Mandolyn Orrell | Week 10

St. Patrick


This seems like a pointless and rambling blog, but stay with me…


If you are American, or nearly any westerner, I am sure you have heard of St. Patrick.  Americans celebrate the life of St. Patrick by wearing green clothing (or orange if you know some of the tales and are a protestant), having shamrock everything, leprechauns, talk about some kind of hidden pot of gold at the end of a rainbow (I have still yet to see a rainbow on St. Patrick’s Day), and for some, by drinking copious amounts of cheap green beer.  Why it is an American holiday, I’ll never fully understand, even as a Irish-American.


Do you know the true story of St. Patrick?  Not the rainbow following, beer drinking, snake chasing stories.  The true story?


St. Patrick was born in Roman-Britain in 387 A.D., his father a deacon and grandfather, a priest.  When he was 16 years old, a group of Irish raiders attacked his family’s homestead, and he was forced to be a slave in Ireland.  Once in Ireland, he was forced to labor as a farmhand and a herdsman.  It is said that after 6 years of captivity, he had a dream where God told him he would be able to soon go home, and that a ship was ready for him.  He escaped his captors and travelled 200 miles to a port city on the coast of Ireland, boarded a ship, and made the trek back to his family’s land.


Soon after arriving back to his homestead, he had another dream.  In this dream, a man came from Ireland and delivered a letter to him.  The beginning of the letter said, “The Voice of the Irish”.  As he read the letter, he heard people of Ireland crying out saying, “We appeal to you, holy servant, to come and walk among us.”  After having this dream, he started training in Christian theology and Missions.  His training took more than 15 years, and after being ordained as a priest, he left back to the land where he was enslaved to follow the calling on his life: to convert the people group who once enslaved him, and minister to the Christians already living in Ireland.  He single-handily changed the course of history in Ireland.


Amazing life he led, eh?


Now, whether you are a person of faith or not, or if you think he was crazy or not, you must be able to see the influence and impact he had on the people of Ireland.  You also are able to see the type of person he was.  There are a number of observations that can be made from his life story.  First, he forgave those who forced him into slavery.  Second, he did not get stuck rewriting what had happened to him, but moved forth to write the rest of his life story.  Third,  he used his past circumstances to propel him forward in serving others in similar situations.  Forth, he followed the call on his life.  He didn’t question it.  He simply followed it.  Lastly, he prepared for this call.  He did the proper training before he went to fulfill what he knew to be the path he was to follow.  Once properly trained, he went on to have a tremendous impact on the people if Ireland, and changed the course of Irish history.


In practice and application, I could say that his story resonates with me and somewhat mirrors my own life story.  Instead of Ireland being the land of my calling, Korea is where my heart is.  And, while I am here at NFS, I am preparing for, and following, the call on my life: to be an abolitionist, and be a hand in changing the course of Korean history by setting captives free.


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