The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

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    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
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    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
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    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
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    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
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    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Farrans: Ministering to victims of AIDS 2010.07.07

Written by David Green.

Fresh graves appear frequently in Richards Bay, South Africa, where the highest incidence of HIV infection in the country is found.


By DAVID GREEN the area surrounding the South African city of Richards Bay, where an estimated 60 percent of the native adult Zulu population is infected with the HIV virus, people come to offer help and then they’re gone.

They arrive, complete their service project and go home.

That’s not the way to get the job done in Zululand, missionaries Kyle and Heather (Fankhauser) Farran learned.

“Zulus thrive on relationships,” Heather said. “People come and help, but they don’t develop a relationship. We’re letting them know we’re here for the long haul. It’s a privilege to be welcomed and have them trust us.”

The AIDS population is a very ostracized group that’s been taken advantage of for many years, so developing a relationship didn’t come easily for a young American family.

“It took a while, a couple of years,” Kyle said, and the Farrans remember the turning point.

“We took our children out with us,” Heather said. “We all shook hands and got hugs. People responded to us differently after that.”

When the Farrans go out to do their work, they’re tackling a job most people would want no part of—ministering to the needs of those dying of AIDS.

“Patients are mostly in the slum areas,” Kyle said. “We go out there to do our work. We’re talking to people very close to dying about how they can have a relationship with God.”

“Loving people to the last breath” is how the Farrans describe their services.

“And we love it,” Kyle adds. “We love doing what we’re doing.”

That’s a marked change from 2005 when the couple first decided to begin work with ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism). They heard about the suffering of the Zulu AIDS population and they felt the pull to go there and help. But they were initially apprehensive about what might lie ahead with this type of work.

Their attitude changed as they prepared for departure in 2007. Preparation consisted of building relationships in the United States with churches and individuals to secure funding for their work abroad. The Farrans are now back in the U.S. for nine months to give updates to supporting churches.

“We’re sort of an extension of the ministry of several area churches,” Kyle said.

About half of the donations they receive come from churches and about half from individuals. They lose some supporters and gain new ones, and realize that tough economic times affect what people are able to give.

“Finances aren’t something you can worry about in this job,” Heather said, “but it’s been incredible to watch [the support come in].”

Hospice center

The Farrans’ plea for funds has expanded due to the goal for their next term of service in Richards Bay.

The first term, Kyle said, focused on learning the language and determining the best way to minister physically and spiritually to those with AIDS.

“We saw that an AIDS care center would be the best way to do that,” he said.

Funding of the $110,000 hospice center is more than half complete. The Farrans hope construction of the four-bed facility will begin next summer.

“We’re really excited about our second term,” Heather said.

The hospice center will be built in conjunction with a church in Richards Bay, and the Farrans will provide the spiritual aspect to existing hospice services.

Nurse aides will be trained to help staff the center around the clock, but it’s not medical care that will be provided. Instead, the center will simply offer the end-of-life care that should be provided at home.

AIDS victims are ostracized by society in general, Kyle explained, but often face rejection from their own family members. Many are left with only their young children to care for them in their final days. Abused and neglected patients will be targeted for admission to the center.

“We’re trying to make it an easily replicated model,” Kyle said, so other organizations can start additional centers.

The Farrans won’t return to South Africa until late September, but their two older daughters, ages 8 and 6, are ready to get back to the city they now call home.

“The hard part about being away,” Heather said, “is not knowing which of our friends will pass away while we’re gone.”

AIDS victims often experience cycles of sickness and health. A downward spiral might take a turn for the better—at least for a while.

“Some get better just through nutrition and compassion,” Heather said. “They’re able to go back home and care for their children for another two months, or a year or more.”

Children. That’s a tough part of the Farrans’ work.

“For every person who dies,” Heather said, “there are children left behind.”

It’s a simple reminder that there’s so much work to be done.

• For information about making donations to the AIDS Care Center or to the Farran’s mission work, visit or write to them at [email protected] Their phone number is 517/639-0355.

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