girl who goes to school four mornings per week. After a month, she loved it. She started the year jealous of her baby sister, and now they play well together. Lydia started the year firmly resistant to speaking French, and now she’s glowing as she speaks le français. She started the year resistant to prayer, and now she loves learning about the Lord and asking if we can pray for people. Lately she stuffs her bear under her shirt and pretends she’s Mary. “Papa, I'm pregnant. It's from the Holy Spirit. My holy God will take care of me when I'm pregnant.” She’s three, but she wants to be a “dult.” This girl keeps us entertained!

Rachel

who is now 14 months old, went from newborn to toddler this year. She used to barely move at all. Our neighbors once thought she was a doll, she was so still. Now she’s walking, talking, shrieking, and chucking. She loves animals, bananas, peekaboo, asking “wuz dat?,”and following her sister. The girl has a smile that can soften any heart, and it has.

Mamie Mauricette, Papy Milo, and the girls on Lydia’s birthday.

Two hearts that have melted this year are those of Mauricette and Milo, our neighbors directly below us. They are a couple in their 70s and have lived here for 38 years. Our commotion above them was at first a nuisance, but now they’ve fallen in love with our girls and can’t get enough of them. Milo has bone and blood cancer. Mauricette might have returning cancer as well. We have gone through some scary weeks with them, and in those moments we have no words, but we offer our presence and prayers.

For years, they have been desiring grandkids and peace in their lives. We have been desiring grandparent-type people, free babysitting, and someone to share the Good News with. We fit together like a blessed puzzle. Clearly God had a reason for keeping us in this apartment longer than we expected.

Earlier this year Mauricette wrote to us, “I thank life for making our paths cross.” Last week she confessed, “Now I thank God for bringing you into our lives. I have completely changed; I’ve found joy, and I’ve found my place in life. I pray for you and my precious American grandbabies every day. I don’t know how to pray, so I just pray in my own way.”

Mauricette has her first Bible now, and has asked Tara to read it with her. Thank you for praying for our dear neighbors!

Lots of chaos and a little conversation in playgroup

There are several other friends we’ve mentioned in previous prayer letters who are still asking questions along their journey. Tara is involved in two mom's groups, and we’re getting to know families at Lydia’s school. There’s no shortage of God providing people! There’s also a new believer in Rennes (Aurelie) who got involved because of the cup project we spoke about last month. Praise God! Thank you for praying for all these people that you have not met.

The Agapé staff families of Rennes

Lately we have been especially grateful for you, our support team. We have been well provided for, and you have blessed us with unexpected cards, packages, encouraging emails, and baby stuff when we’re in the states.

Perhaps most importantly, we have massive prayer support! We’ve been taken aback by it lately. You are such faithful friends who regularly pray for us, our children, for total strangers, and even for technology. That’s love. Thank you so much! You are a God-made, God-led, God-glorifying gift. Joyeux Noël à vous !

With ♥ and joy from our family to yours,
Trent, Tara, Lydia and Rachel

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Romans 1:16

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.