Dear Family and Friends,
For as many as possible this letter will arrive via email, Facebook, or through our blog. Partly to save me precious time, and it also saves us a good amount of money for the number of letters we send out.
To begin with, it has been a little over a year since in our hearts we said “yes” to God’s calling us to adopt our four sons in Haiti, now ages 5,7,8, and 12. We had thought they would be home by now, but enter Haiti becoming a Hague adoptive country and we are now anxiously awaiting a referral, prayerfully at the first of the year. What does this mean? It means once we receive the official referral and accept it we plan our two week bonding trip to meet them and spend time with them. We have been told that it could take up to a year after that to bring them home. This has surely been a big test of our faith and we are learning in a new way to wait on the Lord and to trust His timing. We have heard from several families that have been on their social bonding trip at our orphanage how precious our boys are and that we will love them! It has shown us in a new way the love that Christ has for us in adopting us as His own and how we long for our sons to be home is how He longs for unbelievers to come to Him. This promise we find in the book of John when Jesus is promising the Holy Spirit and says “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 1:18
The Lord has amazingly provided for this adoption. Thank you to so many of you who have responded to our need. We have all we need for this first trip and are not sure how much the last leg of the journey will cost since it depends on airfare for the four boys plus us. We will probably have one last fundraiser when we get closer to bringing them home, but for now we are ready. We are also praying about going to see them again this summer if we get our referral soon. Our favorite fundraiser was undoubtedly our Both Hands project where we had the blessing of helping a widow with her home and in turn all those that worked on the home sent out letters to get sponsored for that work day. It was an amazing blessing all around!
Luke is in his second year in the Mechanical engineering program at the University of Toledo. He will be co-oping at Zimmer in Warsaw, IN. beginning January 5. He has the blessing of staying with my Uncle Steve and Aunt Becky as they live there. He has been actively involved in his campus church, H2O.
Abi is a senior and is planning to move to Birmingham, Alabama at the end of August to get a job and become part of the Church at Brookhills and take their mission training program as she feels called to be a missionary. She will attend that church for 6 months, take the training and then be sent out with a seasoned missionary family. Once that is complete she will then take the next steps in her training according to where the Lord calls her to be.
Kaiti is a sophomore and plays volleyball and soccer. She is active in the youth group at church and will most likely go on the youth group mission trip to an Indian reservation. Difficult classes keep her busy with her homework right now. She is trying to get her driving hours in to get her license. She continues to love drawing and doing the girls’ hair. Her artistic flair eeks out in many ways and she is really enjoying taking art this year as well.
Joshua is a middle schooler now in 6th grade. He anxiously awaits his brothers coming home. He played tackle football and is currently in basketball with Ron as his coach. He is working hard at his school work and has adjusted well to middle school. He is growing like a weed! I told him that his helpfulness is what gives me hope and strength that with the Lord’s strength we can be the family our sons need.
Anna is in third grade and reading like a whiz. She is a great helper with Ally and Ella and loves to play soccer and volleyball. Gel pens and the trampoline also keep her busy. She also loves to join dad at Josh’s practices! She has been trying her hand at baking brownies and cupcakes and is doing great!
Ally Grace is now 5 and I have told her she can’t go to kindergarten next year because I need her home with me! She is such a great helper and Ella adores her. The thing that makes me smile the most is how much she loves me to read to her out of her Jesus Story Bible book! She even panicked one Sunday thinking we left it at church! Ally likes anything to do with Frozen and is very creative. She especially loves drawing on our chalkboard wall, an entire wall Ron painted with chalkboard paint in our dining room.
Ella Joy is certainly a joy to all of us. She is also a firecracker, enjoying emptying the silverware out of the dishwasher, clean or dirty, dumping colored pencils or any other random thing to make a mess! She is nearly 18 months and keeps me young and on my toes. She loves anything she can make a mess of. Daddy reading her books is also a favorite. She has wrapped her little self around each one of us.
Ron is teaching an extra hour again this year, and has the blessing of Kaiti in one of his classes. What a blessing this man of God is and I thank the Lord for him! Coaching Josh’s team and just being a dad keeps him very busy in addition to his very early hours of rising for teaching.
I honestly can’t keep up, but am realizing it is ok and trying to walk in the spirit and listen to the Lord each day seeking Him for priority. The wait for the boys has been very hard and a real challenge to me and my faith. The Lord is so faithful, when we are not. Our hearts seem to draw closer to the poor and broken each day and we humbly seek Him for our future.
We can’t say enough how we thank you for your prayers and love in this past year. We hope next year our family picture will include our four precious sons from Haiti. Feel free to friend us on facebook or follow or blog to keep up to date on the happenings.
Rejoicing that Jesus came as a poor baby….to save us from our sins, that we might know Him and His peace, His joy and His love and know of our eternal home with Him, where there will be no more tears, no more sadness, no more pain.
Love in Christ and Christmas Blessings,
The Schaffner Family
Ron, Michelle, Luke, Abi, Kaiti, Josh, Anna, Ally, Ella and our four sons in Haiti