March 9, 2020

Celebrating the New Year in Kenya: An Interview with a Short-Term Missionary

The day after Christmas, a team of eleven boarded a plane in Chicago and began a long journey to Kenya.

The plan was to hold a VBS with the boys at El Shaddai Children’s Center, buy belated Christmas gifts for them and their caregivers, and to learn some culture along the way. We knew celebrating the New Year would be an unforgettable experience, and it was. But God had even more to teach us.

To give you one short-termer’s perspective, we asked Abbey Northcote to tell you more.

The Boaz Project (TBP): If a friend were considering taking a short-term mission trip, would you recommend going with The Boaz Project? Why or why not?

Abbey: For sure! The Boaz Project does a really good job of taking the culture into account and being sensitive to the caretakers who are there all the time. I appreciate that The Boaz Project doesn’t sweep through with Western ideals and completely negate the way the community works when we’re not there. This aids the relationships and allows the time spent there to be truly authentic. There is a lot of time to get to know the boys, and I really appreciate how intentional The Boaz Project is in making sure the team members understand the importance of supporting the care takers verbally.

TBP: What do you feel is the greatest lesson God taught you through this trip?

Abbey: I feel like God was showing me the gifts He has given me and trying to help me see myself through His eyes. For example, I always assumed I had the gift of teaching, but I had never really let myself be confident in this being a real thing. But while on this trip, I constantly felt myself being used by the Holy Spirit in this way.

While I was doing VBS with the boys and answering their many questions, I felt a peace flow through me while I vocalized words and thoughts that can only be described as divine intervention. Through this, I was able to demonstrate a confidence and understanding that only comes from God.

This experience also really puts things into perspective. You can see how much good you’re doing at the time, and it’s important to bring this mindset back home. God wants to use us wherever we are, and feeling necessary over there is just a glimpse into how necessary you can be back home, too.

TBP: How would you describe your ministry experience to folks here at home?

Abbey:  The amount of joy mixed with the heartbreak is unlike any other time in my life…there is such a depth to it because you can tangibly feel the closeness in God’s kingdom.

I’ll give you an example to explain what I mean: On the last day, I was sitting with the boys and praying, and my heart was breaking at the thought of leaving them. I suddenly became overwhelmed with peace as I realized that we would be doing this in Heaven one day. I could so clearly see how I would be praying and worshiping with them for eternity and the heartbreak swelled with indefinable joy.

TBP: What advice would you give someone going on a similar mission project?

Abbey: Be humble – with your team, with yourself, with the children. There is a lot that you will realize you don’t know. It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to start searching deep inside yourself. It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to have a different opinion from someone else.

Just allow yourself to authentically get to know the people around you and genuinely enjoy your time there. Humility will allow you to see what God wants to do through you and with you. This will hopefully, in turn, make a long-term impact on you so that your perspective is changed even when you settle back home.

TBP: Can you please tell me about one child who made an impact on you?

Abbey: Wilson really had an impact on me. He is just so joyful all the time. Even when talking to me about his childhood before El Shaddai, he was able to find joy and peace in his current circumstances. He also is not afraid to stick up for others if they are being made fun of. He also constantly took the younger boys under his wing. I could rely on him to help me understand conversations or jokes without asking to be included. I was constantly amazed at how genuinely kind, thoughtful, and loyal he is. His character is outstanding and, instead of being embittered by life, he chooses joy and sympathy for others.

Believing in miracles,
April Jurgensen

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Because God knew that abandoned children would need help to survive, He tells us to actively meet the needs of orphans in James 1:27.

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What does an orphan mission trip include?

  • Hotel accommodations
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  • Application support and fees for your Visa
  • In-country language assistance
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Level 1

Learn about the mission and vision of The Boaz Project through activities such as watching an Encounter webinar, exploring our website, and following us on social media. You will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with your Orphan Advocate Training Coach, who will help you as you go through the levels.

Level 2

Gain more insight into the realities of the orphan crisis through reading "The Orphan’s Abba" and visiting The Boaz Project YouTube page. You will also meet The Boaz Project staff.

Level 3

Grow in your understanding of the orphan crisis, meet some houseparents by reading their stories, and create your own "Pick 2" with options like watching a movie and completing a creative project utilizing your unique skill set.

Level 4

Enhance your knowledge of healthy attachments for orphans, watch a webinar about Eastern Europe’s institutional orphanage system, and visit the Boaz office virtually or in person.

Level 5

Utilize all of the knowledge you have gained throughout training to develop methods based on your personal experience to share the mission and vision of The Boaz Project with others. Read a portion of our first level Houseparent Trauma Training and use your unique skills to impact orphans with a special project. Completing Level 5 gives you the option to apply to become an OAT Coach and/or a Regional Coordinator for The Boaz Project.


Do I have to live near Greenwood, Indiana to complete the training?

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How much of a time commitment is it?

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Can I do this training with my spouse? Or a friend?

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How much will it cost?

All Orphan Advocate Training courses are free to join! While you may choose to spend money while completing some projects, there are only minimal costs involved (such as a book or a few supplies) depending on which course you choose to do.

Is there an age requirement to become a Certified Orphan Advocate Trainee?

This would be answered on a case-by-case basis. This would also be open to middle schoolers or high schoolers looking to complete volunteer hours (i.e. National Honor Society) or build college applications. We always encourage young people to be involved if they feel led by God to do so!

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We will adjust your requirements to accommodate you and provide different opportunities to engage.

If I complete the five-level Orphan Advocate Training Certification, can I put it on my resume or LinkedIn profile?

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Will I be able to get a signed letter to verify my volunteer hours?

We are sorry that we cannot verify volunteer hours that are done outside of the office or an event due to the fact that these hours are not supervised. However, we can write about the quality of work that was done, your commitment level, and the training courses achieved. We can also say that your self-reported, unsupervised hours fit into the typical number of hours that are usual for that course.

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