Knowing goodness matters to so many people makes it easy to recommend The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans. It is such an uplifting, genuine, good read. Reaching the last page made me wish it could continue on – and even with the brevity of the tale it left such a lasting impression.
At the heart of the story is a very real orphanage in Peru named “El Girasol” – The Sunflower. Paul Cook, an American, selflessly gave up his career as an emergency room doctor to become the orphanage director. A young woman, Christine Hollister, who’s heartsick after her fiance broke off their engagement agrees to go on a humanitarian expedition with her best friend Christine. During this expedition, a beautiful story unfolds about service, children, sacrifice and love. The whole story is sumptuously written with thought provoking quotations from Paul’s diary at the beginning of each chapter.
A few favorite passages:

The surest way to minimize your own burdens is to carry someone else’s. –Chapter 6
Today I overheard an American teenager comparing her deprivation to that of our children, because her parents would only buy her a used car. There are none so impoverished as those who do not acknowledge the abundance of their lives. — Chapter 9
Feelings can be like wild animals – we underrate how fierce they are until we’ve opened their cages. –Chapter 12
The more I study history the more I realize how little mankind has changed. There are no new scripts, just different actors. –Chapter 14
I have come to believe that the only true way we can serve God is to serve His children. –Chapter 20

From reading The Sunflower I understood how the value of service, sacrifice and generosity to others can have a healing affect in our own life. Oh, I want to pick up the book and start it again right from the beginning!