Alton Kline is a young man on rumspringa, running around and doing his best to make every mistake there is to make. Joshua Kline is his older brother whose responsibility it is to get Alton out of the scrapes he gets himself into, including bailing him out of jail. When the bishop of his community in Cody's Creek, Oklahoma, comes to Joshua asking him to convince his brother to go on a Mennonite Disaster Services missions trip and to go along as "chaperone," Joshua thinks that the idea has merit, especially since the bishop's daughter is going to go along too. At first it seems that Alton is not going to give up his profligate ways, but when something unthinkable happens, he begins to think beyond himself.
But I've gotten ahead of myself. First, we have to go to Port Aransas and the islands off the gulf coast of Texas and meet Charlie, Moose, Alice, CJ, Shellie, and some others who live on the island and we have to pack quickly because a hurricane is heading for shore. The hurricane is going to flatten almost every building on the island and necessitating the MDS missions trips. The purpose of the trip is to rebuild homes for those who lost theirs in the hurricane, and Joshua and his friends are working on Alice's home so that she has space for her grandchildren who live with her.
Vannetta Chapman has written a book of such realism that I had to do a couple of double-takes to be sure I was reading a novel instead of a biography. Her characters have such realistic characteristics--Alton's rebelliousness, Joshua's judgmentalism, Charlie's understanding of teens, CJ's impulsiveness, and Becca's steadfastness. She tells the stories of the residents of the island, the five people from Cody's Creek who come to the MDS mission, and the stories of the two groups together. Joshua's Mission is more than just a story, but it is a book of spiritual teaching. There are lessons on judging, forgiving, bearing one another's burdens, and prayer. I love when I read a book and find something to feed my soul as well as entertain my heart. This book does both quite well.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a house rebuilt after the hurricane.
My thanks to Harvest House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book.