January 14, 2019

I have always had a passion for orphan care, but I didn’t always have the drive to do something about it.

Michaela Shake Intro photo

This summer, we welcomed Michaela Shake onto our staff as director of India ministries. I thought the following article she wrote was a fabulous way to introduce her to you. Enjoy reading about her contagious passion for orphans!

-April Jurgensen

______________________________

Social Justice, William Wilberforce, and Me 

“We are too young to realize that certain things are impossible… So we will do them anyway.”

-Amazing Grace. Directed by Michael Apted.

I have always had a passion for orphan care, but I didn’t always have the drive to do something about it. The man I often cite as my hero, and who certainly sparked my interest in pursuing social justice, is the political leader of the abolitionist movement of Great Britain, William Wilberforce. I was maybe twelve when my dad received a movie called Amazing Grace as a gift. It was a biographical movie about Wilberforce and his fight against slavery and it captured my romantic imagination. I researched him for a project in my freshman English class and he continued to inspire me.

“A private faith that does not act in the face of oppression is no faith at all.”

-William Wilberforce

So what was I going to do about my passion for orphans? As I reached the end of high school, I knew I had to make some decisions about the future. What could set me on the path to making a difference in the lives of those who didn’t have the same opportunities I had been given? God began to wake up the passion for orphans that had laid quietly in my heart for my entire life. I visited an orphanage in China through Show Hope and I choose to pursue social work in order to learn how best to care for others.

“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

-William Wilberforce

Through college, I learned about social justice in earnest. I learned about how millions of vulnerable children worldwide were abandoned, abused, and sold into slavery. What was I going to do with that information? Would I share it, so that others could be moved to action as well? At one time I was ignorant to their plight, but no longer. Now I could choose to do something or to turn my back.

“Those who are most heavenly-minded are also of most earthly use.”

-William Wilberforce

Another realization that came towards the end of high school was the fact that my spiritual life was suffering. I loved God and sought to obey him, but I lacked intimacy.

I knew it was important, but throughout college, I learned how vital intimacy with God is as a precursor to loving others well. If I turned my eyes toward heaven, the things of earth suddenly came into focus.

“If to be feeling alive to the sufferings of my fellow creature is to be a fanatic, then I am the most incurable fanatic ever permitted to be at large.”

-William Wilberforce

I am so grateful to be here at The Boaz Project, following God’s calling on my life. And I am so grateful for your help in making this possible. Still, I continue to learn every day about new ways to fight injustice. Do you have new ideas for me? Do you want to some of those ideas? I’d love to hear from you.

Friends, let’s change the world,

Michaela

1 Comment

  1. Teresa Hall says:

    I was praying to get closer to Jesus Christ Our Lord with like minded individuals. The Boaz project has given me the opportunity. It has also made me more grateful of my own life.

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Read more from our blog.

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.

FAQ

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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