As a Christian parent you know that any time a child faces a new situation there is a learning curve and adjustment period; from our adult vantage point this is to be expected and we understand that some things take time and a few weeks of growing pain are to be expected. To a child, a few weeks might as well be an eternity. To her the sneering looks of the "in" girls are unbearable, while to a boy the failure to be numbered among the athletically able is akin to being less of a man. Given the fragility that is part and parcel of any growing child's heart and mind, and compounding it with the effect that thoughtless words and deeds of classmates can have, it is not surprising that many kids are gearing up every morning as though they are walking into battle.
While there is little that your golden haired little angel can do when ridiculed because of her blond curls or fair skinned complexion, as a Christian parent you know that drawing her focus inward and redirecting it heavenward are better than giving in to her demand to dye her hair black, blue, or orange. Similarly, if your son is not able to kick the soccer ball as good as his classmates, you know that writing him a daily P.E. excuse because of his "secret agent work" is not going to fly. Instead, help your child to focus more on the strengths s/he possesses and prepare her or him to go forward and face the situations one at a time in the way a Christian would approach them.
Since the days of old, Christians have made do with adversity in two ways: through prayer, and through study and application of scriptural truths. There is a fun way to help your child remember to get ready for the daily battle - even when things will eventually calm down in two weeks and s/he has been accepted by the new peer group: The Ambassador Man and The Ambassador Gal dolls which are advertised at http://www.achildssmileforchrist.com.
At face value, these dolls look like a neat little idea, until you nose your way around eBay and other sites and realized just how rare such dolls really are, especially when considering their mission. They are talking dolls that recite the verse that speaks of the full armor of God. Having graciously consented to an interview with Families Online Magazine, the doll's creator, Annette Becerra, went into detail about her mission.
Q: From the time that you received your inspiration for the doll to the time that you made the very first one, how much time did elapse?
A: My inspiration for creating, "The Ambassador Man" was November 17th 2006 after reading through Ephesians and 2nd Corinthians 5. I was introduced to both The Ambassador Man and Lil'Miss Arianna The Ambassador Gal around the end of May, beginning June of 2007. The Ambassador Gal was introduced first on April 26 of 07.
Q: What was the hardest part of making your vision become reality?
A: Trying to place my vision on paper and explain it to the manufacturing company which is overseas.
Q: Who - other than your family and friends - are the people that give you the support you need to keep going to grow your ministry?
A: My marketing Director Anthony Jeff from Singapore. He has been blessed with three adopted children of his own, one from China, Vietnam and Cambodia; Anthony has also put together charity banquets for the needs of Children. My spiritual growth has come from TBN and my home church The Radiant but most of all, my faith and a close relationship with Jesus.
Q: What made you decide to start with the "armor of God" verse in the Bible?
A: I wake up late at night or early in the mornings to read my Bible. I open my Bible to where I feel the Lord directs me to read at that moment in time and I was led to Ephesians. Days before finding The Ambassador Man in Ephesians, I was putting together a coloring book to teach children Bible scriptures. I had about 63 pages of scriptures.
During my night/early morning reading time when I was led to read through Ephesians, it all came together rather quickly.
Q: Will you be adding other verses, verse-themed dolls, to your line-up?
A: I would like to in time. There are plans for other theme dolls and accessories associated with the armor of God. If you think about it, with the armor of god we have Faith, Spirit, Peace, Salvation, Righteousness and Truth, this opens up to just about every scripture in the Bible. I only know that I have to wait to hear on the Lord's calling.
Q: Are dolls available for custom-ordering (i.e. brown versus tan skin, black or blond versus brown hair, etc.)?
A: Yes! We, my marketing director Anthony Jeff and I were actually going to put them all on line to start but decided to move forward with the first two and see what type of reaction we would get. They can also be customized in different sizes.
Q: Are the recordings available in languages other than English and Spanish? Would a customer be able to special order a doll that said the same phrase in German or Chinese?
A: Recordings in all languages is on our top list of things to do, however the IC Company for the voice box requires a minimum order witch is a substantial cost amount that requires a year commitment. Being a new company and just starting out, I am very grateful to have made it this far. I believe the different languages for voice will all come together in time when in demand.
Q: What future products are you thinking of adding to the line up?
A: There are so many thoughts and inspirations for products and accessories. We will be producing miniature plush armor doll key chains with one voice phrase. The verse has already been recorded. Hand puppets will be hopefully coming soon along with action figures, coloring books, bedding covers and a few other new surprises. Outside of the armor toys, I was also led to make 7 very special bookmarks coming real soon.
Q: To what age group do your dolls appeal the most? Can they withstand the hands of prying toddlers, or do they need to be treated more gently since they are hand-made?
A: I think they mostly appeal to 8 yrs and under. Just like any other plush doll, they can take a pretty good beating, however there are routed wires for the voice activation so if a child where to try and rip it apart, they could disassemble the wire from the voice box. The dolls are hand-made, meaning each individual assembly operator uses his own sewing machine, routing all wires, setting the voice box, and inspected to the highest level of quality and safety through QC Inspections. A lot of detailed and hard work has been put into these dolls to the highest standard.
Q: On your website you state that a portion of the proceeds is earmarked for charity. What charities are you donating to? What is their mission? How much money were you able to raise for them so far? How did you decide to pick them over other charities?
A: At this time the charity income will go to, "The Smile of a Child."
I love Jan Crouch and all the help she is giving throughout the world for children. Charitable proceeds will also be given for other TBN ministries & The 700 Club that help with children's needs. The donation proceeds will apply towards food, medical care and clothing and any other high demand in the care for these children. The
Church I attend, The Radiant, is having a building built for the children's ministry and my goal is to support them with the building funds as well. A Childs Smile for Christ has just barely started online so the charitable proceeds have not started.
Q: Where do you think your business/ministry will be one year from now? How about five years from now?
A: With God's will, within one year I will have my two languages, English and Spanish, on line along with the different hair and skin type armor dolls. Also having available key chains, bookmarks and puppets throughout the Christian market.
In five years I would like to see the Armor dolls available in children's beddings, pillows, chairs, lamps, and have my whole line of products available on line and new developed scripture teaching products to come.
Q: Do you give discounts to church groups, teachers, and so on?
A: Yes, I have a wholesale price sheet for retailers along with a percentage discount for those with smaller orders.
As you can see, these dolls are a labor of love. While they may not make your son or daughter magically accepted within her new peer group or make the transition to a new school or classroom easier on the outside, inwardly they will enable your child to refocus on that which is most important: fixing her/his eyes on Jesus and allowing Him to carry her/him through the day.
About Sylvia Cochran
Sylvia Cochran - Christian Parenting Corner and Common Sense Parenting and Parenting By the Book Christian Parenting Book Reviews
Sylvia is a seasoned writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years, and has for the last four years taught in small church groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money. Sylvia also provides Free Online Courses at Suite 101. Sylvia's goal is to provide help and encouragement to raise the next generation of Christ-followers
More Christian Parenting Resources:
Christian Parenting Books