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


Brandi said...

Praying right now, Katie! Let us know if we could do something with ABC. . write them too or email or whatever! I think that's a GREAT idea!

I have committed to fundraise for the 10 church wells in Liberia, but would love to add this orphange/school to my list. I'm hoping to have all of these funded by the end of the year, if not sooner. I know that is a long way off, but would love to help her fund a well! Can she get pricing? If not, I have anther organization in Uganda that is working on wells and could possibly help. Do they have access to dirty water? This org has a processing system that only costs $500 that could clean it up. . we could raise that easily, right?! Let me know!


Asclepius said...
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Asclepius said...
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Johnson said...

I love this post and love your heart. We are praying for you.

We are committed to the orphanage project in Liberia right now, but maybe after this project is done we can contribute.

amber said...

Wow, Katie, this was a heart-gripping post. What an awesome woman. I will certainly be joining in prayer -- the ABC idea is one of the coolest ideas I have ever heard of! May God give your proposal tremendous favor!
It's times like these that I wish we had lots of money so we could just say "here you go; here's everything you need and more." Wouldn't that be awesome? We'd like to give a little -- email me and let me know how. Should I just give straight to her through the website or would it be better to send it to you?
I love your hearts for Africa. It has been the surprise of my life that I have fallen so in love with the people and the continent. Not because I ever was weird about it, but because growing up I was so sure I would move to Eastern Europe and spend the rest of my life working in orphanages there... I would still love to move and spend the rest of my life among orphans, but the strength of the pull on my heart from Africa so far outweighs any other geographic location at this point.
It is a blessing to know others who have the same love and who have served so selflessly. You guys just rock. I've thought that from the first time I read your blog! May God really bless you as you work to help these precious kids and this organization.

with love.

jeff & katie said...

Thank you for all of the information on sickle cell anemia! I copied the info for me to read over later!
Thanks everyone for the encouragement too!!
Katie Borchert

Donna Barber said...

Thanks for sharing another part of Africa. We need to continue to be enlightened by the needs everywhere.

S and K said...

Praying for this amazing woman and for your ABC idea. I keep asking the Lord for millions$$$ but He has not said yes yet. This is one of those times I too wish I had all the money I needed. I am praying though that He who owns the cattle on a thousand hills will provide abundantly for Ruth and the ministry He has given her.


Missy said...

I am truly blessed by her story. Thank you for sharing. I will most certainly pray for her and for you and Jeff as you discern God's will for your involvement and direction. I can't wait to hear the response you get from Extreme Home Makeover.

trmccahan said...

i just met with a Dr. who is working on a project to help orphans checkout Hope Walks online then call me. Dr Art Ammann was just in Ft. Collins for 3 days and may be able to help you work with several churches in Colo. who are interested in starting a fund raiser.
with great hope

Baluye waiswa said...

Horizon Youth Empowerment Community Transformation is a community
based organisation registered in Uganda as a CBO). HYECT caters to
empower the youth in education especially orphans/needy. We are
located in Buyende District.

We are writing to inquire to whether your organisation can give a
scholarship to one of our needy/orphans students BESI NAMULI who in
primary six and now admitted at Frobel Primary school this year 2013
and will be in primary seven next year 2014. She is likely to drop out
of school due to school fees payment. Our resources are
dried to supplement her fees obligations at Frobel. This is also due
to the increasing number of needy students yet we have limited funds
to assisting them.

-- http://hyect.blogspot.com/
Baluye Waiswa
Horizon Youth Empowerment Community Transformation (HYECT)
P.O.BOX 87 KAMULI UGANDA.+256-705-099300,+256-756-099300 +256 754443448