Chilliwack residents Justin and Lorene Keitch partnered with Hungry for Life International to compile stories of missions around the world. The result: Pockets of Change

Book launch culminates four-year study of mission work

Chilliwack couple put lives on hold to document the stories of mission work around the world.

Growing up Lorene Keitch didn’t believe in missions trips, she thought they were a waste of time. But after four years working on a book all about missions, she’s since changed that line.

Keitch, a trained journalist, and her husband Justin Keitch, a photographer, spent a year and a half traveling through 10 different countries, and countless villages listening to the stories of people leading and volunteering for missions, as well as those who’ve benefitted from the act of missions.

With 252 interviews and 26,796 photos, Pockets of Change became a reality.

A book launch for the 171-page, coffee table book, which was made in partnership with Hungry for Life International, is this Friday at the Philadelphia Romanian Pentecostal Church on Alexander Ave starting at 7 p.m.

“What happens a lot of the time [when people do missions] is their stories are shared in their church, and with their family and friends, but it stops there,” said Keitch.

Pockets of Change is extending that reach.

Inside are tales of inspiring souls including Pastor Tomas, the “cowboy pastor,” who hikes through Mexico’s Copper Canyon to preach the word of God, one time even doing so at gunpoint; Peter and Lilian, the school teachers in Seje, Kenya who don’t get paid or supported for their teaching efforts, but do it because they believe in the powers of education; Piet and Pita Butendijk, founders of Noah’s Ark Children’s Home in Uganda.

Hidden communities were also uncovered on the pages, including Guacaivo, a tiny canyon village where life is slowly turning around for the mostly forgotten Tarahumara Indians living there

And the people, stories and portraits alike of wide-eyed children, broken-toothed adults, the sun and work of their impoverished lives shown in every wrinkle and crease of their faces. Edward, a once “loathsome, dangerous, drug-addicted criminal,” living in a small Ukrainian town now working at a Christian-based rehabilitation centre; Nalwadda Rose, 14, orphaned by AIDS, and living in Uganda’s slum, now getting an education; Roperta, a young, widowed mother in Peru, wearing sandals made from recycled tires, who speaks of undying faith.

“Every person we met had a great story,” said Keitch.

And just like many before them, both Lorene and Justin finished their “missions” transformed.

Going in, the couple had no desires for children, but now they are the proud parents of three-year-old Isaac and 11-month-old Promise.

“This gave us our children,” said Keitch. “And now, I can’t imagine our lives without them.”

Pockets for Change is available at Hungry for Life for $25. It’s also available online through Chapters and Amazon.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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