The Rest of the Story
Today, centuries after his death, Patrick of Ireland is again introducing lost souls to the Savior. This part of the story began in the early 1980s in Southern California, where I first became friends with a Christian actor named Roger Nelson. For many years, Roger’s specialty has been presenting a one-man play called “The Man from Aldersgate,” about the life of John Wesley. He has performed it all across the United States and in many foreign lands. The Lord has used it in wonderful ways, as Roger vividly brings Wesley to life.
One day at lunch, I suggested he expand his repertoire, and do a play on the life of Patrick. At first, knowing little more than the myths and the mystery, he thought I was joking. So I gave him my copy of the Confession, and asked him to read it.
Almost immediately, he began building a file on Patrick and memorizing his writings. In 1992, his new one-man play, “The Confession of St. Patrick,” debuted in Pasadena, California. Since then, Roger has given life to Patrick hundreds of times, and has seen many come to a personal saving knowledge of Christ as a result.
In no way do I want or expect even a shred of credit for the way God has used Roger, in portraying Saint Patrick and thus introducing many to Jesus Christ. Such results had never occurred to me. I had simply felt that a second play in his repertoire would expand and extend his acting career. He’d been telling the story of John Wesley for so many years, and I felt he’d eventually run out of opportunities to do so. I saw this as a marketing opportunity for Roger – nothing more. The actual turn of events took me completely by surprise.
On seeing the play, the late Dr. Ralph Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California, said: “Probably no document beyond the Bible, written in the early centuries, so breathes the authentic power of the Christian Gospel to humble and transform. Nelson brings it to life brilliantly.”
Not long after resurrecting Patrick, Roger wrote to me, calling me “the man who’s responsible for launching my whole new career with St. Patrick.” I don’t feel I deserve such credit. I had nothing to do with choosing my birth date. All I did, years later, was introduce one friend to another.