Early in his life he’d served as a Navy pilot for eight years, but he hadn’t flown but a couple times since then. The love of soaring through the air never left, though, and God brought that desire to a fever pitch as we neared the possibility of retirement.
We could live anywhere; we could do anything. One dramatic weekend, we discovered that we both had the same dream: volunteer missionary service in the Amazon! And we did it, for six years.
I’d begun to sell a few short stories and nonfiction articles, but never had the urge to write a novel. When my author friends asked why, I told them, “I don’t have a plot for a novel. When God gives me a plot, I’ll write it.”
Living and working with missionaries, I found my preconceptions of them and missionary organizations had holes big enough to fly a plane through. The people were real, fallible, often weak, yet sometimes courageously strong. They loved passionately and served sacrificially. They expected God to lead them through illness, marriage crises, and the throes of personal debt—and he did.
I wanted to write about these modern heroes of the faith through a clear lens. They are not alabaster saints on marble pillars, but bug-bitten moms and dads with red mud on their boots.
At the same time, I delved into the mystery of what, exactly, is “God’s will?” What is it, how can you recognize it, and how much faith does it take to go out on a limb for what you think is God’s direction? What does it mean to be “called” by God?
My husband and I suddenly returned to the States to care for his parents at the ends of their lives. That, too, was a call to a new kind of mission. The idea simmered of writing a novel about missionary life in Brazil. It became so important to do right that I decided to try a starter novel first, and learned that a novel is not a very long short story.
American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) taught me plotting, characterization, structure, and so much more. Reading novels of other Christian writers, I realized that romance would make the story much more palatable. Above all, I must not preach. It had to be fun, exciting, engrossing, and always realistic. The product, Love Takes Flight, was traditionally published in December, 2014.
This year, I hope to publish a series of three short novels also based on the lives and challenges of missionaries in the Amazon. They’re written and waiting in the wings. Meanwhile, the questions of hundreds of people about why my husband took early retirement at the height of his career as a VP of Citibank’s International Division is the subject of a not-for-profit book, Flying for Jesus. http://bitly.com/1vc7LDL It’s been an amazing adventure, and the highlight of our lives.
Lee Carver and her husband served in retirement as volunteer missionaries with a Brazilian organization, Asas de Socorro (Wings of Help), formerly MAF-Brazil. Her husband flew the amphibious ten-seat Cessna Caravan over jungle area half the size of the United States. Their home in Manaus—the largest city in the world with no road to it—was a free guesthouse for missionaries, pilots, mechanics, and medical volunteers. She went on missions, speaks the language, and knows the people whose story she tells. Check out Love Takes Flight: http://amzn.to/12nRfpk
Lee lived in Brazil a total of twelve years. Other foreign postings were to Greece, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Indonesia, and Spain. She studied nine languages and visited more than forty-five countries. The Carvers now reside in Texas and are still active in Brazilian aviation missions. Lee freelances as a grammar/punctuation editor and formats manuscripts for e-book and POD uploads.
Find out more at www.LeeCarverWriter.com