Dr. Marcus Samuels is a man with a heart for seeing the world come to Christ. As a medical missionary in Japan, his life has been God’s work despite a severe anxiety disorder associated with being far away from home. After twelve years, seeing all his siblings married, happy and having children has created a chronic ache inside him that he can no longer deny. At forty, he knows it’s time to return to the States and start his life over there. The only problem is that his prospects for a wife and family have become remote at best. When Marcus mother suddenly falls ill with a condition that leaves no hope for recovery, he packs up, planning to return home for good. He’s caught off-guard when he realizes just how much he’ll miss Keiko Oichi and her brother Haruki, fellow pediatricians at the Children’s Christian Mission Hospital. The two have not only been his lifeline while he’d struggled with being a foreign place, a world away from everyone he loves, but have become family to him.
Keiko and Haruki grew up in the United States as foreign exchange students, and Keiko has returned many times over the years to visit the host family who took her and her brother in far beyond the generous protocols of the program. It was through this family that she and her oldest sibling became Christians. Keiko’s parents see her as little more than a possession that will bring them great social status and wealth. Since she was a child, she’s been betrothed to rich Buddhist—one whom she knows has no love of Christ or sense of morality. Though this man has shown no sign of fulfilling their marriage contract, she dreads the day her parents announce her wedding day. The only thing her family reveres above wealth and social standing is education. Keiko has pursued learning with obsessive passion. Until she asked Christ into her life, she’d accepted her duties and obligations to her family without question or even emotion. Her conversion, as well as getting to know Marcus, have altered her detached position radically. When Marcus says he’s leaving Japan for good, something inside her feels abandoned and lost at the prospect. In the years she and Marcus have worked together, she’s come to view him as her closest friend. With Marcus, she can be the woman she truly is inside—not a robot programmed by familial tradition and impossible expectations.
Knowing Keiko was engaged, Marcus had trained himself not to see her as a potential mate. But learning of her unhappiness and fear of being unequally yoked to an immoral man she can never love opens his eyes to possibilities he hasn’t allowed himself to consider. Who better to fall in love with than your very best friend? When Keiko’s parents learn of her conversion and feelings for a Christian man, the couple face a crossroads in love and faith that will change both of their lives irrevocably.