Thursday, July 6, 2017

Missionary Lock-Picking

So what do you do when you are 10,000 miles from the States and July 4th is coming?

You invite fellow missionaries over and plan an adventure!
OK, so I invited them over to teach them how to steal, pick locks, and plunder. Let me explain.

Holidays like the Fourth of July can be tough for missionaries. No fireworks. No familiar decorations in the stores and no large family cookouts.

Many missionaries make the best of what they have. Their family dons the red, white, and blue. Mom finds a way to make a red, white, and blue dessert. They grill a hamburger if they can. And they pray to thank God for His goodness on America.

Many missionaries live quite a distance from other missionaries, so they celebrate quietly as a family.

What does our family do? We have chosen to reach out to other missionaries from around the valley and invite them to celebrate with us. Some of them have to travel long distances to get to our home, so we try to make it worth their trip.

The first year we hosted this event, we had confetti poppers filled with treats and played a trivia/charades/Pictionary style game to earn the right to pop the confetti poppers.

The second year, there were tons of children, so we planned a carnival with a ring toss game, knock the cans over game, and more. The children earned prizes when they won their game.

We could not host the Fourth of July party in 2015 because of the national disaster we had here. It also fell on a church day, but we we were all so busy with disaster relief work that it would not have worked on any day of the week. We missed getting together with them. In 2016 our family was on furlough. Again, we missed this special event with our friends.

It's 2017 and our family refused to miss another year. We longed to see our friends smiling, laughing, and enjoying fellowship around the goodness of God for our country.

Once again we planned a special day that I hope they will remember for a long time.

Here is what we did:


Everyone pitched in on the food. We had barbecue sandwiches, potato salad, fruit, veggies with dip, corn on the cob, cole slaw, chips and dip, fried apple pies, and no-bake cookies. Since everyone pitched in on the food, no one was overwhelmed with preparation.


Yes, missionaries treasure any time we get to fellowship around God's Word. The devotion was wonderful! We are thankful to be Americans, but we also long to see God exalted in our host country.

The Games:

For the younger children we set up a play room. One of the moms of two of the younger children helped me set this room up. Toy train, Hot Wheels cars, a road floor mat, Tinker Toys, a puzzle, balloons, and more.

Game #1

Red, White, and "You"
About half the people were given white clothes pins to wear on their shirts. If they said the word "you," someone without a clothes pin could steal their clothes pin. If they kept the clothes pin throughout the game time, they got 5 points. (Limit one clothes pin per person)

Game #2

Oh Say Can You See?
I had hidden red clothes pins around the house. If they found one, they got 5 points. (Limit one clothes pin per person)

Game #3

Wear Oh Wear?
If they wore red, white, and blue, they got 5 points. It had to be clothing, not accessories, nail polish, or undergarments.

Game #4

Have you ever heard of the escape/breakout rooms that are so popular in the States right now? We created our own version. Instead of locking people in the rooms, we locked our little dog MoMo in a room with a combination lock on the door. (Everybody loves our sweet dog, MoMo. She was good motivation to rescue her from her prison.)

Here was the story line:

Captain MoMo of the American Army was captured by the British. She has lots of information that the American Army doesn't want the British to have access to. The Army has selected three groups to try to rescue Captain MoMo. They have to solve clues to figure out the combination to set her free. The first group to set her free gets national appreciation as well as a promotion in the Army.

We divided the missionaries into three groups. I set up three rooms with all the exact same clues. I also included some distractions that had nothing to do with the game just to make it a little tougher.

The three groups went to their assigned rooms and began working feverishly to solve the clues. There were eight clues total. They had to have all eight clues in order to get the combination. 

Here are the clues:

Clue #1:
I taped numbers and a plus sign on the spine of books in a series. To get the right number, they had to put the books in series order with the math sign at the beginning.
This clue was +267.

Clue #2:
I removed covers from DVD cases and put white paper on the inside. Then I used permanent marker to write the number for the clue. I wrote other numbers on the case with dry erase marker. In order to get the number, they had to figure out that some of the numbers could be erased. The answer to this clue was -982.

Clue #3:
I wrote a thank-you note thanking my mom for a shoe. This clue actually held a hint for clue #4. On the left side, I drew a picture of a shoe with Morse code that when solved read "plus 12." They would have to use their phones to look up Morse code. The solution for this clue was +12.

Clue #4:
In the room I had a couple of pairs of shoes against the wall, but then with those shoes I had a single shoe. Inside that shoe was a paper that read "-117."

Clue #5:
Hidden in the room were two index cards. One card had numbers and math signs. The other had holes. When the holey index card is placed on the other card, it reveals the correct numbers.
The solution to this one was -181.

Clue #6:
I wrote the number on the back of a greeting card cover. Then I cut it into a four-piece puzzle. The pieces were hidden around the room. One piece was hidden in the dry erase DVD cover.

The solution to this clue was +345.

Clue #7:
I opened a hymn book to a patriotic song. I took some wooden letters and wrote the number for the clue on the back. In order to get the order of the number right, they had to remember from music class "Every Good Boy Does Fine."
The solution to this clue was +1037.

Clue #8:
In the room, I placed batteries and I placed a flashlight without batteries somewhere else in the room. The goal was to get them to try to place the batteries in the flashlight. But inside the flashlight battery compartment was a small part of an index card with a number on it.
The number was -45.
The solution to this clue was -45.

The lock was tried many times.

When all the numbers are totaled, the final number is 336.
That was the combination to the lock.

Distractions in the room:
A receipt
a pile of coins
Other books
Other DVDs
A plate, bowl, and fork
Other greeting cards
A pencil

It took them 45 minutes before someone solve the puzzles. Many said the time seemed to fly by because they had so much fun.

The winning team members all received 5 points each.

We tallied the points up from all the games. The winner received a basket full of American goodies that everyone pitched in and donated. Ranch mix, chili powder, banana nut muffin mix, nutmeg, a Yankee candle, Bath and Body Works lotion, and much more!


From our field to yours, we hope you all had a wonderful July 4th. Please remember to pray for missionaries who may not have other people to celebrate this special day with each year. Reach out to them and encourage them.



JOLIE SOCK said...

What country are you in?

Charity said...

I am in Southern Asia.

Shellee Wilhite said...

That sounds like SO MUCH FUN!!! What's. Wonderful way to spend time together! Thank you for the great ideas!