Read: Chalkboards

“Wake up Jack”, he begins to stir “you’re going to be late!” Awake now, he crawls out of bed footie pajamas sliding across the carpet and onto the cool tile of the bathroom. “Something is different about today,” he thinks to himself as he grabs his toothbrush and begins the day, “I know it.


It took a few minutes for the daze of the morning to lift and the thoughts of the day to become clear. He suddenly remembered, “We’re making chalkboards!” he exclaimed. These weren’t just any chalkboards; these were those chalkboards, the ones for those kids in Kenya.

Second grade is fun for Jack. He gets to read adventure books and play with his friends; he likes his class and loves his teacher Ms. Sarah. She’s the one who told him about the kids in Kenya.

Ever since he heard about kids with no books or shoes or soccer balls, he’s wanted to help them. For Christmas he saved his money and bought uniforms for their soccer team, he was so proud. Sandwich bags full of quarters and crumpled cash, he had saved and saved, ignoring the pleas for ice cream and candy, all to do something nice for someone else.

And today again, an opportunity comes. Today he gets to do it again and this time with the whole school. Chalkboards. What a funny thing for a kid to make.

Her eyes open with the morning sun, staring up from her mat the holes in the roof are glaring. “I have to fix that,” she thought, “before the rains come.” Her bare feet hit the cool sandy soil and carry her outside into the already humid day. Jerry can in hand, she makes her way to the water house, it’s not far just a few huts down. It used to be farther and then they put in the water house.

Today is a good day,” Janet thought “it’s the first day of school” as a smile broke out across her face. She has washed her uniform the night before, scrubbed it with her little hands and hung it on the fence to dry. “I’m going to learn today, I can’t be late.

She hurries along to bring the water home for morning washing and afternoon tea. She quickly brushes her glistening white teeth with a piece of twig, dons her uniform and heads off to school.

Janet loves her school. She’s the first person in her family to attend and she’s as happy as a clam. She loves the 4th grade, they’re learning about geography and times-tables. She’s getting pretty good at math, her teacher thinks she’ll be a businesswoman.

She only recently got books, and shoes, and school supplies. Some people she never met bought them for her. Unloading her backpack is like watching Mary Poppins; it’s amazing what an 8 year old can carry. Pencils and erasers, notebooks and rulers, everything is precious. “Everything is here,” she says out loud, she knows to carefully account for these gifts, not everyone has them.

It was a few months ago that Ms. Sarah came back from Africa and told them about the children. “Do you think we can help them?” she asked. “YES!” they enthusiastically replied as ideas began to fly around the room. They first suggested a class trip but quickly decided that was out of the question. “What could we do?” they asked one another, “what do they need Ms. Sarah?

They gazed around the room, pausing on every item and piece of furniture. “Do they have these?” they asked about nearly everything, as the reality of another world set in. A world that lacks basic, every day, classroom materials. What could we give them? The answer flooded in, “books” they agreed, “We can give them books.

And books they gave.

Boxes of books. Books they read and read again, memorizing in their 2nd grade brain. Books they loved and wanted to share, stories of grumpy pigeons and clickty-clack moos. But books were not enough for this little crew. They wanted to do more. Some made cookies and sold them, others asked around and some, like Jack scrimped and saved.

What is the capital of Kenya?” asks Mr. Moji as the students furiously write on their miniature chalkboards. In a flash they’ve written their answers and held them up, with a darting glance Mr. Moji can see who is keeping up. Little brown fingers covered in chalk dust await the contagious smile of approval for their answers. Before the chalkboards came they worked alone, silently writing their answers on precious, limited notebook paper. But now? Now they work together, Janet and her classmates talk and laugh, correct and question, all in an attempt to hold up their best work. It’s like a classroom full of little teachers.

The idea for little chalkboards came from Ms. Sarah, her own students use dry erase boards as a sort of quick response and group discussion. She organized some parents, teachers and coaches who all bought in. One parent went to Home Depot and convinced them to donate supplies, the art teacher organized the painting process and the coaches did the coaching. It was all hands on deck as the local boy scouts cut and sanded boards; the service club wore aprons and painted the chalk paint. The principal came, teachers stayed late and moms kept the paint coming. Everyone worked together, came together, and in turn, created something beautiful.

Everyone is looking for an opportunity; A chance to wake up in their footy pajamas and create something beautiful for themselves and for another. Chalkboards were a medium for giving and service and now they’re a platform for shared learning. When people come together, combining their shared experiences, talents and abilities things happen. Kids become servants and givers, parents become organizers and stakeholders, and teachers get to relish in the world classroom.

And the kids in Kenya?

They get the greatest gift.

Education with one another.


Read: Life with Pastors

Life with African Pastors

Earlier this year, we were challenged to train 500 pastors in a ministry curriculum that we were given by Randy Clark and Global Awakening Ministries. For years, we have desired to raise up national/indigenous leaders, so this sort of work was right up our alley. We immediately began emailing our contact in Kenya, working through the curriculum and planning for our time with pastors.

As time went on, we began to realize that we should start with smaller groups and then progress to a larger more comprehensive training session. So, our Kenyan contact set up a few 2 day seminars in various locations within about a two hour drive of our home base. The idea was to share sessions that would equip the pastors for ministry and also to establish relationships with them for future ministry.

Last weekend, we held our first pastoral training seminar with about 40 pastors in the small town of Samburu. Many of the pastors had traveled by foot from their villages, thrilled that someone was coming to minister to them. It was humbling to say the very least.

Our heart in ministry and in missions, is never to be the one who claims to know it all.

Contrary to popular belief, African Pastors know a lot. They’ve had missionaries, teams, ministers and everyone else come time and time again to their shores. These missionaries have often come believing that they are the ones possessing all of the knowledge and are ready to teach these untrained men and women the great things western society knows about Jesus. (I’m not suggesting that everyone comes this way, but so many have.) The aftershocks of colonialism and white supremacy are still felt 50 some odd years later.

We purposed in our hearts to set aside the curriculum we had been given until we had established relationship with the pastors. Armed with a mandate from the Holy Spirit to “go slow and stay low”, we began our time together by laying prostrate before the pastors and the Lord in a time of humility and repentance.

We repented for everyone who has come before us who thought they had it all together, we repented for white supremacy and racism, for judgement and confusion and for not coming alongside them as brothers but as rulers. It was such a beautiful time in God’s presence.

Out of this time together, we were able to minister to the hearts of the pastors as we shared with them messages on the Father heart, the orphan spirit, the Finished work of the Cross and the edification of the body through prophecy. We saw so many pastors physically healed of chest conditions, shoulder issues, partial blindness, wounds and a broken leg. We watched God touch their hearts so deeply, healing father wounds and even bringing together a Father and Son pastoral team that were fighting. It brought us to tears as we heard them testify of God’s goodness and shared a cup of tea together as the sun set over the African savannah.

There were so many men and women, who had been deeply wounded by the church and were desperate for someone to come alongside them. There are physical things they need, like bibles, and dirt-bikes (to travel to remote church plants), but the emotional needs of community outweighed them all. God has sent us to bring good news to the afflicted and to bind up the brokenhearted, and it just so happens, in this case, to be his children in ministry. It’s the honor of our lives to raise up sons and daughters that no one of earthly importance will ever know, and to reach people in mud huts and villages, whose names we can’t pronounce.

May revival come to the most unlikely of places.

Chris and Jennifer Hadsell are the founders of Retouch, a registered 501c3 that seeks to bring the restoration of God to the nations. To find out more, you can follow them at and on, to support the work of Retouch financially visit