At Hospitality House: The power of puzzles

Katie and Myriam spruce up the Star Bedroom at Hospitality House wwhere they are Go Now Missionaries this summer.

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Friday nights are busy at the Hospitality House in Huntsville. Last Friday, my partner Myriam charged into our room. “I love puzzles!” she exclaimed. She began to tell me about the conversation she had just shared with a young boy staying here.

hospitality house kidBuilt in 1986, the Hospitality House in Huntsville assists hundreds of families of prisoners each year.Myriam and four or five boys stretched out on the floor to work on Bible story puzzles I had bought at the Dollar Store. As they worked, she asked one of them what he knew about the story. Myriam explained how Jonah had disobeyed God and ended up in a big fish. She talked about the people of Ninevah. She helped the boy understand what sin looks like in our lives. They also looked at another puzzle showing Moses parting the Red Sea. 

Myriam asked her new friend what he knew about Jesus. He told her that he knew that Jesus is God and that he is in heaven. Myriam told him he was only partly right. Jesus is God and he did return to heaven, but that’s not the whole story. Jesus is actually everywhere. He was there with Jonah in the fish. He was there with Moses at the Red Sea. Now, he lives in Myriam’s heart and is with her wherever she goes, all the time. The boy thought about this.

“I wish my dad was with me all the time,” he quietly reflected.

What pain these children suffer. I ache for them. As a child of terrific parents, I am always devastated to see the brokenness in the lives of the Hospitality House kids. I can’t even express how incredibly important it is for children to have fathers. I wish we could give them what I have. But then again, perhaps we can.

Myriam told this boy that she too goes long periods without seeing her dad. But she is comforted knowing that God is her Heavenly Father. He is always with her. She can spend time with him by reading more of the stories in the Bible.

The boy was really interested. He is a reader, and he was excited to hear there was more to the stories and all he had to do was read the Bible to find out. Myriam went back to the storage room to find one just for him. We had some beautiful, leather-bound bibles donated recently.

She presented him with the brand-new Bible and challenged him to take good care of it. It’s a very nice Bible and he must be careful, she told him, but most of all, he must read it. The boy beamed. 

Don’t forget the other boys gathered around. Each of them overheard the conversation as Myriam guided a searching child toward the light. Praise God for opening up these doors! Please pray that this young man dives deep into God’s word.  Pray that God would guide him to things he will understand. Pray that the transformative power of the gospel will change his life and the lives of his family. Praise God that one who was lost now has a lamp to guide his feet.

Katie Jo Bice, a student at Wayland Baptist University, is serving at the Huntsville Hospitality House with Go Now Missions.

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