Mexico City, Mexico
Pablo is a university student in Mexico City. He is studying Communications with a major in Sports Journalism and loves American football. One of his favourite things to do is spending time with his three best friends and it was this that led him to explore a way to share with them one of his greatest treasures: his faith.
'I have always gone to a Catholic school so God has always been a part of my and my family’s life and have had a life of faith since childhood.
I used to believe that I had a relationship with God but it was very theoretical and rational. It’s not to say that you can’t discover God through reason but I was missing something. Perhaps it was growing up in a Western culture where we are so used to rationalising everything. For example, if you do something wrong you get caught. I thought that was how faith worked, if I didn’t behave well or if I was a bad person, God would not be good to me. To me that was normal, until I realised that what I needed was to find a place where I could talk and question what I really felt.
When I was in school, there were people who guided me and it was really easy to lead a life of faith. Arriving at university I realised it was not so easy. I had to learn to walk on my own.
The first time I heard about Alpha was through my parents; they had been running the Marriage Course and the Parenting Course and a friend asked my mum if she had any material for young people. That's how we found out about the Alpha Youth Film Series (AYFS).
When I met my three best friends Julio, Alvaro and Fran at University I realised that there were people with different beliefs than mine. Our friendship has been so significant that I wanted to share with them what was valuable in my life. Of course always respecting the freedom they have to listen or not.
That's why I decided to run Alpha, to create a space for people who can honestly share their thoughts and questions about life and faith without any pressure.
I first invited a friend around for dinner and to watch the first AYFS episode, after seeing it he was fascinated and decided to help.
The next day I created a WhatsApp group and I invited some friends to come round for dinner at my house, watch the videos and chat. As it was my first Alpha I had to do something engaging for my friends so I decided to buy pizza, because pizza never fails, and a few beers. Not everyone who was invited came but the majority did turn up.
In the second week everyone started to talk more and share what they really thought and what was in their heart. It was surprising to see the authenticity and honesty with which each person shared. Thanks to Alpha, some pizzas and a couple of beers we discovered a friendship that already existed but was strengthened.
After running Alpha at home, I decided to run at University.
I am currently running four Alphas: at home, two in my university with my sister Dominique, as well as supporting one in my local Catholic church.
When guests came to the first session they expected to see a teacher or a figure of authority leading a boring course, but when they found other students running it they were surprised. It was a really rewarding experience, they felt comfortable to open up, be honest and share in an authentic way. Also the atmosphere that we created allowed their questions, ideas and comments to be explored without judgement.
Thanks to this experience I realised that in Alpha the most important thing is the conversations we have about life and faith.'