What’s the Point-illism? - Finding Hope in hopeless circumstances

Jennifer Garibay

17 May 2024


What’s the Point-illism? - Finding Hope in hopeless circumstances


This mental health week, missionary Jennifer Garibay, shares her experiences with homeless guests at Webber Street Day Centre, and how we can point others - and ourselves – to the hope that’s found in Jesus.

Art is a great way to communicate how we feel, to help us get out the things we are holding inside. Sometimes it’s easier for people to open up about their struggles when they are looking down and creating something.

Creativity can reduce stress, improve our mental wellbeing, and boost our self-esteem. These are some of the many reasons we have an art club at Webber Street Homeless Day Centre.

At the beginning of this year, I wanted to teach our homeless guests about different art styles and our first lesson was on pointillism. Think Seurat and Van Gogh. Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of colour are applied in patterns to form an image.

As I was preparing the lesson I could see how this art form reflected my own journey with my mental health and our guests’ feeling of hopelessness. All too often when we are struggling, we get fixated on ourselves, our feelings, and our pain. We can struggle to see beyond our present suffering, asking ourselves, “what is the point?”, and forgetting that this moment is a dot in the story that God is creating over eternity.

At Webber Steet we use art to be creative, but we also use it as an opportunity tell our homeless guest’s that Jesus understands our feelings of hopelessness. It’s a feeling which our guests are all too familiar with.

Many have painful stories of rejection. They’re also far more likely to be victims of violence or abuse. More than one in three people sleeping rough have deliberately been hit or kicked.

And yet I have seen, in the midst of seemingly hopeless situations, our guests have found hope and joy.

During one of the art classes, guests were painting wooden tags with things they believed would give people hope. One young man, Oliver* held up his tag, with what appeared to read ‘Love Chices’ painted on it.  I was confused – until he explained… It said, ‘Love Jesus.’

We’d been working with Oliver, who doesn’t speak any English, for several years. But after the conversations about hope, he expressed an interest in attending church; and has since said that he wants to continue going.

When he told other guests at Webber Street that they would find hope if they loved Jesus… that moment was really special and powerful.  When he told others they would find hope if they loved Jesus… that moment was really special and powerful.

Stories like Oliver’s are a huge encouragement to me.

We may not understand the point of what we are going through, but we still must hold onto hope. Continually pointing ourselves and others to Jesus, knowing that he knows our pain, and he sees our hopelessness and he loves us. That all things, even the most painful point in our lives, will work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

At the end of our session about pointillism we had painted boats, flowers, abstract designs, and even portraits. One guest even said, “I had no idea I could create something like this. I have learned something new about myself.”

We also learned that while we may not see what God is doing, we can have hope that he can make beauty from our ashes.

So, what’s the point? This week you’ll likely encounter people who are asking themselves this question. Let’s pray for opportunities to point to the one who understands our hopelessness, and offers an eternal, living hope.  

Written by: Jennifer Garibay

Jenn Garibay works at LCM's Webber Street day centre for men and women who are homeless