EUREKA – Handmade dolls that have often been used during mission trips are now being made for Disaster Relief chaplains to give to victims.
Jay Ryan, wife of Missouri Valley Director of Missions, and state chaplain trainer Patrick Ryan said the pattern for the doll came from the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) around 2009. Jay said one lady asked her to get the pattern for the doll. Patrick asked WMU if they wanted to do this.
Patrick Ryan said he originally got the idea from a First Baptist, Marshall, WMU leader. He used the dolls on a mission trip to El Salvador.
At a March 7 retreat, more dolls, made by some 40 Missouri Valley Association WMU members were collected for Disaster Relief, according to WMU leader Jennie Lee. So far this year, the group has made 180 dolls for Disaster Relief.
Lee said some of the dolls look like girls and some are dressed like boys.
Lee said the dolls can be made out of old sheets or scrap cloth material and are inexpensive to make. She expects the doll making to be an on-going WMU project.
Patrick Ryan said the North American Mission Board (NAMB) at one time offered comfort teddy bears. “The bears came to me were great in the work on the road with families and the elderly, but they didn’t include a way to share the gospel. These dolls do (have a way to share the gospel). I think that is critical,” he said.
The dolls have two faces, one on each side. One face is asleep, and the other is awake. On the side with eyes open, the doll has a heart with a cross on it. The dolls also wear a bead necklace. The black bead represents sin, the red bead represents Christ’s blood, the white bead represents a pure heart changed by Christ, the blue bead represents the resurrection, the green bead represents life and growth, and the yellow bead represents heaven.
“I thought I’d use them for Disaster Relief when I became an area coordinator for Disaster Relief,” Patrick said.
Some of the first dolls went to chaplains who were training or retraining at Central Baptist Church in Eureka, Feb. 21-22.
“One of the things I noticed: Especially with the children and the elderly, they need something tangible to hold if they feel they have lost everything, lost the balance in their life.”
Although boy dolls are also being made by the WMU group, Patrick is still trying to find objects that might be better for boys.
“The entire purpose (of the dolls) is to provide another tool for Disaster Relief chaplains to share the gospel of Jesus with their hands,” Patrick said. “They are as much help for the (Disaster Relief) worker as for the recipient. The work is hard being a chaplain, but we have a greater God than we have the work.”