Heather Barlow has always been idealistic, and now that she has finished high school, she's ready to make a difference in the world. After graduation, she joins a mission group on a hospital mercy ship sailing to Africa. However, Heather is unprepared to face the disease, famine, and misery she encounters. Ian McCollum is also among the medical staff in Uganda. Ian has left his native Scotland to help those threatened by a world of seeming indifference. When Heather meets Ian her heart races and she feels happy to be alive. But as the weeks pass, Heather finds her idealism vanishing; the refugee camps and orphanages are overcrowded, and misery is everywhere. Only Ian can see beyond the horror and help Heather understand that the world can be changed if people try to help those in need one by one.