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OAC leader follows call to reach unreached in France

Peter Kennelly of OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) has announced that he is resigning as National Director to work with OAC in France ...

Peter Kennelly of OAC Ministries (Open Air Campaigners) has announced that he is resigning as National Director to work with OAC in France.

His change of direction is based on timely guidance that characterises his journey of faith.

As a teenager, Peter worked in an office. There he became intrigued by observing the behaviour of a co-worker who who was a Christian. "For more than a year, I found myself asking questions I didn’t realise I had," recalls Peter. "Yet this colleague seemed to have so much understanding.
"Eventually, I went to a church and read the Bible. This continued for about eight months. Then, on 22 January 1979, I gave my heart to the Lord – which changed my life forever!"

Soon the Christian office worker also experienced a life-changing event – when she, Alison, married Peter. He became a minister. "For a decade I enjoyed leading a church engaged in evangelism." recounts Peter, "Then both Alison and I sensed that God was 'tapping us on the shoulder', indicating that it was time to move on.

"Although we were happy, we prayed for direction. I wanted to tell those outside the church about Jesus. I remembered my practical ministry at London Bible College. My choice was open air work, led by David Fanstone, founder of OAC in Great Britain. When I contacted him, he lived close by us. It was definitely time to step out in faith and become a full time Evangelist with OAC."

Over the years, Peter has taken part in missions and outreach activities, in Britain and abroad. "I always had a heart for France and the French speaking people," he explains. "I’ve been learning the language and going over to France regularly to join others in evangelism.

"Interestingly, about two or three years ago Alison told me that she felt we would be living in France. At the time, I certainly didn’t feel that way. But she started learning French herself."

Then on holiday, the Kennellys chose the book of Esther for their Bible study. "Actually, we prayed for specific guidance," said Peter, "about how my ministry might develop in the next few years.  

"The Bible verse 'for such a time as this' (Esther 4:14) made a powerful impact. Both of us knew that God wanted us to share the Good News of Jesus with unreached people in France."

Perhaps the most significant confirmation came when Peter and Alison spoke with their children. With close family ties, all three young people are Christians. Yet they acknowledged that it was right for their parents to follow God’s leading.

It is definitely a step of faith as Peter becomes OAC’s Field Representative in France – yet is uncertain about his location. He and Alison look forward to their first nine months in France at Les Cèdres, a Christian French language school. Intensive training entails a ban on speaking any language other than French.

Those who know the Kennellys realise that their previous changes of direction have also been steps of faith. But all agree that Peter will continue to use his evangelistic gifts ‘for such a time as this’.

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