A Gift from God

A Gift from God

Lagos, Nigeria

If I hadn’t come to know Jesus on Alpha I might still be in prison.

Godgift grew up aspiring to be a priest, but the influence of friends soon led him to a life consumed by alcohol and smoking.

In 2012, there was a series of bombings in churches in his home of Kaduna, leaving many dead and wounded. As a result, some of the Christian youth began protesting. This eventually got out of control and led to the destruction of lives and properties. Godgift, having been one of the people leading the protest, got caught in between the fight, and with his safety compromised, was forced to flee to Lagos State.

Life in Lagos wasn't easy, but he was fortunate to get employment in a factory, and in 2013 an incident took place there that would alter the course of Godgift's life.

Three of his colleagues found themselves in a quarrel which turned into a serious fight with one of the men being stabbed. Godgift happened to be around when the incident occurred and rushed in to call the supervisor. The four of them rushed the wounded colleague to the hospital, but unfortunately he died on the way. Surprisingly, they were all arrested by the police and charged with murder. After posting bail the supervisor was released but Godgift and his other colleagues were detained for the charges against them. They remained in Ikoyi Prison for 19 months while the murder case was investigated.

In prison, Godgift became sober, started going to chapel, and began to reflect on his life and his childhood dream of becoming a priest. He realised how much he had changed from that young boy to the man currently in prison. He decided to devote himself to chapel and other educational and Christian programs in prison, but he still felt something was missing.

One day Godgift heard about Alpha and decided to go. He said this of his experience, "it was as if I just received my sight, my eyes were opened. I had never been so clear about the person of Jesus. Alpha was about Jesus and I learnt how sinless He lived and decided right there that this sinless man is the one I will follow." That was the turning point for Godgift. He finished the course with a new sense of hope and joy because of the faith he had in Jesus.

Shortly after he completed Alpha, he went to court to receive his judgement. Just before the judge was about to give his verdict, his two colleagues stood up to testify that Godgift was not part of the fight but rather helped to rescue the wounded colleague. Godgift was discharged and acquitted.

Godgift found life challenging after being released from prison but he continued to hold on to his faith. He currently leads Bible study in his church and works with the youth. He also helped to lead the first Alpha in his church and has planned to run Alpha-Youth as well.

Godgift continues to grow in his love for God and hopes that others will have the same opportunity that he did to hear about Jesus on Alpha. He said, "I hope churches and prisons all over the world will run Alpha because souls need to be saved—people need to know who this Jesus is, why he came, and what he calls us to do. If I hadn't come to know Jesus on Alpha I might still be in prison. I am so happy about who I am today by the grace of God. I trust that though things are hard sometimes, one day it will be well."

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Alpha Made It Easy To Share My Faith - Philip's Story

Alpha Made It Easy To Share My Faith - Philip's Story

Lagos

I found out that Alpha can be run anywhere. Our friendships have become stronger and more meaningful.

My name is Pius onum Philip, a student at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos. I am from Benue state but born and brought up in Lagos. So, I usually tell people, “My parents are from Benue but I am from Lagos.”

I grew up in the barracks. Life in the barracks coupled with some family challenges made it hard for me to take my faith seriously. My journey in the Christian faith began on the day of my baptism in 2005. From that time onward, I resolved to be a committed follower of Christ.

I first heard about Alpha in 2016 through Andrew. He's a friend and former colleague at the office I worked in before my admission to study Civil Engineering at Yaba College of Technology.

I remember him asking me if I knew about Alpha. I answered, “Of course I know alpha to be a symbol for variation between variables or entities in mathematics. Alpha is also the first letter of the Greek alphabet. I also know alpha as a name ascribed to God as the first”. But I found out he was talking about something different.

He invited me to an event where I learnt more about Alpha, and how to run it. There I got to know what Alpha is. I liked the idea of Alpha but I was still not convinced to run it. Being a Catholic, I had reservations about Alpha being ‘another denominational thing’. But the presence of other Catholics at the event on the first day gave me a sense of peace and comfort.

Despite this, my decision to run Alpha was not immediate. I didn’t feel confident I had understood it and how it works. Then, I was invited to another training event. It was after that I finally said to myself, “Guy, no more excuses, you need to do something". So I decided to run it and see.

One of the things which influenced my decision was my desire to see fellow youths draw closer to Christ. I wanted to create a space where we could come together to explore the Christian faith. I wanted to see our discussion progress from civil engineering, football and girls to faith in God. Thus, I decided to run alpha together with some of my course mates in school.

 

After deciding to run Alpha, I still had other concerns. I wasn’t sure how I would start, and how I was going to convince my friends to come. I had no idea where I was going to get food. I was also afraid they might see Alpha as ‘another church programme’.

But, along the way, I found out that Alpha can be run anywhere. One of my friends agreed to host us in his room every Friday after lectures. So, I invited other friends, and about thirteen of us met every week in the hostel after lectures. We shared biscuits, watched an episode of the Alpha Film Series and then had discussions. Despite the diversity of religion and faith, we all enjoyed the sessions.

With encouragement from Andrew, everything turned out very well and beyond my fears. Running Alpha was helpful for my friends and I. I noticed great transformations in many of them.

Some started to read the Bible on their own with no one pushing them to. Some now pray on their own. For others, harmful habits just fizzled out. Our friendships have become stronger and more meaningful.

Running Alpha opened my eyes to see the beauty of fellowship over food. It helped me see the importance of sharing our Christian faith and giving people the opportunity to express their opinions. 

Running Alpha has equipped me to reach more people. And now, with my friends, we're working toward running it in the church. I believe that Alpha, as a tool, will help us in reaching more youth with the love of Jesus, and help them discover and build a relationship with God. 

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”Alpha has given us tremendous opportunities to present the gospel in a friendly manner to people that ordinarily would not have stepped into the church. We have had several people of other faith try Alpha with us, we have witnessed guests who ordinarily would not call themselves Christians coming to accept a relationship with Christ, while some who have disconnected from the faith made a new commitment to God”. - Rev. Dr Richard Ogunlusi (Church of The Messiah, Ile-Ife)

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God met me where I was and I encountered Him in a way that was really specific to me. Life has become completely different - Ben (Lagos, Nigeria)

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