God began placing the plight of the orphan on my heart when I was 12. My family and I were blessed with the opportunity welcome two older girls adopted internationally into our home. Their lives were forever changed through adoption, and so was mine!
Through this difficult experience of changing family dynamics, I took on my faith as my own. I was also exposed to the plight of the orphan through my sisters’ stories. I remember hearing how one of my sisters was punished for a minor offense. She was forced to stand outside in the rain for the entire night. She developed a deep fear of the dark from this experience.
In my teen years, James 1:27 became a very important verse to me,” Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” God moved the plight of the orphan very close to my heart.
After learning about The Boaz Project from the mission board of my church, my husband and I went to India in December of 2011.
I specifically remember us visiting one particular home, Come Back Ministries Home. It was on a busy, bustling street that was loud and crowded. As we entered the home, I was shocked by how small and humble it was. It was a stark contrast to what was outside the walls. This home overflowed with joy, peace, and all the Fruit of the Spirit evident in people’s lives who really know Jesus!
We were warmly welcomed into this home. It was clear they were used to receiving teams from Boaz as we played games, did crafts, and shared the Biblical Christmas story. As we learned some of the tragic stories of a few of the children, we were caught off guard. You would have never known! Their smiles beamed, they actively engaged with us, gave and received love so freely!
The biggest thing God did for me on this trip was change my perspective. For the longest time, I thought I would physically care for orphans in other lands. I would be the one providing food, helping with homework, teaching them God’s Word, and celebrating their birthdays. But God made it clear to me that The Boaz Project was the vehicle for me and others to be the hands and feet of Jesus to orphans just as James 1:27 teaches us.
I still had a part to play, it just wasn’t in India. The Boaz Project was already doing everything I would want to see happen, but better! I didn’t know the language or the culture, but they did. Most importantly, everything was done with Jesus at the center of it. Children were coming to know and love Him as they were cared for.
Since coming back from India back in 2011, I have volunteered with The Boaz Project as I was able and spent some time on the Board of Directors. This is the way I can care for the orphan as James 1:27 tells us. I feel it is important to invite others into learning about the plight of the orphan and the need for orphan care–especially when this work is done with Jesus as its center!
Guest Author Rachel RileyAfter visiting orphans in India with The Boaz Project, Rachel Riley became a raving fan and supporter of the ministry. She has served on our board of directors, volunteers regularly, and supports the children and caregivers she met.