Though we miss Megan Weinhandl here at The Boaz Project, we’re thankful she left a few gems for our blog behind. In today’s post Megan reflected on her first trip with us.
“Go on a Boaz trip! You won’t regret it” they said.
“You’ll fall in love with some awesome kids! It will change your life forever,” they said.
And they were correct. But there was so much more they left out.
My first Boaz trip was in the spring of 2009. No, I do not regret my trip. Yes, I fell in love with some awesome kids. I still remember most of their names! And of course it changed my life forever. I mean, more than five years later, and now I’m an employee with The Boaz Project and have lived in both Russia and India. To say my first trip changed my life would be a huge understatement.
But that first trip did more than just change my life from the outside. That first trip changed me from deep within. It affected my soul and it took my faith to levels I didn’t know existed.
For several months after my first trip, I struggled trusting that God was a good God. I not once doubted His existence. But I did doubt the authenticity of His Word because what I read and what I saw seemed to be two completely different realities. I read that God was a Father to the fatherless, cares for the needy, defends the orphan, and reigns down justice on the oppressed. But what I saw was children with no concept of a father, needs not being met, orphans being taken advantage of and not given equal opportunities because of their “orphan” status.
Once I came face to face with injustice, I was no longer the mature, put-together Christian who had all of the answers that I thought I was.
The time I spent wrestling with what I truly believed was hard. And scary. Not just for me, but for my loved ones as well. I remember one particular night where I went out to my car because I just didn’t want the other girls in my dorm to notice my wandering heart. My mom called to check in, and, like most mothers, she could immediately tell that something was off. She began to speak truth into my life, reading Bible verses, and quoting Christian leaders. I finally had to ask her to stop and, through my tears, I shamefully admitted that I didn’t know if I believed any of that anymore. I sat there in the parking lot of my dorm in Upland, Indiana and almost gave up my faith.
I never doubted Jesus. Or that He came to save me of my sins. Or even that He rose from the grave and gave me victory over death. But I was so angry at Him for not striking down justice on the adults who took advantage of those girls I came to know and love. I was confused why He gave me so much but so little to Sergei or Olya. And I was lost being surrounded by responsibilities that didn’t seem worth my time and energy anymore. Once I knew about the orphan crisis, studying geology didn’t seem as important to me.
Finally, I let God speak to the depths of my being. Looking back, I can see that He was more than faithful during that time. He lovingly pursued me and used people to help me stay close enough to hear His voice.
Here is what finally caught my attention:
“I think we as Christians ask the wrong question. We ask God where He is, when instead we should be asking where are we. Where are God’s people? Where is His Church? Where am I?”
– Jim Jurgensen
I don’t remember where I was or in what context I heard Jim, the managing director of The Boaz Project, say this profound statement to me. All I remember is hearing this and instantaneously knowing that God was speaking to me. That from that moment on, my life was going to be different.
I’ve gone on to meet and fall in love with more orphans. I would be lying if I said that sometimes I wish God didn’t capture my heart so much for orphans. Sometimes I wish my heart didn’t break so much for children I can’t take home or provide a family for. Often, I wonder why God has called me to this when it seems like I can do so little to help.
But then I think of the eternal impact God is letting me be a part of. I think of the glorious day when I will finally meet Jesus face to face and all of the orphans I will be surrounded by who finally get to know what it’s like to be hugged by a dad. I think of all of the miracles I have been able to have a front row seat to, and then suddenly there’s nothing else I want to do with my life.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, orphan care is hard and it can be messy. I have made mistakes and I have regrets. But thank the Lord for his grace, wisdom, and for his limitless supply of second chances!
Back in 2009, I made a choice to sign up for a trip and many, many people helped me financially. Now, more than five years later, I can sit back and see how God was working all the time. How God used people like you (in fact, it may have been you) to make my trip possible.
What decision is God asking you to make today or this year?
It may not be easy. The repercussions of your decision may take you on a hard, but, in the end, magnificent journey.
Or, maybe your decision will help someone else start on their magnificent journey.
If you feel like God is asking you to go on a Boaz short term trip, applications can be found HERE
If you feel like God is asking you to give, donations can be made HERE
If you feel like God is asking you to get involved, ways to help can be found HERE
Or, if you feel like God is asking you to pray, sign up to receive our Prayer and Update Newsletter HERE