November 4, 2019

Grateful, Even When it Hurts

“We just don’t realize how people in other countries live.”

“We don’t think to be grateful for all we have.”

“We’re so blessed.”

I never hear more grateful comments than after I’ve presented the needs of orphans around the world. It seems human nature to compare our own situation to theirs and suddenly view our own blessings with greater clarity.

Of course, coming to this place of gratitude is a good thing. Can we ever give God the thanks due Him?

Yet these comments often leave me unsettled. Today, I’m going to be bold and tell you why:

1) The gratitude expressed is for the material wealth and ease we have in the US, when our true treasure is of a spiritual and eternal nature.

I appreciate a good cup of coffee, am grateful for a beach vacation, and I recognize health care, a working furnace, and options in my closet as gifts. I should not take them for granted.

But these things will always pale in comparison to the forgiveness of my sins and the presence of an active, loving God in my life. My words of gratitude should follow proportionately. I may thank the Almighty multiple times of day for my more-than-ample food, but how often do I thank Him for rescuing my soul?

2) The gratitude appears to be conditional, based on current, comfortable circumstances.

Again, the comforts we enjoy as Americans should be recognized and appreciated. But the Word says we are to give thanks in all circumstances (I Thess. 5:18).

I confess I’m woefully slow to give thanks when I learn of a loved one’s cancer diagnosis, when I endure a strained relationship, or when finances seem dire. It honestly took me a couple of years to offer sincere gratitude after we lost our first child to a miscarriage.

It is difficult to utter words of thanks when we ache with broken hearts. But isn’t this when gratitude shows itself true?

I believe that thanking God in the midst of trauma and pain sends satan scurrying for cover. It lets him know that we rest in God despite our ease being taken from us, that our faith is real, and that he has no power over us.

And I believe it brings joy to our Father as He sees us trust in His faithful, loving nature, regardless of our trials and agony.

I don’t know the circumstances you’re facing as we enter this Thanksgiving season. Perhaps you’re in a place where you’re just not feeling all that grateful. If so, I’m sorry you’re facing a season of pain. But let me encourage you: by focusing on the greatest gifts God’s given—those which cannot be taken away—and declaring a stance of gratitude, you’re offering a sacrifice of praise that honors God with profound significance and wages war on the evil one.

As you remember The Boaz Project in prayer this month, please remember:

  1. To offer a sacrifice of praise. While we often focus on the millions of children still without care, let’s focus our prayers this month on giving thanks for God’s life-changing power, His eternal goodness, and His role of the Father to the fatherless.
  2. To thank God for the resources He’s provided for the apartment building we’re constructing in Kenya. We’re 30% funded!
  3. To express gratitude for one another, this community of His children that He’s brought together to reach orphans.
  4. To thank God in advance for all He’ll accomplish during our annual Breakfast with Boaz fundraiser or Nov. 7

P.S.—A great way to express gratitude for all you’ve been given is to share it with “the least of these.” Consider providing a Christmas gift for an orphan! Details are below.

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Read more from our blog.

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.

Join the James 1:27 Circle Membership


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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 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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