Treasure Hunt: Five Clue Sheets, Five Hunters, and Six Treasures at Firewheel

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Contributed by Julie Atwood.

“I forgot to ask Cheryl for the clue sheets before she left town, so this morning I ended up hand-printing my own.” Abby pulls out five sheets of paper, plops them onto the Treasure Hunters’ table. The group’s co-leader is the only one seated there when I stroll into Tom Thumb and join her at the table. Admiring her neatly-penned printing on my clue sheet, I wonder who else might be coming this morning.

Moments later Sharon heads over from the Starbucks’ counter clutching a cup of steaming coffee, while Dustin and Brandy breeze in through the front doorway. Now five people encircle the table. Five Treasure Hunters . . . gazing down at five hand-copied clue sheets.

“I actually had no idea who all would show up today,” Abby tells the group with a grin. “But I got tired after copying down all that info onto the fifth sheet. So I thought, ‘Hey, five copies will be plenty for this morning.’ ” She scans with dancing eyes her four fellow Treasure Hunters. Then emits her merry chortle when Brandy remarks, “Was that prophetic or what?”

We all chuckle with her and agree. And when Abby reads this morning’s words from the devotional Jesus Calling— “ ‘As you walk with Me through this day, practice trusting and thanking Me all along the way. Trust is the channel through which My Peace flows into you’ ”—I sense the same trust that led her to know how many clue sheets to print will pervade this entire Treasure Hunt.

Our combined clues of benches, popcorn, cookie ice-cream cone, waterfalls, and yellow flowers lead us by consensus agreement to Sharon’s location clue of Firewheel Mall.

Which—when we arrive to find the walkways swathed in grayish mist, with black-streaked clouds brooding overhead—appears to be deserted.

Once more we split up and travel “two by three,” me once again partnered with Sharon. Abby checks her watch. “We’ll all meet back here at the van at eleven forty-five.”

I glance at Sharon. Neither one of us is wearing a watch. Another exercise in trust.

“I don’t like approaching people inside stores, do you?” Sharon shivers and hugs herself against the nippy air as she scans the empty walkways. “But it looks like today we have no choice.” She smiles as she leads me toward Dillard’s. “Well, we’ll just have to be brave.”

But moments after we slip into the elegant clothing store and mosey toward the women’s section, our very first Treasure approaches us. “May I help you?”

To Yvonne’s mind she’s a sales clerk, just doing her regular job. But she’s wearing Sharon’s clue of a gray jacket. So Sharon replies, “Well, actually we’re here on a Treasure Hunt . . . ”

Yvonne’s brisk eyes moisten with sorrow as she shares, “You can pray for me and the members of my family. We recently lost our mother.” Growing brisk again she’s quick to add, “No, don’t pray for me right here and now. I’m waiting on another customer.” But her eyes soften as, before turning back toward the changing rooms, she flashes us a grateful smile.

Sharon encourages me to intercede for her aloud—though of course in a quiet voice—while we head off in the opposite direction.

“May I help you?” As we pass through racks of glamorous rainbow-colored clothes, a second sales clerk approaches us. Tammy’s wreathed in smiles that glow golden as her bobbing curls . . . and as the string of sparkling crosses dangling from her neck.

A golden cross. A thrill courses through me when I whisper to Sharon that’s one of my clues. She nudges me before we turn to Tammy. “Go for it.”

For the first time ever, I’m the one who approaches our potential human Treasure and explains our mission. “We’re on a Treasure Hunt . . .”

Tammy’s smile broadens as she fingers her string of golden crosses. “This necklace is extra special to me, because my great-grandson Phil bought it for me with his own money. He’s only eleven years old, you know, and that’s not the kind of thing he’d normally think of doing with his money.” When we ask her about prayer needs, her eyes start misting over. “Yes, you can pray for my grandson Joel. He lives with me. He’s twenty-five years old, and not long ago he woke up from a coma after a car accident. His waking up was a miracle from God.

“But the surgeons had to take a lung and part of his brain. So when he said, ‘I want to go live with my Grandma Tammy,’ his family warned me, ‘There’s no way you could possibly manage him.’ You see, I work a part-time job besides this full-time job right here.” Her eyes shoot sparks and her jaw firms as she continues, “But I told them, ‘Of course I can take Joel. I’d never say ‘no’ to my dear grandson.’ And you know,” her eyes grow soft, “he’s just the sweetest, kindest boy.

“He’s a strong believer too, and he was thrilled when I gave him a Bible. I wasn’t sure he’d be able to read it, since the brain surgery left him a little slow.” She grins as she adds, “But I know he must be either reading it or else just carrying it around from room to room . . . because I never find it twice in the same place.”

After we pray for Joel—Tammy welcomes us to lay hands on her, and this time Sharon intercedes aloud—she blesses us with the parting words, “It’s wonderful what ya’ll are doing. And it takes a lot of courage.”

We leave Dillard’s and, after strolling through several more deserted streets, check out a store named Charming Charlie’s. “All the items in here are arranged by color,” Sharon tells me. After we pass a display of purses assorted into groups by an entire rainbow spectrum, my eyes catch a streak of vibrant pink (a clue of both Dustin and Brandy). But instead of coloring a purse, this pink glows from a cap. It’s plopped on the head of a shopper, a small sprightly young woman. I almost point her out to Sharon then notice the lady is chatting on a cell phone.

The next moment I spin around to find my fellow Treasure Hunter explaining our mission to this very customer. The lady’s snapped shut her phone, and she’s listening with a smile bright as her pink cap. “I don’t have any specific prayer needs, but I’ll take a blessing. My name is Julie, by the way.”

I can’t help bursting out, “So is mine!”

After we pray God’s blessings over the other Julie and are heading out the store, Sharon marvels, “I was surprised to meet someone in there actually holding a Starbucks’ coffee cup. I didn’t really expect to find that particular clue of mine.”

“I didn’t even notice her coffee cup,” I confess. “All that stood out to me was her pink cap.”

Glancing across the walkway, Sharon notices something else. “Look, there they are!”

It’s the other team—Abby, Dustin, and Brandy.

We’ve all returned to our meeting spot at exactly the same agreed-upon time . . . despite the absence of watches on Sharon’s and my wrists.

When we all trade stories, I learn the other three also found three human Treasures (though in their case, two of these proved pairs of human Treasures).

“First we met this couple named Stan and Elaine,” Abby shares. “Stan wore a gray jacket, while Elaine’s jacket was pink. They just wanted blessings prayed over them. Dustin did the praying out loud,” she adds in answer to my question.

“We met them by the popcorn place,” Dustin puts in, mentioning one of his clues.

Abby grins. “Yeah, and right out in front of it was my bench.”

Next, over by a display of yellow flowers (a clue of both Brandy and me), the trio of Treasure Hunters met Brent and little Bella . . . a daddy and his seventeen-month-old daughter. The cuddly toddler beamed and bounced in her bright pink stroller. “Everything about Bella was pink,” Abby recalls. “Pink cap, shirt, pants, and shoes, and she was even clutching a pink Minnie Mouse.”

“We prayed for Brent’s dad Bill,” Brandy shares. “He’s suffering from a degenerative condition in his nervous system, and he lives far away. Brent’s really concerned about him.”

“Who prayed aloud for him?” I ask after we all share our sympathy.

“I did.” But Brandy’s sober expression lightens to a grin as she adds, “Abby and Dustin just made faces at the baby.”

“Hey, Dustin was flirting with the baby,” Abby teases. “Like she was seventeen years old, not seventeen months.” We all join in with her playful chortle.

“Last of all we visited a comic-book store, and in there I met Suzanne,” Brandy continues. “She was an employee, working behind the counter. She had no specific clues and no particular prayer needs, yet she was still highlighted to me. So I spoke God’s blessings over her and her business.”

Five clue sheets. Five Treasure Hunters. And six precious human Treasures (or pairs of Treasures). During a perfectly-timed return to our designated meeting spot—even amidst streets that seem deserted beneath the brooding storm clouds—I discover the joy of simple trust in my Creator.



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