A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.
Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the eyes of the orphans she encounters. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.
Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.
When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?
HEALING LOVE is not your average missions story. I loved the complex baggage Brooke brings before she ever steps on the plane to watch over her sister as they travel to El Salvador. They are orphans and Brooke lives in fear in her day-to-day life. She has dreams regarding her career, but she’s got her sister to worry about. The last thing she’s got on her agenda is falling in love.
Brooke doesn’t just fall in love with a person, she falls in love with a people. The transformation in both storylines is beautiful.
Her career goals, her new passion, her colleagues, family and heart all collide when Brooke needs to determine her future. I definitely felt her conflict and was moved by it.
This is a quick read because I wanted to learn what was going to happen. I believe you’ll feel the same, too.
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I received a copy of HEALING LOVE in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Last week I shared my utter frustration with fellow shipmates during a recent cruise. I promised to write about the opposite of their selfishness and today is the day.
Of all the things I could walk off a cruise and be impacted by, I returned home stunned. It wasn’t the food, the shopping, or the sun (because there really wasn’t any.)
It was the servants.
I couldn’t get enough information about the lives of those who worked day and night to serve the passengers. I learned they came from 62 different countries and resided on the second deck. One Romanian worker said from the time she applied to the day she learned she had a job was 4 years. It was that job that gave her money to save and send home because her main job back home just covered living expenses.
Another man admitted his wages helped him save for a home to build for him and his fiancee that would have cement to protect them from the tsunamis. Many were married with children and said they worked 7 mos on the ship, often 6 or 7 days a week, up to 20 hours a day. Granted, some might have been embellishing or my understanding their broken English was off, but somehow, I don’t think so.
One of the passengers asked what everyone thought the workers might be saying about us once on their own deck. I felt whatever negative things they might say, we deserved it. I really struggled with being served. My main waiter, Neptali, from the Philippines, stopped me when I tried to hand him my finished plate. He remarked, “Julie, this is your vacation. You don’t do the work. I do.”
The biggest impact of all, so big that when I tried to recount his demeanor and actions I started to tear up, was the assistant waiter, Borko. He is Serbian and both him and Neptali memorized our names the first night. Everytime we saw Borko other places, he stopped and greeted us with a bow.
When we thanked him for every single thing he did, from water refills to taking away knives, he bowed and said it was his pleasure. He was always smiling. He told us when we docked in Mexico he had never been and was looking forward to it. He admitted being nervous, afraid his friends would deceive him and he’d end up paying for more during shopping experiences on land.
I told my husband if I could adopt him then and there, take him on land and buy him a souvenir shirt, I’d do it.
The hardest act for me to comprehend was my bread crumbs. I’m not the most graceful anything, and my eating is a messy experience. I had crumbs all over the place. Without a word he came by with a small tool designed to wipe crumbs away. I lifted my hands and begged him not to clean up such a mess. He kept cleaning, with a smile, and said,
“But Julie, it is a pleasure to clean this for you.”
His face was so sincere I was overcome and I haven’t been the same since.
The last night in our stateroom my husband and I both blurted the same thing at the near exact time. We pre-paid tips. We had some cash left aside from the tolls we knew we’d have driving home.
We wanted to give our cash to Borko.
So we did.
I don’t know where his faith level is, my guess is he does not have a personal relationship with Christ as when we said goodbyes Neptali said God Bless you, I returned the sentiment to both of them and he said, “May your God bless you.”
But He has the servanthood attitude down, I’ll say that.
Now more than ever I feel drawn to a short terms missions trip and I believe in central/southeastern Europe.
I want to make a difference.
I want to serve.
I want to wipe off the crumbs of life and give people the Bread of Life.
And that is what I learned during my vacation.
It’s Character Confession Saturday and I knew my confession at about 1pm EST Thursday.
I was sitting in a living room watching a friend’s video on their European trip that centered in Romania. Their visit even included a stop at a ministry our local church supports. When that missionary came to our church years ago the Lord stopped me. He let me know He had a plan for me one day to serve with that missionary.
Two years later I was enjoying a luncheon at that friend’s home with other ladies from church when “somehow” the missionary and ministry came up. One by one we confessed that day the missionary visited we haven’t felt the same. We each felt called to visit there, perhaps as a short term missions trip. It was amazing how God orchestrated different women sitting throughout the same service with the same passion and call.
Watching the video Thursday a friend who visits Romania on a regular basis to work with orphans and gyspies saw the part of the video where everyone entered the ministry so many have talked about over the years. She piped up and said,
“So Julie, there it is, the place you will be going to hold babies. When are you going?”
That thought has been on the back burner for years. Her sentence brought the call several leaps forward. I left that lunch Thursday realizing that trip isn’t as far away in my future as I think. I still don’t know when, but the stirring is active.
Seriously, God? I thought I was watching a video and having a nice Romanian meal.
I didn’t plan on you rocking my world, too.