Out of the ashes
“What brought us down to Lacken House?” Alastair Kerr, OM field leader in Ireland, was asked. “The simple answer: God.”
When a fire destroyed the OM office in Donegal in 2006, the team began exploring options for a place near Dublin, a logical location given its high concentration of people.
“We were quite far along in the process when we first heard about Lacken House,” Alastair said. “The day we drew up plans for the new office, we got a phone call about this property owner in the centre of Ireland who wanted to sell to a Christian organisation.”
The 2008 purchase of Lacken House for €1.1 million was a step of faith, but the relocation proved to be a strategic move. Alastair shared how God’s direction held a deeper purpose for OM’s ministry in Ireland.
“God was directing us to areas where others had not focused very much, giving us an opportunity to minister where the need was the greatest.”
Lacken House’s central location allows it to be a gospel presence to the surrounding communities. Ireland’s population is about one per cent evangelical, and many towns have no gospel presence at all.
“Looking at this year’s St. Patrick’s outreach,” Cornel (OM board member) said, “we were distributed over the whole of Ireland. Being central for that is important, because we can bring participants here first for training, and then send them to places like Letterkenny and Newcastle West. It’s also a key point for staff visiting other teams like the Missionary Discipleship Training (MDT) programme or the Philippian Project, because they can go out and back in a day. It’s important for us to be centrally located, because now we can reach more places more easily.”
A haven away
In its ten years in Rahara, Co. Roscommon, Lacken House has been a home away from home for hosting as well as training to equip volunteers, church workers and short-term teams to reach Ireland and the world.
“It’s safe to say that thousands have stayed here since we bought it,” Alastair said. “Our hope is that each person who’s stayed here better understands the spiritual needs of the nation and would leave knowing something of what God is doing here in Ireland.”
Lacken House can easily accommodate large groups up to 30 people, and is tucked away in a peaceful and rural setting.
“We are remote enough that folks can focus on the preparation and training and learn something of the needs here. Lacken House brings a certain tranquillity, a chance for people to get away and actually spend time with God.”
Lacken House is available for local use, a place to rest for anyone who may need to step away for a time.
“We wanted Lacken House to be a bit of a haven away from all the busyness of life,” Alastair said, “somewhere people can come to get refreshed but also mobilised to go back and make a difference in their situations. I would love to see more local believers and pastors come here and spend time being refreshed. It’s so much more than a good experience. There is a certain peace that comes from connecting with God in the beauty of nature around our site.”
Release to reach
Since the beginning of OM in Ireland, there has been the heart to mobilise more Irish believers. However, one of the greatest restrictions at times has been finances, particularly the payment of Lacken House. Over the past ten years, God has provided for 80 per cent of the cost. The team wants to be good stewards of what He has given, so is hoping to pay the remaining balance with one final campaign.
As finances are freed at Lacken House, more funds will be enabled to reach others through various ministries. One dream is to be able to facilitate more Irish involvement in missions. Would you pray and consider joining with the team in Ireland to finish the last 20 per cent in order that they may be 'Released to Reach'?”