I come from a little village in a part of Thailand called Chaiyaphum. I grew up in the Buddhist faith. I came to Australia in 2011 after I married John.
In 2015 I came to Little Lambs with my children. This was my first contact with church. I met Verity there. She invited me to the Nourish women’s group and I went for a while. I know Verity and the women in the Nourish group were praying for me a lot. However, I wasn’t really thinking about God at all until this year when I began to have some trouble in my life. I had bad dreams nearly every night. It was so bad it made me grumpy and gave me headaches. I felt very low. I tried reading the Buddhist holy book to make me feel better but nothing changed. One day I watched a video of people talking about God healing people. I began reading the Thai Bible that I got from the Nourish group. I said to myself “I’m going to believe only in God and put everything else down”. I prayed, “I am going to believe you God, please help me”. During the night I head God speaking to me clearly for the first time. He was showing me my sins. Soon after that I saw Jesus in a dream. He was standing by my bed and was speaking to me in Thai. He touched my shoulders with warm hands and said “Repent of your sins”. I woke up and I could feel the warmth of his hands on my shoulders. I didn’t know how to repent of my sins, so I called Verity and asked her to help me and she prayed with me.
I don’t have bad dreams anymore and the problems I had before are getting better. I started coming to church and I went on the Alpha Course. This was very helpful and made me want to learn more. I also go to the Connect women’s group. I am very happy to be part of the church. Everyone is very friendly; it’s like a family.
I can feel the Holy Spirit touching me. It’s so amazing. You can’t explain how happy it makes you feel. It’s like you are experiencing true love with God. It’s a feeling you can’t put into words. The Holy Spirit helps me to be connected with God and makes my faith grow.
I have to say that I went into the Alpha course with some trepidation not knowing quite what to expect. Now after having just completed it, I wish I had have done it so much sooner!
What I loved most was that each meeting was informal and the videos we watched were so contemporary and the messages relevant to today’s world. The material is just relatable!
I also loved that my group ended up feeling more like a really nice weekly get together of friends sitting around discussing a theme from The Bible rather than undertaking 'a course'.
I can honestly say that the Alpha Course has answered so many of my questions and has launched me off the starters blocks in my quest to learn and understand more of faith and belief.
~ Kate T
In 2018 I set myself a challenge to read the Chronological One Year Bible. This bible is arranged in the order the events occurred in 365 daily readings.
At the time I had a New Age business and had studied various New Age practices over the past 20 years. I had a collection of crystals, books, essential oils, statues of various false gods, Oracle cards, and assorted 'tools' for my business.
I was inspired by the testimony of a prominent ex-new Age woman named Doreen Virtue, who had recently had an encounter with Jesus. Doreen was a successful author (with Hay House), teacher, and a successful businesswoman in the New Age. She walked away from it all to follow Jesus.
At the end of 2017 Doreen announced she was going to do daily video posts for the 365 daily Bible readings. I decided to join in, along with thousands of others. Her daily commentaries and links to helpful videos, really helped me to get through some challenging areas in the Old Testament.
My original thoughts were that I would still be able to have my feet in both worlds, keep up my new age work and read the bible. Four months in I threw out all my new age books, the essential oils, and many other items I had collected over the years. God's words were sliding into my heart and I knew His words were the TRUTH. Two passages from the Bible that spoke to me were from Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 4:16-20 So do not corrupt yourselves by making an idol in any form-whether of a man or a woman, an animal on the ground, a bird in the sky, a small animal that scurries along the ground, or a fish in the deepest sea. And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars-all the forces of heaven-don’t be seduced into worshiping them. The Lord your God gave them to all the people of earth.
At the time I was attending Full-Moon and New-Moon rituals, honoring the four directions, and believing certain animals, crystals, and false gods held various powerful energies that could enhance/improve my life.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.
Reading that the things I was practicing were detestable to the Lord, really hit me, because I honestly thought I was helping people.
Each of us comes to the Lord damaged. So, He begins a renovation program to repair our thoughts about Him, about others, and about ourselves.' (from Bob Gass)
Doreen often encouraged us to find a church to attend. She said having other Christians to support and encourage you was an important step. When Sunday would come around, I would make excuses as to why I couldn't go. One day I was walking past St Nics and felt God was calling me to this church.
In May 2018 I attended St Nics for the first time. Being a person who finds going to unfamiliar places with people I don't know very challenging, I was comforted by the warm welcome I received from Jamie, Verity and all the parishioners. I feel so blessed to have found this church. Since then I have completed the Alpha Course; which I found incredibly helpful and answered some of the questions I had, in easy and simple terms. Verity invited me to join the lovely ladies in the Connect group; where I have made valued friendships.
On Sunday 20th October I was Baptized and Confirmed by Bishop Ian, supported by my family and my church family.
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:5-7
The decision on January 1 2018, to begin to read the bible in one year, has changed my life. Instead of believing my thoughts created my reality, worshiping false gods and Gods creations, I now know that God is the one who walks with me, He is my provider, He is my redeemer, the one who forgives, and the one I worship.
'My word that goes out from my mouth will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it' (Isaiah 55:11)
I must admit, I entered the Alpha course with some apprehension considering that it would be done in the isolation of our own homes, online! Most courses I have been on or facilitated involve a heavy bias towards interaction and the fellowship of being together. These fears soon dissipated with the warmth of the people involved and the excellent way that Jamie and Verity ran the sessions.
There was a good mix of people in different stages of their journey with Christ. The course material is very well structured. The initial meeting focused on the solid foundation of belief. I found the presentation of the history and supporting evidence of the Bible and the session ‘Why did Jesus Die’ particularly compelling. The narration from Nicky Gumball and his team is uplifting. This is followed by testimonies by some incredible people. They ranged from hardened criminals that had turned to Christ to personal prayer friends of the Pope! The common thread is the love of Jesus and you could see the gentleness and warmth these people exuded.
At each stage in the ten-week course, the big questions are asked and answered. Group discussions are a key component, where the participants all brought forward their points of view. The team shared their views on the content and scripture. The experiences of people in the group who had already attended Alpha were particularly heart warming.
As the course developed, I found myself becoming hungrier to learn and have started a Bible in One Year study. I felt a tremendous feeling of Gods presence in one of the later sessions when the group were finally allowed to meet at the church. Initial trembling turned to an incredible inner warmth and peace. Other people in the group also felt a change, in different ways.
I highly recommend everyone to participate in an Alpha course, whether you have been involved with church for a number of years or just a few weeks. I am looking forward to my renewed journey with Christ. God Bless.
The best way for me to describe the impact this course has had on me is "more than I expected". I didn't come in with a list of questions...just a curiosity to find out more. As a relatively new Christian I sometimes struggle to get elements of faith from my head to my heart. Watching the videos and listening to the people in my group has made me realise that other people have similar obstacles to get around too. The discussions have been like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that we all have different pieces of, and at the end we can all see the bigger picture more clearly. Obviously there is so much to explore, but this course has given me a guide to find out more in my own time. The biggest mind shift for me has been understanding that Jesus is looking for a relationship with me, not calling me to "follow a religion". This is helping me to get past the fear of sharing the Gospel with people, and not feeling like I'm just giving a sales pitch. I can't wait till the next one, because everyone has different questions and perspectives that help to grow our faith. I would strongly recommend this course to anyone, regardless of where you are in your walk with God.