Tina’s brown eyes flashed as she rechecked her duffle bag, making certain she had everything she would need on the vacation.
“Is everyone ready?” Dad asked. “It’s time to go.”
Soon the car was crammed with luggage and camping gear. Tina saw a suitcase next to the cooler chest. Surrounded by beach towels and sleeping bags, the suitcase looked out of place. Suitcases were for dressy clothes, and dressy clothes were for special days like Sunday. This vacation would take ten days, Dad had said, so they wouldn’t be home for Church meetings.
As Tina thought about being away from home on Sunday, she remembered what Sister Gustafson, her Primary teacher, had told the class about Sunday being a day of worship and rest. Sister Gustafson was going to ask each child how he had spent his Sundays for an entire month, and she would pay special honor to those who had kept the Sabbath days holy. Tina worried that she would probably be the only one in the class who would miss any Primary and sacrament meetings. How can Sunday be a holy day when we’re camping at the lake? Tina wondered. She turned to wave good-bye to the friend who would take care of her little kitten while she was gone.
As they drove past the church and the school and out of town, the family sang, “Give, Said the Little Stream,” “The Golden Plates,” and Tina’s favorite, “Book of Mormon Stories.” Because Josh liked “Smiles,” and because he was the youngest in the family, they sang it again and again. Mom said she liked that song, too, because it made her happy.
As soon as they arrived at their lakeside camp, everyone went swimming. After supper was over and all the marshmallows had been toasted and eaten, Tina and Josh got ready for bed and climbed into their sleeping bags. Mom and Dad listened to their prayers and kissed them good night.
All week long the children played in the sand and swam in the lake. They fished. They climbed hills. And they fed potato chips to bushy-tailed squirrels.
On Saturday evening Tina helped Mom fix a picnic lunch for the next day. Then her mother asked everyone to help carry enough water to shampoo their hair and bathe. As Tina carried her small bucket of water from the lake, she laughed and sang,
“Saturday is a special day,
It’s the day we get ready for Sunday.
We clean our tent,
And we gather the wood
So we won’t have to work until Monday.
We brush our clothes,
And we shine our shoes,
And we call it our clean-up-our-camp day.
Then we tote the water
To shampoo our hair,
So we can be ready for Sunday.”*
Tina liked feeling clean, and she was glad that the picnic lunch was already made, because that meant no cooking the next day.
Because the next day was Sunday, Tina remembered her teacher’s words, “Sunday is a day of worship and rest.” Well, she could rest, and she wouldn’t play, but how could they have a regular worship service when their family was camping?
That night, as Tina sat watching the campfire, Mom brought the suitcase from the car and opened it. Dad took a piece of wrinkled paper out of it, smoothed it with his hand, and with a twinkle in his eye announced, “Tomorrow we’re going on a treasure hunt. This map shows where we can find something to help us to be happy for the rest of our lives.”
Then Mom took four books from the suitcase. Keeping one for herself, she gave one to Tina, one to Josh, and one to Dad. Tina opened her book. It was full of blank pages. Josh’s book was the same. Someone had written in Mom’s book, and in Dad’s, too, but most of their pages were also blank. What kind of books are these? Tina wondered.
Josh was given a turn to take something from the suitcase. He found some postcards and stamps. Then it was Tina’s turn. She looked in and found her favorite Sunday dress! And there was Mom’s green dress and Dad’s suit and tie. Josh’s best outfit was there too. Then Dad said, “We’ll wear our best clothes on our treasure hunt tomorrow.”
The next morning the family got up early and dressed in their Sunday clothes. When they got into the car, Tina helped read the treasure map, directing Dad to cross a bridge and then to take Ryre’s Road west for eighteen miles to where a large red star had been penciled in on the map. That must be where the treasure is! Tina decided.
Dad drove for eighteen miles and stopped right in front of a meetinghouse.
“That’s it—the treasure is where we learn about the gospel!” Tina declared excitedly.
It was wonderful going to church in that little town. People they didn’t even know smiled at Tina and her family.
After the meetings, the family returned to camp. Taking the picnic basket, the blank notebooks, and the postcards, they walked to a small wooded area. After lunch, mother read from her little book, which she called a journal. She showed Tina and Josh how they, too, could keep a journal of the things they did.
Tina and Josh wrote in their special books. Tina also wrote some postcards to send to her friends. The message she liked best was the one she sent to her Primary teacher. It said:
“Dear Sister Gustafson,
Please tell all the class that I kept the Lord’s Sabbath-day commandment. Sunday was a day of rest and worship for our family on our vacation. It was the best day of my vacation.