I wanted to post this yesterday, but what with church and teaching a class last night, I missed the chance. So a happy and belated day of celebration for one of my favorite saints, Patrick of Ireland. Here is his story…
He was from a religious background, but not particularly religious himself. He committed the typical sins of the youths of his time. He was kidnapped at the age of 16, and sold into slavery. He was taken to a land far from his home where he was forced to serve a cruel master for six long years. Then, he made a bold escape. He managed a journey of 200 miles on foot to the coast of the sea. And there he found a miraculous deliverance from the land of his servitude! Does this sound like the plot of a Hollywood film? Maybe it should be, but it’s not. It is part of the story of Patrick of Ireland.
Patrick was a man who only found Christ after becoming an enslaved teenager. Under direct guidance from God he did manage to escape–but for a purpose. God saved him to serve in the ministry. For fifteen years he studied, trained and prepared to follow God. He returned to his British homeland to work in the church. But that was still not God’s perfect plan for his life. Through a series of disturbing dreams God dramatically called him to reach a largely unreached people group. Who were they? They were the Irish, the very people who had kidnapped and enslaved him. Despite his initial reluctance, Patrick obeyed this call of God. He returned to Ireland. But this time he did not go as a slave of men, but rather as a servant of God. He returned to the Emerald Isle as a divinely called and supernaturally empowered man of God. And God did use him mightily. In his lifetime he evangelized the entire island of Eire, and won virtually the entire population to the Christian faith. It is one of the greatest missionary stories in all of church history…
However, many people do not realize an important fact about Patrick. He was a native missionary. He was born and raised a British Celt. Later, he was enslaved by Irish Celts, a different branch of the same people group. Thus, when he returned to evangelize the Irish people, he was reaching a nation who shared a very similar culture and history with his own people. He spoke the same language, just a different dialect. He shared many common traditions and customs. He understood these people. So he was well equipped to reach them with great effectiveness. And thus God was able to use him so mightily!
And we think native missions is a new idea!
If you would like to read more stories of native missionaries, why not check out our website at http://www.advancingnativemissions.com
Also, if you would like to read more about the life of Patrick, may we suggest this website:
Blessings, and safe home!