In his book, What About Tomorrow?, Dr. J. Wallace Hamilton, tells a story about a Baptist minister, Dr. Gordon Torgerson, who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean one summer. Dr. Torgerson noticed a man sitting in a deck chair reading the Bible. He sat down beside him and said, “Forgive my curiosity, but I’m a Baptist minister. I assume you are a Christian, and I’m interested to know how it happened.”
“Yes,” said the man, setting aside his Bible. “I’m very glad to talk about that. I’m a Filipino. I was born in a good Catholic home in the Philippines. Some years ago, I came to the United States to study law. My first night on campus, a student came to see me. He said, ‘I’ve come to welcome you to the campus and to say that if there is anything I can do to help make your stay here more pleasant, I hope you’ll call on me.’ Then he asked me where I went to church, and I told him I was a Catholic. He said, ‘Well, I can tell you where the Catholic church is, but it’s not easy to find. It’s quite a distance away. Let me make a map.’ So he made a map to the Catholic church and left.
The man said, “When I awakened Sunday morning, it was raining. I thought to myself, I’ll just not go to church today. I’ll get some more sleep. Then there was a knock on the door, and when I opened it there stood that student. His raincoat was dripping wet and on one arm he had two umbrellas, and he said, ‘I thought you might have a hard time finding your church in the rain. I will walk along with you and show you the way.’
“As we walked along in the rain under the two umbrellas I asked, ‘Where do you go to church?’” ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘my church is just around the corner.’ “I said, ‘Suppose we go to your church today, and we’ll go to my church next Sunday.’
“I went to his church, and I’ve never been back to mine. After four years, I felt it was not the law for me, but the ministry. I went to Drew Seminary and was ordained a Methodist minister, and received an appointment to a Methodist church in the Philippines. My name is Valencius. I am Bishop Valencius, Bishop of the Methodist Church in the Philippines.”
Now, that is a fascinating story of one of the most important people in the world–not the Bishop, though he is important, but the student with the two umbrellas. All of us need to be like the student with the two umbrellas: someone who makes our faith so useful and so attractive that others say, “Your faith has helped me! I want the kind of faith you have!”