September 29, 2014

The Next Chapter

Fall in Northern Illinois at Royal Oak Farm Orchard

Fall is in full swing here in Chicago, and with that comes a new season of life for the Graef family as well. Last week we purchased two one-way tickets to Honolulu, Hawaii. Our family will be leaving Chicago on December 14th, 2014 as David will be graduating (yay!) from Moody Bible Institute with his degree in Applied Linguistics this winter.
After being pregnant with and then having Ryenne Ashley, we decided that it would be in our family's best interest to live near loved ones while our family is just beginning. David's family has gone back to Romania for the next four years, and the rest of our loved ones are spread out across the Midwest. It just made sense to move to Hawaii where we will have the blessing of Randie Megan's mom and sister and their families nearby. It is definitely still on our hearts to go into missions one day, and so for now this is just our "Five Year Plan." We will see what God will do after this chapter of our lives, and we know that whatever the future holds, it will be exactly where He wants us to be!
As the end of the year approaches, we will be on the hunt for a place to live and a job for David either on Oahu or on Kauai. As with any closing and opening of a chapter in life, it is going to be a leap of faith for us to trust God to provide, but we are 100% confident that He will because of what we have seen Him do in our past.
David and I are both so torn in our emotions about leaving Chicago and moving to Hawaii. I honestly never would have thought it would be hard to leave this city with all its crazy drivers, ritzy people, and horrid winters, but we have fallen in love with this place and have really made it our home over the past year. A huge contributing factor was our amazing church that God provided us with right away. It has been such a blessing to be a part of The Moody Church in the last year, and we are especially thankful for our wonderful Sunday School group, "Cornerstone." Moody is a huge church, so we both know that it could have been nearly impossible to connect with anyone if we didn't have our Sunday School group to fellowship with. We have made some lifelong friends there, and it is so hard to think of saying goodbye in just a few short months. To our Cornerstone friends: We will miss you all so much... when we think of Chicago, we will always think of you :) This city will always be near and dear to our hearts because of you all. Please, COME VISIT! You will always have a place to stay and friends to visit in Hawaii! What's to lose??
Chicago will always, always be our first home. We have so many memories here just from one year! Our first apartment, setting up our apartment, our first car, the endless winter!, The Moody Church, our church family, welcoming our firstborn into the world here... It is so bittersweet, but really so beautiful thinking back on this first year of marriage in this city. Chicago will always hold a special place in our hearts. And really, we are still here for a while! So we are not allowing ourselves to get too depressed about leaving yet!!
Moving to Hawaii is scary and wonderful at the same time. Of course Randie Megan has lived there before, but we are coming to the islands as a family this time. In many ways it is going to be so different! We don't know how God is going to provide as we make Hawaii our home, and that's scary. But after seeing the way He took care of us in this past year alone, we know that it is going to be wonderful.
Please be keeping us in your prayers as the countdown begins for this new chapter in our lives. We will be keeping you all updated as things progress over the next few months!
With love,
The Graefs
P.S. Our friends/family in Hawaii: feel free to let us know if you hear of any jobs/homes/furniture that we might be able to look into coming up in mid-December/January! We are open to pretty much anything! :)

Chicago: Always our first home

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