June 18, 2018

Jesus at the Center

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!

After 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.

1 Comment

  1. Jenny Harley says:

    Thanks, Rachel for sharing your experience and helping us see inside an orphanage in India, and showing others how they can help with the worlds orphan crisis

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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.

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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
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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 OAT@boazproject.org with any questions.

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