August 27, 2018

What an Orphan Taught Me: Thrive Edition

8.27 graphic - What an orphan taught me: Thrive Edition

This summer, I had the privilege of participating in a trip to Limuru, Kenya and spending time with the children at El Shaddai Boy’s Home.

The first day we were there, we met all of the boys and separated them into different age groups. My ministry partner and I were with the youngest group, boys between the ages of seven and nine.

One of the boys in our group, Moses, caught my attention early on. Moses seemed to be more reserved than the other boys. He was a t shy when it came to playing competitive games and he was often overlooked by those his age and older. I noticed quickly that Moses was much more comfortable in smaller, calmer settings.

A large part of our lessons involved crafts and coloring pages. All of the boys loved to experiment with colors and make the craft their own, but I noticed that Moses concentrated harder than any of them and seemed to have a creative nature about him. One of his caregivers, Ruth, told me at one point that “Moses is her artist.”

I tucked that piece of information in the back of my mind and didn’t think much of it until the next day.

When playtime had just begun, Moses and I picked up a pair of badminton rackets and tried our best to hit a tiny birdie back and forth. We laughed quite a bit as we quickly learned that neither of us had whatever gift it takes to be any good, so we wandered back over to the large duffle bag that contained all sorts of games and activities to figure out what to try next.

Suddenly, a thought popped into my head: Moses is an artist.

A box of colorful chalk caught my eye. When I pulled it out, Moses’ eyes lit up and he began to nod enthusiastically.

As we began to draw stars and trees and various different animals, I witnessed something amazing. I watched Moses come to life.

He was smiling and laughing (and trying to speak to me in kiswahili). I was mesmerized. Up until then, all I had seen was a shy little boy who didn’t seem to mind blending in but now. . .now Moses was shining. And it was beautiful.

A couple of tears came to my eyes as I thought, “He is truly thriving right now.

Later, as I reflected on this sweet moment, I felt my Heavenly Father whispering to me, “That is how I see you when you’re doing what I made you to do.”

I was reminded that my God wants me to thrive. He wants to see me light up as I do what He has gifted me to do. Just as I gazed in wonder as Moses blossomed before my eyes, my Father delights in me as I do the things I love.

Not only does He want me to thrive, He intentionally puts me in places where I can. Even when it doesn’t make sense to me and I can’t see what He’s trying to do, He gently reminds me to “pick up the chalk”–to do what I love where I am.

It is such a beautiful thing to know that God wants each of us to live an abundant life, full of joy. He wants us to light up as we do what He’s created us to do all for His glory. And He marvels when we do.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV

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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
  • Fundraising assistance

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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 with any questions.

Corporate Sponsorship Levels

Company logo in all event programs
Company thanked by name at start of each event
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Event day materials read "The Boaz Project's (event name) sponsored by (your company name)" for one year  
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