A strong-willed youth with courage and determination, Arthur runs away from home and eventually attains his dream of becoming a surgeon. His calling takes him to the Arabian Mission in 1904 where he survives dangerous assignments, risky adventures and close calls with death and disease. Christine is the precocious daughter of Danish immigrants who settle on the South Dakota prairie. Determined to gain a formal education, Christine attends a religious country school and later works her way through college and the University of Michigan's medical school. Her calling takes her to Arabia in 1909, where she devotes her medical work to women of diverse religions and socioeconomic backgrounds
When Christine arrives at the Mission's Annual Meeting in Bahrein, Arthur is the first to meet her. It is the beginning of a romance that develops into a deep love and partnership that inspires and supports them in their medical work and the horrific challenges they face when WWI impacts the Persian Gulf. They establish the Mission's foremost hospital and treat thousands of patients each year, including people suffering from malaria, leprosy, plagues, and other infectious diseases in an age without antibiotics. Christine assists Arthur with his most difficult surgeries, using chloroform, a rudimentary anesthetic. Together they perform risky procedures on the highest religious leaders and families of powerful Bedouin sheiks where failure would mean disaster. Christine and Arthur's letters, diaries, memoirs and photos provide a picture of Missionary life in Arabia, as well as the political and social history of Arabian lands before the discovery of oil. When the war reaches Mesopotamia, the mission is flooded with wounded soldiers from the front and Christine and Arthur's medical work turns tragic.