Young Adult Testimony: How Alpha Impacted Me

Jocelyn Alvarez at St. John the Evangelist Parish
Monday, December 18, 2023

Before Alpha, I was seriously doubting that God even existed. I grew up Catholic following my parents’ faith, went to a Catholic school, and did my holy sacraments. I do not have a strong faith background other than sometimes going to Mass on holidays and being promised a good breakfast after on Sundays. I would sit in Church looking and counting how many  ceiling lights there were, who it would fall on (God forbid that now), stand, sit, kneel, looking at how the sun and clouds moved to make the pretty colored windows shine. I would pray so much in my childhood, praying for the bad situations that came out of my household to change, but they never have and they unfortunately still haven't. Coming to Alpha, I have realized God was listening and maybe not able to change my situation but giving me His ultimate love and strengthening me to continue to live under His guidance. After college, I felt empty. No clubs, no alcohol to fill the emptiness I was feeling. My aunt and uncle who attend Alpha saw that, everyone saw I was in need of God's love and to open myself up for the better. They invited me two times and I said no, and finally for the third time I finally said yes. I was finally ready to accept God and let Him in as He was overdue waiting out in the cold for me to open that door for Him.

Even weeks ago, I was still doubting His existence because I grew up studying and loving science. I naturally chose the evidence side; if I didn't see it, it didn't happen. I am 100% sure I even mentioned that in my first Alpha small group to make aware no one was going to just influence my opinion. What I didn't expect was I did not need to see God with my own eyes but I felt God in my heart. Who am I to tell God, "You must present Yourself to me, so that I believe You." I almost feel ignorant thinking I was walking around thinking that. I was a half believer, half committer, half everything type of person. With Alpha, there were so many times I practiced prayer with everyone. Grateful for the video, for the discussion, for the push that Katherine and Brenna have made. It was so much fun that now I pray to the Holy Spirit all the time. I didn't even know we could do that. I learned and got motivated to learn more about God through Alpha. Talking with people my age is so exciting, refreshing, and gives me butterflies. They have taught me all something different. I wasn't even giving God a chance to show me what He could do for me.

Halfway through Alpha, I bought my first Bible because I wanted to, not because I had religion homework but because I believe and want to know His stories. I wanted to see what this "hype" was all about. I go to Alpha, and everyone's so happy and cheerful. That's God's love moving through everyone, and I wanted to know how that felt. The Weekend Away really sealed the deal for me. I let go of my fears, my doubts, and I was able to be so vulnerable with God and be able to surround myself with people who love Him. I felt and heard God’s love. I feel worthy of His love, and I am able to come as I am. I felt like I had to get my life together and then be able to let Him in my life, but I am ready for His love now. I feel and live differently now because of it. I see myself asking and praying for guidance, for peace to get through a hard day. Do I still have alcoholic beverages? Yes, but what's different is I don't abuse it like I did. I would look to alcohol to find some peace, to numb the feelings I had and didn't want to go through. I find myself sitting down and opening my Bible. Looking up some scripture that can help when I feel sad, when I feel lonely, when I feel any type of away. I have been opened to feel God's love during this amazing experience and I only crave it more. I only want to be overfilled with the Holy Spirit. I want to pour into my sisters, into my mom, those closest to me struggling. I listen to a playlist Brenna made with worship songs, I would have never gotten such a great playlist if I didn't join Alpha and meet Brenna. I would have never gone on this beautiful mission trip this past weekend if I did not join Alpha and meet Katherine. I went into Alpha with open availability for work, I had to change it for Tuesday nights for Alpha, and now I WANT to change it for Sundays. I know I can praise God any day, but the community St. John the Evangelist Parish has is unbelievable.