Naomi’s Village sits on a 5-acre plot in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. A single large home (9,000 sq. ft., 2-stories) allows Naomi’s Village to house 110 children, while still leaving much land to spare. The remaining lot is being used in other ways, so that Naomi’s Village can be a largely self-sustaining children’s home. The property includes not only the home, but also a 30,000 liter water tank to store water piped 8km from a mountain spring, a chicken coop to provide eggs, a covered milking station for dairy cows, and a playground area for the children. A security wall is under construction and electricity will be coming soon to the site. Solar water heaters are in the plans.
A large vegetable garden and fruit trees have been planted already, so that the children’s food can come mostly from the attached property. An ingenious underground irrigation system waters these plants via runoff from hidden tanks that store gray water from the home, separate tanks that treat and reuse water from sewage, and a rainwater collection system. This scheme for utilizing all available water to sustain the crops and fruit trees has garnered the recognition of the agriculture dept., who wants to use our approach as a model for other nearby properties in this semi-arid climate.
When Julie asked God to name this children’s home, He directed her to the book of Ruth, where Naomi is a central figure. Naomi’s husband and her 2 grown sons (her only children) all died, leaving her with only her 2 daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. These two had not yet born children to carry on the family lineage. Naomi means “beautiful, pleasant, delightful.” After these 3 deaths, however, Naomi believed God had left her with no family. She became so despondent that she changed her name to Mara, which means “bitter”. But God, in His infinite love, had not abandoned her. One of the daughters-in-law, Orpah, left Mara. Ruth, however, stayed by her side and returned to Mara’s home with her. It was there that kinsman Boaz tenderly took Ruth as his wife, and together they had a baby to carry on Naomi’s lineage. Mara rejoiced at once again having a family, and changed her name back to Naomi. The story of Ruth is a beautiful telling of God’s redemptive love to Naomi and Ruth, and to all people. The baby born to Ruth and Boaz was ultimately to be King David’s grandfather, and was therefore, in the direct lineage to Jesus Christ, the One Redeemer of the world.
Looking into the eyes of orphaned children in Kenya, it is easy to conclude that they also believe God has abandoned them, as did Mara. But, we know God has not forgotten them, and indeed views them as “beautiful, pleasant, and delightful”. It is our desire that the children of Naomi’s Village come to know of God’s redemptive love, through His restoration of them to a family where they can belong. Thus, the name “Naomi” was chosen. The Village moniker was added, as it will take the body of Christ – a village – to raise the children entrusted to us with excellence. We also hope to see them come to know the true Redeemer Jesus.