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

#24- MYSTERY AT SANDY BEACH (4-end)

A Character story about forgiveness.

After another song the children were dismissed from chapel. The girls were ready for bed before Miss Patty and Karen came in the door.
"Karen has something to tell all of you," Miss Patty said with a grin. "Go ahead."
"Well, I accepted Jesus as my Savior from sin tonight." Karen's face was beaming. Several of the girls said "Amen" and "That's great!" Julie jumped up and hugged Karen. "This is the best birthday I've ever had!" she exclaimed.
"But I-I want to say one other thing," Karen stuttered shyly. The girls were quiet again. "I really became a Christian because of one person and that's Julie. She has really acted like a Christian and loved me even when I treated her wrong. She really made me want to know more about the Lord. Thanks Julie." The room was silent as Julie returned Karen's smile. She wouldn't have said that if she knew what I was really like Julie thought. She just had to talk with Karen about that privately.
That opportunity came after chapel Friday morning. They agreed to meet on the stump behind their cabin. When Karen arrived she had the small box in her hand.
Julie spoke first. "Before you say anything I have something to confess to you. I..I'm afraid I'm not as loving as you really think I am. Wednesday morning I..I looked in your suitcase and found the necklace. I prayed you would give it back but the Lord had to teach me that you were more important than the necklace. I'm sorry."
"But you don't understand," Karen responded. "That wasn't your necklace. Well it was but.. Oh, let me start from the beginning. You were so kind in forgiving me at school and helping me to pass my science and inviting me to Sunday school and stuff. Well, you talked about that necklace you wanted so I worked four Saturdays for my Dad to earn extra money to buy it for you. I was going to give it to you yesterday on your birthday. But when you came to the church wearing a much nicer necklace, I was ashamed to give you this one. But now I want to anyway, because I want you to know how much it meant to me to have you love me as you did." Karen opened the box. "See, your initials aren't on the back of this one." She handed it to Julie.
Julie took the box and began to sob. "Oh, Karen. How wicked I have been. All those ugly thoughts...You've loved me a lot more than I loved you. Thank you." The girls embraced, weeping for several minutes. Finally Julie spoke, wiping her eyes with her hand. "That means someone else took the necklace. But it won't matter now, because I have one that means every bit as much as the necklace my parents gave me. Oh, Karen, this is the best birthday present anyone could ever want!"
After lunch Julie told Jason the whole story. "Boy, that's neat!" he responded joyfully, taking a large bite of his lunch apple.
"And thanks for your part, Jason," Julie continued. "You sound more and more like your father every day!"
He grinned. "Well, after all, I am older."
"Yeah, but only three minutes." They both laughed.
The final service Friday night was around the campfire. All were invited to give a testimony or to publicly surrender their lives to God. Karen shared with everyone how she felt loved by Julie. Julie too shared the answer to many prayers in seeing Karen saved and how God had taught her to love people more than things. Many others also shared blessings the Lord had given during the week.
After the testimonies, more singing was followed by a short message from the speaker. After his closing prayer a voice came from the group. "May I say something?"
"Surely," replied the speaker.
"I..I have lots of things to confess," the voice continued. "I've put on a good act for three years now. I thought I had everyone fooled because I knew just what to say to sound spiritual. But it was all a big hoax. I didn't think anyone could find out, but God knew. And when I listened to those testimonies tonight, He wouldn't let me play the game any longer. So I asked the Lord to save me just now, and I know He did." Several "Amens" punctuated the silence.
"Can you see who's speaking?" Julie whispered to Karen.
"No, I can't see who it is," Karen answered. "It's too dark."
The service closed with a song and everyone headed for the cabins. On the way Michelle caught up with Julie and Karen. "Isn't that neat about Kate?" she exclaimed.
"About Kate? What about Kate?" Julie asked.
"That she got saved. Didn't you hear her at the campfire?"
"That was Kate?" Julie said in surprise. "But I thought she was a Christian."
"So did we all, but the Lord knows."
When everyone was ready for bed, Miss Patty began their last cabin devotion. "Kate has something she would like to say to all the girls."
Kate jumped down from the top bunk and stood at the end of the room. "I have a lot of things to get right." she began. "I'd like to start with you, Julie."
Julie looked up, startled.
"You see, I'm the one who stole your necklace." She held out an open hand containing the gold chain necklace. "I-I've wanted a necklace like this for two years and I just couldn't keep myself from stealing it. Then I made you think it was Karen. I'm sorry to both of you." Tears ran down her cheeks.
Julie jumped up and gave her a hug. "Oh, I forgive you completely. It has taught me so many things," Julie said, tears dripping from her chin.
"Yeah, me too," Karen agreed. By now most of the girls were burying sobs in their pillows.
"Well," Miss Patty interjected when the sniffling died down, "this has been one camp we'll all remember for some time to come."
Saturday was clear, warm, and busy with packing of suitcases, and buses, and lots of good-byes. Just before Kate boarded her bus, Julie and Karen met her. "We have something we'd like to give you," Julie said. "Here. Open it." She handed Kate a small white box.
Kate opened it and gasped. "Oh, no, I can't take this. It's too special."
"You have to," Julie replied. "Karen insists. It was a sacrificial gift of love to me. When you wear it, you can think of the love of the Lord Jesus toward you."
Karen nodded. "Anyway, Julie can't wear two gold chain necklaces."
"I can't believe you'd do this... I'll-I'll not forgot your love either. Bye." They embraced one last time.
"Well, I'm glad I don't have to say good-bye to you," Julie said to Karen as Kate's bus disappeared in a cloud of dust.
"Yeah, me too," Karen grinned.
Julie looked at the deep blue sky. Even the sun seemed to be smiling. "You know what?" Julie announced, her face beaming. "I think I'm the happiest person in the whole wide world!"