Multiplication of the Teddy Bears
by Arianna Miskowski
W

hen the missionary came to speak to our kids church, I could hardly believe what he told us. He said children in Third World countries don’t have toy store. No toy store means no toys.

He said that in Haiti, the children play with parts of buildings that crashed down during the earthquake. Some kids play with parts of old cars.

I thought about it all day. That night I looked around my room at all the toys I had. I didn’t even play with some of them anymore. I wondered, What if I had to play with bricks instead of a soft teddy bear?

I wished there was a way I could take all the toys I didn’t need and give them to the kids the missionary spoke about. I felt God speak to my heart. He wanted me to do something. I shared the idea with my mom, and then my dad.

“What if I sent my toys to Haiti? What if I collected toys from some of my friends at school? What if I collected them from the entire school?” I asked.

Mom encouraged me to write my principal for help with my idea.

While I was writing it, I started to feel silly. The idea seemed too big and there were too many things I didn’t know how to do. How would I collect the toys? Where would I store them? How would I get them to kids in Haiti? Would anyone care? What if no one helped me? I was only 10 years old—who cared what I thought?

I remembered something my dad told me: “The devil is a liar.” I felt like Satan was trying
to stop God from working this plan in my life. I wrote the letter and gave it to my teacher to give to Ms. Parks, our principal.

No one said anything at first, but the next week I got called into the principal’s office… in a good way!

She declared the next Monday, “Stuffed Animals for Haiti Day.” I was so excited! God had prepared her heart, an d now I wasn’t alone. I had help. She announced it in our school newsletter, The Panther Prowl. Now everyone would know. Even the town newspaper called to see if they could come to our school and take pictures.

My parents started freaking out when the stuffed animals started coming on. First, there was one bad…then two…then huge boxes full! We cleaned all the toys. Then the school kept calling saying there was more and more. Our garage was full! I kept thinking about how the toys would soon be in the hands of needy kids my age who never held a stuffed animal before. Maybe they could even use it as a pillow!

Mom started investigating how we could get the animals to Haiti. Some groups said they did not have room to send them. Others said they didn’t want to transport them due to the cholera outbreak. Mom called everyone we could think about, but no one could help.

Someone suggested that we send them to Africa instead because it was easier. But that did not feel right. I felt God put Haiti on my heart, so we waited. When the article was published in the newspaper, a man called us. His name was Bret, and he had read about everything we had done. He wondered if we had found someone to deliver the stuffed animals. He supported a missionary in Haiti named Megan. She was in town collecting supplies.

My parents said that was not a coincidence. I thought about how the principal had not answered my letter right away. If she had answered it sooner or later, we might have missed Megan. God knew how to time this adventure. It was a relief to know God was in control of every detail.
“We have to do what we can in the natural and let God take care of the supernatural,” my dad had said. Now, it made more sense than ever.

Megan’s cargo container was full of medicine, clothes, and food supplies. There was just enough room for our boxes of stuffed animals. I got to meet Megan and Bret. She went back to Haiti with the container because she was starting a school for the orphans there. Today, the school is one year old and doing wonderful things. My principal liked her so much that she let her speak at a school assembly, where she told all the kids about the needs of Haitian orphans.

Mom kept all the newspaper clippings about my story. My nana was so excited, she wrote about it in a magazine. Someone read the article and wrote my mom. They wanted to know if they could help send toys to Haiti too. We put them in touch with Megan, and now their church is collecting toys for the kids there.

When that happened, it made me think about the boy who had five fish and two loaves of bread. I thought about how Jesus multiplied it once the boy decided to give it away. That’s what I feel like happened to me. He took the three teddy bears in my hands and they became many more once I decided to give them away. Now hundreds of kids are playing with toys they would have never had.

Since the word is spreading, maybe there will be hundreds more. Maybe God will lay it on your heart to do something bigger than you think you can. Don’t be afraid.

Remember, the devil is a liar. It doesn’t matter how old you are—God’s timing is perfect and if He put the desire in your heart, He will make a way.
I had lots of obstacles:

• I was only 10—it didn’t matter.
• I only had three teddy bears—God multiplied them.
• I was scared to ask my principal for help— God gave me courage.
• I didn’t know anyone from Haiti— God did.
• I couldn’t afford to mail the toys—it was never my problem.

I just kept saying yes to God, and He kept making a way for me. What seemed impossible became easy. If God could use me—a 10-year-old with no money—to reach another country, what can He do with you in your neighborhood? In your church? In your city? Ask Him. Then, just keep saying yes.