Merry Christmas from the Schertzers

Christmas greetings to our friends and family!

We are continually amazed at how quickly time goes by and that we are already sending a Christmas letter. Our big reminder this year has been to not be so busy that we don’t take time to pray and grow in our relationship with the Lord. The Lord is THE most important person in our lives. Renee continues to serve as a children’s leader in Bible Study Fellowship and both of us keep serving with Children of the Nations (COTN) at the Silverdale office. Our website, will keep you updated on what’s going on with us. Some highlights of 2008...

April 2008 was the first ever International Conference for COTN. We were blessed to have the new COTN Malawi Country Director, Yobbe Lungu, stay with us for a month. He is a very smart yet humble man. He is also a “global thinker” and we learned a lot from him. We had many rich lengthy discussions, usually starting at 10:00 PM each night. (So, Renee... tell me how the political system works in the USA...and how come needy people don’t use all the services available in the USA.) He learned a lot about all the electric appliances we have here in the states (like the dishwasher, the washing machine and the microwave) and how we do all the domestic chores to keep the house running. It’s very common in Malawi to wash dishes and clothes by hand and cook over a fire. And, these tasks are usually done by hired help. Our cat, Tristen, sent greetings to Yobbe’s family cat named Lunch.

May-June 2008 took us to Orlando, Florida for a two-week vacation. We were blessed to use frequent flyer miles, stay with friends and use our friends’ car. We even received guest entrance for two Disney days. Many memories were made, and our pictures with Mickey and Minnie make us smile. We had in our minds that the park called “Animal Kingdom” would be boring for us, but we decided that this was our favorite park because everything was so authentic and geared toward learning about Africa and Asia. Yes, there are live animals, no animatronics. We got a great picture of a lion, something we never did see in Africa (though we heard them). This was also the park with the scariest ride, Mt. Everest. Renee is sure we went backwards and upside down in the dark on our little train! Speaking of thrilling rides, we also had quite a thrill seeing the NASA shuttle up close on the launch pad and then went back later to see it launch into space (from 5 miles away). The Kibo laboratory was aboard and took all of the available cargo space. We laughed when we heard that the person in charge of the cargo had to re-pack the night before the launch to fit in a very important toilet system just flown in from Russia. Dave could relate to re-packing a shipping container to fit that one very important item going overseas to one of COTN’s ministry sites. Another highlight was time spent with Renee’s aunt and uncle. We enjoyed all our conversations with much laughter.

Summer 2008: We did manage to get out in the family boat a couple of times, but the summer wasn’t all that hot. Boating is not all that fun when you are bundled up in the middle of summer. We really enjoyed our first visit to the Highland Games in Enumclaw. The hundreds of pipers and drum bands were the highlight, especially when they played “Amazing Grace”. This brought tears to our eyes. Dave hiked Mt. Adams on too little sleep and too much coffee. He managed to get part way up the summit before he ran out of steam.

September-December 2008: We welcomed some guests from Malawi for a true Malawian meal (nsema, relish and curried chicken.) We celebrated our niece Allie’s crowning as Homecoming Queen. We said goodbye to Renee’s uncle Ted who is now with the Lord. We rejoice that He met the Lord just three months before he went home. We spent time on Lopez Island reconnecting with friends and one of the churches that supports our ministry with COTN. Dave also went back to Lopez High School to package 14,000 meals with all the students, the first COTN event at the school. The food will be shipped to Malawi in 2009.

We are excited for 2009, as Dave will hopefully be traveling to Sierra Leone this spring with a construction team. If the Lord allows, we’ll both be going to Uganda in August. And, we both turn 40 years old!

As we reflect on all that has happened this year, our hearts are filled with joy for God’s goodness to us. We hope you find joy in celebrating Christmas this year...truly the best gift is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Love, Dave & Renee’ & Tristen