A Walk That Changed Everything

Melissa Thwing

Melissa Thwing

Social Media & Marketing Manager

Katie placed the 40-pound jerry can of water on her head and carried it from the dirty, contaminated water source all the way back to the village. The terrain was uneven and rough, the weight of the jug was physically taxing, and the sweat beads dripped off her head as she walked the walk that women in the Pokot tribe take every day.

“It was more than physically difficult,” Katie said, who was on her fifth trip to Africa, but her first time in Kenya. “It was emotionally difficult to experience what these women endure.”

The yellow, dirty water that Katie carried for Veronica, a local villager, was the same water that Veronica used to bathe in, to cook and to clean. The water is severely contaminated and for many, it was the only water they’d ever had access to for drinking. During drought season when the water dries up, they walk as far as 10 miles for a water source.

“There’s a huge problem for the Pokot in that they simply have no access to clean water and are considered a forgotten tribe,” Katie said.

While the Pokot people may be forgotten to some, they are considered family to Kensington Church. Kensington’s Hope Water Project provides new water wells for the impoverished, neglected and marginalized people of the Pokot tribe in northwestern Kenya.

Stumbling into hope
Katie first got involved in Hope Water Project by walking the Detroit Free Press half-marathon. Having a passion for giving hope to this people group, she “stumbled into” an opportunity to go on a short-term mission trip to fulfill a requirement for her master’s program at the University of Michigan.

She has been a nurse for 13 years, primarily working in intensive care and surgical services. For Katie, the trip was a chance for her to combine her passion for meeting people’s greatest needs with her medical experience.

Katie and the team went into each village to perform a community assessment to determine the feasibility of a well. They gather information like how many people are sick and the number of kids that have died. A village without access to clean water is struck with illnesses like Malaria and Typhoid.

“Communities with no access to clean water were clearly sicker than residents in villages with wells,” she said. “One water well, something that we take for granted in America, changes everything.”

Katie said that once a well is providing a clean water source to the community—people flock. The dynamic of the culture changes drastically. Schools are built, a church gets established, and people give thanks to God for this gift of health and happiness.

“They recognize this gift isn’t random,” she said. “God chose them.”

On her trip, Katie got to witness a water celebration. Waving their branches in the air, dancing and singing, the village gathered to witness water coming out of a well for the first time. She witnessed their lives changing right in front of her. The kids the women were carrying on their backs now have a future because of this gift.

The gift of physical water allows people to engage with the living water—Jesus.

Instead of observing from a distance and wishing things were different, Katie challenges us to step into the opportunity God has placed in front of us.

“You don’t have to run to make a difference. You can raise money, walk, support the runners, cycle—everything makes a difference.”

Through Hope Water Project, 128 wells have been dug—resulting in 250,000 people with access to clean water.

Hope Water Project Kick-off

If you’d like to learn more or get involved with Hope Water Project, come to the kick-off event on Saturday, April 13 from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Troy Campus. Register here

Share this post

20 Shares
You Might Like...
narcissm
Chris Zarbaugh

Do I think about myself too much?

Everyone has that moment where they answer the inevitable question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” To be completely honest, I never really had dreams of making an impact of any

boring
Dave Wilson

Church can be boring.

It’s truly amazing to me that I am a pastor at a church, considering my journey getting here. I grew up being dragged to church by my single mom whether I wanted to go or

Never miss another blog post.
Subscribe to be notified when new posts are published.

pagination_prv_arrow
EnglishPortuguese

Learning Labs

Experience a closer connection with God and His presence in your life while meeting others who are pursing the same.  Explore rhythms and practices that can help us abide in the love, grace and hope of God.

Please email with any questions.

Clarkston

Orion

Birmingham Campus

We are offering a time for our congregation to gather after the 10am service for prayer in the Groves Auditorium, 20500 W 13 Mile Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.

On Sunday evening, Dec 5, parents of high school and middle school students are invited to the second half of our Edge gathering at Genesis Church, 309 N Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, at 6:15pm. We will have a breakout to equip parents in caring for themselves and processing pain with their children in times of tragedy.

Parents & Student Resources

Parents – self care is critical. It’s important to do your own processing with another adult so that you can be more present as your child processes. Here are tools that you can use to get you started.

Podcast

Helpful Blogs

Other Materials

Counselors Are Needed After Tragedy

“The aftermath of the Oxford shooting tragedy will undoubtedly result in traumatic symptoms and experiences across our communities for quite some time. Healing the brain through evidence-based therapies is absolutely possible with clinical guidance. There is a valuable village of Trauma Therapists with collective resources standing by for Oxford, for both direct and secondary survivors to engage in therapy. Until then, we honorably hold a sacred space, as students, families, staff and school partners continue to mourn.” -Laura Azoni, LMSW, Founder of Sanctuary Services

Orion Campus

We believe that unity at this time is more important than ever. Several churches in the area are partnering together to offer space for students to begin the process of healing.

We will have several grief and trauma specialists on site this Sunday evening at our Orion Campus (4640 S Lapeer Rd Lake Orion, MI 48359) from 5-6:30pm and will have a night of prayer, worship and an opportunity for students to process with each other.

Tate Myre Funeral:
Monday, 12.6 Visitation 1 to 8pm
Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

Clinton Township Campus

We will be offering a time for our congregation to gather after each service for a time of corporate prayer in the Greatroom. Prayer will be offered at 10:15 am and 12:15 pm. (25000 Hall Rd, Charter Twp of Clinton, MI 48036)

This Sunday at 3:30 pm as a community we want to gather, pray and mourn together. We are all looking for answers and wondering why tragedy happens but we can find hope and peace in Jesus. 

Troy Campus

Join us Sunday night, December 5th for a Community Prayer Vigil at Kensington Church at 6:00 pm. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to come together for a time of hope and prayer. 

Following the Vigil, at 7:00 pm, there will be breakouts for students and for parents to process and be equipped in caring for themselves and those around in times of tragedy.

Marriage Classes

What grows marriages? Focusing on the two of you and being in community!
The Marriage Course includes seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Some couples do the course to intentionally invest in their relationship, others are looking to address more specific challenges. Either way, the course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help you build a relationship that lasts a lifetime. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

Please email with any questions.

Financial Peace University (FPU)

Financial Peace University (FPU) is a catalyst to help people live in financial freedom and enable them to have a posture of openhandedness. We have witnessed numerous Kensington families experience life change as a result of applying Biblical truths to their personal finances. The real blessing is seeing people create lives of margin that allow them to hear and respond to the Lord’s calling on their lives.

Please email with any questions.

Bible Basics

Whether you are brand new to the Bible or have been reading it for decades, Bible Basics is a course that will help you understand the overall flow of the Bible. Over the course of several weeks, learn how the Bible came from the original writers to the English versions we have today. We’ll look at the big-picture story of the Bible and how all the individual books add to the whole. We’ll even learn a little about the history of the Jewish nation. But most of all, we’ll grow in our awe of the amazing author of this amazing book!

Please email  with any questions.

Birmingham

Clinton Township

Orion

Troy

Alpha

What is my purpose? What value does the Bible have in my life? How do I pray? How can I grow in confidence to share my faith? These are the big questions that are at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with God. Alpha is a space to explore life’s big questions, to say what you think and to hear other people’s points of view. Over ten-weeks you will explore and discover while listening to weekly topics, participating in table discussion, and developing community. Alpha courses meeting in-person gather around a meal.

You don’t have to come for the whole series—just check it out for the first session and see what you think. No pressure.

Please email with any questions.

Troy

easter Tickets

No tickets needed for Good Friday

GROUP LEADER DEVELOPMENT

Together Again

updated June 23, 2021

It’s been life-giving to be in-person for our weekend services since last July when we reopened. If you haven’t yet, we invite you to join us in person sometime soon.

Reservations and ticketing have been discontinued at all our campuses.

Masks are optional at all services, events, and ministry gatherings for kids, students, and adults. We know that everyone needs to make the right health decisions for themselves and their family, so if you feel comfortable removing your mask, you may. And if you’d like to continue wearing a mask or face covering, you may do that as well. This is a personal choice that only you can decide what is best for yourself when attending in person at Kensington.

If you are sick, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, please plan to stay home and participate in our services via our many online streaming options.

At the start of the pandemic, Kensington’s Executive Team commissioned a group of staff members as a COVID Task Force to establish protocols and procedures for the safety of our church community. Thanks for sticking with us throughout all the changes and adjustments over the past 15 months.

We’re grateful to be together again!