Little John came to us early in 2011, broken and dirtied by the sin of his alcoholic mother, who used their tiny one room shack to fund her habit by prostituting herself. His 4 year-old eyes carried a yearning for something, perhaps beyond our ability to perceive, lost during the formative years squandered in that hidden hell. What had and hadn’t happened there?
Hints later emerged in his behavior that led Julie to eventually tell me one day that she felt he was the most broken of all the children at Naomi’s Village. She also insists to this day that his home was the worst place she has ever been, not just because of the poverty, but due to some intangible evil beyond description that lurked there in the darkness. The day his life turned skyward, Julie found him playing in a pile of garbage outside that shack. Once safely inside her Prado, a cute smile started to emerge as they drove down the TransAfrican Highway. John did not turn to look back at the town of Maai Mahiu fading in the distance behind him.
Fast forward through 3 years of glorious childhood in a growing family of the beloved redeemed in a place only God could make up. John earned Super Student status in school, went to the coast and learned to swim like a champion, grew in stature and confidence. We hung on for dear life at times, amazed at the breakneck pace of God’s call on our lives at Naomi’s Village. Often we couldn’t seem to slow down enough to take the pulse of things, to check on how we were really doing with our efforts. Love came naturally, without much overanalysis, in the form of countless embraces, kisses, meals, gifts, shared laughs, tears, songs…just like any family would give it to its members.
And so last Sunday Auntie Julie taught the little ones Sunday school, like she always does. And in the middle of the ordinary, something transcendent happened. She was teaching about how God takes care of the birds and flowers, and how much more so his children. She asked the children to recite the phrases “God made me, God loves me, God is very pleased with me.” Soliciting a volunteer to try it alone, she searched the sea of raised hands and found John’s eager face. He jumped to his feet in front of the class and repeated the first two statements perfectly. Then confidently and with that inimitable smile, he said, “And God hugs me!”
In those four words, we knew all we needed to know about how we had been doing at Naomi’s Village in our first 3 years. A broken fatherless boy had been hugged and loved so much that he had come to see The Father as this big God who hugs him. May we stay the course.
To learn more about what you can do to help, or how to get involved please visit Naomi’s Village
Read more heartwarming stories of hope from Naomi’s Village, Left Out in the Cold
Sonoma Christian Home Online Magazine is honored to be an official sponsor for Naomi’s Village. To help our readers get to know more about this ministry, SCH will be publishing a series of beautiful stories on the important work Bob and Julie Mendosa, and the team at Naomi’s Village are doing for the Kingdom. We know know you will be captivated by this amazing ministry and fall in love with them, just like we did. Stay tuned! SCH is the fastest growing Christian Women’s Online Magazine, created for the online community of faith.