Treasure Hunt #3

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Contributed by Julie Atwood, written in the person of Cheryl Scramuzza.

Three treasures found by only one team.

This trend thrilled the folks who set out on New Horizon Vineyard’s third treasure hunt. In the first, it took two teams to discover only one treasure . . . while during the second excursion, a single team found two. “That’s an encouraging trend,” I assured the members of my team. “May the increase continue!”

On this third hunt, two new members joined the team . . . Dustin Potter and Sharon Porter. They met the rest of us—Brandy Stigler, Abby Kipp, and myself, Cheryl Scramuzza—at the Tom Thumb in Rowlett by Highway 66 and Dalrock. There we all gathered at the tables in the open seating area, where I shared with my fellow Treasure Hunters the fruits of my morning devotional. I also shared the wisdom John provides in the first of his epistles . . . a wisdom that would equip us all for the day’s adventures. After praying, we listened during three minutes of silence for those crazy random words to flow. . . the words that would provide us Treasure Hunters with our clues.

Water. Bench. Grass hedges. Newsstand. An elevator, a flight of stairs, a landing and loading dock. These words set the course for the group’s location. Our most unusual clues included skulls, jawbreakers and suckers, a Frisbee, and a palm tree. But the elevator stood out to us most strongly, accompanied by the stairs and landing. Didn’t the Bass Pro shop contain all these things? “The loading dock could refer to boats,” Sharon suggested. After praying, a peaceful certainty fell over the group. “It’s the Bass Pro Shop,” we agreed. So off we headed for the store in Abby’s new ride (happily dubbed the “church bus”). As we climbed out and strolled toward Bass Pro’s front entrance, Sharon noted all the skulls above the doors.

“One of my clues is dark, nearly black maroon,” she reminded the group as we entered the shop.

“Look, there’s your clue.” With excitement I indicated the lady who’d just strode into the store . . . clad in a black jacket which, to my eyes, seemed at first to be tinged by a deep red. The lady headed for the candy stand in front of the information desk, which appeared to be a newsstand of sorts for the store. As we all approached her, we noticed her standing right in front of the jawbreakers.

Sharon pointed out the licorice. “It’s the deep maroon color I was thinking of.”

Meanwhile, Brandy turned to the lady with a smile. “Hello. We’re here on a Treasure Hunt . . . .”

In the course of her explanation as to why we were there, we learned the lady’s name—Karen. Hmmm. Begins with K, I mused. Didn’t all the names on our list today begin with K?

Maybe Karen is our first treasure.

“Is there any way we can pray for you, Karen?”

“Yes, most definitely,” Karen replied. “You can pray for my life.” She went on to share about recent improvements in her health from a year-long issue. The group joined her in praising God, then offered prayers for continued blessings. She looked visibly moved as we wished her well and said good-bye. When we Treasure Hunters later on crossed paths with Karen in another section of the store, she flashed us a good-natured, knowing smile.

Time to find our next treasure.

“She might be the lady I just saw in a motorized chair,” Brandy suggested. “I felt really moved to pray for her.” After seeking out this lady, we discovered she and her husband had their granddaughter with them (another clue).

“I want prayer for my husband,” the lady told us. “He was just released from the hospital on Tuesday of last week.” As we prayed for this man, we noticed a bandage on his hand—another one of our clues. While Brandy chatted with the grateful couple, several others in the group hung back to scan for still more clues.

Many popped up around that area: Boots. A Frisbee on a rack. And the backdrop against which the couple’s nine-year-old granddaughter casually leaned featured grass trees and hedges. As we prayed God’s blessings over the sweetly spunky young girl, she beamed up at us with delight. Her grandparents also expressed their pleasure in our prayers during the course of this wonderful visit.

Heading off for the elevator, Sharon noticed another clue. “Look, there’s our palm trees—growing just past that window down below!” Riding downstairs and moving closer to those trees, Abby and I both soon spotted a man with a beard and a yellow overshirt (not a yellow slicker as recorded). But hiding behind the Santa’s workshop set, he seemed to fit another one of our clues . . . that of hiding.

As he slipped into the workshop to talk with Bass Pro employees, we lingered to pray for discernment. Could this bearded man be our third treasure?

Turned out he was . . . as well as being Bass Pro’s Santa Claus.

As we looked up from our prayer, Santa pulled shut the front door of the workshop so we knew he was alone. Since we’d already toured around the back we’d noticed the place had a backdoor—specifically marked with masking tape labeled “Santa’s Backdoor.” Another clue!

Dustin stepped up to the door and knocked.

Santa peered out at us with startled eyes as we shared our story. “What are some of the things on your list you’re looking for?” he asked us with curiosity.
“We’re looking for a human treasure,” we explained to him. “And we think you might be our treasure.”

Santa’s eyes lit up, eager for the prayers we offered him. But just then Mrs. Claus bustled in, coming to her husband’s aid. At that moment a name entered my mind.

The name both Brandy and I had jotted down on our lists.

I turned back to Santa Claus. “Is your name David?”

“Of course not.” His wife snorted. “He can’t be Santa Dave, now, can he?”

But, of course, his name was David. In real life.

“How could you folks know that?” he asked us over and over as he gazed in amazement at our sheets.

But he could appreciate our answer, as he followed the same God. “I’m a Christian, and I want to be sure I’m serving God well in this work,” he shared with us. “It can grow pretty worldly at times. But I like working here at the Pro Shop, since they don’t limit me on what I can say.”

We all ended up praying for one another, and many of the prayer requests we’d listed for our “treasures” fit this jolly Santa and his wife. How we marveled over God’s leading us to them so clearly!

“Would you like to come visit New Horizon Vineyard?” we asked next, after learning the couple were here for a six-week tour.

“We’re on duty during the service time,” they told us with regret. “But we’d love to come to one of your prayer sessions.”

As we chatted with them we also learned the couple came from California . . . from the same town Dustin grew up in! “The world sure can seem small at times,” I reflected with wonder.

Before we left they asked us, “Would you like to come this evening to the Grand Opening festivities for Santa’s Village?”

Of course we told them yes. How can you say no to Santa and Mrs. Claus?

Those of us who found ourselves free to attend watched that evening in amazement at the transformation of this couple into all their crimson-velvet and snow-furred glory. They proved the best Santa and Mrs. Claus you could ever hope to meet . . . in spirit no less than in appearance.

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