August 19, 2019

The Intersections of Orphan Care

Standing in a Starbucks in the middle of India where just outside power lines hang loosely from trees instead of electrical poles, I am trying to reconcile all that is happening. There’s the friendly barista, preparing my iced coffee the way I order it at home. But just outside, dirty streets are being swept by an elderly woman in a sari and a collared uniform top. I seem to be caught in the middle of worlds that are polar opposite but are working side by side, even intertwined.

On the wall of Starbucks, there was a statement about the company’s icon, the Siren. What catches my attention is the phrase that says, “She is a creature of intersections…”

The thought of intersections is one that I have been hearing for months, but upon seeing it on a wall of a Starbucks in India, it all began to make sense.

The reason I am even in India is because I have stepped into the world of caring for orphans. This world is one where I feel that am constantly in the middle of things that–from an outside perspective–seem to be polar opposites, but when we look into it we see that they are in fact deeply intertwined, working together. This world of “intersections.”

To intersect is to “pierce or divide by passing through or across”.*

An intersection is the place in which the piercing or dividing occurs.*

On the outside, orphan care looks like tragedy, loss, and pain. The orphan crisis is something that many shy aware from because it’s “too big” of a problem and there is “no solution.” Often times even the smaller solutions seem to be asking too much.

But as I stand in India again, I’m thinking of all the things about orphan care that seem to be contrary to popular beliefs. The way that these children laugh loudly and often is so distinctly opposite of the pain we imagine them having. The way the children that The Boaz Project works with seem more like a family than lonely orphans is not what one would expect. Some of the house parents we work with have their own biological children, and there are many times when if I did not have that information prior to meeting these kids, I would not have been able to tell the difference between the love of the parent’s biological children and ones they’ve so graciously taken in as their own.

I even think about my own experiences–about how India specifically has been both a source of joy and excitement, but also a place that holds some of my deepest pain and broken dreams.

I quickly realized that these things which seem as though they cannot possibly work together are the things that seem to highlight the depths and authenticity of one another.

These intersections–the places in which a piercing occurs–are the places where we are able to see the magnitudes of the emotions, ideas, expectations, and reality which take place there.

Orphan care is a world in which all things complex and difficult dwell. But it is also a place where so much beauty and restoration occur.

The places The Boaz Project works, whether it’s a family-style home in India or a Russian orphanage, can instinctively be associated with much pain and trauma. What can be even harder to process or understand is that when we walk into those places which hold trauma and pain, we discover that coinciding there as well are joy and hope. This can be confusing and difficult to process. Yet, this is the place that I believe God is calling us. This is the place that God wants us to come and dwell. Not so that we can figure out the answers or so we can “fix” the issue, but because when we sit in these places of intersections we are able to step into the fullness of all that God has to show us.

God invites us into the intersections. These intersections make our lives much richer with complexity and beauty.

Will you join us in the intersections of orphan care? Come with us on a trip to experience these intersections for yourself. Sign up today at www.boazproject.org/trips.

“Doing small things with great love,”
Taylor Pennycuff
Staff Writer
The Boaz Project, Inc.

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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
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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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