Reading Group Guide
1. Gabby is afraid to share her fears about adoption even with her husband, Tom. Do you think deep down she may have realized her fear was irrational?
2. Gabby, Cassandra, and Heidi didn’t have their hearts in the right place when they left for the mission trip. Their reasons for going were egocentric. Yet they grew in spite of that, emotionally and spiritually. What does this say about God’s constant love in pursuing a relationship with us?
3. What do you think made the women bond so quickly once they hit the foreign soil of South Africa? Have you ever been in a similar situation where you became close to a stranger in virtually no time at all?
4. Timing is everything, God’s timing especially so. If an employee at Graceview Church hadn’t had a family emergency, Gabby wouldn’t have been invited on the mission trip. If she hadn’t had the miscarriage exactly when she did, she probably wouldn’t have gone either. How did God’s timing play a role in Cassandra’s and Heidi’s decisions to go on the trip? Looking back, can you see where God’s timing led you to a certain path or decision?
5. Katie’s temperament improved once she arrived in South Africa. Why do you think that was?
6. When the women first saw Jaleela’s tin-roof shanty, they were apprehensive about going inside. But after meeting her, they were slow to leave her home. What do you think they found compelling about Jaleela?
7. Tom was hurt that Gabby pushed him away. Eventually, he began to grow away too. Is there anything he could have possibly done to mend the situation earlier?
8. Mama Penny was larger than life. The people in the village depended on her for everything, much the same as a family depends on the mom for most everything too. Given Mama Penny’s situation, her only source of comfort was God. If you are a mom, who or where do you turn to for renewal and help?
9. Cassandra’s independent attitude came from a past history of hurts and disappointments. Do you think she would have been equally as successful if she’d had a loving environment to grow up in?
10. Jaleela’s faith led her to surrender to God’s will and the dream He placed in her heart. In surrendering, she believed He would be there to take care of the rest. To Cassandra that seemed as wistful as wishing on a star. Who was right?
11. At one point, Gabby looks at the pastor’s compound and doesn’t see the electric fence or the mess anymore. The place has become somewhat homey to her. Why do you think that was? Are we more adaptable than we think?
12. In two instances, a line of scripture flits across Gabby’s mind when she encounters the South Africans. Once was when Nomvula came running out of her dilapidated home, and another time after listening to the prayer requests of the South African women. Why do you think these verses pressed on her heart at those times?
13. Missiongoers often set out with the intent of ministering to the people they’re visiting. But the South African women’s faith was so strong, they ended up ministering to the Americans. Have you ever had this sort of instance occur in your everyday life?
14. Though the cultures and socioeconomics of the South African and American women were far different, in what ways were all of the women’s dreams and wants very similar?
15. Hope is defined as “desire accompanied by expectation of fulfillment,” but some would simply say hope can be a lifesaver. How has hope influenced a difficult time in your life?
16. Have you ever gone on a mission trip? If so, did it change you at all?