|Official language||English / Irish|
Ireland was first reached with the gospel by St. Patrick in around 350 AD. It was a missionary minded country sending missionaries all through Europe. When Europe had turned its back on the gospel Ireland was the place that kept the message alive.
How things have changed. With independence from Britain many of the Evangelical Christians left to go back to England in the 1920s. This left the country with a greatly depleted church and only a very small witness. Ireland can no longer be called "The Land of Saints and Scholars".
This beautiful country is now marred by secularism, paganism, druidism and the occult. Immorality and deception abound. Suicide is all too common. Alcohol and drug abuse are at seriously high levels. (An interesting fact to note is that Guinness produces two million pints of Guinness every day, to say nothing of all the other varieties they produce.) Crime is increasing and the people are self sufficient. There is no sense of a need for God.
The real Christian Church is considered a cult and has received the nick name "The Born Agains". Some churches around the world have more members then there are Christians in Ireland. The Church is small and growing only very slowly. If every Christian in Ireland was to be actively trying to reach eighty different people, we would miss 92% of the population. The task before us is huge. We are greatly in need of the prayers of God's people.
OAC began working in Ireland in the 70s. Most of it was due to the work of Sowers, which was then part of OAC. The OAC style ministry had been happening but it was only in 1992 that Larry O'Mahoney went back to Ireland as an OAC Evangelist and started the work on an official basis.
The work in Ireland has consisted mainly of open-air ministry. There are regular open-air meetings and also special outreaches to festivals during the summer. Summer festivals have given opportunity to reach many thousands with the gospel.
Open-air work is a vital way that we are going to reach the majority of the people with the gospel. We use the sketchboard to make an interesting presentation and then seek to talk with the people who stay at the end of the meeting. This is a very effective way of making the gospel known. Its quite simply brilliant.
Training seminars are offered, in both personal and public evangelism, to individuals and churches. Summer teams have made some great opportunities for our training ministry.
Larry and Meriel O'Mahoney live in Killarney in the South of the country. Larry is the National Director of the work in Ireland.
Open Air Campaigners Ireland is a faith mission. Most of our staff's support comes from outside the country as the church in Ireland is very small.