March 8, 2016

Why Visiting an Orphan Matters

 

I have heard both sides of the “Short Term Trips are Good vs. Bad” debate numerous times. Some refer to the heated controversy as the “Short Term Missionary vs. Vacationary” debate.

Both sides have insightful things to say and valid points to make. I agree and disagree with bits and pieces from both sides of the argument.

I still don’t have it all figured out. Every article I read, story I hear, and trip I experience teaches and shapes my beliefs around short term mission trips.    

But here’s what I do know: God used several groups of Americans who traveled to India for a short term mission trip to save a 13 year old girl named Meena.

Here is her story:Meena

Unlike many of the children found in orphanages, Meena is a double orphan. She has no biological parents on this earth. She has no aunt or uncle promising to take care of her once she reaches a certain age. She has no sister or brother to cling to as family.

When I first met Meena, she was refusing to go to school, lying, and stealing. She would admit to hating herself because she did these things, but the control that these tendencies had on her life was too much for her to fight. She had a church, she had a school, she had clothes, she had food. But what she needed that she did not have were persistent Christians who didn’t give up on her.

I watched as the first short term team came from The Boaz Project. I watched one member from that team sit by her as she cried behind the children’s home for being scolded for not going to school. I heard another member lift her up in prayer that night at our team meeting. I saw another member show special attention to her the next day during game time. And I watched from afar as I saw Meena’s hard shell begin to melt.

But then that team left and I began to observe Meena fall back into her old habits.

Two months later, another Boaz team came. Again, I watched as team member after team member loved Meena.

Meena in VBS

One of the things I love about Meena, is that she is extremely observant. I love to observe her observe. She just sits back and takes it all in. Often, she is the first to know something because she is so attentive to her surroundings. Well, on this second VBS trip, Meena did what she does best and she observed. She watched people diligently work towards installing shelving units into her home. She witnessed two girls struggle through heat exhaustion on her behalf. She sat back and saw the love of Christ in action. And again, it melted her heart of stone.

Six months later, Meena gave her life to Christ.

There is no doubt in my mind that God used both of those Boaz teams to lead Meena to Christ.

But is the job done? Do we forget Meena because her soul is converted? No! Now is when discipling comes into play and when we help Meena grow in her faith.

The world is not going to stop telling her of her status as an orphan. The enemy is not going to stop working to steal her focus. And the temptations to fall into her old habits are not going to stop. So why should we stop?

Children like Meena need to continue to be visited. The people who visit her now are just as much of her faith story as the people who first visited her.Meena with Cross

Would you please prayerfully consider being one of those people in the life of an orphan? Please pray about signing up for The Boaz Project’s trip to India this October. Who knows, maybe your decision could help an orphan make a decision to follow Christ. At the very least, your decision will help communicate to an orphan that their life matters.

Applications can be found at: boazproject.org/tripapp

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this! Their stories are are so touching every time I read them! Keeping Meena and all the precious girls in my prayers!

  2. Angela says:

    Breaks my heart!

  3. I am so glad you posted this. We are going to an orphanage in Haiti in a few weeks and I have been struggling with the “short-term aspect of our mission.

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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
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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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