Catching Their Talk in a Box
post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Catching Their Talk in a Box
Author: Betty M. Hockett
Major Themes: 20th century (1900s), United States, Historical Non-Fiction, Christian Living, Christian Missions, Biographies
Synopsis: The life story of the missionary Joy Ridderhof, a woman full of faith and praise.
Catching Their Talk in a Box is a fascinating story about a missionary named Joy Ridderhof. Written for children, this was one of the books Mom read to me during one of my first years in school. Even though I didn’t remember it clearly, re-reading it recently has both blessed, inspired, and encouraged me.
Joy was raised in a God-fearing family, and when she was thirteen years old she dedicated her life to the Lord. As a young woman, she longed to go to Africa, and especially Ethiopia, to work as a missionary. However, it was not safe to go at the time, so she ended up being sent to Honduras. Six years later, she was still serving among the people in Honduras, but when a fellow missionary realized that she was sick, she went home on furlough. She longed to return, but the sickness stayed on. She couldn’t understand why the Lord was allowing this to happen to her, but she determined to keep working for God’s kingdom even through physical ailment.
One day, she had an idea—the Spanish-speaking people needed the gospel message, and yet no records existed to tell them about their need of a Savior. She determined that through the Lord’s help, she would make gospel records to give to Spanish-speaking people. It wasn’t long before she realized that the plan was working even better than she had hoped. She decided to make fifty programs before returning to Honduras—but where would the money come from? And when someone asked her to make records in the Navajo language, would she accept? Would the work go on, even though supplies were short because of the Second World War?
Once, she was heard saying,
“Our task is impossible, but you will pray and God will do wonders.”
That is the life of Joy Ridderhof—a woman with a strong faith, and full of praise to the Lord.
This book is exciting to read. Years ago, when Dad first heard the book being read, he loved the acronym “GRP”—Good Rejoicing Practice—that Joy used throughout her life. Even now, he tries to quote it sometimes in messages—although he doesn’t always get it right. Joy never stopped praising God, no matter what the trouble was. She believed that when the Bible said to rejoice it meant just that, no matter what was happening at the time. Her life and faith is a testimony of what God can do with someone who is humble and willing to follow His guidance—wherever it takes them. Even when it means driving in the dark through a river, trusting that there will be a road on the other side.