My name is Julius Muhanji, and I am 25 years old. I grew up as an only child and was raised by a single mum who saw me through school in Nanyuki, Laikipia County, Kenya. Growing up in a single parent home was hard; I found myself in abusive situations with all kinds of difficulties. Having never met my father, my mum was everything to me, so when she fell ill in 2008, I had to drop out of school to take care of her. It was around this time that a friend from church invited me to try Alpha.
I grew up being aware of God, but my understanding of him had never developed in to any kind of meaningful relationship. Church often just felt like a gathering place to meet people and hear a pastor speak, but there didn’t seem to be meaningful community where I could journey life with others and have honest conversations that offered encouragement and a sense of accountability.
My first experience of Alpha was at a conference in Nairobi and it didn’t take long before I noticed my way of thinking begin to change.
I felt nervous, I was always shy growing up, but despite my hesitation I decided to join Alpha back home. The discussion was very free; I wasn’t used to being in a place where you can openly ask questions. I learnt to trust people and ended up making a lot of real friends and, seeing the growth in my own life, I began to feel like I wanted to share this experience with others too.
I decided I wanted to lead Alpha, and thankfully I realised I didn’t need to be perfect to do it. The Alpha talks on DVD made everything really easy and they gave me the courage and confidence I needed. When the next Alpha started up I decided I would volunteer as a helper and I’ve been serving with Alpha ever since. I have had the opportunity to reach out to youth in schools and slums and have witnessed young lives being transformed through their experiences on Alpha.
Last year my mum died unexpectedly. The loss has left a huge hole in my life. I still miss her, and a year later the ‘why’ question and a profound sense of loss remain. But, I have hope. God has richly blessed and comforted me through this difficult time and He has given me family through Alpha. I still have a lot of questions, but this time I’m not alone.