What's The News In Watford City?

One couple works tirelessly to bring local families comfort, encouragement 

As the Christmas season amps up, people all over McKenzie County feel a push to share their resources and give to those not quite as fortunate. One couple has taken that charge to a whole new level for the third year in a row.

Kathie and Jim Konsor of the Bakken Oil Rush Ministry have gone above and beyond once again.

On Dec. 4, the Konsors joined with 36 volunteers to provide a Christmas party for 189 people and Christmas gifts for 89 children.

Jim Konsor traveled up to North Dakota from his home in South Dakota in 2012 to drive a payloader and make some money. While in McKenzie County, the needs of so many in the oil patch touched him. When he returned home to his wife, he could not shake the feeling and he and Kathie got to talking.

Jim had met people who had lost their houses or businesses, who had relationship issues or other hardship which had brought them to seek out a better life in the oil field. But, he noticed, just showing up in McKenzie County did not mean that a person was set. Many struggled to find housing here, were lonely, or were suffering in their new climate and culture. As he spoke with his wife, they felt like those were areas wherein they could lend a hand.

Fast forward to a few months later, and the couple had joined with United Methodist Church, who was trying to start a mission in western North Dakota, and were in Watford City to assess needs. They spoke with social services, the food pantry, pastors, and the Chamber of Commerce and decided that they would focus on warm meals, clothing and basic household needs, and comfort and encouragement.

Their operation started small and has grown to be an essential part of aid in Watford City. Operating out of a trailer for a few years, the Konsors have provided clothing for hundreds of people in need. They also hold regular gatherings at the Living Faith Fellowship Hall, where people can get a warm meal and a message. People come back as long as they need help and many return after they’ve got their feet on the ground to thank the couple for their encouragement.

“We have been where they are,” explains Jim. “We have been out of work, out of money, and in need of aid from very kind people. People helped us until we got our feet on the ground and that is our goal for the people we come in contact with.”

One of Jim and Kathie’s favorite things to do is provide Christmas gifts to the families that they have met through the clothing giveaways or Thursday night gatherings.

“We sent out an email to everyone on our list inviting anyone who might need it to come to our Christmas party,” says Jim. “And we had some fantastic sponsors including Blue Lube, Meyer’s Department Store, Living Faith Church, Thrivent, and private donors who helped us raise the funds to provide dinner, activities and gifts for so many families this Christmas season.”

The party featured a ventriloquist, dinner served by the Girl Scouts, a balloon tossing frenzy, and the highlight of the night – the toy mall. Toys were split up at tables according to age range and genders and all of the children drew numbers and were randomly selected to go and pick their gifts. Gifts included things like basketballs, footballs, art kits, remote control cars, dolls, and books.

A religious portion of the evening came in as the children gathered around “Grandpa Jim” and listened to him read the story of Christ’s birth from the book of Luke in the New Testament. The Konsors had brought their recliner, side table, and lamp to make it feel like a special moment with grandpa in the living room on Christmas Eve.

When asked what keeps the Konsors going month after month in their ministry they responded, “We believe that as we lend a hand, people will pass on that love and service to others. We all go through times when we need a little boost. We hope that as we provide that boost, the influence of goodness and kindness will go on and on.”

If you are moved to share your resources this Christmas season, search for Oil Rush Ministry on Facebook and get in contact with Jim and Kathie Konsor.

This article originally appeared in the McKenzie County Farmer. Read more or subscribe at www.watfordcitynd.com.