Youth pastor Ken Barker's theology doesn't allow him to believe in omens. But his anxiety on the eve of leading First Church's first week-long mission trip out of the country proves well-justified. Their travel agent, understandably confused by the names of two similar-sounding airports, sends him, a chaperone and nine youths to the wrong village. Their original destination is a village two hundred miles away, where they were to paint the local church and run a Vacation Bible School. Two churches (one evangelical, the other Catholic) in this second community are unprepared for these strangers but nevertheless take care of them. Ken cannot get a phone signal and let his pastor know where they are. Nor, because of local flooding, can they return to the airport to try and reach their original destination. Lacking any Spanish skills, the group is stranded and unequipped to do any meaningful ministry. Ken and his group increasingly realize how ill-prepared they are to do any good in San Pedro, practicing ""parachute"" mission work. The novel critiques and pokes fun at this approach, and how the aspiring helpers become ""the helped.""