This carefully created collection of resources not only navigates the intricacies of missionary work but also offers crucial cultural information on destinations where The Boaz Project extends its compassionate arm.
These books and articles, filled with rich narratives and invaluable information, provide a window into the places where we foster change and make a tangible impact, inviting you to explore, understand and join us in our shared mission of love and service.

Book Recommendations: General

Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot - And Cold - Climate Cultures by Sarah Lanier

Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier is a fabulous little fast read that paints broad-stroke pictures of cultures around the world. Lanier theorizes that much of a culture is determined by its climate. For example, hot-climate cultures tend to be less time-oriented and more laid-back than cold-climate cultures.

Using this model, Foreign to Familiar examines seven different scales for evaluating a culture, such as relationship vs. task orientation or inclusion vs. privacy. Then it predicts where a culture will land on that scale based on its climate.

Along the way, Lanier offers examples from her many experiences overseas and makes suggestions of how to apply the information to your own travels or with those of a different culture who live nearby.

It’s the best resource we’ve found for explaining all the world’s cultures at once!

Book Recommendations: South Asia

Why Not Today: Trafficking, Slavery, the Global Church . . . and You by Matthew Cork and Kenneth Kemp

When Matthew Cork, lead pastor of a church in a comfortable corner of Orange County, first encountered the Dalit (untouchable) people of India on a visit to Hyderabad, he was shaken to his core. Children begging at the airport. Elderly women sweeping gutters. Families living in discarded concrete pipes. He learned of the systemic bondage they had been in for thousands of years.

As Matthew came face-to-face with this suffering, he knew God was summoning him to help. He knew that the greatest hope for the Dalits lay in educating their children—something long closed to them. So God gave Matthew a vision that would transform him and his church, taking them on a journey from the suburban comfort of the US to the slums and villages of India.

Today a new movement is sweeping over the world, a movement to set oppressed people free—free from slavery, sex trafficking, poverty, and political and social injustice. Why Not Today is an invitation—and a challenge—to join in the efforts to bring freedom and hope to people suffering all over the world.

Perhaps God has stirred a passion in you to help the poor and overcome injustice. This story shows what God can do when we are willing to respond to that stirring. Why not start today?

Book Recommendations: East Africa

African Friends and Money Matters by David Maranz

Those who’ve enjoyed the hospitality Africa offers typically find the culture warm and inviting. Quick to share a meal, a dance, or a hug, Africans are quick to make foreigners feel welcome.

This warmth sets visitors so at ease that cultural differences tend to sneak up and take us by surprise. Most of these differences are centered around our drastically different views of money.

Before anyone heads to Africa, we would highly recommend reading African Friends and Money Matters thoroughly. Offering a crash course in the African financial psyche, this resource will prevent travelers from misinterpreting cultural cues, explain hosts’ expectations, and offer wisdom on how best to navigate relationships with Africans.

While the focus of this book is comparing and contrasting how Africans and Americans handle money, the explanations include valuable information about the history, relationships, and beliefs that shape Africa’s culture.

Book Recommendations: Eastern Europe

The Boy from Baby House 10: From the Nightmare of a Russian Orphanage to a New Life in America by Alan Philps and John Lahutsky

The Boy From Baby House 10 is the harrowing story of a Russian boy’s first nine years of life spent in the state-run orphan care system. Alan Philps helps John Lahutsky tell his story of sheer determination and will to survive.

Born prematurely and with cerebral palsy, then abandoned by his mother at 18 months, John (known as Vanya) was diagnosed by the state authorities as an “imbecile” and “ineducable.” He was assigned to a bleak orphanage for those with physical and mental disabilities called Baby House 10.

The rest of the book is a detailed picture of the nightmarish orphanage system through the eyes of a little boy who, despite his dire surroundings, did not lose his spirit and intellectual curiosity.  It is also the story of those who found him in the orphanage and sacrificially fought to help him escape a life of confinement.

This emotionally draining book fulfills the stated purpose of bringing awareness of the neglect and cruelty to children in the Russian orphanage system.  It is also an amazing, miraculous example of God’s divine intervention through people committed to coming to the aid of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Russian in 10 Minutes a Day by Kristine K. Kershul

Russian in 10 Minutes a Day is a complete, hands-on language learning experience! Interactive computer sticky labels, flash cards, and special activities add a fun twist and you’ll learn faster than ever! Whether you’re exploring St. Petersburg, marveling at the architecture in Moscow, or taking a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, all your language needs are covered. This book/software combo has everything you’ll need for your adventures in Russia!

Psychology of Orphans by Dr. Ludmila M. Shipitsyna

Dr. Ludmila Shipitsyna brings to her book Psychology of Orphans a wealth of clinical experience as well as psychological theory. While much of this resource is valuable for anyone working or living with orphans or former orphans, it is particularly insightful for those working with children who have been institutionalized.

A highly respected researcher, Dr. Shipitsyna explains the results of research done in Russia. She then interprets the data to explain the needs of children from institutionalization and how to help them. With a candor that is uncommon when addressing these issues, Shipitsyna addresses the pitfalls of the current Russian orphanage system and proposes foster care (or, patronate care, as she calls it) as a preferred method of caring for children.

More scientific text than a parenting manual, this book is heavier on data than anecdote and analysis than compassion. But for those who are seeking to understand a child from Russia’s orphanage system, sifting through this book for gems of insight could be well worth it.

Abandoned to the State: Cruelty and Neglect in Russian Orphanages by Human Rights Watch

Abandoned to the State is not a read for the faint of heart. With raw candor, Human Rights Watch exposes the atrocities it found within the Russian orphanage system during a one-month period. It details abuse and neglect, the results of Russia’s harsh stigma against orphans.

This document provides a helpful explanation of Russia’s orphanage system, demonstrating how children are segmented by age and presumed abilities (or lack thereof). But it also examines a cultural prejudice against children who’ve been abandoned and offers specific examples they observed during their examination of the system.

Not only do many of the abuses detailed in this book violate human conscience, but they also violate a myriad of international and Russian laws. This volume includes a plea for Russia to make changes that restore human dignity to the orphan.

Though the copyright on this book is 1995, we fear Russia has not made as much progress toward change as Human Rights Watch hoped for when they published it.

Admittedly difficult to read, this book can be a powerful introduction to Russia’s orphanages, giving potential visitors both knowledge of and compassion for the children they could potentially meet.

Readers should be aware that some of the photos included are quite disturbing.

With over 25 years of experience and a network of like-minded people around the globe, The Boaz Project can help you show Christ’s love to scared and abandoned children.

To learn how you can help save orphaned children from life on the streets—connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit our website here.

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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.

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  

Urgent Needs & Announcements

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