“Maewyn–May Win? He Certainly Did!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
Many times we read in the Bible about individuals whose names were changed by God as a result of their relationship to Him. Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. Simon Bar-Jonah became Peter. And Saul became Paul. That’s to name just the most well-known examples. Today’s article deals with another individual that was touched by God and had his name changed. And, amazingly, this person falls into that strange category of an oxymoron: unknown celebrity.
I would not be exaggerating to say that after the ministries of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, few have had as much of an impact upon Christianity as this one solitary person. You see, single-handedly, this man brought a spiritual awakening to hundreds of thousands of folks who had never heard the Gospel before. We’re talking hard-core pagans here. Today, we’d call his efforts a revival. However, in my opinion that word revival might be too weak of a description! And, through his efforts, his name was also changed.
He was born with the name Maewyn Succat, and at the tender age of 16, he was a victim of human trafficking. Tragically, for six long years in a foreign country amid a foreign language, he endured beatings and horrible living conditions. Nonetheless, something very strange happened to him during that bleak time. He was abruptly set ablaze by the Holy Spirit of God! In fact, he would spend countless hours praying to God, remembering Bible stories, and singing the hymns from his childhood. Those were the very things he’d thought he had forgotten all about. And, speaking about forgotten, it was as if he’d forgotten that he was even still a slave!
Suddenly, after 6 years of slavery, Maewyn heard the very audible voice of God! As you can imagine, it totally startled him. God told him: “Soon you will depart for your home country! Behold, your ship is ready!” And so, with that divine prompting, he set out into the middle of the night. It would still be a two hundred mile walk to get to that boat of freedom. Nevertheless, that would be only the first part of his incredible adventure with God. His name wasn’t changed yet.
Sadly, the reunion with his parents in England proved to be very short-lived. You see, God had other plans for him. And after some theological training, another supernatural message from God (this time in a vision) came to him. Maewyn was being sent to the most unlikely of all places: the very place of his former captivity! And so, Maewyn Succat obeyed God—and in the words of the late Paul Harvey–that’s where we encounter “the rest of the story”. Church historians conservatively estimate that more than 100,000 people were converted to Christ there! Amazingly, more than 300 churches were also established by him! And the entire country of IRELAND was radically awakened to God by one solitary man whose name was later changed…you guessed it…to Saint Patrick!