Cori signs up to take a mission trip to Indonesia during the summer after her senior year of high school. Inspired by happy visions of building churches and seeing beautiful beaches, she gladly escapes her complicated love life back home. Five weeks after their arrival, a sectarian and religious conflict that has been simmering for years flames to life with deadly results on the nearby island of Ambon. Within days, the church building the team had constructed is in ashes, its pastor and fifty villagers are dead, and the six terrified teenagers are stranded in the mountainous jungle with only the pastor's teenage son to guide them to safety. Ultimately, Cori's emotional quest to rediscover hope proves just as arduous as the physical journey home.
In this fast-paced, thought-provoking debut novel, McKay, a psychologist who works with humanitarian relief, explores injustice, religious reconciliation, suffering and faith through the eyes of an 18-year-old girl whose mission trip goes tragically awry. For Cori and a team of Christian teens, building a church in Indonesia sounds like a fun project. After an overly long prologue, McKay describes how they journey to the island of Seram and bond with the Indonesian villagers. However, even as they put the finishing touches on the newly built church, Muslim and Christian tensions flare, culminating in a horrific tragedy witnessed by Cori and her friends. They flee through the mountainous jungle, hoping to escape the escalating hostilities. McKay's carefully chosen words, devoid of unnecessary sentiment, lend power to her story. The external hardships the characters face on their trek are secondary to the internal struggles they battle over how a loving God could let terrible things happen; and why their sacrificial choice to give up a summer to help others would cost them more than they ever dreamed. While written from a Christian perspective, McKay gives an evenhanded treatment to Muslims, showing that violence and hatred transcend religious boundaries. This is one of Christian fiction's best novels of the year. (Sept.)
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1 . Great book...explores difficult issues of faith in a realisitc yet Biblical way.
Posted July 22, 2011 by Kathryn , Johnson CityLisa McKay paints a very realistic plot about a mission trip to Indonesia that quickly becomes horrifying due to terrorism. Even though the plans of the group do not turn out as "they" had envisioned, the author shows that God could use the evil man intended to bring a greater good for His kingdom. A suspenseful and realistic read.
August 31, 2007
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