April 23, 2018

God Showed Up (Reflections from a Short-Term Team Participant)

I can honestly say that a whole lot of my heart is on the other side of the world right now, and it will remain there for a very long time. It was a tearful goodbye, and the kids I met will forever leave a very large imprint on my life.

When we arrived in Vladimir, we jumped right in. For most of my days I was in the Russian Christian Foster Home with four preschoolers. I instantly fell in love with these four, and it was exciting for me to see how engaged they were in learning story after story of God’s everlasting love for us.

On Saturday, we had the privilege of going to a state-run orphanage. We were only there for three hours, but one thing in particular hit me. I was working with the girls who were four to eight years old. They greeted us with contagious smiles and amusement. As I sat on the floor coloring, I heard one story that broke me.

A four-year-old with an innocent face I will remember forever started speaking to me in Russian. As I pretended to understand, my interpreter began to explain what she was saying. I don’t think I have ever been more speechless in my life.

She was telling me (in detail) all about how her dad abused her mom, using hand motions to be clear that I was following. The only thing I was capable of doing in that moment was pray for her innocent little heart that has seen way too much.

I don’t understand why a four year old had to go through that, but I have to trust that God has a plan for her life, and that her story is just beginning.

As if that wasn’t enough to shatter my heart, we moved on to snack time, where she told me that she was saving two crackers: one for her mom AND ONE FOR HER DAD. The person who abused her family and has caused her so much trauma was the very person she wanted to give her cracker to.

This is unmeasured love. This is grace. This is the Gospel. We are undeserving, unworthy, and sinful people, yet we received a gift that is far greater than a cracker. It is eternal life. Accept this sweet gift, because Jesus wants to have a relationship with you. That’s what He died for.

There is still a lot from this trip that is too fresh to talk about. It is too soon to process everything. It was hard. I saw things I will never unsee, and that is good. Because it is in the trials and hard times that you see God more clearly and your heart is bound tighter to His.

God showed up big time. He showed me that loving with your whole heart puts you in vulnerable positions that hurt. He showed me that He is in the waiting and unknown. He showed me that He has given me a heart for kids for a reason. He showed me His love covers all.

My heart broke over and over again, but the good news is that God does not leave us broken, He is the ultimate healer. I leave Russia knowing that I am not a hero. God was in Russia before me, He was there with me, and He is there after me. There is great comfort in that truth, as I try to continue daily life as a changed person.

I’m so thankful for The Boaz Project and all they do for orphans all around the world. Their passion for the love of Christ to reach orphans is contagious. I’m blessed to have played a very, very small role in their big mission.

If YOU would like to join The Boaz Project on a short-term team ministering to orphans, click here for more information.


  1. Annie Wehling says:

    As I read you reflections on your recent Russia trip, “God Showed Up”; the song “HOSANNA”, by Hillsong came to mind. It’s as if you walked through each verse of that song as you experienced God at work multiple times each day. Especially, “”Heal my heart and make it clean Open up my eyes to the things unseen Show me how to love Like You have loved me Break my heart for what breaks Yours Everything I am For Your kingdom’s cause As I walk from earth into eternity”. Thanks for sharing Taylor!

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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
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  • Application support and fees for your Visa
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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.

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