5. Even before her mother died and her father abandoned her, Cara had a difficult life. After those losses she was raised in foster care, which led down a rough path. Normal and acceptable dress and speech for living and working in New York makes Cara look and sound deplorable and offensive in Amish country. Everyone has their own standards/values; some of those values may be etiquette, money, education, family-ties, or religious traditions. Do you find it easy or hard to accept the differences of those who were not raised with your values/standards? Have you found yourself judging people in your community by your standards?
6. When struggling with what to do about Cara, Ephraim believed God asked him to “be Me to her” but Ephraim found that even harder than he expected. He also began to understand some aspects of God he’d never thought of before. What was Ephraim’s greatest struggle in God’s “be Me to her” request? Can you empathize with his challenges?
7. Mahlon is confused and torn about his life choices, and the only thing he knows for sure is he loves Deborah Mast. Do you think that kind of love might be enough to give him roots? Is that fair to Deborah— or will it hold her back?
8. Through Ephraim’s sacrifices and patience, Cara finally gets her feet under her for the first time in her life. Because of Ephraim’s inner character and faith, she begins to accept that God exists, but she has no faith in Him, only in Ephraim. Is there someone in your life who has no faith in God and you are their only understanding of Him? How do you handle that responsibility? Talk about the parts of life we sometimes place our faith in, inadvertently, instead of God.
9. After making a way for Cara to have every need met, Ephraim leaves, giving her complete freedom to decide who she is and who God is to her. Do you believe his decision was the wise? Talk about a time when you gave someone freedom because you felt it was the right thing to do. How do you feel about that experience in hindsight?
10. Ada and Deborah suffer unexpected heartache and humiliation. They both discover surprising strength and hope in a woman, Cara, who is nothing like them. Is it possible to find inner strength and hope from someone who does not share in your religious beliefs? What traits does Cara possess that are similar to Ada and Deborah?