May 7, 2018

What an Orphan Taught Me: Generosity Edition

I’ve come to believe that caring for orphans teaches us about parts of God’s heart and character we can learn no other way. This story serves as a prime example.

From the time my children were three and five, they accompanied me and my husband whenever we both traveled overseas. I refused to abandon my children and make them feel like orphans because we were caring for others.

It was on one of his earliest trips that my son Noah developed a friendship with a boy named Zhenya.

Zhenya was a few years older than Noah, but his stature wasn’t much greater. His hair was redder than strawberry blond, but not quite as bold as you’d imagine if I just said it was “red.” His blue eyes were bright, and his countenance denied the sorrow of his situation.

Trip after trip, the boys would greet one another with a hug. Without shared language, they played for days and seemed to communicate more fluidly than many of us with a language in common.

Once, as we were leaving the orphanage for the day, I noticed something in Noah’s pocket. When I asked him about it, he pulled out a green, plastic Army man. “Zhenya gave it to me,” he said with a smile.

I didn’t even know what to say.

I took Noah by the hand and walked with him into the room where Zhenya and six other boys slept. I asked Zhenya if he was certain he wanted to give Noah the Army man.

“Yes!” Zhenya answered, “He’s my friend.”

I could hardly handle his sweetness.

But I knew that Zhenya could not have even imagined the mountain of toys that awaited Noah at home. He had tubs of Legos and Playmobile. He had every Buzz Lightyear a boy could want. He had a Spiderman costume and even carpet skates. He didn’t need a green Army man.

So I asked Zhenya to show me his things.

He walked to a bedside nightstand and opened the drawer—the one drawer which contained all of his belongings. Inside, he had one book, one picture of some other foreign visitors, a tiny bouncy ball and a torn filmy parachute I decided must have at one time been attached to the prized Army man.

I explained to Noah that those were the only things Zhenya owned.

The boys decided that Noah should keep the Army man. It was a gesture of friendship that bordered on brotherhood. Once offered, it could not be retracted. It had been given selflessly, and—to my surprise—had been received respectfully.

Though not yet school-aged, Noah grasped the magnitude of that seemingly simple gift. Though he had numerous gadgets and gizmos, he treasured the green Soviet Army man.

As of this writing, my son is 20. Buzz Lightyear made his way to Goodwill. Noah outgrew the Spiderman costume (and, thankfully, the desire to wear it) long ago. The Legos are in storage, awaiting the arrival of my grandkids, and the Playmobile has been shared with relatives. But the last I knew, that green Army man still resided in Noah’s closet, a reminder of what real generosity looks like.

As you pray for The Boaz Project this month, please remember:

To request God’s mercy and healing for Pastor Christopher’s mother (of Comeback Ministries). This dear woman who lives in the children’s home and serves faithfully is having heart trouble and needs God’s intervention.

To lift up Sergei Zaozersky of our Russian Christian Foster Home. Sergei is coordinating a festival for children from many orphanages in his region. Please pray the it will be an encouragement to the children who attend, as well as their caregivers.

To ask God to provide the short-term mission trip participants we need to minister to orphans in the coming months, especially for a trip to India Sept. 21-30 and Russia Dec. 8-16.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.

Join the James 1:27 Circle Membership


Get Prayer Updates & News

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
  • Fundraising assistance

Apply for a mission trip.

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 with any questions.

Corporate Sponsorship Levels

Company logo in all event programs
Company thanked by name at start of each event
Shared table provided for your promotional items at events  
Company name and logo displayed on the office sponsorship wall  
Published interview article in The Boaz Project newsletter  
Social media (Instagram/Facebook) promotions during the year  
Event day materials read "The Boaz Project's (event name) sponsored by (your company name)" for one year  
Private table provided for your promotional items at events with table tents  
Exclusive company mentions in promotional event emails  

Urgent Needs & Announcements

This is the heading.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

This is the heading.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Join our Prayer Team