Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Graduation Claire!

The culmination of eighteen and a half years occurred today in downtown Chicago.

Claire entered school in the Czech Republic as a four years old. Going to preschool to learn Czech so she'd be ready for first grade at age 6, this began fifteen years in the Czech school system (we have thirteen grades so she even got an extra year with us!).

Add to that another 3 1/2 years at Moody Bible Institute, and you've got a reason for celebration today!

While Claire finished her studies in December, today was commencement!

 I honestly didn't know it would be so emotional for me, to watch our girl walk the aisle at Moody Church, with her class of 880 graduates.

 But when they read her name, I choked up with happy tears.

How FAITHFUL the Lord has been to see all our kids through their years of Czech school, and then college years here at Moody.

By his kindness and grace, each of our kids are walking with him, dedicated to serving him, and full of faith in him.

Yes, tears are appropriate!

How four years passed so quickly, I don't know! It seems like yesterday I was taking her to preschool, then first grade, and a few years later, to her first day of high school.

It really seems like yesterday that we put her on a plane from Europe to the US to start her college years.

And now, she's done!

Graduating with honors, she has grown so much in these four years as she's studied God's word, and found her passion for children's ministry. There is such joy in our hearts that God has pointed her back to Europe, and in fact, to Czech, to serve with us in Josiah Venture! When she started college four years ago, we didn't see that coming!

It was a special day of celebration with Claire's friends, especially to have Hayley Ellenwood, her nearly lifelong friend from Czech and JV, there to celebrate with her.

There were former roommates to celebrate with.

There were the three girls from her first dorm floor in freshmen year, who bonded together from the beginning, becoming the "Fantastic Four" as them called themselves!

And there were former graduate friends who came to celebrate as well.

And finally, we celebrated with our friend Pavel, who comes from the Czech Republic as well! A good friend of Caleb's during his Czech high school years, he and Claire entered Moody at the same time, and graduated together.

Sharing the stole that Claire wore to signify that she is, indeed, from Czech!

"Oh Claire! How sweet to be with you on this day, the culmination of all your school years!"

Of course, if your dad is right, he predicts that someday you'll go on for more because you're a good student who should keep learning! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But in any case, dad and I say "WELL DONE!!"

You came to the city as a certain kind of young woman, and are leaving it with such depth in your heart and soul. We are so proud of you for all that you've let the Lord do in you during these years.

And now, you're on to the next awesome chapter of your life: serving the Lord in the place that he has called you to!!!!

We can't wait to see what he does next for, in, and through you!!!



  1. So excited to see these pictures of Claire's graduation. What an amazing journey she has had growing up in Czech and now returning. I'm proud to be her Uncle Mike and look forward to seeing more of the journey as it continues.

  2. So excited, emocional... BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!

  3. These pictures are PHENOMENAL and tell the story of Claire so well. I can hardly wait to see you both this week. CONGRATS CLAIRE!!!!

  4. Awwww after spending time with you today, it is really sweet to see these pictures ๐Ÿ˜Š what a joy!!!