To be honest, in regards to how God led me to Latin America, I didn’t have this lightning bolt hit me, nor did I have this strange feeling that I should go to Bolivia as a missionary. Rather, I saw it as an opportunity to serve the Lord in a needy place. If we take the Bible literally, then we know that there is a world out there that is dying and going to hell. And it is up to us to go into all the world and tell people about Jesus. Of course, there is a need here in the States, but there is a much greater need outside of the United States.

Latin America is definitely one of those needy places. In Bolivia, where God has called me, more missionaries are needed. There are over 11 million people in the country and very few missionaries trying to reach those 11 million people. That is why I must go to Bolivia and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

Kevin White is a veteran missionary whom I got to intern with for six months in Bolivia. In the future, working in Bolivia will provide great opportunities for me to learn from his example. I believe Kevin will show me the ropes and help me avoid common rookie mistakes that new missionaries may make.

For some reason, God has always put Latin American people in my life. My best friend in middle school and high school was Hispanic. I feel like God was preparing me even back then to work with people in Latin America. I remember sitting with Hispanics at lunch and playing soccer with them as well. God has always given me a heart for people, and He led me to Latin America. Ultimately, it was God all along directing my path. I never thought I would be a missionary, but God had bigger plans than I could ever imagine. 

I got saved at the age of seven, but when I was in high school, all I wanted to do was play sports. During my senior year, I remember asking myself, “What am I going to do with my life?” This is when I began to question God’s will for my life and wondered what the next step was. I later decided to go to Reinhardt University, although I went with all the wrong motives. I went to play football. While playing in a football game one day, I got injured. I tore the labrum in my shoulder, and that meant that I had to have surgery. The surgery took place during my college Christmas break, and while recovering, I was back at my parents’ house attending my home church.

During a service, I met a missionary by the name of Brendon Wung. He was there presenting his ministry, and after the service, he spoke to my brother and me about the Our Generation Camp. At the time, I thought it would be just like any other camp, but little did I know that it would change my life forever. 

After recovering from surgery and returning for my second semester of college, I continued to seek God’s will for my life. I attended a great Baptist church that encouraged me to live my life for God, and it was during this second semester that I finally decided to do something for God. I decided to live my life for Him and not just for myself. This led to my withdrawing from Reinhardt University, as I was still considering God’s will for my life. I then began the process of joining the National Guard because I thought this was what God wanted me to do.

Around that time, the Our Generation Camp took place. This is a camp hosted by Vision Baptist Church and Vision Baptist Missions that is all about missions and the need for the gospel around the world. While at the camp, I realized that it was not God’s plan for me to join the military, but my plan alone. I had been blinded by what I wanted to do long enough and finally saw that God had been calling me to serve Him as a missionary. 

I went to get training for missions at the Our Generation Training Center for three years, and afterwards spent six months in Bolivia as a missionary intern with veteran missionary Kevin White. During my internship, God burdened my heart for the lost people of Bolivia, and I am now on my way back as a church-planting missionary!

-Andrew Wilder