Believers provide a compassionate answer to the growing AIDS pandemic.

By July 22, 2004

South Africa (MNN)–The United Nations predicts there will be over 15 million AIDS orphans by 2010.

Without the AIDS epidemic, which has already killed 20 million people worldwide and infected 38 million, the numbers of orphans would be falling because of better health care and nutrition. AIDS has reversed the trend.

Evangelical Baptist Mission is working on their response. Through Bethesda Outreach, teams will care for orphans at specially-built facilities throughout southern Africa.

Designed to resemble a traditional African village, but built using modern construction materials and methods, each Bethesda village will provide a safe, loving, family environment in which the orphans will thrive.

South African Bethesda Director John Mixon says that the Bible-based lessons they teach affects behavior, which can ultimately turn the tide–but they can’t do it alone. “We’re trying to get churches and individuals–individuals to do foster parenting, then churches to start their own child care programs. The second part would be building a village that will help house up to 400 children per village.”

Each village will be working with a local church, whose responsibility will be to oversee the spiritual ministries of the village.

There are plans to begin building on the Bethesda model in other countries. Mixon says they’ll take it one step at a time. “Right now we’re working on opening the two child care units. We’re going to have a dedication in October. We just finished a school building, and our goal would be, within the next month or so, to be registered as our own school.”

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