Mackenzie Allen Phillips was a happily married family man. One weekend, when his wife was booked at a continuing education class in Seattle and his two older boys were back at college, he decided to take the three youngest children on a final camping trip to Wallowa Lake in northeastern Oregon.
They had fun doing all the usual camping activities and made friends with some of the other families staying at the campground. On the final morning of their trip, the two older kids, Josh and Kate, borrowed a canoe and headed out onto the lake. As Mack was keeping an eye on them, he saw the canoe roll over. Kate surfaced but there was no sign of Josh. Mack hit the icy water and dove under, looking for Josh, who he found tangled in the canoe webbing. After several attempts, he was able to free Josh and get him to the surface of the water and back to shore.
After catching his breath, Mack looked for his youngest child, Missy, who had been coloring in her book at the table. She was not there. He, along with other campers, searched everywhere for her. A witness saw a distraught little girl leaving the campground in a green pickup truck driven by a man no one remembered seeing over the weekend. The police and the FBI were notified. A massive search had begun.
The truck was traced to an old back road several hours away from the campground. Dog trackers followed a scent along a trail that led to an old shack. Inside the shack, Missy’s torn and blood-soaked dress was found lying on the floor inside. But no Missy.
Missy’s body was never found.
“The Great Sadness” settled in and found a home in Mack and his family.
Four years later, on a wintry day, Mack found a mysterious note placed in the mailbox. It was an invitation from “Papa,” an affectionate name his wife gave to God, to spend the next weekend with him at the shack. Mack thought for sure it was a joke that he didn’t think was very funny. But it got the best of him, and he decided to go and check it out. This was to be a life-changing experience for him, an incredible journey that changed his world forever.
I really enjoyed this book. The author’s perception of God’s character and nature is incredible. It is thought provoking and touched me in a very deep way. The book was written so that it can be made into a feature film with hopes that the world would want to see it. I know I will definitely be buying a ticket.