July 22, 2019

Why I Keep Going Back

“Are you heading back to India anytime soon?” I was asked.

“I do, I actually leave tomorrow.” I giggled. These sentences were exchanged with an old friend/coach whom I hadn’t seen in a few years. And as it shows, traveling to India is something that has just become a part of me.

You see, a few weeks ago I traveled to India for the 8th time. This was my 9th international trip going to spend time with amazing children and their caregivers. As I had conversations with people prior to the trip, asking when or why I was going, it was easy to slip into the mindset of “This is just what I do. I travel to India, Russia, and Kenya. I work for The Boaz Project. I care for orphans. No big deal.”

But I paused to truly question why do I do this? Many would consider eight trips more than sufficient (judging from the response I typically receive after telling people). I’m sure no one would tell me that I “haven’t gone enough” if I were to stop. In fact, many might applaud and say “job well done.”

But the question still lingered over my head, “why do I continue to go?” As I reflected on the plane ride, there were only two reasons. The first is this:

I never want a life where I am not involved in orphan care. 

Being 23 years old, it’s easy (in fact encouraged) to sit and dream of all the things I can do with my life. I could go back to school, I can go get a great paying job and work my way up in the company, I can plan for a future family, etc. But when I think of all these things, they are all fall short. If I could build my perfect life but be required to give up being involved in orphan care, it would be empty and meaningless and I wouldn’t want it. I don’t want a life in which I am too busy to take trips to visit these beautiful children. I don’t want a life where caring and advocating for orphans is not one of my top priorities.

If there’s ever a day that I have to stop taking trips, that will be the day that my heart completely shatters.

I say all of this knowing that orphan care and advocacy is not all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, most days have involved a deep pit of hard emotions and confusion as well as indescribable joy and the deepest sensation of peace and belonging.

But I know this to be true: no matter the pain of the emotions, no matter the physical toll of travel and new environments, I will always choose to show up for these orphans.

I also go back because this is where I watch miracles happen and God move in amazing ways.

I have seen incredible things happen that can only be done by God. I have seen families form. I have seen children who have come from unimaginable trauma begin to heal and become adults who lead and give back to their community. I have seen mountains be moved to meet the needs of an orphan.

Our recent short-term team in India

I never want to miss out on seeing God perform these miracles. I may never hear God audibly speak or watch water physically part, but I can see real miracles happening for the orphan everyday by being involved in orphan care.

I understand that not everyone can go, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in caring for orphans in some way. And being involved–even in a little way–means living a life much more meaningful than living a life focused on self.

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


  1. BILL Bonner says:

    Taylor, the Lord is and will continue to bless you and the orphans you care for far away. You are awesome and I am so proud of you. Thanks for loving and caring about God’s people.

    All my love to you and the kids,

  2. Amanda Reed says:

    Thank you for this testimony, and for reminding us that a life lived in service of others far outweighs a life lived for self. It is so easy to get caught up in the self serving life we are taught in the US. Praying for Boaz and your ministry to orphans of the world.:)

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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.

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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.

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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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