One of the primary characteristics of life is change. To be alive is expressed in a constant adaptation to an environment in change. The underlying thesis of this story is the ever-changing reality in the life of a missionary family for whom doors of opportunity open to new work experiences. They become a part of an organization needing to undergo change in order to respond to the environmental change taking place in the world.

The story is built around the personal growth of a missionary as he is challenged to assume new responsibilities. The element of personal growth is reflected in the transformation an organization must make to respond to changing global conditions in order to fulfill its mission.

The background to the story is the radical change in the political scene which took place following World War II. Two aspects are highlighted. The first one is the emergence of newly formed nations that gained their independence from having been colonies of European nations. The second was the emergence of the Cold War reshaping the global political scene into a bipolar context between two superpowers.

The organization in the story is Church World Service (CWS), the relief and refugee arm of the National Council of Churches. Its mandate was to respond to natural and man-made disasters anywhere in the world. The story is told of the formation of two world bodies that contributed to world peace, the United Nations and the World Council of Churches.

The Cold War led to the formation of a series of walls and militarized borders around the world. The story details the intense endeavor to find ways to fulfill the mission of CWS in a fractured world. This book is not a specific history of Church World Service. The key to the story is the creative ways in which CWS reinvented itself to build bridges to overcome the political walls that had been built.

The book is an important reading for anyone interested in the history of the Christian Church during the Cold War. It also has value for those who study organizational change.