Tekila’s Story

Tekila’s Story

London, UK

I couldn’t ignore the notion that all they wanted from me was to turn up, speak my mind and be myself.

From a young age I arrived at the conclusion that God was not part of my life.

Even though my church schooling and regular Sunday church visits secured my belief that God existed, the idea that he was far too busy to help with the problems my family faced consumed me at the start of every prayer. To me, my prayers were empty words fuelled by a combination of doing what I was told and getting the words right.

God was just another unused name in my contacts, saved only for the comforting thought that he just might pick up if I called in an unlikely time of danger. Life itself was far more real than God was.

As I grew up I was obsessed with upholding the image that I was effortlessly keeping up with life’s rat race. Avoiding the shame of falling behind by immediately suppressing the ever-growing feelings of regret, anger and anxiety was all that kept me going.

A religious debate with my twin brother, who always had a strong faith, left me feeling even more frustrated than I did before. I wanted phrases like ‘God loves you’ and ‘God is great’ to be more than just vague or hollow words. Seeing how much sense it made to my brother and other Christians I knew left me feeling like I was being left out of some big secret. I needed to know what all the fuss was about.

The debate ended with my brother recommending I try Alpha. Visions of a Bible waving priest hijacking my free time to self-righteously rant about God’s ‘love’ and ‘greatness’ immediately popped up in my head, and initially made me averse to the idea.

Deep down, however, I knew that I needed a fearless, non-judgemental and trustworthy companion to help me deal with my past, present and future. According to my brother, God was the man for the job, but I didn’t really know or understand him

I decided that Alpha was the way that God would be vetted for this position in my life. When I first walked through the door, it was completely different to what I expected. My group consisted of men and women from different backgrounds who, behind the shield of agonisingly awkward small talk, seemed to be fighting the same urge as I was to stand up and scream, ‘What on Earth am I doing here?’

Nothing, from the friendly group leaders and helpers to the free food, felt natural. The idea that something so well organised was a seemingly selfless act was ludicrous to me, and I was determined to find a crack in the welcoming façade.

The challenging debate topics of Alpha kept me keen on returning to the meetings. Every week I gained a clearer understanding of the role God wanted to play in our lives, as well as a hunger for more answers. The consistency with which the hosts listened and accepted everyone’s views was incredibly disarming, and, though I was still sceptical about Alpha, I couldn’t ignore the notion that all they wanted from me was to turn up, speak my mind and be myself.

We all came from different walks of life, but during our discussions my group connected to each other’s minds instead of our jobs, achievements or backgrounds. Soon I felt like I was among close friends instead of distant strangers, and this gradually gave me the confidence to let my guard down and be myself.

Alpha didn’t affect me immediately, but it was the start of a journey and I feel like I have become who I truly am because of it. My priorities changed for the better and the strong friendships I’ve built from the course are ones I’ll always treasure.

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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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How Alpha Transformed Our Church - Rev. Dr. Ogunlusi

How Alpha Transformed Our Church - Rev. Dr. Ogunlusi

”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)

My Journey - Ben's Story

My Journey - Ben's Story

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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