Authored by Courtney Kraus. Courtney is currently funding to come on staff as the director of Kenya ministries
I was over the moon at the opportunity to visit Kenya for the first time. It was July of 2019, and I, along with a team of short-termers, was headed to Limuru, Kenya for a week under the leadership of The Boaz Project. I spent that summer as an intern in the Boaz office, having known them for several years. As a student studying Orphans and Vulnerable Children at Taylor University, I was naturally drawn to their mission and passion for orphans around the globe who are unable to be adopted.
I could go on for several pages about the entire experience—every tiny, beautiful memory that has led me to a deep love of Kenya and its people, but I want to share just one story that changed my entire perspective surrounding orphan care.
When our team arrived at El Shaddai Children’s Center, we were split into groups that we would spend the week with, doing crafts, playing games, and reading Bible stories. I was placed with the youngest group: boys between 6 and 8. I’ve come to know them as a very lively, goofy bunch with crazy amounts of personality—each one just as unique as the next.
As the days went by, I found myself particularly drawn to one boy. Moses was 8 years old and a quiet, gentle soul. He was much more interested in the artistic portion of our day than the group games, which I can 100% relate to. I noticed his attention to detail and expert choice of color as I found myself watching his process very closely. He rarely spoke or looked up from his artwork.
One afternoon we were having free time and the boys were playing various games. Quickly realizing badminton was not our calling, Moses and I went back to the bag of games where we found big boxes of chalk. What happened next left me in awe.
Moses came to life, running around, filling every empty space of red dirt with intricate drawings of wildlife, people, and buildings. Whenever he finished a drawing, he loudly exclaimed to me what he had done and I cheered.
I was no longer watching someone to be pitied, but a child doing what he loves. It hit me in that moment that the children we were spending time with are just that—children. And they should be able to be, right?
Each of the boys had faced more than I’ve ever had to bear in their short lives, and all they truly wanted was to be able to be a child and to be safe. The fact that Moses was able to be his full self in the environment he is in, in spite of all he has faced, is a reflection of the love and investment of his caregivers, as well as the clear hand of his Heavenly Father in his life.
This is one of the many reasons I am joining the staff of The Boaz Project as Director of Kenya Ministries. I have seen first-hand how our model works.
In my role, I will have the opportunity to directly pour into caregivers who have been called by God to create a loving, safe home for boys like Moses. By supporting caregivers, we give children the best chance to thrive and grow into men and women who have an eternal impact on their communities.
It is all about uplifting those who are directly impacting the children every day, that God may draw every child nearer to Himself.
As you pray for The Boaz Project this month, please remember to:
- Pray for the caregivers Courtney mentioned above, as well as all of our partners around the globe, that God would meet their every need as they pour into the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
- Ask God to provide the funding Courtney needs to join our staff full-time…and the funding for our existing staff, too.
- Give God thanks for the 21 children who will be able to go to school next year because of your giving. Pray their year is blessed with good educational opportunities despite the pandemic, discipline to work hard, and teachers who help them love learning!
- Thank God for continued protection of our homes in the midst of this global pandemic.
- Ask God for speedy processing and favor as our documents requesting permission to break ground on an apartment building in Kenya make their way through various government offices. The need for homes for orphaned children and their caregivers is pressing.
“I was no longer watching someone to be pitied, but a child doing what he loves. It hit me in that moment that the children we were spending time with are just that—children.” This really stuck with me. I have been to Kenya before and to the same orphanage. I have never thought about it this way, but I know the exact feeling you are talking about.