BY JULITA KANTOD
Tawau : The ALPHA program is a tool for evangelisation. It began in 1977 in the United Kingdom, and is presently adopted and conducted in 169 countries worldwide. The objectives are 1) to help people know and understand who Jesus is 2) to deepen and renew our faith 3) for spiritual growth 4) to know each other better through the fellowship and small group sharing and 5) training for potential leaders.
Some 100 participants including Msgr Nicholas, participated in the 1st round of the Alpha program conducted over a stretch of 11 sessions on every Sunday, 7.00 pm - 9.30 pm. It commenced with a welcoming dinner on the introduction night at the Parish Hall on 17th June 2012. The session proper began on 8th July 2012 and ended on 16th September 2012. The week-end away was held in Shan Shui Golf Resort on 18-19th August 2012.
Sunday, 30th September 2012 was the 'Graduation Nite' for the more than 100 participants. Apart from the thanksgiving dinner, the participants were entertained to a host of presentations and personal testimony by the participants. Msgr Nicholas Ong was also present to lend support to the organizing team. He said, 'I assure you that I am all for Alpha and please do not stop at this 'Graduation Nite. I look forward to the next round.'
Jocelyn the ALPHA coordinator expressed her hope that in the near future to conduct the course in Bahasa Malaysia as the majority of the parishioners and guests are Bahasa speaking. The ALPHA team is planning to start the Youth Alpha to cater to the young people especially those in upper secondary school and young adults. She hoped to see more participants in the next round scheduled to be held early 2013.
Testimonies by graduates of the 1st round of ALPHA Course;
After spending more time with this program..listening and discerning the Word of God I noticed and acknowledged that nothing else matter other than the Word of God which is alive .. it inspires me more than any other things else. It has given me strength and affirmation of my faith. Now I realized that money is not everything. ~ Gabriel Chung.
I personally feel that ALPHA is a very special program to me. It is not merely the accumulation of knowledge on the Word of God. It is a continuous process of faith formation. 'What strike me most and and make me realize that through this program.. the Lord is near me...speaking to me all the time.. and I should glorify HIM for His gift of perseverance throughout this program. ~ Francis Kamuntah
The sharing on the Word of God has indeed opened my eyes and heart to acknowledge that there are many treasures hidden in the Words. It is through listening that one builds up one's faith as in Romans 10 : 17, 'So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.' I would like to recommend everyone to participate in this program. ~ Lucy Lo