In Feb 2019, Julie Missias and her sister Susan visited Naomi’s Village (NV) in Kenya with a mission team from Trenches Church in Kalamazoo, MI. We didn’t know it then, but Julie had terminal metastatic cancer, which eventually led to her death in 2022. Julie had asked her oncologist to halt palliative chemotherapy for a bit so she could travel to Africa. Susan, a former long-term missionary to Brazil, decided to accompany her older sister. The two made memories serving with our children and staff, more aware than before that life is precious and fleeting.

After Julie passed away in 2022, Susan helped clear out her home. Julie had been a master quiltmaker and had left behind her unfinished projects. Susan discovered the beginnings of a 100-panel quilt and decided to convert it into a small baby blanket, not knowing who it would eventually warm. A year later, she began organizing a return trip to Naomi’s Village, this time with women from Green Lake Calvary Church in Caledonia, MI. As she prayed about details, God made it very clear to Susan that her team should visit us in Feb 2024.

A few weeks before Green Lake Calvary Church came, a mission group from Ohio conducted VBS for our children, focusing on the story of Noah and the flood.

 Susan’s team of nine arrived at Naomi’s Village Home soon after. They began serving, surrounded by the evidence of God’s redeeming love that defines our ministry. We had been called in 2009 to build a children’s home capable of housing 100 orphans, who were to be raised as servant leaders to impact the world with Christ’s love. By February of this year, 99 children had already come to live at NV. We waited with anticipation for the 100th child, having no idea when that would occur.

On Sunday Feb 11th, a friend from Britain, Charmi Guthuku, returned to visit NV after 8 years. She had since married a Kenyan man. The two brought their children to church, one a toddler named Noah. Founder Julie Mendonsa noted after the service that we had never had a child or staff named Noah in our ministry’s history. She suggested we name NV’s next baby boy Noah, not knowing God was already orchestrating his arrival.

 And then it happened. On Tuesday Feb 13th we heard about a baby boy who   had been abandoned by his mother at a hospital in nearby Naivasha. He had   since recovered from an illness that took the life of his twin brother. Our   children and staff sprang to life, eager to welcome the newly orphaned 5-   month-old.

 Noah Hekima arrived at Naomi’s Village on Valentine’s Day. As he rode   through the gate in our Land Cruiser, his warm brown eyes sparkled with   love and wonder. The crowd roared when it caught its first glimpse of him.   Noah was swept into a celebratory flood as new brothers and sisters passed   him around in excitement. Staff danced, sang, and took turns smiling and   talking in Noah’s face. They hugged him and kissed his cheeks, forming new   bonds with him. Noah could not yet grasp the value of the gold mine of love   into which he had fallen.


Once the joyful entourage had ferried Noah to our dining hall, we shared his story and a welcome cake. Susan held up the blanket, its colorful fabrics stitched by two women for a baby only one would meet. She lovingly reflected on her sister’s life, the quilt, and the amazing significance of her team’s February timing. One unique panel stood out, having been made with a fabric featuring the number 100.

Noah, our 100th child, came bearing unmistakable marks of divine providence. In the details of his birth, abandonment and arrival were signs that the days of his life had been intentionally planned by God. Later, as a contingent sang welcome songs to him in the baby room, Noah settled into his first nap at NV. His peaceful repose further confirmed that his name had not been accidental. Noah means “rest”. He slept soundly, secure in the contentment of being wanted.

As the years pass and our little ones continue to heal and grow strong, may we never take for granted the wonder and joy of living under God’s open heaven. If God can work wonders like this, what else might be in store? As James, the brother of Jesus once said:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Thank you for the good and perfect gift of this baby, Lord God. We commit to love Noah today and every day, believing you will be glorified through every one of his priceless breaths.

By Bob Mendonsa