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Throwback Thursday!⁣
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This picture was taken on our first trip to Birikani back in 2013. We had heard about a village that was desperate for a school. A local elder had built a mud building and had his son teach kindergarten but wasn't able to do much more than that. The kids sat on rocks in ragged clothes listening intently to their teacher. They were largely malnourished, their rich black hair turning to orange patches, the village was destitute. The rocky soil barely produced enough corn for each family to survive, the only work was in the quarry, and it barely paid enough for 1 meal a day.⁣
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We were moved by compassion.⁣
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Within a few days, we had agreed to invest by building a school and planting a church (which they insisted we build first). Within weeks teachers arrived, uniforms were sewn, and a kitchen was built.⁣
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But it was really only possible because of donors like you. Folks that were gracious enough to bless a village far away. This is your story as much as it is ours. Thanks for being a part of something beautiful.

Throwback Thursday!⁣

This picture was taken on our first trip to Birikani back in 2013. We had heard about a village that was desperate for a school. A local elder had built a mud building and had his son teach kindergarten but wasn't able to do much more than that. The kids sat on rocks in ragged clothes listening intently to their teacher. They were largely malnourished, their rich black hair turning to orange patches, the village was destitute. The rocky soil barely produced enough corn for each family to survive, the only work was in the quarry, and it barely paid enough for 1 meal a day.⁣

We were moved by compassion.⁣

Within a few days, we had agreed to invest by building a school and planting a church (which they insisted we build first). Within weeks teachers arrived, uniforms were sewn, and a kitchen was built.⁣

But it was really only possible because of donors like you. Folks that were gracious enough to bless a village far away. This is your story as much as it is ours. Thanks for being a part of something beautiful.
...

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"There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them." -Vicki Baum⁣
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In Kenyan church, we DANCE. I mean like David dancing out of his clothes-style dancing. the kids dance, the mamas dance, the men's fellowship group dances. If you don't dance you're out of place, you stick out worse than if you're just a bad dancer.⁣
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And trust me, I'm a bad dancer. I (chris) REFUSE to dance in America. Weddings? nope. parties? nope. church? no chance.⁣
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but in Kenya? I cut a rug.⁣
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Again, there's no photographic evidence, no videos (there never will be) so you'll just have to take my word for it. Church in Kenya is fun. It's full of joy and happiness, it's how I think Church should probably be for all of us. Yes there are problems and suffering, we acknowledge that. But we also are so thankful that we made it another week that all we can really do is dance.⁣
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What's your favorite dance move?

"There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them." -Vicki Baum⁣

In Kenyan church, we DANCE. I mean like David dancing out of his clothes-style dancing. the kids dance, the mamas dance, the men's fellowship group dances. If you don't dance you're out of place, you stick out worse than if you're just a bad dancer.⁣

And trust me, I'm a bad dancer. I (chris) REFUSE to dance in America. Weddings? nope. parties? nope. church? no chance.⁣

but in Kenya? I cut a rug.⁣

Again, there's no photographic evidence, no videos (there never will be) so you'll just have to take my word for it. Church in Kenya is fun. It's full of joy and happiness, it's how I think Church should probably be for all of us. Yes there are problems and suffering, we acknowledge that. But we also are so thankful that we made it another week that all we can really do is dance.⁣

What's your favorite dance move?
...

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“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C. S. Lewis⁣
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In Kenya, tea is life. In the same way that Americans obsess over coffee, Kenyans are committed to their morning tea. So much so that we had to build it into the school budget and set aside time each morning (and afternoon!) for tea breaks. We've even thought of buying a cow to cut down on milk costs!⁣
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The next time you sit down for a cup of tea say a prayer for our students. More than likely they're sharing a cup with you.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C. S. Lewis⁣

In Kenya, tea is life. In the same way that Americans obsess over coffee, Kenyans are committed to their morning tea. So much so that we had to build it into the school budget and set aside time each morning (and afternoon!) for tea breaks. We've even thought of buying a cow to cut down on milk costs!⁣

The next time you sit down for a cup of tea say a prayer for our students. More than likely they're sharing a cup with you.
...

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The hardest choice Amani has to face today is who to sit with at lunch.⁣
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It wasn't always this way.⁣
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Your sponsorships have made all the difference. Join us.

The hardest choice Amani has to face today is who to sit with at lunch.⁣

It wasn't always this way.⁣

Your sponsorships have made all the difference. Join us.
...

16 2
Why did the chicken cross the road?⁣
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If the chicken was in Birikani it was probably running for its life.⁣
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Chicken (or Kuku in Swahili) is a rare treat. Normally reserved for holidays and honored guests. To be given one is an incredible honor as it is usually being saved by the family for Christmas. Whenever we're given a Kuku I think of Luke 21 and the widow's mite. Jesus and his disciples are observing people putting their money into the temple treasury and highlights the gift of the poor widow saying "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” I love the picture Jesus paints here. God-honoring the gift of the heart regardless of the amount someone gives.⁣
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For the widow the "mite" she gave was precious. For the mother that brings us a Kuku it is her most valuable possession, it's her way of saying "thank you" for her kids going to school.

Why did the chicken cross the road?⁣

If the chicken was in Birikani it was probably running for its life.⁣

Chicken (or Kuku in Swahili) is a rare treat. Normally reserved for holidays and honored guests. To be given one is an incredible honor as it is usually being saved by the family for Christmas. Whenever we're given a Kuku I think of Luke 21 and the widow's mite. Jesus and his disciples are observing people putting their money into the temple treasury and highlights the gift of the poor widow saying "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” I love the picture Jesus paints here. God-honoring the gift of the heart regardless of the amount someone gives.⁣

For the widow the "mite" she gave was precious. For the mother that brings us a Kuku it is her most valuable possession, it's her way of saying "thank you" for her kids going to school.
...

10 1
"By a Carpenter, mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade." Desiderius Erasmus- 1466⁣
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Everything in Birikani is handmade. The desks, chairs, bookshelves, windows, and doors. The carpenters come with their tools and turn ordinary wood into beautiful custom furniture.⁣
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You and I are handmade too. Every part of us was formed by the master carpenter. We were beautifully and perfectly made into the custom, one-of-a-kind person that we are by the Carpenter.

"By a Carpenter, mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade." Desiderius Erasmus- 1466⁣

Everything in Birikani is handmade. The desks, chairs, bookshelves, windows, and doors. The carpenters come with their tools and turn ordinary wood into beautiful custom furniture.⁣

You and I are handmade too. Every part of us was formed by the master carpenter. We were beautifully and perfectly made into the custom, one-of-a-kind person that we are by the Carpenter.
...

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We figured you could use a smile. It IS Monday after all.⁣
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A little reminder that it ain't that bad (or maybe it is) and that a little joy is contagious. Someone out there needs your smile today. A kind word. A joyful laugh. Maybe even a little tickle.⁣
Have fun. Jesus is alive!

We figured you could use a smile. It IS Monday after all.⁣

A little reminder that it ain't that bad (or maybe it is) and that a little joy is contagious. Someone out there needs your smile today. A kind word. A joyful laugh. Maybe even a little tickle.⁣
Have fun. Jesus is alive!
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"There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24⁣
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We believe that Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. When we feel at our lowest. When we are broken beyond imagination. Jesus is there. Arm around us and ready to face the world.⁣
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We teach all of the children at our schools to love and know Jesus first. He's the friend that will last beyond anything else.

"There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24⁣

We believe that Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. When we feel at our lowest. When we are broken beyond imagination. Jesus is there. Arm around us and ready to face the world.⁣

We teach all of the children at our schools to love and know Jesus first. He's the friend that will last beyond anything else.
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18 2
"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship." -Thomas Aquinas⁣
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Most of us made our best friends at school. The ones that you really love and rely on, and the ones who love you back. Going to school is more than books and chalkboards. It's making forever friends that will be with you through thick and thin.⁣
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Thanks to everyone for making friendship happen by supporting Retouch.

"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship." -Thomas Aquinas⁣

Most of us made our best friends at school. The ones that you really love and rely on, and the ones who love you back. Going to school is more than books and chalkboards. It's making forever friends that will be with you through thick and thin.⁣

Thanks to everyone for making friendship happen by supporting Retouch.
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Can we talk about 💩 for a second?⁣
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Clean and available bathrooms are a worldwide problem. Almost half of the world struggles to find a good, functioning toilet to use. Sadly, this causes diseases and waterborne illnesses, and even death.⁣
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One thing we've learned is that having a lot of kids means a lot of 💩💩. So we've built a LOT of toilets.⁣
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Who knew the Kingdom of God looked like toilets?

Can we talk about 💩 for a second?⁣

Clean and available bathrooms are a worldwide problem. Almost half of the world struggles to find a good, functioning toilet to use. Sadly, this causes diseases and waterborne illnesses, and even death.⁣

One thing we've learned is that having a lot of kids means a lot of 💩💩. So we've built a LOT of toilets.⁣

Who knew the Kingdom of God looked like toilets?
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16 4
Check out these miracles!

Check out these miracles! ...

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I call this pic "the supervisors." On the left is unfortunate Bills fan, Cobra Kai Sensei, Pastor, and board member of Retouch: Steve Bellavia. On the right wearing the gorgeous patterned shirt is our Lead Pastor, School Director, construction manager, and all things amazing: Patrick Julo.⁣
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Without these two men, things would grind to a halt. They are truly brothers from another mother.

I call this pic "the supervisors." On the left is unfortunate Bills fan, Cobra Kai Sensei, Pastor, and board member of Retouch: Steve Bellavia. On the right wearing the gorgeous patterned shirt is our Lead Pastor, School Director, construction manager, and all things amazing: Patrick Julo.⁣

Without these two men, things would grind to a halt. They are truly brothers from another mother.
...

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For Ushindi, education means her kids go to school each day and she gets to go to work. She used to wonder how she would provide for her family, now Ushindi is the head cook. She's the lunch lady that gives you a little extra when you need it. :)⁣
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Ushindi doesn't serve square pizzas or giant chocolate cookies but she does make a mean plate of rice and beans.

For Ushindi, education means her kids go to school each day and she gets to go to work. She used to wonder how she would provide for her family, now Ushindi is the head cook. She's the lunch lady that gives you a little extra when you need it. :)⁣

Ushindi doesn't serve square pizzas or giant chocolate cookies but she does make a mean plate of rice and beans.
...

12 0
“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson⁣
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For these boys playing together means life isn't so stressful anymore. There used to be days when play was a distant dream. But now, play is every day.⁣
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We're celebrating kids playing and the generous folks who make all of this happen- YOU! Thank you for giving to education.

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson⁣

For these boys playing together means life isn't so stressful anymore. There used to be days when play was a distant dream. But now, play is every day.⁣

We're celebrating kids playing and the generous folks who make all of this happen- YOU! Thank you for giving to education.
...

14 1
Today we are remembering how much God has blessed our village. Only a few years ago we were struggling to build the church, and now we have this plus two huge classroom blocks, a library, two latrines & admin offices. God truly loves this community, and we are so thankful for all of you who made these dreams happen.

Today we are remembering how much God has blessed our village. Only a few years ago we were struggling to build the church, and now we have this plus two huge classroom blocks, a library, two latrines & admin offices. God truly loves this community, and we are so thankful for all of you who made these dreams happen. ...

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We are one step closer to having power at the school & church! The lines are being run, and now we just have to wait for the utility company to connect our buildings to the main power. The kids couldn't be more excited - they say they can't wait to be back at school and stay past the sunset!

We are one step closer to having power at the school & church! The lines are being run, and now we just have to wait for the utility company to connect our buildings to the main power. The kids couldn't be more excited - they say they can't wait to be back at school and stay past the sunset! ...

16 1
Another successful food distribution for our families. Many of them are out of work due to the virus restrictions, so the food means a great deal to them and their children. They are so thankful for the amazing supporters who give.

Another successful food distribution for our families. Many of them are out of work due to the virus restrictions, so the food means a great deal to them and their children. They are so thankful for the amazing supporters who give. ...

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This is Joy, our rock-star social worker who has been consistently running discipleship programs, home visits, and food distributions despite the craziness Corona has caused. We are so thankful for her!

This is Joy, our rock-star social worker who has been consistently running discipleship programs, home visits, and food distributions despite the craziness Corona has caused. We are so thankful for her! ...

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Behind the masks we are still all smiles! Don't let Corona get you down!

Behind the masks we are still all smiles! Don't let Corona get you down! ...

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