So it’s confirmed, then: I can run and I can write. Now I’m writing about running! This year, I’m running the Detroit Half-Marathon again, but this time for a much bigger purpose: Hope Water Project! This story first appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Shattered Magazine.
An 82-year-old woman finishing the Detroit Free Press 5k.
A Chattanooga Ironman triathlon finisher.
A woman battling breast cancer.
All running for the same purpose and wearing the same thing: blue Hope Water Project Jerseys.
In the early chill and darkness of October 18, I found myself one of 27,000 runners and walkers at the Detroit Half-marathon and marathon. Me running a half-marathon is amazing in and of itself due to my inherent aversion to running, but that’s a story for another magazine.
After the shotgun sounded, and I got my pre-race jitters out within the first few miles, I began looking around— at something other than my own feet—and I saw blue.
Hope Water Project jerseys. Everywhere.
I’d heard about Hope Water Project only a short time before the race. I knew one or two people involved in it, but I had not imagined so may were running or walking for the Pokot who have little or no access to clean water.
It might have been the cold air or the burn in my lungs or the ache of my legs. Maybe it was the sheer emotion of running a half-marathon, but I could hardly keep the lump in my throat from growing. The sight of those blue jerseys, worn by hundreds of local church and non-church people joining for a mission greater than themselves; the friends and families lining the route with Hope Water Project signs; the groups of half-and full- marathoners inspiring each other with songs of worship. They all made a stunning blue mosaic for my 13.1 miles.
A thousand stories for one story—the story of the Pokot.
The Hope Water Project Story
The Pokot—which represents nearly one million people—is an impoverished people group in western Kenya. Hope Water Project, part of Kensington Church in Troy, Michigan, assembles teams of runners, walkers and bicyclers to participate in events in Michigan and Florida, raising money for clean water for the Pokot. Kensington Church has partnered with the Pokot since 2004, working to provide health and hope in their communities.
Current water sources are shared with animals (and who knows what else) and are riddled with disease. The Pokot suffer from illnesses—some known and some unknown— due to dirty and dangerous water. Often sickness is visible on their very faces.
Community wells help solve basic needs plaguing the Pokot communities. Clean water aids in healing and preventing diseases, allowing them to survive and thrive.
But it’s more than just water. Hope Water Project uses clean water wells to provide the Pokot with health and opportunity.
And Jesus…[continue reading]
Or just go straight to the punchline and donate to Emily’s 2016 run for Hope Water Project!