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Have you ever been on an international mission trip? Traveling overseas is always an eye-opening experience, but adding missions work involves our hearts in a different way. Jennifer Slattery’s newest novel, Healing Love, tells the story of such an adventure, and I’m excited to have her visiting to share more about it! Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at Healing Love.
(This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. You can see my full disclosure policy here.)
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 orphans’ eyes. 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?
Welcome back, Jennifer! What inspired you to write this series, or this novel in particular?
The idea for this story came as I was flying home from a weeklong mission trip to El Salvador. At the time, all I had was a vague idea, but I knew the ending. Normally, that doesn’t happen. My stories usually start with a character that won’t leave me alone. I’ll know her struggle, her insecurities, her dreams, and soon, her arc. The plot points and endings usually evolve slowly.
So you actually experienced something similar to Brooke’s trip — minus the falling in love with the translator part. 😉 Do you have a favorite character from this story? Why is this character your favorite?
I love them all, but my heart is especially drawn to young Fatima, a girl from a poor village family who flees a potentially horrible situation. She reminds me of the sweet girls we met in the orphanage we served at in El Salvador, one in particular named Jenifer. (One n.) Jenifer hardly ever smiled, but she loved the fact that we shared a name, and whenever she’d see me, she said, “Dos Jennifers! Dos Jennifers!”
What a sweet memory to cherish! Who is your favorite secondary character in this latest novel, and do you think you’ll include that character in a future story?
Probably Brooke because in many ways I relate to her. She’s allowed her fears to trigger a desire for control, one that threatens to keep her from God’s plan. For years, my fears did the same. I was able to rejoice in God’s faithfulness in how He has brought me to a new level of freedom as I watched Him do the same for Brooke.
God is so good, and I love when stories are able to show that! What do you hope your readers take away from this novel?
First and foremost, that God is and always will be love. He doesn’t just love, it’s who He is. In the story, I used the story of Hagar, an Egyptian slave biblical scholars believe was given to Sarai/Sarah when she and Abram/Abraham fled Egypt in Genesis 12. Though Scripture tells us, once she had Abram’s child, she treated Sarai with contempt, I can’t help feel sorry for her. To think, to be given to someone as their property, then she was given to Abram as a surrogate mother, and then she and her child were sent away into the wilderness.
Tell us a little more about yourself. What is your:
Favorite color? Coral
Favorite season? Fall
Favorite writing snack? Ice cream
Favorite beverage? Heavily-flavored almond milk with a hint of coffee
Favorite vacation destination? Anywhere with my husband and our adult daughter
Favorite ice cream flavor? Peanut Butter Party (a new Blue Bunny flavor)
Aside from reading and writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?
Running, going on walks with my husband, going to coffee shops with friends, and visiting used bookstores with my daughter.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go?
I’d love to explore Europe with my daughter, just the two of us.
Thanks so much for taking the time to visit with us today, Jennifer!
Your turn! Have you been on a mission trip? If so, where did you go? And if not, would you want to some day?
More about Jennifer:
Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com, is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, a ministry that exists to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. She and her team travel to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com
Healing Love Giveaway:
Jennifer has graciously offered to give away an e-book copy of Healing Love. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.