Victoria woman creates Bible word search puzzles
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Elie Corpus sat next to her son, Jacob, as he laid limp against the hospital bed pillow.
Vases of fresh flowers encircled the sleeping teenager - well-wishing his recovery and comforting his mother.
She rested her palm on his palm, trying to understand why something like this could happen to her boy.
He was too young to suffer a traumatic head injury and spend two months in the hospital, Corpus thought.
His road to recovery would be long and painful; months of post-injury physical therapy was certain.
So Corpus, of Victoria, did what any good mother would do. She put her life, job and dreams on hold to nurse Jacob back to health - which included her pet project, "Elie's Spiritual Treasures: Bible Word Search."
"I'd started this project in 2006 ... but in 2011, months after Jacob's accident, I started looking for insurance papers he needed, and I came across some of the puzzles I had printed for my book," she said, explaining the all-ages word search book she created to make Bible reading entertaining and revolutionary for Christians. "I looked at them and thought, 'It's time for me to get back to it.'"
As a lifelong Catholic, Corpus clung to her faith when her son was in the hospital. She asked for God for his healing and to guidance for her future. She also asked him to let her know when it was time to resume her project.
"As Jacob started to make progress, I left everything in God's hands," she said. "There were so many instances where I should have given up, but I didn't. I am convinced the Holy Spirit has been next to me the whole way."
This month, Corpus is launching her second puzzle book in the Bible word search series, "Lectionary for Mass - Year C."
At the start of each workbook, a passage sits atop each puzzle with bolded key words for the reader to search below. The first word search book offers 261 puzzles with answer keys in the back.
Her aim with the puzzle books is to simplify the process of Bible reading and make scripture reading fun for people of all ages.
"I want to eventually do every book in the Bible, which will take some time, but I think it's important," she said.
Though her first book of puzzles begins with Genesis, Corpus said she plans to publish out of order.
"I will do one from the Old Testament and one of the New Testament and go back and forth like that until they're all done," she said. "I'm super excited because I think it will help so many people, and that's my main goal, for people to stay connected with God."
Lana Brysch, of Yorktown, is one of Corpus' biggest fans of the book.
She's also one of her closest friends, who remembers when Corpus first told her about her book project about five years ago.
"I thought it was an awesome idea because everyone can use it," said Brysch, a retired Yorktown educator. "I read the Bible with these books so much more than I used to. And it helps me retain the information."
Brysch said she enjoyed the books so much, she purchased the puzzle book for each of her grown four children and the children she teaches in Confraternity of Christian Doctrine class.
"Elie is always so positive, and she has kept her faith with this project. Even when Jacob had the accident and it didn't look good, she kept the faith. She's a beautiful person because no matter what she does, she keeps her faith," Brysch said. "And she didn't do it for money or anything else. She did it to get the Bible out there."
Corpus and Brysch recently filmed a commercial for Elie's Spiritual Treasures, which will begin airing locally Monday.
Corpus hopes her puzzles send the message of the Bible to the ends of the Earth, and people all over the world find a renewed affinity for Bible reading.
Even Jacob is enjoying his copy of Genesis, she said.
"We have come a long way, and I am so excited to see how far this can go," she said. "Bible reading can be fun, and this book, I hope, may help people find that again."