By Lorinda Manley
I want to share with you an inside peek into the complexity of ICC’s work for vulnerable children in developing nations. As a Bible believing organization, our worldview is shaped by our understanding of events through a scriptural lens. The following shows why ICC’s mission is imperative at this time in our world’s history.
When I last visited Guatemala, I noticed a colorfully clad, small doll showing up in numerous markets and souvenir shops county-wide. Here is the story of this small, seemingly innocent doll. They are termed ‘Worry Dolls’, or Muñeca Quitapena in Spanish. They originated from an old Mayan legend in the highlands of Guatemala. According to the lore, the sun god granted the Mayan princess, Lxmucane, an extraordinary gift that can solve any human problem.
In Mayan tradition, children who have trouble sleeping or have frequent nightmares are given worry dolls. Before bed is often when a small child confesses their fears, sorrows, and worries to the doll. They whisper to them their problems, then tuck the doll under the pillow. While the child is asleep, the doll is supposed to do all the worrying, thus relieving the little one of all the concerns that would otherwise keep them from sleeping soundly.
The doll will have done its job by the time the sun comes up and the child wakes to their worries gone. It is thought that because the worries stay with the doll, the worry doll’s tummy should be caressed by its owner to prevent it from hurting.
In Guatemala, they’re handcrafted using a wire or wooden base, with a face made with cardboard, cotton, or clay. The dolls wear a traditional Mayan dress of aguayo, a cloth that originated from Guatemala. Wool and colorful textile leftovers are often used, as there are many of these dolls to be found.
Mayan worry dolls are often stored in groups of six to allow the owner to pick one doll for each day, with the option to make one day of the week a rest day for the doll and the person.
As orphan and vulnerable children come into daily, weekly, nightly contact with our staff and community, they often bring these types of beliefs. It is imperative that we understand their world view to better point their precious hearts toward the only hope and peace that is real.
How wonderful that we know a Savior who will listen to our worries, our concerns and give us the rest we all so deeply yearn for. It’s available for free and whenever we ask for it. Now, more than ever, ICC children in Guatemala and throughout the world need to know that they, too, can rest safely in the arms of Jesus.
Thank you for helping to transform the understanding and the hearts of the children!