Evang-A-Bear, a Christian-themed stuffed animal, is a long-running project at Huntington University. And the target market? Great, great, aunts.
By Peyton Pitman, Editor-in-Chief
“I’ve been very mission-minded,” said Maredda Magnus, who bought Evang-A-Bear for her great, great nieces and nephews. “I went and did my first mission to Romania—fell in love and went back 13 times.”
Going back and forth to Romania quickly became costly, she said.
“But, still, there’s such a need to get the word out,” said Magnus. “When I saw [Evang-A-Bear], I was like, ‘this is an opportunity to get the word out.’”
Evang-A-Bear was envisioned and created by former Huntington University student Edwin Chow. After HU received grant money from the Lilly Foundation to enhance the university’s business program, the department provided Chow with the necessary funding to kick-start his business plan of bringing Evang-A-Bear to life.
The bear, also known as Barry, is designed with five different colors that represent different themes in the Bible. Black represents sin. Red is God’s love. White is forgiveness. Yellow is Heaven, and green is growth. These themes were carefully chosen by Chow in order to share the Gospel to anyone who would listen.
“Teddy bears traditionally are a source of comfort and security for children,” said Brock Zehr, an associate professor of business and economics at HU. “During these uncertain times, Evang-A-Bear combines this traditional comfort with a positive spiritual message.”
The comfort aspect, along with the hope of a spiritual friendship, is what pushed Maredda Magnus to buy Evang-A-Bear in the first place.
“The relationship, the friendship, everything the bear promotes, it just made it easier than me going in and telling the kids that God saves us from sin, and the story of Adam and Eve, and all that,” said Magnus. “I just love that the message goes with something that’s relatable, even for older kids or adults.”
Evang-A-Bear is also a good way to reach people with disabilities, said Magnus.
“There’s people with autism or other disabilities who really can connect to things like this,” said Magnus. “You can take the bear anywhere and share the Gospel, but it’s also a physical way to tell the Gospel—more than words on the page—and easier to understand.”
Magnus said she’s excited to see what’s coming up next for Evang-A-Bear and how the project will grow.
“I know there’s a book over the bear that goes more in-depth on the colors and such,” said Magnus. “That will really help me teach the kids and help them connect the bear to the book.”
Social media pages, news stories, event promotions, book publishing, animations and podcasts are all in the works, said Brock Zehr.
“This past summer, HU students Elijah Smith and Maddie LeBlanc, helped market Evang-A-Bear by updating its website, eBay store, and hosting an exhibit at the United Brethren denominational conference,” said Zehr. “Presently, I have a team of students continuing to work on the Evang-A-Bear project.”
To get more information on Evang-A-Bear, visit evangabear.com. You can also follow them on Instagram at EvangABearOfficial or on Facebook under Evang-A-Bear.
For questions about the business or to purchase a bear, please contact Brock Zehr at email@example.com.