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Maria Baidolly shares how Alpha takes her on a spiritual journey to her true self

I joined Alpha in September 2016 for round 28. I thought it was just going to be like a course about Jesus and that was it. But instead Alpha has become to me a “beautiful spiritual pilgrimage” journey from my old self, old thinking, old behaviour and beliefs to an all new me and this journey has just begun. I must thank the persons who introduced and brought me to Alpha, Bapa Francis Liew and Donny Mapat.

Alpha came into my life just at the right time when I needed healing the most from a broken heart and business challenges. Bapa Francis is a figure I look up to when it comes to motivation and running a business. I was looking for him in late Aug 2016 for guidance in business but instead, he came to me with a Rosary and told me to pray more. At the same time, he invited me to Alpha “free buffet dinner” and I just came not knowing what it is all about, at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall at room F7.

Here, I met a lot of new friends whom I considered my “special friends” and are now very much like family members. I felt welcomed and loved which made me wanted to stick around and continue to join the next rounds. It is always that welcoming faces that you see. This changes my perception about Catholics: I thought that we are all solemn and cold but here, everyone is so warm and friendly.

I love the groupings where we get to share about our life experiences – it makes me feel that I am not alone that there are others who are also struggling. Real people with real life stories – and that really strengthens my faith.

I am Timorese by race and come from a mixed religion family. My dad is of a different religion and my mom is a Catholic. So I think I have some knowledge about Jesus and the Trinity but I don’t really understand about the Holy Spirit until the Alpha Weekend Away. I felt overwhelmed and felt a deep sense of love which I couldn’t describe in words and tears flowed profusely for no reason. The praying over session helped me to break the chain that has held me back from receiving God’s fullest love through His Holy Spirit that is the feeling of unworthiness.

After that weekend away, I fell in love with Alpha and I told myself maybe I could help out a little bit with arranging chairs but instead I found that Alpha has rearranged my life. I then continued my journey with inner healing seminar, going for retreats and sharing of spiritual growth together with other sisters in Christ. All this is because Alpha has introduced me to God and opened doors for spiritual growth.

From that moment of weekend away to date – nine months – I changed from less time for God to making time and communicating with God, from holding grudges to forgiving, from an ignorant daughter to a responsible one and it’s all because Alpha had taught me about God’s love.

From Alpha, I have also learned about the power of prayers, that we too should pray for others and let others pray for us. I am also now serving in the Alpha for schools around KK and Papar.

Alpha has also automatically affected my career and business life. I begin to put God first before I start my work daily. Bring my teammates to pray together and even invite them to join Alpha. The challenge as a young entrepreneur is tough and I have many times thought of quitting when challenges come.

But as I come to understand more about the Holy Spirit and how wonderful our God is, I begin to take heart in every aspect of the business. Believing that He is a great provider and that He is holding and guiding my hands and mind in every decision I make, I have come to realise that everything I have is not mine; it is given to me by the Grace of God as a blessing to be shared with others.

I used to have a very self-indulgent thinking that earning more in life would make me happy and was entangled with too many obstacles until I learnt that the secret of “success” is learning to be happy (joyful), loving, confident (trustfulness) in the Lord and peaceful regardless of outer condition. And who else can better teach us these values but the Holy Spirit Himself.

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