Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Spotlight on Debbie Kaufman

November 6, 2011

Debbie KaufmanDoctors Mission

Advice…Take It?  Or Leave It?

Have you ever ignored advice and later regretted that you did?

What if it put you in the spotlight of men with machine guns?

That’s exactly what happened to me once when I flippantly dismissed a crucial piece of advice received on an airplane.

All I did was answer a question from a man in front of me about his customs form.  Later I walked to the back of the plane and a second passenger warned me that I shouldn’t speak to the first man.  He used a racial slur, so I dismissed that warning as bigotry and spoke briefly to the first man again.  When we disembarked later in Beijing, the airport was deserted except for visibly-armed Red Army guards.  I quickly found myself alone at the baggage carousel with the first man I’d spoken to earlier.

Man: “How much for your services?”

Me: “I’m sorry. What?”

Man: “Your services.  For the night, your services.  HOW MUCH?”

Even I got it then.  I, a lone woman with no male family member to oversee her care, had spoken to a very traditional-minded man from Saudi Arabia.  He assumed I was a prostitute.

His agitation and continued insistence attracted immediate attention from the guards.  They advanced.  I pictured myself in a Chinese jail for solicitation instead of establishing an international adoption program.  Nothing I said dissuaded him.  The Army guards kept advancing. I did the only thing I could think to do.

Me: “I’m sorry.  My services are already paid for tonight.”

He understood my ethical business dilemma, nodded, and walked away.

In THE DOCTOR’S MISSION, I made sure Dr. Mary O’Hara didn’t get off so easy.  Fearing someone has been shot, she ignores missionary William Mayweather’s advice to stay out of sight while he negotiates their passage through the village of the notorious Nana Bolo. Once she’s seen, William is forced to find a way to save the lives of their entire caravan and keep Dr. Mary from becoming an unwilling bride.   Dr. Mary gets a very rough introduction to cultural differences–she’s in the Liberia, Africa jungle, and the year is 1918.

Ignoring the advice of someone more experienced is rarely a good idea.  Dr. Mary’s decision came out of her natural desire to help—the same reason she’ll later end up attracting the attention of a cannibal chief who will stop at nothing to obtain her “magic.”

To save lives, she would risk her own

A woman doctor! Missionary William Mayweather can’t hide his disappointment. The Nynabo mission in Liberia, Africa, desperately needs help, but he’s vowed not to put another female in jeopardy. Too bad flame-haired Dr. Mary O’Hara refuses to turn back—and he cannot allow her to go into the jungle alone.

Medicine or marriage? For Mary, the choice was clear. Far away from the patriarchal medical community, she resolves to be of real service. She’ll willingly go head-to-head with the handsome, opinionated missionary, even in the face of deadly danger. Yet the greatest tests lie in trusting God’s plan—for the mission, and her future happiness in this untamed, beautiful land….

THE DOCTOR’S MISSION is new this month from Harlequin Love Inspired.  You can read an excerpt here.

Have you ever ignored advice to your later regret?   Even if the result wasn’t as perilous as the wrath of cannibals, tell us about your experience.

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