Dara and Peter DeSoto met in college and have now been married over 19 years. They served as missionaries with the ministry ENLACE in El Salvador from 2005 through 2010.
Today, Dara is a professional doula who works with expectant mothers. Peter is the Executive Director of Three Angels Children’s Relief, a nonprofit that serves at-risk families and orphans in Haiti. They live in Seal Beach, California with their four kids (PJ, Isaac, Hannah, Kaya) ages 17-10 yrs. old.
Christy Krumm Richard is a freelance writer, college instructor, and creator of the blog, The Edible Life. She has spent the last six months interviewing Dara and Peter, researching El Salvador, and going through Dara’s journals of her time living abroad, both before and after Peter was shot. At this point, she has loads of material, including video interviews of their kids right after the incident and a written firsthand account documenting the shooting.
Faith and risk are two invitations that life offers. Like hands held open, they beckon us to follow, to believe and to fight for something we cannot see. After nine years of marriage and the birth of three children, Dara and Peter DeSoto found themselves walking through the quiet streets of their neighborhood in Valencia, California and considering the unthinkable. What if they sold it all—their house, furniture, cars—and moved to El Salvador to be missionaries? Dara was pregnant with their fourth child, Peter had a lucrative career, and nothing about taking this risk made logical sense. Yet, their hearts were leading them in this direction and they felt compelled to follow.
One afternoon, while Dara was homeschooling their children in San Salvador, Peter was shot in the neck by a masked gunman as he was driving through a tiny village four hours away. The bullet lodged in his esophagus, missing his spinal chord and trachea by only one centimeter. The next nine hours were an intense fight to save him. Yet, once they succeeded, even more complicated and heartbreaking questions emerged, as saving Peter’s life was just the beginning.
Much of this book takes place in El Salvador, which is the smallest of the Central American countries and also the most densely populated. From 1979-1992 the country was caught in a bloody civil war between the government military and left-wing guerrilla groups who were battling over land. After 12 years of fighting, 75,000 people had died. Today, El Salvador still struggles with poverty, inequality, and gang violence.
Even with this struggle, El Salvador is filled with beauty, nature, and a thriving culture of resilient people. One can feel like family within minutes of sharing a pupusa together. Kids play soccer in the streets with abandon. Moms and dads work hard to provide a future for their kids. Many churches lead the way in helping their communities confront dire circumstances and overcome through God's love.