On the opening page of Destiny at Dolphin Bay, Melissa Travis must write an essay on her unofficial studies while visiting her missionary sister in an isolated area of South America. Poised on the brink of stirring times, she has little idea at first of living through history—let alone of altering it. Just like some of us, she doesn’t see that her life has more significance than she can possibly imagine.
Jockeying for economic first place as the continental jaguar, the nation of Chile shuddered under a wave of changes in the early 1990’s. After 16 years of dictatorship, they finally had an elected president again, and they dug up so many bones people began to insult the poor man with dog tags. Chilean exiles returned, a trickle at first, then a deluge.
But life in the Chiloé Islands plodded on much as it had for the past century…
- Planting, harvesting, tides, and weather ruled life, not technology and toys.
- Artisanal fishing thrived as big business.
- Glass bottles contained not Molotov cocktails but one-liter servings of Coke—or pisco brandy.
- The school kids’ concept of rebellion included ditching their uniforms in favor of the novel track suit.
Oblivious within their bubble, the Chilotes—the islanders of Chiloé—shrugged and dismissed the daily eruption of delinquency in the capital as little more than another tall tale they heard on their battery-operated televisions. Something like men walking on the moon.
Sí, a salmon boom flourished in Chiloé. But so did seaweed soup, ox carts, battered fishing craft, fiestas, and strange superstitions. The ignorant spun yarns about the ancient myths. The educated laughed—and never admitted that they too secretly believed.
Nothing is as it seems.
Enter Melissa, unaware of the battles raging below the surface. The most important thing she learns in Chile isn’t the language, the culture, or the cool landscape, but that God has appointed her to this place at this hour. Like you and me, in our time…
- She matters to God.
- She matters to her generation.
- And it matters—oh, how much—what she does with the choices she’s given.