Butterfly in Brazil: How Your Life Can Make a World of Difference
A lot of kids grow up with a dream to change the world, but somewhere along the way they begin doubting that they really can make a big difference. Glenn Packiam believes that changing the world isn’t just a dream but can become reality. In BUTTERFLY IN BRAZIL, he reminds readers that the little things we do can have an impact beyond our wildest imaginations.
Packiam shares from his own life growing up. The son of a Hindu who later converted to Christianity, he talks about the awkwardness that comes in crossing cultures. His self-deprecating style is funny and endearing. A graduate of Oral Roberts University, Packiam spent several years around students who felt they had a great destiny on their lives. Yet with the promise of greatness, he writes, “If we live each life as if it’s a stepping-stone to greatness, we will find ourselves living each moment at half-speed.” He argues that God wants us to act on our hearts today in the here and now and not wait for what may come. Significance doesn’t happen somewhere else but here in the now.
Using the story of Nehemiah as a Biblical backbone for the book, Packiam points to an ordinary man who made an extraordinary difference through his leadership and commitment to rebuilding a wall. He highlights the struggles and triumphs of Nehemiah’s journey and draws timeless inspiration from the classic Bible story.
Throughout the book, Packiam draws on oft-told stories from Christian history. He retells or shares lessons and famous quotes from the stories of Polycarp, Nate Saint and David Livingston, to name just a few. But his best writing and most engaging chapters come from his own life and the people he’s known personally.
In a memorable chapter called “Testing Your Wings,” Packiam recounts the story of Ben, a young man who was part of his church. The author talks about Ben’s passion for the people of Nepal and how he eventually moved overseas to share the hope of God with those who didn’t know him. He traveled to homes and schools, teaching English, music and theology to the Tibetan Christians. The journey was not easy. Several excerpts from Ben’s journal reveal bouts with loneliness, sickness and isolation. Still, Ben was committed to loving people and fulfilling his calling. His life was cut short due to a motorcycle accident on the way back from visiting a remote group of people in the mountains. In response to Ben’s commitment and sacrifice, a team of five young men and women followed in his footsteps and committed to going to Nepal and reaching that same group.
The core message of BUTTERFLY IN BRAZIL is simple: Be faithful with what you have. Be significant where you are. Don’t give up. Love deeply, passionately and personally. But these are messages that we all need to be reminded of. And as demonstration of these principles, a portion of the proceeds of the book is being donated to World Relief, an organization that helps those in need around the world. So go ahead and dream. Yes, you still can change the world.
Reviewed by Margaret Oines on July 1, 2007