Several churches and sewing groups have made dolls and stuffed toys for use by Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) in an upcoming training in Nigeria. CDS associate director Kathleen Fry-Miller and volunteer trainer John Kinsel will travel to Nigeria to train Nigerian Brethren women leaders to provide trauma healing for children.
Some of the churches “held the dolls and animals in a short time of blessing and commissioning during their worship services as a time of thoughtfulness and prayer for the recipients of the dolls,” reported CDS in a Facebook post.
“One member who participated in one such time of sending reflected, ‘This project has certainly added warmth and beauty and inspiration to our Lenten focus on how Jesus cared for the ‘beloved community.’”
Fry-Miller and Kinsel have been working to create a “Healing Hearts” curriculum to use as a guide for the trauma healing workshops in Nigeria. They will be meeting and working with 10 women theologians of the Women's Ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) to provide a “training of trainers.”
“As they are in their final weeks of preparation for Nigeria, they are grateful for the preparations also being worked on by Suzan Mark, EYN director of Women’s Ministry,” said the report on Facebook.
“We are so grateful for prayers for this work and for the children of Nigeria.”
The “Healing Hearts” curriculum is Bible-based, as is appropriate for use by EYN. It includes nine sessions based on the Beatitudes, and an accompanying Bible story to go with each session. The Bible stories are taken from “Shine On: A Story Bible,” a children’s story Bible published by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. Fry-Miller also will be taking donated copies of the “Shine On” story Bible to give to EYN.
Fry-Miller reported that the curriculum has been designed to be “open-ended enough that stories and feelings could be shared.” It also has been intentionally created for an area of the world where few additional materials may be available.
“People seem to be really getting into sewing dolls and animals for us to take,” she said. “I'm hoping the women’s sewing group in Nigeria will also be interested in doing some of this as a project, as long as they can have access to the fabric/stuffing.
“So far I've gotten very positive feedback from Suzan Mark,” she added. “I'm assuming it will be a very organic process once we get to Nigeria.”
She anticipates that the two-day “training of trainers” may be followed by opportunities for the two representatives of CDS to do some direct work with children who have been affected by the violence in northeast Nigeria.
For more about the work of Children’s Disaster Services go to www.brethren.org/cds . For more about the Nigeria Crisis Response, which is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and EYN, go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .