When Kimberly Fogg was a kid, her mother used to tell her that she had special powers. “I always had this unexplainable way,” she told MsXFactor. “I always had this, I don’t know…I did not grow up in a church and I did not grow up knowing the Bible – but I had this connection.” While she finds it difficult to describe the connection and its source, what she does know is that while on safari in Tanzania more than seven years ago, the connection became recognizable once again. “God began saying, ‘I want you to help – no, I need you to help.” What was God asking her to do? Who was God instructing her to help?

Following the death of her father, Fogg embarked upon the voyage as a means of soul-searching. She recalls a defining moment during dinner in Kenya. The waiter was focused on her – so much so that everyone at the table took notice. “When he brought my food there was a strange light shinning from behind him and when I looked, I saw his name tag.” The waiter’s name was the same as her father’s, Alphonse – she knew in that moment that her life would forever change. How would it change? She was not totally sure until she came across a group of young children traveling to gather water.

She would quickly learn that the young people did not have access to clean water, in their local area so they had to travel. The problem, however, is that the trek was dangerous, which meant that some never made it back home. If they did, the water they collected could be contaminated which eventually made them ill – resulting in death as well. She felt that she had to do something but at first she resisted.

“Initially I felt sorry as I saw these beautiful little children traveling to collect water, but I was missing my beautiful house,” she said.

She did not know the first thing about the process of providing clean water in a foreign land.  “As I pushed back, purpose kept being placed in my face,” she remembers. “God kept saying, ‘I want you to do this.’

Photo: Kimberly Fogg

Fogg was obedient to that call and today she heads Global Sustainable Partnerships, a non-profit organization that provides access to clean and safe drinking water to schools, households, health centers and hospitals in Tanzania. She came across the technology, HydrAid BioSand Filters, after returning to the states from her safari. “The filters that I decided to use are manufactured in my hometown (Grand Rapids, MI) just 10 minutes from my parents house,” she said. “I was talking to someone who was doing work on my parents roof, telling him about what I had experienced while on my safari, and he started telling me about these filters.” And one of the two trainings each year just happened to be coming up. “I never said okay,” Fogg reports matter-of-factly.

“I just started following the bread crumbs.

Photo: Kimberly Fogg

Some people search a lifetime for their purpose. They experiment, sometimes failing more times than succeeding. Some people go broke trying to obtain professional and personal fulfillment. But not everyone has the opportunity of having their purpose dropped in their lap.

“I wake up every morning and thank God for letting me see another day because I know I’m supposed to share my love, happiness and miracles to others.”

“God has shown that God will provide as long as I follow the bread crumbs. I have seen so many miracles. I am living into a purpose that was already designed for me. It is just how it happened for me.” By doing something small, they have made a great impact and have been intentional about holding to the identity of being a grassroots organization.

Through the “Water is the Life-Line of Life” initiative, GPS has installed 580 filters into 80 schools, 208 households, three orphanages, 57 health dispensaries and one district hospital. They have touched over 100,000 Tanzanians through their work in unexpected ways. But for Fogg, the greatest reward for her work is the joy of her kids. “Seeing the joy in ‘my’ kids beautiful faces in our schools. Pulling up to the school and the kids running out to greet me when they see me. Knowing how truly grateful they are to have access to clean and safe drinking water,” she said. “Moments like when one of my kids’ mothers recognized me and thanked me saying, ‘You are the lady who is giving kids clean water.’ Those kinds of things, there is nothing like it. They are earth shattering moments.”

Photo: Kimberly Fogg

There have been setbacks that have almost slowed down their progress. But in those moments, Fogg said she does not get bogged down in the setbacks. “God has given me the gift to try to give these kids the basic so that they can become the next teacher, the next leader, the next person to have an impact on others,” she said. “That is the only way I can think about it.

God touched me and I do not know why, but I am grateful.

God wanted me to touch people’s lives and create opportunities for my kids.”


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Mashaun D. Simon
Mashaun D. Simon is a preacher and writer committed to empowering others to advocate for equity, fairness and cultural competency. To learn more, visit: http://mashaundsimon.com.