Cradle of Love Baby Home

Changing one life at a time…

Meet the Director of Cradle of Love Baby Home in Tanzania Africa

Davona Church - Director of Cradle of Love Baby Home in Usa River, Tanzania Africa

Hello! My name is Davona Church and I’d like to share with you my passion for life… babies! Babies who are orphaned or abandoned; babies who have no one to feed and care for them; babies who have no one to hug and kiss them and tell them in a soft voice that they are loved.
I believe every person has a purpose, a mission, a talent that God can use to help others, but for so many reasons they fail to reach their potential, usually they are afraid of failure so excuses finally take the place of faith, and the dream is dashed on the rocks of fear. When I was just a little girl I could sense a burning desire to care for helpless babies and imagined I would find one along the path, and take it home to nurse it to health. To fill that inborn need, I would bring home abandoned bunnies, rescue ground squirrel babies that had been flooded out of their burrow and try to feed baby birds found fallen from their nest. My father once tucked a tiny marmoset monkey inside his coat when he returned from Peru and handed me the present of a lifetime. I loved that little pet, who I called “Monita,” who often perched up on my head when I went for walks. I know that this need to nurture comes naturally to many girls and women, but I think it was more pronounced in me. The burning dream lay dormant in my heart for years. I wondered where I had inherited such a longing to care for babies until one day I was reading a book my aunt had written about my grandmother. In that book she described how Grandma had often worn an extra petticoat under her dress when she went to school, hoping that she would discover a little helpless baby along the way and have something to wrap it in. I smiled, and tears of joy came to my eyes just to know that I was not crazy, weird, but that somehow that passion for babies might one day be realized in my own life, like a bouquet of flower buds bursting open all at once. Somehow I might fulfill the very dream of my grandmother and if she were here I know she would be thrilled.
Another powerful motivator for me was my deeply held belief in God as the loving, merciful creator who cares for every living person, no matter their race or religion. I believe that the best way to demonstrate my love for God is to love those who are weak and vulnerable. When I read in the book of James 1:27 it makes it crystal clear, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world,” as well as Mark 9:37, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
My passion lay dormant as I started my own family in the United States. I know there is a time for everything, and my time for caring for other people’s babies had not yet come. Some of my skills were realized as I taught Lamaze classes to couples so that they could deliver their babies in a warm and caring way. It would only by in 1985, after five years of working in mission service in Haiti, that a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) project funded by USAID, being run by ADRA, would open the door for me to use my sleeping talent. I remember that first baby was a malnourished, near to death child, a barely stretched skin to cover his bony frame and a gaunt face with a vacant stare, we took him into our little mission house. He didn’t survive no matter what we did for him, he was too far gone. We were at the end of our term in the country so we only took in four babies, but it was the spark that started the fire.
It wasn’t long after moving to Florida that I sought out a foster care program that would let me love more babies, and soon we were patting, burping, changing diapers and bundling babies into our little car to take to church, shopping and to the doctor. I was so blessed and so fulfilled! I remember our first little baby whom my husband nicknamed “pooch-a-roo,” clearly he also had a warm spot for these helpless little ones too! In three years we cuddled and loved 23 little babies while they were waitingto be adopted into loving homes. Even in America there are many young girls who make a hard, but unselfish chose to let their babies have secure and loving homes with parents who have enough love and financial security to provide for them. I loved that time in my life because I was fulfilling my deep heart mission.
In 1991 we were transferred to Malawi in south-eastern Africa where my husband was assigned to lead a charitable ministry with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), under the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Transplanted but not dissuaded, I worked along with an OB/GYN to deliver babies in a local hospital, which I absolutely loved! Then finally in 1995 I exclaimed to my bewildered husband, “I want to start a home for orphan babies!” Soon we had borrowed a couple of rooms in his HIV program office that was under-utilized, and that was the beginning of a wonderful ministry called “Open Arms Infant Home.” God blessed us as we took in more babies, staff and finally we were thrilled to receive a very large gift from the children of Denmark through ADRA that helped us buy a house, car and all that we needed to become a full home for orphaned and abandoned babies. After 17 years this ministry is still caring for babies and has been an inspiration for other orphan centers in Malawi.
When we returned to the United States in 1998 I quickly registered to become a foster parent again, this time in Maryland. In two years we were blessed with 43 babies in our home, sometimes three at a time. Then in 2001 we moved to Burundi in Africa where we fostered at least 5 babies in our home. Finally in 2003 we transferred to Arusha, Tanzania, which is where our most recent adventures begins.
As I remember the many beautiful lives that were placed into our arms I am amazed at the outpouring of God’s gift to me, and how this is still enriching my life as I use my passion for babies to give God the glory! I fondly remember those we first fostered, most of them are living fulfilled lives with their adoptive or extended families and some of the very first babies are grown, married and with children of their own!
I am just one person, but I can still do something.


  • Cradle of Love Baby Home Outreach
  • Cradle of Love Baby Home Construction
  • Cradle of Love Baby Home Nursery
  • Cradle of Love Baby Home Volunteers

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