Michael and I had been attending St Luke’s Church, Diep River for several years. We felt it was our obligation as parents to take the children so that they could attend Sunday School and then be confirmed, but we were lukewarm in our commitment to church and to God, and didn’t really want to get involved, as we were both so busy with work and our children during the week that there didn’t seem time, nor did we have the energy. So we attended church erratically and got to know people only on a superficial level, never really sharing much about ourselves.
When we were invited to Alpha, we agreed to go, but I was thinking that I wouldn’t necessarily go every week. But when we started attending, you couldn’t keep us away. We enjoyed getting to know other people in our church, watching the Alpha videos, which are extremely informative and thought-provoking, and loved the group discussions and hearing other people’s stories as well as sharing our own.
The Holy Spirit weekend was the highlight for both of us. Michael for the first time had a Holy Spirit experience and even shared his experience in front of the whole group, which is so unlike him. I have never been so proud of him than in that moment.
For me the Holy Spirit encounter was just about letting go of baggage, emotional stuff that weighed me down, and feeling total release and immense joy as I just handed those things over to God. Since the Alpha course, we’ve been part of a cell group, where we have formed some firm friendships with people in our groups – real friendships, where you can just be yourself and share your struggles in a safe, supportive and loving environment.
These are the kind of friends who build you up and pray for you and speak positivity and hope into your life. We also attend church regularly now and not out of a sense of duty, but because we want to be there, to worship God, to dwell on His word, and to spend time in fellowship with our new family, and we’re slowing starting to getting involved in more areas of church life.
As a married couple, journeying together spiritually through Alpha and beyond has been so good for our relationship. As we are both growing closer to God, we are growing closer to each other and through God’s grace, learning to be more tolerant, forgiving and loving towards each other.