February 19, 2018

What others are saying: A Glimpse of God’s Heart for Orphans

Words by Karyl Boring, a Boaz trip veteran

I was nearly 50 years old before God captured my heart by showing me the plight of orphans around the world. I knew the verse in James1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and keep oneself unstained from the world.”

I believed the truth of that verse, but I was waiting for God to present an opportunity for me to know an orphan instead of actively pursuing this mandate. My husband and I knew many widows, some in our own family. We could easily visit them. But orphans-I didn’t know an orphan. Adopted children -yes- orphans -no.

My husband and I were invited to a presentation of an orphan ministry called The Boaz Project that had been begun by April, a young friend of mine from our church. My husband and I went to support and to encourage her work. Little did we realize that God had other things in mind for us!

The pictures of the orphans we saw that day, the stories we heard about the conditions in which these children live , and the vision April had to offer these children physical and spiritual care changed our hearts forever. We had no excuse and found ourselves signing up for one of the first team trips to Vladimir.

I now have been blessed to have visited orphans through The Boaz Project nine times over the last 17 years – 7 times to Russia and twice to Kenya. Each trip has been unique, and each time I return thankful for what God teaches me about His unfathomable love for the least of His children and His desire for His Church – for me- to be His hands and feet to show that love.

I will never forget our very first visit to an orphanage in Vladimir. This was an orphanage for babies and preschoolers tucked in the back streets away from the main part of the city, hidden out of the view of most. Though it seemed clean and adequate, it lacked the welcome and warmth of a home. The children were crowded in rooms, some in large playpens with five or six children in each with very few toys. I noticed there were many children and few caregivers.

A few of our team walked into a room off in the corner. It was dark with the curtains pulled and silent. In the room were several cribs and in each crib were infants and toddlers with Down’s Syndrome. There was one caregiver. The smell of dirty diapers and the sight of baby bottles propped up for the infants to nipple as they could overwhelm me.

I was to learn that most of these children had at least one parent, but the doctors encouraged the parents to give them to the state as they would never lead a normal life. Some did not want the stigma of having a child that was “not right”. As part of the orphanage system, it was the survival of the fittest.

I thought, “This shouldn’t be! What can I do that would even make any difference?” But, we touched and we smiled and we spoke to these children that day and prayed that God in His mercy would protect and guard them.

Most of our time was spent in the Vladimir Children’s Home. The orphanage was bright and cheery with lace curtains in the window, beautiful rugs on the floors and cute painted table and chairs in each room. These were things that the director of the orphanage was able to buy because of money given by The Boaz Project. I was told that the state only provides the bare necessities for the orphanages.

Each day, part of our team along with our interpreters would visit that orphanage to teach Vacation Bible School and play with the children. I loved interacting with our group of children each day, but found it frustrating to always have to depend on an interpreter to communicate with the children and their caregivers.

One afternoon, while playing with the children on the playground outside the orphanage, Sasha approached me holding a ball out to me. I took it and threw it back to her. She giggled and threw back to me. Over and over again we tossed the ball back and forth laughing and smiling. I realized that day that we really didn’t need to know the same language to communicate respect and love for each other.

As I think about that first trip and the subsequent trips, I believe that I have come to understand that I may never know what difference visiting orphans, being with them and teaching them about Father God’s love for His children has made in their lives. I leave that in God’s hands, knowing obedience to Him is more important than knowing the result in what we do.

The trips have impacted me in ways that have changed how I view serving others. By partnering with The Boaz Project through volunteering and giving, I am able to join with a staff who knows so much more about orphan care than I do and with hundreds of other partners who are passionate about caring for orphans in ways that will help and not hinder.

The intentional way in which The Boaz Project desires and has planned to meet the physical and spiritual needs of individual children in the orphanage is more than just giving aid. It remembers the dignity and the uniqueness of each child as created by God. I am so thankful that all those years ago, I was challenged to risk going beyond the safety of my world and begin to have a glimpse of God’s heart for His orphaned children.

Learn about a new culture. Minister to the world’s most vulnerable children. Go on an adventure that will change your life. Apply today at www.boazproject.org/tripapp 


  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent support letter, and very real. This personal testimony is impactful.

  2. Michelle E. says:

    So beautifully written!! Thank you for sharing Karyl!!

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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
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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 OAT@boazproject.org with any questions.

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