About the Book
In the HOPE Trilogy, teenagers Kelsey and Harmonie solve mysteries, fight for justice, experience the supernatural, and find their place in God’s destiny for their town of Hope, Colorado.
From the back cover of the book:
Seventy-five years ago, fifteen-year-old Hope McCormick disappeared. To remember her, the newly incorporated town was named “Hope.” When high school friends Kelsey and Harmonie begin looking into this unsolved mystery, they discover that someone will do anything to make sure the town’s secrets never come to light. Which neighbors are allies, and which face masks a violent enemy? And what will it take for their struggling town to fulfill its original destiny of hope? The Hope Trilogy is written for those who are hungry for God’s revival and transformation of their communities. Learn more at http://www.jimbaton.com.
“All over the world radical lovers of God are rising up to reform their communities. We’re about to see entire cities and nations experience supernatural kingdom transformation. Jim Baton’s HOPE Trilogy captures in riveting narrative what it could look like.”
–Johnny Enlow, founder of RISE, author of The Seven Mountain Renaissance: Vision and Strategy through 2050 and Rainbow God: The Seven Colors of Love
New York City, 2040
Jasper Pritz flashed his holographic government ID to the security guard in the UNICEF lobby, and after a brief phone call, the guard pointed him to the elevators. At the eleventh floor he located the Child Survival and Development office, and showed his ID once again.
“Please take a seat, Mr. Pritz. Our Assistant Director will be with you in a moment.”
Jasper surveyed the plush waiting room and chose an armchair with a good view of the digital wall. Fifteen screens detailed the work of the CSD office in various parts of the world. His eyes were drawn to a fireworks display in central Africa celebrating the eradication of malaria. The adjacent screen reported the distribution of five billion vaccines to children under five last year, and a record low for infant and early childhood mortality rates.
Terrific news, but not why Jasper was here.
A door opened and Jasper stood to his feet. The woman who approached him was no more than 5’8” even with her heels. Her brown hair was shaved on one side, where several piercings adorned her ear, long and straight on the other side. The silver sash from her right shoulder to her left hip contrasted with her black pantsuit. She was probably mid-30s. Her eyes were a glittery silver today—but he guessed that underneath the color contacts her pupils were probably brown. She smiled warmly and extended her hand. He took her hand in both of his. “Jasper Pritz, Revitalization Commission. Thanks for making time to meet with me.”
“Just call me Kelsey,” she answered. “I’ve got about an hour before I have to join a meeting at the UN.” She waved him toward the open office door. “Anything to drink?”
“Just water, thanks.”
As Jasper and Kelsey sat on the rounded sofa in her office, the secretary placed a bottle of sparkling water and a cup of coffee on the circular coffee table before them.
The view through the green reflecting glass was breathtaking—from the majestic new United Nations building to the sparkling blue East River and the skyline of Long Island beyond.
But the assistant director’s time was precious, he reminded himself. He tapped the holoband on his wrist.
“Do you mind if I record this?”
“Not at all.” Kelsey smiled again. She looked relaxed. He had expected someone with the weight of the world’s children on her shoulders to look more . . . agitated or worried.
“Tell me about the Revitalization Commission. I’ve never heard of it,” she began. He quoted their promo materials from memory: “
’Our task is to document cases of urban revitalization, discern common factors, and recommend policies that will support the revitalization process.’
“Basically, the White House has become aware that across America, while the overall statistics show only slight improvements in health, income, public safety, education, tolerance, etcetera, there are certain cities or towns that have seen such dramatic improvement in all these areas that we can label them “transformed” or “revitalized” urban centers. Our taskforce is analyzing seventy cities that have achieved that distinction in just the last twenty years. Once our research is complete, we will be able to suggest policies that will hopefully enable other struggling urban centers to turn their situations around.”
“How fascinating! May I ask why you’re focused only on the last twenty years?”
“It’s true that there are case studies of transformed cities farther back in history. Perhaps the first modern researcher to analyze these studies trying to discern replicable trends was George Otis Jr. about fifty years ago. But the cases he studied were mostly outside the United States. Starting in the year 2020, there was a real surge of revitalization cases in the U.S., to the point that the media, the business community, and finally the politicians have been forced to take notice.
“We’re still analyzing the data, but the raw numbers point to these seventy cities boasting a median income on average more than fifty percent higher than other cities their size; negative health issues such as obesity, addiction, even cancer are all well below average; their crime rates are dramatically lower, and in some cases the murder rate has remained at zero for an entire decade; hate crimes are almost non-existent, while racial and religious harmony is one of the hallmarks of such cities.
“Well, I could go on and on about what is happening across our nation, but I came here today to listen to you. One of the very first towns to exhibit these transformational traits is Hope, Colorado. So far in my research, everyone I’ve spoken with tells me the town’s turnaround started with you.”
Kelsey’s eyebrows shot up. “Me? I was only there a few years, and my role was so small.”
“Your role must have been significant,” Jasper argued. “One person claimed you were the ‘catalyst,’ while another called you the ‘driving force.’”
“Ha! Anything I did I stumbled into accidentally,” Kelsey replied. She took a sip of coffee. “To get the full story you’ll need to interview several people: my father, my friend Harmonie, my high school journalism teacher, the editor of our local newspaper, and probably several more—I’ll make a list for you.”
“That would be very helpful. But as long as I’ve got you here, can you please tell me your side of the story? What was the town like when you were seventeen, and how did you turn things around?” Kelsey glanced at the time on the digital screen on her wall. “Sure, I’d be happy to tell what I know of the story. And if we can’t finish it before my meeting, I’ll be happy to schedule a follow-up time. It really is a good story. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine now what a dying town Hope was when I first moved there. Now where do I start?”
“Was there some kind of a spark, some event out of the ordinary? One person I’ve interviewed suggested it began with an art mural.”
Kelsey ran her hand over her hair and neck. “Honestly, our town’s transformation was probably birthed in a prayer meeting before I was even born. But from where I entered the story, I’d say the beginning was the day the tornado hit in August, 2020. Not because of anything I did that day, but because of something Sylvia Seymour said that day; or should I say, predicted on that day.
“Yes, I think the story really begins with my best friend Harmonie and her praying grandmother, Sylvia Seymour.”
About the Author
Award-winning author Jim Baton (pen name) has spent the last 20+ years living in the Muslim world, where he’s been involved in a variety of peace and reconciliation activities including interfaith dialogue, training elementary through university students in peace principles, and bringing Christians and Muslims together to pray. His real name and photo won’t appear on this site to protect his identity from radical groups where he lives out his faith.
Jim also has been on a lifelong pursuit of personal and societal revival and transformation. His newest series of novels, the Hope Trilogy, encapsulates all he’s learned along this journey, with faith that God will visit us again in our day.
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