Little did Mike Eden know how he would be impacted by his first missionary trip to Kenya in 2000. He had volunteered to help build a school outside the village of Nyaharuru. While working on the project, he noticed a group of children watching from the small church adjacent to the school every day. He learned they were orphans who returned to the village every evening to stay with anyone who would take them in. Deeply moved by their plight, he could not get them out of his mind or his heart. Upon returning home, he shared with his wife Sylvia that God had given him a vision to build an orphanage for the forgotten children of Kenya.
That same year, with the skills of a rancher and builder of many barns, Mike designed the building he planned to erect in Africa. First he fabricated the red iron framing needed to construct the three thousand square foot building. He did this inside the big barn on his ranch.
In 2001, he shipped the iron and framing supplies to Kenya. Returning to Africa and with help from missionaries began construction. That orphanage opened to provide a home for 24 children.
There would be one more orphanage built in the bush country of Eldoret and a church in the mountains above the city of Naivasha before Little Eden. But then the unthinkable happened. Doctors discovered Mike had a brain tumor. Surgery ensued. Despite debilitating physical consequences from surgery, God had blessed Mike with a miracle; his memory and his brain function were still intact! Mike was fiercely determined to overcome resulting physical impairments and return again to the mountains of Kenya. He worked hard daily to strengthen his body and improve other impairments.
In March 2007, (despite his handicap), Eden returned to Kenya on a fact finding tour of his building; the first since his illness. Much to their dismay, Mike and Sylvia discovered nothing had been done during the two years that Mike was rehabilitating. The local contractor, upon hearing Mike's medical maladies, didn't believe Mike would ever return to Kenya. He just didn't realize what a mighty God we serve!
Four months later the Edens returned with ten team members in tow. Local villagers were hired to help and the challenge of completing the orphanage near the village of Cheese, adjacent to the Karangatha Health Center began. The Edens returned again in 2008 with another team and continued the slow process of completing the home.
In June 2009, the doors finally opened to Little Eden Children's Home! Twenty eight children walked through dilapidated old gates of the compound that day; holding tightly to the hands of their guardians, wide eyed and hearts beating fast with fear of the unknown. All they owned were the clothes on their little bodies covering an undernourished frame. Mike and Sylvia's hearts were heavy as they surveyed these poor children; some of whom had no shoes on their calloused feet. Most had not enjoyed the privilege of a bath and wore the same clothes every day of the week. They had no parents to love and care for them. Most had no spiritual guidance. All these things changed in the lives of the twenty eight that day and for others to come! God had so many wonderful things in store for these forgotten children of Kenya.
Today there are more than 70 precious boys and girls living at Little Eden under the supervision of 20 loving staff members. Their ages range from 4 to 21 years old. All are in school now and some are even in the top ten percent of their class! Beaming smiles have replaced the once fearful glances and laughter rings out, echoing over the compound. Saturday afternoons are spent preparing the children for the role they play in Sunday worship service. God is prevalent in their lives.