Josh's Story

Josh's Story

Malaysia

Sometimes we need to believe to understand.

I grew up in a Christian family and during my formative years as a child up until my teenage years had fastidiously attended church every week with my family. I never enjoyed going to church then because it felt like a chore and though I enjoyed my lessons as a child, as I grew up, I started to get more disconnected and feel that I didn’t belong. I was very much just a Sunday Christian. We were always taught to do things one way, and more often than not, I found myself on the opposite path. There was always this sense of overhanging guilt on my shoulders that I will never be good enough. I then took the easy way out and stopped going to church in my mid-teens.

And so for the next decade the rebel that I was merrily pranced through life fuelled by youthful vigour. I was running a marathon, but without meaning or purpose, and I soon found myself lost and alone. At that time I had already heard of Alpha, but never paid any attention to it. It was only by a chance event that I found myself attending one of the sessions.

At the beginning I didn’t want to share any of my burdens and worries with a group of strangers because I felt that no one would understand me. But I was wrong. I began to recognise that the more we met up at Alpha and talked to one another, the more we could relate with each other and I slowly could open up and share all of my life with them.

Through Alpha I realised that in the past, I was merely reading but never understanding. I was listening but never paying attention. I was thinking too much with my head, when I should have instead done it with my heart.

I chose to run away. But yet, God kept pursuing me.

And it became so clear that I am not alone in this journey, and where I was once lost, I am now a map and a destination. The Alpha group which started as strangers, I am now proud to call my family. The chance event that made me attend Alpha in the first place was a reminder that all things happen in God's timing.

I may not be perfect, but Jesus thinks I am to die for.

It has been almost two years since I rediscovered God and opened my heart to Him, and ever since then, it has been an amazing journey of growth and self-discovery. As I continue on this journey of running towards Him, I pray that God will use me in many chance encounters for others to discover Him for themselves as well.

 

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Sheela's Story

Sheela's Story

 

The idea of running Alpha in the workplace honestly stemmed from a practical reason – late working hours were a barrier to my colleagues being able to attend Alpha at church. It made sense to bring Alpha to the workplace for those who were interested to give it a go.

I remember feeling quite nervous and unsure the first time we ran it back in 2014. I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even turn up! ‘Ye of little faith’ I remember a friend saying to me when we ended up with a solid group of about 20 in that first round. Since then, we’ve run Alpha four times - sometimes with larger groups, sometimes with smaller groups - but each experience has never failed to be just as amazing.

The most interesting aspect for me about running Alpha in our workplace was the immediate connection that people made from having something fundamental in common – where they work. There was little need for breaking the ice and discussions took off from day 1 with guests feeling comfortable sharing their thoughts and perspectives.

Alpha in the workplace complements what the church is doing by reaching out to a community that might not have been able to be reached. So many of us know that being out there in the corporate world trying to make it in the great rat race can get tiring and it’s only a matter of time before one begins to ask “Is there more to life that this?” – which is a question that was on the minds of our guests when they came. Alpha provided that safe space for conversations that might not have taken place otherwise.

The most memorable account from a guest for me comes from a guy who had attended our first ever run of Alpha. Post-Alpha, he told us that while was hesitant initially about the whole idea, eventually the weekly sessions became a place of refuge for him in the busyness of work. He said that it was a truly unexpected experience - “Work is what I had associated with stress and a lack of peace but through Alpha, work became a place I found hope, peace and faith.”

It’s not smooth sailing all the time but it is stories like this and many more of that nature that remind me that even if it’s for one person each round, it’s still worth it. And I’d just love to encourage anyone who’s thinking about it to just give it a go! The training and material make the process really simple to get started. Your adventure of a lifetime in running Alpha is just around the corner… trust me, it’s worth it!

Work is what I had associated with stress and a lack of peace but through Alpha, work became a place I found hope, peace and faith.
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