Mark’s Alpha Story
Mark has been a guest on Alpha for this last online course that we have done and he shares some of his story here of what God has been doing through the course.
Tell me a bit about your background and what brought you to the point of wanting to believe in God?
I suppose I have always thought that God must exist. However, I never pursued it any further. Like most people, I filled up my years with useless distractions. Its only after finding faith that I now realise I wasted too many years concerning myself with the kitchen-sink drama that is life, instead of focusing on the bigger issues and questions of life, existence and what it all means.
How did you get the idea of turning to St Andrew’s / Alpha?
My wife Sarah had been on an Alpha course several years ago and had got a lot out of it. She seemed to be more at peace with herself and the world around her. She was happier, and I was happy for her.
What happened next?
Sarah thought it would be something I would enjoy and asked me, “Would you like to go on an Alpha course?”
I thought it was a good idea. I trust Sarah’s opinion, and asked myself the questioned, what could I lose? “Nothing”, came back the reply.
How did you hear of the Alpha Course?
I will have to thank Sarah for the good news.
Had you heard of an Alpha course before?.
Before Sarah went on the Alpha course, I hadn’t heard of it. Even after she’d been on the course herself and gained lots from it, it wasn’t something I ever thought I would go on myself. It never entered my mind for a moment. However, within weeks of starting the Alpha course for myself, I couldn’t help thinking that the Alpha course should be something everyone should do. Whether they are a believer, non-believer or somewhere in between. The benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
How have you found the Alpha course?
The Alpha course answered so many questions about faith and following Jesus. It revealed things I hadn’t even questioned or thought about. Every week was a pleasurable learning curve and every week, I’d be saying to myself, “I didn’t know that.”
I thought I knew something about Christianity. From week one I was to find out that I knew very little about Christianity.
What do you think made you change your position in order to embrace Christianity?
Just like the William Holman-Hunt painting The Light of the World, I was aware from a young age that Jesus had been knocking on my door. Unfortunately, because of circumstance, arrogance, ignorance, environment, status, and life in general getting in the way, I had foolishly not opened the door to him. It was clear he offered me something, but I was fearful of commitment and I held no faith in religion. I also found the Catholic image of the crucifixion haunting. It always freaked me out. For me, the image was like the occult – something not to be tampered with. I didn’t trust it.
Then during the upheaval of 2020, I knew deep inside that I could no longer deny that there was something missing from my life. I felt spiritually lost. It was then that I decided to finally search for that missing something. The journey started on the internet and thanks to the Alpha course, I have now found further answers and a clearer path to travel.
During the Alpha course, I was honest enough with myself to realise that I couldn’t deny Jesus any longer. I opened my heart to him. Thankfully, he was waiting patiently for me. Deep down I knew he always would be. He is the shepherd, and I was a lost sheep. I humbly and gladly had the dignity to come home to the place I was always looking for and wanted to be. He offered me everything that I was searching for. I feel I’ve come home.
Where do you see yourself going once you have completed the Alpha course?
I’m on a road, on a journey and I will wait for the Heavenly Father to show me what he wants from me. I have so much more to learn. I will wait to see where he wants me to go.
Have you had the chance to participate in any of the St Andrew’s Services?
With ‘lockdown’ it has been impossible, but I will be going to St Andrews as soon as I can. It’s exciting and I’m willing to give it a go because I may well find new ‘friends’ and a new ‘family’ to share my journey.
What difference has becoming a Christian made to you?
My life has changed immeasurably. In many ways, I don’t recognise the person I was. I have started to revaluate everything. In such a short time I have grown spiritually and see the world and life in general, differently. I devote time every day to pray and reading my Bible, which I cherish and know holds all the answers to all the questions I have. I also spend hours on the internet searching for further answers from respected theologians. I feel I need to make up for lost time because there is so much to learn and be grateful for. More importantly, I am a better person for finding Jesus and becoming a Christian. It’s going to be a long journey, there will be twists and turns, and setbacks, and I don’t know what’s ahead or waiting in store for me, but I fear nothing, believing that Jesus gives me strength, and I know the end destination is where I want to be. The Alpha course allowed me to have that final leap of faith I was looking for. It is true what they say, Jesus saves. Amen.