June 17, 2019

God Had Other Plans

I was not expecting my first trip with The Boaz Project in 2004 to set the course for my life!

I had worked with orphans on mission trips before, and my decision to travel with Boaz on a Taylor University team in 2004 came from a desire to spend time caring for them again.  My ultimate goal was to “make a difference” and hopefully be challenged to live my life differently in the process.

A sophomore in college, I began to unpack how much God loved the orphaned and the orphan in me.  I realized that my story was one of adoption into God’s family and that God was calling me to eventually adopt a child.  During college, I traveled with Boaz to Russia four times and even dedicated a summer to writing VBS curriculum to be used in the orphanages they visited.

Despite graduating with a degree in Elementary Education, my heart was forever tied to Russia and its culture and orphans.

I moved to Greenwood, IN after graduation so I could find a job and volunteer with Boaz in my free time.  I knew I eventually wanted to live my life serving orphans, but I also had loans to pay.  I volunteered in various ways: curriculum development, packing for trips, airport runs, stuffing envelopes, running errands, etc. Two trips to India with Boaz during those years helped me realize that writing curriculum and training nationals to use it would utilize my God-given gifts and passions, as well as my degree.  So, I began pursuing financial support to work full time with Boaz.

One of my roles included visiting churches on occasion to raise awareness for Boaz if Jim or April couldn’t attend the event (or if they just thought I should go to meet one of the pastors).  This was the assignment I received during October of 2008.  I met Barry for the first time, and just over a year later we were married.  I stopped raising support, and instead moved to Greensburg, IN.  My heart was heavy to leave the community at Boaz, but I knew I’d make the drive to help whenever I could.

In December of 2009 Barry and I decided to travel to Russia together for the first time.  He desired to see first-hand the ministry that the church was supporting, and I was excited to share such a meaningful place with him.

December 13, 2009 will always be etched in our memories as the day we met our daughter for the first time.  We had always talked about adopting after trying to conceive biological children, but God had other plans.

It was our last day visiting orphanages, and we were supposed to visit the orphanage our home church supported monthly – but as happens often in Russia, we were unable to do so.  Thankfully, we were able to get in a last-minute visit to a baby house in Gus Khrustalny.

A tiny girl with dark curly hair plopped herself in Barry’s lap and recited a poem in Russian, complete with hand motions. Then she giggled and kissed him on the side of his mouth.

Though we had to leave the orphanage, Barry spent the next several hours crying and lamenting what would become of this perfect little girl if left in the system.

Without ever deciding to adopt Sveta, we both began researching and starting the work required. We knew this was what God had for us.

During the 13 months of waiting for her to come home, our prayers became even more desperate as we realized that we were only bringing one child home…and so many more were still going to be in the Stalin-created orphanage system.  Knowing that The Boaz Project was visiting orphans, caring for them, and doing all they could to support the children and those who care for them was a huge blessing.

Upon returning home with Sveta, we obviously weren’t able to help as much as we’d like with projects at the Boaz office.  Yet, our involvement hasn’t waned.  Our little girl is a picture of what Boaz does to the lives around us.  We advocate for the organization and orphans as often as possible and are seeking to raise our children to understand God’s heart for the orphan.  It’s so important to us that when we were blessed with a biological son in 2013, we gave him the middle name “Boaz.”

Jessi Morton
Avid Orphan Advocate


  1. Alyse Ogle says:

    Beautifully written, Jessi!

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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.

If you also feel the weight of this responsibility and the desire to make a real difference, consider partnering with us. Through our innovative in-home care model, specialized caregiver training, and humanitarian aid, you’ll help children not just survive—but truly thrive.

When you choose to partner with The Boaz Project, you'll restore hope, ensure a brighter future through education, and share the love of Jesus with children who desperately need it.

Just imagine the impact you can have—from saving a child from the horrors of the streets to helping them become community leaders, educators, and nurturers of the next generation.

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What does an orphan mission trip include?

  • Hotel accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Application support and fees for your Visa
  • In-country language assistance
  • All meals in-country
  • Ministry curriculum and supplies
  • Cross-cultural training and preparation
  • Trip insurance
  • International medical insurance
  • Fundraising assistance

Apply for a mission trip.

Orphan Advocate Training Certification Levels

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?

No! This certification is intentionally created to allow opportunities for anyone in any location to fully participate.

How much of a time commitment is it?

This is completely up to you. The entire process is self-directed. There are no deadlines, and you may take as much or as little time as you need to complete each course.

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

Yes! Going through the training with a spouse or friend can provide accountability and motivation. As you progress, you may be able to accomplish more together!

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!

What if I don’t have any social media accounts?

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?

Yes! When you complete each level, you will receive a certification that you can use to enhance your professional profile and to show involvement in community service.

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.

How do I get started?

If you think you would like to begin Orphan Advocate Training, please complete the form below, and you’ll be assigned an OAT Coach. Once your coach reviews your information, he/she will send you an email with your next steps!

Who do I contact if I have any other questions?

Please complete the form below or contact OAT@boazproject.org with any questions.

Corporate Sponsorship Levels

Company logo in all event programs
Company thanked by name at start of each event
Shared table provided for your promotional items at events  
Company name and logo displayed on the office sponsorship wall  
Published interview article in The Boaz Project newsletter  
Social media (Instagram/Facebook) promotions during the year  
Event day materials read "The Boaz Project's (event name) sponsored by (your company name)" for one year  
Private table provided for your promotional items at events with table tents  
Exclusive company mentions in promotional event emails  

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