From the Schaller Family
First, a few quotes from this year...
On Christmas Eve of 2017
we found out that we were expecting a third baby. What a present! We were so excited, and that feeling was not diminished even when we were told the baby was “high risk” for a genetic disorder. We asked many people to pray, even non-believers we are close with. Everyone prayed, and a month later the doctor said, “false alarm.” There was no disorder, and the doctors stopped all the questions about whether or not we’d want to keep the baby (of course we would!). What a month! What a time of prayer. What a time to discover that we’d be happy to be parents of any baby God wanted to give us. What a time of interacting with common French beliefs and attempting to graciously deal with it, even as our souls were in anguish.
arrived quickly and safely on August 25th. Words do not quite describe how sweet, precious, cuddly, and scrumptious she is. She can coo for half an hour if someone is cooing back. It’s incredible to think that God loves us infinitely more than we love our kids. He even humbled himself and became a helpless babe to bring his presence to earth. Holding Tessa is a powerful reminder of God’s intense love.
turned 5 in August. She is thoroughly enjoying being a big sister twice over. God made her the oldest for a reason. She is sensible, generous, and likes being a “good example.” Her favorite things are art, math, reading. Rachel reaps the benefits as Lydia can read out loud. She only reads in English, so far. Her teacher enjoys watching Lydia blossom, too. “She’s got her crowd of friends,” her teacher told us at the beginning of the year. We need not worry about her making friends anymore, as the language is becoming less difficult. Praise God! Please pray that when we go back to France, she and her friends will not have forgotten each other.
turned 3 in October. She’s fully a threenager, and we’re hip to her games. Goodness let’s hope it’s a phase! She’s learning how to be a big sister and really enjoys imaginative play and laughing about anything. She’s refining her skills of coloring, eye-batting, people-directing, and negotiation. She’ll start school (half days) in France this January, so please pray for her class. She’ll adjust just fine, but for now she doesn’t understand a lot of French, and she speaks even less of it. She might just talk so much that everyone around her will learn English instead.
Trent and Tara
have had a beautiful year. We have spent more time this year focusing on our marriage and how God made us to be a team. We are very grateful to our new French babysitters and our parents for allowing us many date nights. We’re also grateful to literally dozens of people who helped out when Tara was sick during the first trimester of pregnancy. There was a week when Trent was gone, and God provided someone to help for at least an hour every day– even other pregnant friends! We need all our fingers and toes to count these unexpected blessings. Best of all, when no one was around, Lydia and Rachel learned how to play nicely, invent their own games, resolve conflict, and even bring water to their mama. Sure, maybe Rachel made a “soap pool” on the floor, colored on the couch with pen, ate some toothpaste, and left half-eaten plums around the house. But let’s not focus on that.
has had some big changes this year. David, his former director, has taken a European leadership role, but still interacts with Trent’s team often. So, the team has been just Trent and May. We just got word that a former student and good friend of ours, Steph Mbappe, will be volunteering with Trent’s team for several months. We adore her and have always admired her faith, so we are secretly hoping that she’ll join us full-time. But God will lead her however he sees fit. Thank you for praying for her! Also please pray for the students we’ll be speaking to this year at the Christmas conference. We always let students know that they can intern with the campus team, but this year a new internship has been created: part-time on campus and part-time in the office serving with administrative gifts (Trent’s team is one example.) Please pray that some of these students will say “oui” to being sent to France!
We are looking forward to heading back to France in January. Milo and Mauricette are our elderly neighbors with no grandchildren (except our girls who they “adopted”). They are especially excited to see us and meet Tessa. We have written about them many times; keep praying for them. Mauricette has been curious lately about how the Trinity works. We love her curiosity and pray that she and Milo will both pursue God above all else. We also pray this for other neighbors like Marjolaine, Céline, and Olivier who are open to talking about the Gospel. Marjolaine keeps mentioning how beautiful the Good News is. She’s actively researching different religions. Please also pray for budding relationships with families from Lydia’s school. Some are of Muslim background, some are single moms, and most are just busy. Lastly, we look forward to meeting a young woman who recently put her faith in Christ. She did an online Gospel discovery course and then got connected to our staff in Rennes (our city.) Praise God!
It feels surreal that our time in America is winding down. It’s been really sweet to spend a couple of months with loved ones and see God at work in their lives, too. He’s answering prayer that’s been on our hearts for decades! We are abundantly blessed and grateful. There is no one like Him!
May your love for Jesus grow and spread!
Love, Trent, Tara, Lydia, Rachel and Tessa