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Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Lansing, Ill., adopted Kyananjula in Uganda, a village so decimated by the AIDS epidemic that there are almost no adults ages 20 to 60.

Bethel’s goal is to raise $14,000 for the first year to pay for the care and education of 100 AIDS orphans. About 25 will live in a new children’s home. The others will be provided with tuition, health care, and meals while living with grandparents.

The tuition will cover the cost of running a Christian school in the village, guaranteeing teachers’ wages and replacing straw and mud with bricks and mortar.

By adopting Kyananjula, Bethel CRC expands an involvement that began in 2004, when Bethel members Rick and Val Persenaire returned from a trip to Uganda with a vision of helping orphans there.

They founded the Ugandan Orphanage Relief Fund, which already serves 250 orphans in five homes. Bethel members make up 60 percent of those sponsoring a child. Other Christian Reformed churches in the Midwest also provide support.

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