Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Well, it's about time I share a little about our hearts for Africa. I realized that since I've started this blog I have yet to discuss our LOVE for Africa, our adventures to East Africa, our hearts yearning to serve there long term and the dreams, words, pictures and visions that God has given us over the years that has brought us to where we are today. So, I think over the next 6 months I will start to alternate blog posts with family updates and Africa. I wanted to first start off with a much needed blog post about a dear friend to us, Ruth Muga. She is currently being faced with the decision to possibly shut down areas of her 11 yr. ministry to orphans due to lack of funding. I wanted to start our Africa journey by sharing her story.
I have known Ruth for 5 years now and have worked with her on 3 different occasions in her orphanage in Jinja, Uganda. I met Ruth on a hot and humid day in Jinja, Uganda in 2003 and she just glowed with LOVE. She walked with the confidence of a woman who has struggled and WON many of battle. She is a fighter. She has fought to save the lives of hundreds of orphans!! Of all the people I know, she and her husband are the most amazing, dedicated, motivated, compassionate, self-less, giving, loving and caring peoples I have ever met! Ruth Muga is not your average woman. She is the founder of Bethesda International in Jinja, Uganda, East Africa. Bethesda International is an independent, indigenous Non-Government Organizational (NGO) founded in 1997 with the goal of supporting the most vulnerable children; orphans, street children, abandoned and abused and the poor of the poorest. Bethesda believes that every child is entitled to a home for love and care, basic needs and education. Bethesda means "House of grace." Bethesda provides both orphans with hope and a future by being placed in foster families who care for and love them and also empowers those foster families to be able to care for these children.
A foster mother at Bethesda and her children
Between 1990 - 1997, Ruth Muga lost many of her brothers and sisters to AIDS, sickness and disease. Her brothers and sisters left behind 14 children who were now orphans. Ruth, a single woman, decided to give up her life to raise these children. She began with 14 children, her nieces and nephews, and the very next year she opened her doors to 2 more children who had been orphaned or abandoned. Nine years later, against all odds and with nothing but a little faith and courage, Ruth has taken in hundreds more. Currently in 2007, she cares for 200 children, many HIV and special needs children.
Rapha Primary School
Social worker with Bethesda's kids
A child in 2nd grade at Rapha primary school showing off her writing and reading skills at the End of the Year Celebration!
Ruth is a woman of faith, a woman of courage, a visionary, a trailblazer, a mother to many, a wife to one, and a woman who deserves to see her dreams come to reality. Ruth founded Bethesda Int., which is more than just an orphanage. She has established a new system of foster families in Jinja. She founded the very first library in Jinja, in hopes to empower her African brothers and sisters to embrace education. She has also established Rapha Community Primary School that cares for and educates 264 children that would otherwise never be able to receive an education. Rapha School is located deep in the bush far away from paved roads and schools. Rapha Primary is the first school ever to be established in their community. These children will be the first generation of literate Ugandans.
Preschoolers dancing at the graduation ceremony for Rapha School. The had a huge party because they celebrated their first whole year of school!!
Bethesda Int’l is also in the process of starting self-sustaining projects on the farmland adjacent to the school. They currently have a pigs, cow, chicken, and wild turkey projects in the works to provide food for the children & villagers and income for the teachers. And it doesn't end there! Ruth has a dream to expand this ministry into treacherous areas of Sudan, Botswana and the Congo! She has dreams of orphans being fed, loved, cared for, educated and empowered across these African countries!!! I know she can do it with your help!!!
Jeff Borchert with one of the classes of Rapha which is held outside due to lack of rooms in the school.
End of the year celebrations included dancing, singing, reciting poems, and chalkboard exercises
Ruth has given her all to her family, community, city and country. Every day they battle not having enough to eat. They struggle to pay the bills of their own house and struggle to pay the rent for the orphanage. Their living situation is horrible!! Ruth has sickle cell anemia, which has landed her in the hospital too often. Her husband and daughters have asthma. The bills and school fees for hundreds of children is almost impossible to fund. The school she has built has no access to clean water. Their water source is miles away through jungle and bush. One child already died when he went to fetch water. Their farm projects are failing as they have no funding to feed and care for the animals. The teachers are not paid. I could go on and on….I have seen their lives, I have visited many times and I am always amazed at their true joy amidst such devastating and dire circumstances. Ruth, her husband and their staff at Bethesda are some of the most genuine, honest, faithful and selfless people I know. They live their lives for one purpose...God's kingdom. They follow Jesus and live their lives serving the poor and vulnerable children in their country. They have hope!! I have HOPE for them!!!!
OKAY…so why the blog post?
One of Rapha's self sustaining projects...pigs! The main problem they face is lack of water for all the animal projects currently running.*Right now, they are in serious need. Ruth has NEVER ever asked us for money and in the last 6 months she has emailed me several times asking for any help we can give. Ruth is to the point of possibly shutting down areas of Bethesda International because of her inability to raise the funds necessary to feed, clothe, and educate the children. That means 200 orphans, with no family, and nowhere to go. It means shutting down a school where 270 children are being educated, encouraged and are fed one decent meal. It means a woman having to walk away from 11 years of hard work and her dream of seeing all her children grow old, know Jesus and change the face of Africa. Jeff and I have some work to do…we will search for grants, plan fundraisers and continue to support Ruth and her team, but that is not enough. We need you guys! We need your brains, your creativity, your ideas, efforts, thoughts and prayers. And, sure, it would be awesome if any of you wanted to send some financial love to Ruth or plan to visit her! She is always open to people visiting her and the kids in Jinja, Uganda. I was in tears when I read her last email realizing that my dear friend was in the midst of a very real battle for children’s lives and all that is needed to win is one good idea for a grant, a little effort, work, and money.
Will you help?
Will you pray?
Will you pass this on to everyone you know &
see if we can bring some awareness to Ruth's ministry?
*One project in the works that could use your prayer right now is our nomination video we sent into ABC EXTREME MAKEOVER! Two years ago the Lord prompted me with the wild idea of sending in Ruth's story to ABC for an extreme orphanage makeover. Finally, 2 yrs later after finding an amazing friend who would edit a video for us, we put it all together and mailed it off yesterday!! Please pray that our DVD would land in the right hands and for God to do the impossible!!
Ruth's library in Jinja..created from donations and her own collections of books
Arthur, Ruth, Sarah, Katie, Jeff 2005

Would you help? Please email me at xtkatie@gmail.com

Bethesda International, Jinja UGANDA

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Family Times

50 degrees and lovin' it! Jeff, the kids and I raked our whole yard and did a little spring cleanup. Boy did that feel good! I LOVE working outside, sweating, taking in the fresh air and playing in the sun. I am so excited to start our garden this year because I'll have 2 little helpers when it's time to pull weeds! Osobie and Fatu each want their own garden. Osobie told us he wants to grow hot peppers! A boy after his papa's heart!

Papa-son day...at the Avalanche Hockey Game
Our turtle's (Gideon) first day out of hibernation! The kids were a little unsure of him until he started walking and then they cracked up at his slow crawl across the grass.

A little drama queen! Falling on the ground and being a nut We had mama/daughter and papa/son days this past weekend so Jeff took Osobie to the skate park and an Avalanche Hockey Game! (thanks Mekay for the tickets) My sis has all our photos from our girls day so I'll update later!

Osobie grooving out to some Ben Harper!
Brother and sista love! They really are wonderfully sweet to one another and play together without fussing about sharing toys! What a blessing it is to watch them laugh, dance, sing and invent new games everyday. They love to play cook. They run around the yard collecting sticks and tell me they caught their chicken! Then they proceed to make a "fire" and place their pots full of "rice" and "potato greens" on top to cook.

Osobie is out of his skin happy to have papa home to wrestle with and climb on!
More ice cream smiles

ICE CREAM!!! this completed our family night

FAMILY BED!!!! We all piled on the two mattresses in the living room and had a great family night! I think we'll make this one of our family fun treats every once in awhile!

We are so happy papa is home!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

PAPA IS HOME!!!!!!!!!

Papa came home!! Praise the Lord!! He made it in safe and sound on Tuesday night and the kids are freaking out!! What a huge difference in their JOY level!! They are so glad to have their mama and papa together finally!!
Unfortunately I lost all the photos from our second family reunion because I was messing with the camera and accidentally erased them all!!
Well, we'll just have to take our next family photo in our Ugandan outfits papa brought home for us!! We made a family bed night last night, we pulled our mattresses on the floor in the living room and all slept together! We ate ice cream cones and and watched Flushed Away...it was fabulous!! Thanks for praying for us peeps!! We love you guys!!
more pics to come....

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A sweet home coming!!

Jeff got on an airplane today and we're hoping he will be arriving tomorrow night!! YEAH!!!!!!!!! Thank you Jesus!!

*******Got a phone call from Jeff this morning 5am...guess what??? He's stuck in Belgium!!! This is unbelievable!! The kids are starting to wonder if papa is EVER coming home!! Please pray he makes it home tomorrow!! He has been in travel mode for 4 days now!********

Now...about the day we have been praying for...the home coming of Nyenna and Titus!! Tears and butterflies were swirling as we saw Laurie, Kelly & the kids come up the escalator!! What an amazing blessing to be able to witness God's faithfulness and promises come to life in the form of 2 little children! Nyenna and Titus were finally home!!! Nyenna was all smiles and Titus was running around like a goofball and life couldn't have been any sweeter than at that moment. We've walked a long journey together as friends and have shared many tears and prayers waiting for our kids to come home and God has been with us all the way, speaking to us, stretching us, whispering His truths in our hearts, teaching us to trust and preparing us for the children He chose for us. It seemed surreal to stand in the middle of Denver Airport with Kojo, Osobie, Fatu, Nyenna & Titus together...finally. I don't think any of us could have dreamed it could be this good!! I think it was even unbelievable for Fatu and Osobie because they just kind of stood there, staring at Nyenna and Titus. Of course as soon as it all sunk in, Fatu was holding Nyenna's hand and Osobie, Kojo and Titus were giggling together in the back seat. :)
You AMAZE me Lord!! I'm in awe of your ways, your kindness, your goodness, your faithfulness, YOUR LOVE!!!
Osobie and Fatu were singing a song they made up for the special home coming day! It goes something like this...

You did it....You did it
Nyenna and Titus comin' home

You did it...You did it
You moved mountains

Who did it? God did it
No more trouble today

You did it....You did it
Laurie, Nyenna, Titus comin' home

You did it...You did it
Who did it?

God did it

That's it...that is it, GOD DID IT!! We praise you GOD for what you have done!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Jeff called today,...the airplane never made it to Entebbe, Uganda due to mechanical problems! Please pray he is able to get on a plane tomorrow so he can make it home Monday!! Thanks!!Just a few hours before we will welcome home the Lorenzen gang!!!!:)