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Betikara orphanage

After the Croc Farm we ride more rugged roads to the Betikara Orphanage run by Barry and Stacy Rosie, the only full-time missionaries from Churches of Christ in Madagascar. The orphanage supports 21 girls and 22 boys, employs four caregivers and two cooks, and provides medical supplies for people who walk up to 10 km to receive them. It is an amazing operation and impressive facility on about 7.5 acres that include an orchard of 450 fruit trees, rice fields and gardens. The orphanage was established in 2004 and a school in 2006. Plans are underway for additional housing and a medical clinic. “The Lord has really blessed us,” says Barry while leading a tour of the grounds. We are greeted by the children when we arrive, and they are all wearing purple ACU Homecoming T-shirts from 2007 that our office facilitated, thanks to ACU alumnus and graphic designer Mark Houston. The irony proves emotional for me. “You never know where your influence spreads, do you?” notes Jack Rich. We greet the smiling children, who perform several songs, including “Jesus is Beautiful.” There are not many dry eyes among our group. We find several Abilenians working there, including Daphne Williams, Susan Perry and Joy Crouch, along with ACU grad and physician’s assistant Liz (Murphy) Crittenden from Bosnia. The orphanage’s main building is constructed of granite walls, mined from behind the structure. Daphne and Malagasy graduate Carole Ranaivoarivelo dispense medicine through an open window to villagers who wait in line outside the building, including Felana Andriamampianina and her sister, Fenohaya and Miora, who have walked 3 km from their home. All are under the age of 10. Other ACU Malagasy graduates work there, including Rotsy Rasamimanana. Look for a video clip soon of this visit. [Pictured here: ACU trustees Virginia Chambers and Barbie Johnston greet children, and the orphans gather to prepare to sing]