The Journey

On planes, trains, vehicles and foot, we traversed the globe from March to November, 2009. Along the way we met incredible people, saw magnificent sights and found ourselves in unfamiliar territory every step of the way.

Here you will find our interactions and reactions to a world of new experiences. Together, we journeyed through western Canada, down into Haiti and Mexico, across to the Ukraine and Africa in search of stories of life change. From the depths of our frustration to the heights of our joy, this blog documents the journey.

You can read the stories posted throughout the journey in reverse chronological order by browsing through the archive of every blog post below.

Alternatively, you can view posts by country or by post type by clicking on these links:
Countries: Canada, Ecuador, Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Ukraine, USA
Post type: Culture, Lessons, People, Photos, Prayer, Projects, Teams, Travel, Video

Big changes and new additions

Posted by Justin on July 2nd, 2010

It’s been six months since we last stepped off an airplane on to Canadian soil. I am relieved and excited to let you all know that, finally, big things are happening. We’re at a point where we can start to see progress from all our hard work and I’m happy to be able to share it with you.

Next week we will be re-launching the Pockets of Change website. We will be bringing the book to the forefront and giving you a glimpse of what it may actually look like.

In the past the blog has been the driving force behind the site. We feel it has now served its purpose and it will be put aside, but not forgotten. You will still be able to look back through our entries from our travels to Hungry For Life project sites around the world.

Another exciting change that we’d like to announce is that alongside the new website, we will be launching a photo store where you can purchase prints of the photos from our travels.

Thanks for being so patient with us. As we pour ourselves into the book and the project, we sometimes neglect the blog and forget to keep everyone updated on what’s going on. As the blog becomes a secondary focus on the website, this adds more challenges. In the future we will be utilizing Facebook and Twitter more to post updates. We will also be notifying people about the book launch through email, so make sure to sign up if you haven’t already. Thanks for your interest, your prayers and your encouragement as we continue forward with this project.

Yup, we’re still working!

Posted by Lorene on June 21st, 2010

Oh my goodness, it’s been awhile since we’ve posted anything! My apologies to those of you still checking on a regular basis, hopefully we haven’t lost your support as our blog posts have slowed to a trickle.

To answer the question on everyone’s minds – yes, we’re still working on the book. While a Spring completion would have been lovely, it seems this was not possible. We’re still working steadily and, at least five days a week, Pockets of Change is still our life.

Justin is persevering with the design of the book on top of the multitude of other details grabbing for his attention related to launching some new features on the POC website, dealing with the publishing end of things, and earning some income on the side to cover our rent.

On that note, we are still feeling blessed by God in the area of finances. We seem to have just enough to scrape by, though our savings have taken a serious nosedive through this project. Luckily, we know that God provides for us and if we run even lower on money it only means we must rely on God even more.

I am currently finishing up a couple challenging stories for Peru and Ecuador, then I only have a handful of countries to write up before tackling the Canada interviews. Please pray for me as I need to persevere on the writing. I find it mentally exhausting each day to try and come up with the best words, the ideal sentences, the best phrasing, to convey what I’m trying to get across.

And a deep underlying fear permeates all I do: am I getting across through these stories the goal we set out? Am I showing a world transformed and, in doing so, providing hope to people who think that change is a hopeless goal? Am I showing the movement of compassion and justice sweeping North American’s hearts as they work to transform people and communities around the world? It’s a fear I swallow in the back of my throat with each final period placed, with each proofread completed. It’s a fear I constantly give back to God. It’s the same fear each of us face as we go about our lives, trying to live this Christian life the best we can isn’t it? I urge you too, as you face your fears this day and this week and this month, to take comfort in Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Weary days

Posted by Lorene on May 25th, 2010

Some days it’s hard to be upbeat. It’s challenging to find strength in each day to work on Pockets of Change. This project has been so long, and while most days I find joy in what I do, today is just not one of those days.

How do you find creativity and inspiration every day? How do you get over your own words and try and get inside the head of the subject? I look at my interview notes, I browse through photos of the person I’m trying to write about, I think about that person and try to come up with a way to describe them and their situation accurately. I want people to care, but I don’t know what words and stories will move people’s hearts to action.

Our desire in this project is to help individuals realize their own potential to effect global change. But today, I can’t even convince myself of that.

On days like today, I cling to the truths found in the Bible and pray that, once again, God gives me the strength to continue down a road that is narrow and long and rocky.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God. – Psalm 42:5-6a

Please pray for us. We are so far behind where we’d like to be at this point and some days I fear I will be here until Christ returns or our baby comes. We both need to find gainful employment in the very near future, especially me as I need a set  number of hours of paid employment in order to collect maternity benefits. Thank you for your prayers, we covet them.

Getting closer

Posted by Lorene on May 13th, 2010

Here is our current newsletter posted for your convenience. If you’re not on our list and would like to receive our updates in your inbox, please let us know.

Hello friends and family,

Since our last newsletter, we have had a huge change take place in our lives. Justin and I are pregnant! We are very excited as we face a new adventure in our lives, bigger even than travelling around the world gathering stories of life change and turning it into a book!

It’s hard to believe it’s May. We’ve been so busy with the project, time has flown by. We had hoped to have the book completed by Spring. However, we knew that was an ambitious goal and not realistic.

So, we are still working diligently. Each day, one story is closer to completion at the end of the day than it was at the start. Justin is making great headway on the book; stories and photos are coming together in beautifully-designed pages.

In spite of the length of time Pockets of Change is taking, we both feel so blessed still to be a part of this project. We are truly humbled that He would use us for His purpose. As I read through interviews, I am continually amazed at how lives are being changed in pockets around the world.

This week I’m working on stories from Peru, and remembering with awe the dramatic changes that have happened in one community. Husbands have stopped beating wives, people are learning to read and are diving into the Bible in their own language, behaviour is changing so drastically that even non-Christians want to be like the Christians. In one tiny village in the middle of the Peruvian mountains, an entire community is being changed because of the power of God.

And so we plug on, putting in full work-weeks to get this book completed. On that note, I am in need of a few copy editors to read through stories and provide feedback on grammar, flow and function within each story. I have several copy editors lined up but could use more. If you are interested in learning more or if you’d like to volunteer your services, please email

Again we would like to thank each of you for your support to us. Whether it has been through prayer, financial or emotional support, your care for us has been evident and we cherish it.

If you would like more regular updates from Pockets of Change, we are still posting to the blog and also have a Facebook page. Check out for more information.

Also make sure to check out the video about our project now posted on the website if you haven’t seen it yet. Find it here: Pockets of Change | Numbers

Take care,
Lorene and Justin


Posted by Justin on April 27th, 2010

We prepared this video to share with and encourage the staff at Hungry For Life International.
It’s a compilation of what different partners had to say about short term mission teams and the
importance of going and serving.

Pockets of Change | Quotes from Justin Keitch on Vimeo.

Ukranian worship

Posted by Lorene on April 20th, 2010

I was just going through some audio files recently and came across a clip from the Ukraine. I loved worshiping with believers in different languages as we traveled. What I loved most was when there were songs they sang that we also sing in Canada. Some songs are known and loved around the world! It’s a very special experience, to sing the same song together, worshiping the same God, in completely different languages.

This audio clip is from Pastor Mikahail’s church in the Ukraine:

Mikahail’s church in Ukraine singing

A photo recap of Sri Lanka

Posted by Justin on April 12th, 2010

Read the rest of this entry »

Just keep running

Posted by Lorene on April 5th, 2010

I think I know how Terry felt.

He woke up every day and ran a marathon. I bet he was tired. I bet some days he woke up and just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep. I bet sometimes he’d rather go to McDonalds, have a big breakfast, catch a movie and maybe read a good book. I bet he was sore and worn out and tired of the rain and the beating sun.

But Terry Fox just kept running.

I realize it’s no real comparison. But I literally feel like I’m running a marathon every day. Each story feels about 42.2 kilometres long and I’m in no shape to run that far every day.

The process is painful. It starts with going through all the notes, remembering details, recalling everything of significance. Then I dump everything that seems relevant onto my blank text document, like setting up a track. I put all the elements in there, but disjointed.

Then I loop around and around and around and around the track, trying to find a sense of the story somewhere in the journey. What is the most important element of this person’s tale? What makes their story unique? What will best represent who they are to the world? What will pull at people’s hearts? I run around, lugging these thoughts like heavy weights on my ankles.

Read the rest of this entry »

a man and his goat | photo of the week

Posted by Justin on March 29th, 2010

We first saw this man from a distance, out for an early morning walk with his goat at his side. It was quite the sight to see, the goat appeared to be more of a friend and less as livestock as he followed his master down the path. Awhile later he stopped by to chat. He has a son who lives in Toronto and he shared with us all about his brief visit to Canada many years ago. The conversation went on for quite awhile as he shared more about his life and we got to listen through our faithful translator Oksana.

Interactions like this were common during our time in Ukraine and are a large part of what makes this country so special. The people are so open and approachable. If you are willing to listen Ukrainians are willing to share. You learn of their lives, their passions and their prayers. We might not remember his name but we’ll never forget the man who took his goat for a walk one cool fall morning in the Ukraine.