Finding a purpose - Rick Leatherwood

Rick Leatherwood - Finding a Purpose in God

As I surveyed the landscape of my life, I saw nothing but emptiness and wasted time. Searching for adventure and fulfillment, I had joined the beatnik generation in thumbing my way to freedom and pleasure and then turned my heels to retreat into a solitary life in the wild. In the thick of the Canadian woods, I experienced a moment in time that gave my life the purpose for which I had been longing.

Cabin in the woods

On the Road

Growing up attending church, , I knew about God, but I didn’t know God in a personal way. As a young adult in the late 1960s, I was drawn to the counter-cultural, beatnik movement. I dropped out of college and began hitch-hiking around the country, covering a distance of over ten times around the world in four years.

Rather than finding personal fulfillment in that time of drifting freely and seeking my own pleasure, I found myself burned-out on people. I retreated into the pristine wilderness of British Columbia, Canada – as close to nature and as far from people as I could get. Over 200 miles from the nearest town, down dirt roads followed by untouched terrain negotiable only on horseback, I cloistered myself in beautiful mountain country where cougars and grizzlies were more easily found than human companionship.

In spite of having achieved what I thought I wanted--the cabin-in-the-woods “dream” of so many of my generation--I was empty. Surrounded by the beauty and serenity of nature, I had no peace.

Finding Purpose

One day, climbing a hill and looking out over the past seven years of my life, I wondered, “What am I doing here?” Drawing on the things I had learned about God but never personally accepted, I fell to my knees and asked God to forgive me based on the price paid by Jesus’ blood for my sins.
Jumping for joy
I rose to my feet and took one step, finding my whole world had suddenly changed. I knew I had been born again into a new man with a purpose in life. Thrilled at this true freedom and fulfillment, I began running, jumping, and shouting. I had been changed instantly. Realizing that Jesus is alive and living in me, my joy echoed in the land around me.

Having finally met my Creator, I had found my purpose. I discovered that as I yield to God’s greater plan of drawing the world to Himself, I now have a purpose, too, in reaching other people for God. God brought me out of the woods and into a lifetime of adventure.

Photo of Mongolia

Rick Leatherwood Today

Rick is the president of Kairos International, an organization driven by a passion to reach countries closed to the message of Jesus’ love and freedom. After a decade of successfully leading teams of Native Americans in a pioneering effort to share God’s plan with Mongolians, Rick has seen 10,000 new followers of Jesus and the first translation of the Bible into Mongolian as a result of his work.

Following God into even more daring territory, Rick and his family currently renovate schools, supply computers, and dig wells overseas in an effort to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Rick is currently working in Liberia spreading the word of God through oral bible translation and oral story evangelism.

Read more about Rick Leatherwood's previous mission to Mongolia.