Ascension is a rural community. The people who live there are primarily poor Dominicans and illegal Haitians. There are few local jobs available to provide the dignity of employment. Most households depend on handouts from Christian organizations including the monthly distribution of money to purchase food. Farmland surrounds the village but it is not accessible for members of the community. Girls marry early and have children. Young men hang out waiting for something good to happen. One of the frustrations faced by Megan and Travis is the lack of a shared vision in Ascension that life could be different and better. Such a vision would need to be strong enough to motivate sacrifices and personal investments in the community. It is hard to imagine any fundamental change in Ascension without some sort of a vision grounded in the congregational life of its church and Christian workers.
Isaiah 65 contains the vision of a new creation for people after the return of the exile. It resonates with images of homes, crops, shared community life, freedom from fear, children not born for calamity and the intimate presence of God. Megan and Travis are challenged to create such a vision of God’s salvation with members of the community to which they have been called.