Growing up, just outside of Nairobi, as one of seven children life has always been hectic. I was the third child. I grew up in a Christian home—full of love. Church was a normal part of our Sunday routine. Something I neither questioned or had much choice in.
I found comfort in the busy. Serving on a number of teams and committees I would arrive at church on a Sunday at eight and not leave until six. I eventually got overwhelmed by my commitments and rebelled against church in my adolescence.
Looking back, I now realise I had the same mentality towards church that I had as a young girl. It was part of my routine. Head knowledge but not from the heart. I knew I was missing something.
After taking a number of 'sabbaticals' from Church, I knew something had to change. I just wanted to stop. Either stop going to church or spending time with the overly ‘smiley people’ I found there. I often compared myself to them. I would come to church happy and leave the complete opposite. As a trained counsellor, I knew this was unhealthy.
I wanted somewhere safe I could pursue my relationship with Christ, rather than simply continue in the routine I had become accustomed to. This is when I heard the announcement about Alpha starting the following month. Instantly I felt that this would be my last attempt at getting back to my relationship with Christ.
I persuaded two of my sisters and two friends to come along, as I thought we would need strength in numbers. Arriving hesitant and sceptical, we had a plan to leave quickly and go out for dinner, but what we found as we entered the doors rapidly changed the plan. This space was unlike anything I had ever experienced. My attitude soon changed from being confident this wasn’t for me, to realising this was exactly where I both needed and wanted to be.
We were welcomed like family from the very start. I found myself in a space where people generally cared about what I had to say. After week two I had no reservations in sharing my thoughts or asking my questions. There were questions I didn’t realise I had until we watched the Alpha Film Series each week. Because of the love I was being shown, I quickly fell back in love with people.
Before Alpha I didn’t like the smiles I was greeted by at the church doors. Now, I am the person behind one of those smiles. I was previously apprehensive about the formality of Church, now Sunday is the highlight of my week. Lifting my hands in worship had become a problem. Now, mine are the first in the air.
I am now in love with Jesus and His church. Church has become a joy. Fellowship has become a priority. My relationship with Jesus has become my purpose. Alpha taught me that to have a thriving relationship with the Lord we should always be asking questions, always learning and always in a space of fellowship. Through Alpha, I got something unexpected. A thirst to learn, which has now led to me studying theology and has changed how I work within my profession. I now use my counselling experience within a Christian youth setting, encouraging others to have discussions, explore their questions and get together in loving community.
Alpha is where I re-discovered myself and my relationship with God. It is a safe space, to have fellowship and fall in or back in love with Jesus. Alpha is for anyone at any stage of the Christian faith. There is no end to learning. Despite being in church for years, I learnt a great deal about my faith and how to properly do fellowship.
My time in church was being led by my head, but now my life and personal relationship with Christ is led also by my heart.