“I Have Hidden Your Word in my Heart…”

For me, short-term mission trips have always included being flooded with newness—new sights, new sounds, new tastes, new knowledge about God, others and myself. This newness can make it all so exciting—or devastating—that sometimes you miss the small, deeply encouraging realities along the way.

At El Shaddai Children’s Center in Limuru, Kenya, some of those realities may be that the boys receive three meals a day or that they are able to obtain an education. It may be that they are so quick to engage in any game, at any age, for the opportunity to laugh and connect. These are all realities I was struck by as I visited these beloved boys for the second time. However, the most encouraging aspect of the boys’ lives to me this time around was their knowledge of Scripture.

If you have had the joy of meeting the boys at El Shaddai, you know they can put anyone to shame with the amount of Scripture they have committed to memory. It is customary for them to introduce themselves first and foremost as born again believers and then to recite several Bible verses on the spot. As a team member, this can be very intimidating, but this time I found myself in awe and encouraged by their commitment to one of our greatest defenses in this life against all evil. 

These boys are more familiar with evil than most. They are all well-acquainted with the darkness this world imposes on the most vulnerable. In the midst of this, they have dedicated themselves to the words that bring life and tethered their hearts to the Source of all truth. What a joy it is to see young people seeking the Word and trusting in Jesus even when those closest to them have massively let them down.

One of my favorite memories from this trip was sitting down with three of the younger boys as they flipped through the beautifully illustrated pages of The Jesus Storybook Bible. For the most part, through limited English, they were telling me the stories. We reached a page that told the story of Jesus and the little children found in Luke 18. James proudly declared, “Jesus said, ‘Let all of the children come to me!’” 

Now, as I reflect on this moment and many others at El Shaddai, my prayer is that Jesus would continue to draw every child to Himself—through other people, prayer and His Word. I pray that they would remain firmly rooted, knowing that these words we have been given are more than just stories. They are our source of knowledge, wisdom, hope, joy, and a weapon against the evils of this world. Because these words are true, we can rise up every day in faith and follow Christ’s example. 

I pray that you are encouraged by the example of the boys at El Shaddai as I have been. I pray that you will see God’s Word in a new light or return to it with newfound trust. God is faithful and His Words are true.

Psalm 119:9-11

As you pray for The Boaz Project this month, please remember:

  • To thank God for the ready access and freedom we have to read His Word.
  • To provide the remaining resources we need for housing-related projects in Russia, India, and Kenya.
  • To ask God to send the right short-term team members to fill our 2020 teams visiting orphans.
  • To bless the generous members of the Boaz family who share their resources with orphans.

Thank you, 
Courtney Kraus


  1. Janet Helland

    Thank you Courtney. I was blessed reading this!

  2. Janet Helland

    Thank you Courtney! I was blessed reading this.

  3. Dianne Worrell

    It is so encouraging to hear how the Lord used you and is using you to further His kingdom and also how you are being blessed and are growing spiritually.


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