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Why Bolivia?

by Michael Engelbrecht

To many people, Iíve tried to explain the reason why weíd choose to leave the comforts of our lives in Australia in terms that people can readily understand and relate to:
  • a broader life experience
  • the satisfaction of helping the less-fortunate
  • the adventure of experiencing another side to life

Although these things form a part of the picture, they are not big enough of themselves to completely make sense.

If you want to really understand my motivation, youíll need to take some time to let me share with you a little of my purpose, mission, and reason for lifeÖ

Questions about my LifeÖ

  • Why do I want to leave the comforts of Australia for the uncertainties and discomforts of Bolivia? 
  • Why do I live my life the way I do? 
  • Why am I not striving to climb the corporate ladder and take every opportunity to advance my own position? 
  • Why do I try to help others wherever I can? 
  • Why do I give my time to helping humanitarian organizations fulfil their mission? 
  • Why do I go to church each Saturday? 
  • Why do I try to live a healthy life (not smoking or drinking alcohol, vegetarian diet, etc)? 
  • Why do I use my hard-earned money to help others rather than trying to provide the most comfortable future possible for myself and my family?
  • Why do I often spend time befriending people who Iím not naturally attracted to Ė even people who say stupid and hurtful things against me or my close friends, and other people who many would think of as worthless or as drop-outs in society?
  • Why do I wake up early and study a book written over two-thousand years ago, and write letters to someone I cannot see?

My Purpose, Mission, and Reason for Life

Before I begin I need to make it crystal clear that my motivation for doing all these things has nothing to do with a mixed-up attempt for personal gain, and let me assure you Iím not deluded enough to think that by doing these things I can somehow earn special favours with God.  My core motivation is really quite simple Ė I do these things because of what my friend Jesus has done for me Ė let me explainÖ  God loves everyone in this mixed-up planet so much that He gave His only son Jesus Christ to rescue us from misery, death, and no hope for the future; and to give us a gift of eternal life.  This same Jesus who died for us and who God raised from the dead, has become my personal friend and I love Him with all my heart!  He speaks to my heart each day, and supernaturally empowers me to live a life of purpose for his glory.  His main mission for my life is to share this exciting hope and purpose with others who are wandering along aimlessly in life with no hope or purpose. 

Part of this mission involves telling people who are confused by the blatantly-obvious downward spiral of our whole planet, that this is not unexpected Ė time is running out.  God has told us in his holy love-letter to us (the Bible) that He is not going to let things go on like this forever, but He is coming on a personal rescue mission to put an end to misery, suffering, and death.  Be warned however Ė before recreating this planet to be the beautiful paradise He originally intended it to be, He has to destroy this sin-infected planet by fire, along with everyone who has chosen to continue to live their own selfish lives with no reference to Him.  But thereís no need to be afraid because he is longing to rescue everyone who will simply chose to believe in Him, accept His Sonís free gift of eternal life, and allow Him to work in their lives.  Jesus has already paid the death-penalty for your sins if youíll only accept it.

So why am I happy to give up many of the opportunities and pleasures of this life?  Simply because this world is no longer my ďhomeĒ Ė I feel just like a traveller or a gypsy here.  Even the best luxuries and wealth that I might experience here fade into insignificance compared with the home that God has prepared for me in heaven!  So while I thank God for the comforts and blessings He often gives me here, these material comforts are not the core from which I derive my purpose and meaning. 

Imagine for a minute that you were on holidays in Thailand when that Tsunami hit Ė would you really care if you couldnít get a limousine to pick you up, or that you had to climb over streets of rubble Ė as long as the path led you to the airport and to home?  So whether God leads me through a path of comforts or one of difficulties while Iím travelling through this life, Iím content as long as these are on the path that leads me home.

And to answer the first question Ė ďwhy am I going to BoliviaĒ?  The reason is simple Ė God has spoken to my heart and clearly showed me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is His purpose for my life at this time.  To be honest, I donít really yet know why Heís asked us to do this, and of course I donít expect it to be easy or all fun and adventure Ė we will certainly experience personal discomfort and pain; and we never know whether disease or death may cross our path.  But in my life I have already experienced that following Godís leading, and living my life with Him gives me purpose, joy, and deep satisfaction.  Iíve also experienced that God never asks me to do something that He doesnít give me the power to do Ė regardless of the fact that He often asks me to do things which I personally donít have the necessary skills, wisdom, experience, energy, or education to do.  Seeing Godís supernatural power at work in my life is the most exciting, fulfilling and enjoyable experience you can imagine.  Iíve also learned that I can trust God, and I know that He will never chose for me a path that I wouldnít choose for myself if I could see the end from the beginning and be able to see the amazing purpose that Iím filling as I work together with Him. 

When you look at my life youíll very quickly find that Iím not perfect Ė Iím still very human!  Sure, I often mess things up in my life.  Many times I try to take things into my own hands and do them in my own strength or my own way, and thatís when things go wrong.  But God forgives my mistakes, and teaches me to learn from them if Iím not too proud and stubborn!

Maybe youíve never thought much about God, maybe youíve been turned-off Him by religious people who try to put God in a box, or maybe by people who claim to know Him but have done all sorts of horrible, wrong, hypocritical things in his name (maybe even me).  Iíd challenge you to experience God for yourself Ė He wants to save you from your sins, and to give you a unique life of meaning and purpose.  If you want to take up the challenge Iíve got two suggestions for you.  First, do you have the guts to say something like this from your heart as you wake up in the morning?  ďGod, I donít really know you, I donít understand you, and to be honest I donít really even know if You exist, but just in case You do, I give you permission to work in my life todayĒ.  Let me assure you from personal experience that your life will never be the same again! 

The second suggestion Ė despite fierce attacks and countless critics, Iíve found that the Bible contains the ultimate truth about God, life, and the future.  It is filled with supernatural wisdom and power which anyone can tap into if you read it with an open heart, and ask God to open your eyes to itís hidden treasures.  Sure, some parts may appear dry and hard to understand at first, so itís good to start with some basic things like the life-changing stories found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Donít expect it all to make sense after a casual reading like a novel Ė yes, you may pick up some interesting things from a quick perusal, but Iíve found that the Bible is like a never-ending gold-mine where you canít expect to find all the treasures by scratching around on the surface Ė the deeper you dig, the more youíll find!

In closingÖ  Beneath an out-going exterior, Iím actually a fairly shy and awkward person when it comes to talking about the personal things in my life, and you may be surprised at some of the things Iíve shared.  If this short page hasnít answered the questions in your mind or you want to ask me more about something Iíve shared, please get in touch Ė Iíd be more than happy to have a chat.


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