Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#22-MYSTERY AT SANDY BEACH (2)

A Character story about trust.

Julie suddenly felt panic inside, but she tried to act calm. "Have any of you seen my gold necklace?" she asked matter-of- factly.
"Did you lose something?" Miss Patty asked.
"Yes, I put my new gold necklace in my shoe last night and now it's not there."
Several of the girls stopped what they were doing to help Julie look for her necklace. Kate looked in her own shoes which were under Julie's bed, Karen helped her look through her suitcase, and Michelle looked under the other bunks. The necklace was nowhere to be found.
Julie didn't get much out of the service that morning. She kept thinking of the necklace. I wonder if Karen stole it she thought. But I prayed she would do right. And how would I ever prove it? She looked over at Karen. I wish I could see in her heart.I wish I knew if she was covering up something.
After the service Julie caught her brother. "My necklace is missing. I think someone stole it."
"Stole it? How do you know?" Jason asked.
"Because, last night I put it in my shoe and this morning it was gone."
"Are you sure it was your shoe?"
"Yes. Anyway, we looked in all the others. No one knows anything about it. Do you think Karen could have taken it?"
"Now Sis," Jason scolded gently, "you know what Dad and Mom said. Don't judge anything before you have all the evidence."
"I know, but she did cheat and lie at school. She would be the most likely-"
"I'll be glad to pray with you about it. I know it meant a lot to you. But I don't think you should accuse Karen before you know anything."
"Yeah, you're right," Julie sighed. "I really don't care who took it. I just want it back. Well, thanks for praying with me about it. And keep praying for Karen to be saved too. Bye."
After dinner the campers were divided into four teams to play two softball games. Karen and Julie were separated now but Kate was on Julie's team. Since they were up to bat first, Kate sat down next to Julie on the bench.
"Is Karen a real good friend of yours?" Kate began.
"I don't know. Just a friend I guess. We've only known each other for a few months. Why do you ask?"
"Because I didn't want to upset you too much."
"Upset me about what?" Julie asked more intensely.
"About your necklace. When I woke up this morning I saw Karen looking in your stuff under the bed. I didn't actually see her with the necklace but it didn't look good. Know what I mean?"
"Yes...thank you."
Julie struck out twice and popped up in the first three innings. Even the ball seemed to evade her. She just couldn't concentrate. She kept thinking about the necklace, and about Karen. Why would Karen steal her necklace? Was her effort to act better really just a cover-up?
Julie didn't sleep well that night. Each time she awoke she thought about Karen and her necklace. How could anyone stand there with a straight face and tell a big fat lie Julie wondered. By morning she had a stomach ache and missed breakfast. From the window the sky seemed unusually gray. "I think if I could just rest here during chapel this morning, I will be fine," she told Miss Patty who had suggested she see the nurse. But lying in bed worrying didn't help. Suddenly Julie got an idea. She would search through Karen's things while everyone was gone. If she didn't find it, then at least she knew she was not the guilty one.
Julie pulled Karen's suitcase from under the bed, opened it, and began to search her clothes.
"Feeling better?" came a voice from the door startling Julie. It was Miss Patty, the counselor.
"Oh, yes...some, thanks."
"You shouldn't be looking through other people's things without their permission," she said gently.
"Yes, Ma'am." Julie closed the suitcase and slid it back under the bed. The two sat down on Julie's bunk.
"What were you looking for?" Miss Patty asked.
"My necklace. I have a suspicion that Karen might have taken it." Then Julie shared with her counselor the events at school, and how she had been praying for Karen to be saved. "I really want to help Karen but I really want my necklace back too."
"I'll try to help all I can, and I will pray with you for Karen to be saved. If she did steal the necklace, the guilt may be what the Lord will use to show her her need for the Savior. In the mean time, you need to trust the Lord, and not worry. He's right here, and He's big enough to handle the whole matter."
"Yes, the barnacle promise. I forgot again." Julie sighed.
"Barnacle promise?"
"Something my Dad shared with me last Friday. I'll tell you later." They prayed together and Julie felt much better.
After the Monday noon lunch all the campers had a half hour rest period. In cabin three Miss Patty addressed the girls. "I'm afraid we have no choice but to believe that someone stole Julie's necklace Sunday morning. I'm not accusing anyone, but I would like to look through each of your suitcases."
Each girl agreed and opened her suitcase for inspection. Karen looked nervous when Miss Patty came to hers. Everything seemed fine until she got to the bottom of the left corner. There lay a long white box. "Please don't look in this," Karen pleaded. "I promise you it's not Julie's necklace but I can't let anyone see it. Please!"
Julie looked at the box in the suitcase. "My necklace was in a box just like that," she remarked. "Are you sure that's not mine?"
"Positive," Karen insisted. "It's..it's private."
"OK," Miss Patty consented. "We'll believe you. Perhaps someone from another cabin could have come in. We will all have to pray that whoever has it will return it."
After rest period Kate and Michelle took Julie aside. "Looks kind of bad for your friend Karen, uh?"
"But she said she didn't take it," Julie reminded her, doubting her own words.
"Yes, she did say that," Kate frowned. "But why did she protect that box so strongly? Anyway, let's pray together, Julie. I know the Lord will help you to find it." Each girl prayed again and Julie a felt real encouragement from them.
Tuesday came and went with no further clues. Wednesday morning after chapel Julie's cabin took their turn riding the horses. When they arrived and learned that one of the horses had a sore foot, Julie volunteered to stay behind so the others could ride. She wandered back toward the cabin still worrying about Karen and that box. A light mist added to her dampened spirit. The cabin was empty so Julie flopped on her bunk with her hands behind her head. That box haunted her. Was it the necklace? She had to know. Julie jumped up and looked out the door. No one was in sight. She quietly slid Karen's suitcase out and found the box. Slipping the lid off carefully she stared in disbelief. There in the box was a gold chained necklace with a gold heart.