Some of our students took part in Youth Alpha 2021 organised by the Alpha of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur from 4 July to 12 September 2021. Here are their testimonies:
Throughout this journey of Alpha, I have not only been healed spiritually but also physically. I’ve made lots of new friends and super amazing people. My host, co-hosts and members of my group were so warm and welcoming. They would never push us if we feel uncomfortable and I had so much fun talking and sharing with them as well. I have been calmer when talking with my parents and also managed to be more patient and not as grumpy.
I also loved the games played during our Alpha course. They were so interesting and fun such as guessing the anime characters, guessing songs based on emojis and guessing different types of food delicacies. The videos shared were also so informative. I also loved the praise and worship songs played which I also sang along too!
As a whole, I really loved this Alpha course. I learned so much from this course. It made my fears go away and also allowed me to forgive others more easily. I definitely don’t regret joining this Alpha course and will continue my friendship with my group members and hosts without a doubt.
• Nicole Tsai (F2 Gamma)
I started my Alpha journey on the 4th of July, which will soon come to an end on the 12th of September. From this wonderful 11 weeks of Alpha journey, I have learned more about my faith and my relationship with Jesus. Every week, we learned different topics about Jesus. The week that touched me the most was Holy Spirit Weekend. We learned about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and we were prayed upon by our host in each group. I was in Group 9 which consisted of 5 people that included the host, Martin. He was an affable and amiable person, so are my group mates. I have learned to open up with people I am not familiar with and bonded with them. I have also learned the ability to forgive the ones that hurt me. Psalm 86:5 “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” I have a fear that if I don’t pray for one day, it is a sin, but I have learned that it is not true and that I have to be more consistent with my prayers and I have learned the correct way to pray. I have learned more about Jesus, and the way I think of him, to be more honest with my family and be kinder to my siblings.
• Ariana Seyra (F2 Kappa)
This 12-Week Youth Alpha Programme has been very meaningful and enjoyable to me. Before it all started, I was a little scared that the people there would be very strict and there would be a lot of sharing to do. But it turned out to be quite fun. My hosts and co-hosts conducted games every week to make the group discussions livelier.
I liked the Q&A session in our breakout rooms as we get to give some funny answers too. Luckily, all the members from my group were from SJPSS so I felt a little bit more open to share. I also enjoyed watching all the videos that they showed us. It was fun listening to people’s opinions on all the different questions in the videos.
One of the videos taught me that much happiness won’t last long if we don’t have God in our hearts. The time we spend with God, our family and our friends will grant us everlasting happiness.
The Holy Spirit Weekend was also very interesting. Eddy (the leader) led us in the prayer to the Holy Spirit. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and was able to say out the sicknesses of some people and they were healed. Through Alpha, I feel that I have grown closer to God and the Holy Spirit. All in all, this programme has made me feel more joyful and it has helped me make some new friends.
• Mark Loi (F2 Gamma)
Youth Alpha was fun. At first I didn’t really want to join the programme because I thought it was going to be very serious but it turned out to be really fun and interesting. The host and co host in my group always lets us play games in our breakout rooms and it was very enjoyable although I didn’t attend most of the games. This programme really helped me to get closer to God. I hope that there will be similar programmes like this in the future.
• Terence Chua (F2 Omega)
For 11 weeks, I attended my first Alpha Youth. It was a good experience despite being carried out online. Personally, I have joined many youth programmes when I was younger but I have to admit, out of all of it, Alpha Youth has provided me the most opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions.
During Alpha every week, we will usually have to go into breakout rooms. Sometimes it was quite awkward because all of us were just bare acquaintances. However after spending more time together, we were more open and detailed with our responses. I tend to have more courage and be less shy to elaborate my ideas.
I do find the Alpha experience really fruitful too as it’s like a huge gathering of God’s children together, learning more about God and sharing our ideas, experiences as well as testimonies.
The Praise and Worship session was great too though it would be a lot more exciting physically. But nevertheless, I still enjoyed the worship songs especially Oceans by Hillsong United which is one of my personal favourites. To summarize my reflection, Alpha Youth was a good experience and I hope more people will be able to have a deeper connection and relationship with God through the youth.
• Grace Chong (F3 Eta)
For a total of 12 weeks and 13 sessions from early July to mid-September, I regularly attended an online Youth Alpha programme along with my fellow clubmates and a number of over 40 other participants. Youth Alpha helps to strengthen the faith in every youth’s lives as a Catholic, especially in these dire times where most are not able to perform their regular duties in person at church. This programme also serves as a platform for all participants to freely have a discussion on the session in their small groups in the breakout rooms.
In every session, the main facilitator of the event would assist participants to loosen up by playing different ice-breakers every week, followed by a brief praise and worship session where participants were able to sing their hearts out to honour and thank God. Every week, various topics on certain aspects of a Catholic youth’s life and the church were explored through special videos that were pre-recorded prior to the session. Once the video was over, participants would then be sent to their fixed breakout rooms to conduct a personal discussion among their group members which would last for about 35 minutes. Within the breakout rooms, each group was assigned with ‘host’ and ‘co-host’ who acted as their facilitators in their discussion. The ‘host’ and ‘co-host’ were also responsible for helping certain members get their thoughts across more smoothly and provide a tension-free atmosphere for the discussion. Once the 35 minutes were up, all participants would be invited to join the main room for one more praise and worship session before ending the session with a simple closing prayer.
One of the most prominent highlights of Youth Alpha was the Holy Spirit weekend, where all the participants explored deeper about the Holy Spirit and the fruits and gifts it blesses everyone with. On the final day of the Holy Spirit weekend, everyone was encouraged to enter into a ministering session in their respective breakout rooms, where participants would pray over each other and let the Holy Spirit intercede their prayers. It was a wonderful experience to most, if not all the participants as they felt the Holy Spirit take over them in prayer. Some even felt physical, mental and spiritual healing from the deep prayerful session in their breakout rooms.
Personally, one of the most thought-provoking and striking sessions of the programme was the session on ‘New Life: How can I make the most of the rest of my life?’. The views and different opinions I gathered from different people in the video and in my breakout room helped me out of my long unsolved inner dilemma over what I should really do and where I should go once this phase of my life in secondary school is over. It provided me with a brand new perspective on life and how I should be living it as one of God’s children and a member of society.
Youth Alpha has been a wonderful and life-changing experience to everyone. Through Youth Alpha, a number of brand new relationships were forged and strengthened especially within the breakout rooms. As for the SSJB members, I believe everyone gained a broader perspective regarding their beliefs, values, and religion through the different sessions we attended each week. SSJB members who were the lucky few (myself included) to be invited to be hosts and co-hosts were also able to build their confidence and leadership skills through leading group discussion in their own breakout rooms every week. Youth Alpha has proven to be capable of inspiring and strengthening the faith of youths like us and help broaden our views on life in an optimistic way. This is an incredible experience which I will never forget for the rest of the days to come.
• Jecyntha Dymphna (F4 Phi)
Embarking on the 12-week Youth Alpha Online Course was undeniably an interesting journey, and the experience was amazing and fruitful.
I’m really glad that my faith in God grew stronger through the series of magnificent, short and sweet videos I watched in this programme. I’ve learnt so many extra things about my Christian faith, among which include the Bible, the real meaning of prayer, and most importantly, the life of Jesus on earth. I’m indeed truly aware of the values of humility, love and care for the marginalized that Jesus brought about that I’m to emulate so that I can live life to the fullest according to the Way of the Lord.
Besides, what impacted me most was to be constantly reminded that I’m not accidentally created, and I’m precious to God. I’m not to feel insignificant or worthless, but to realise that God is in my heart, walking with me in every step I take and every moment of my life. Every day, we surely have the bucket of happiness we’re constantly trying to fill, but to do that, we are to be open to welcome and let the love of Jesus flow into our hearts, as the true meaning of joy can only be found through our close friendship we foster with God through Jesus himself.
In addition to that, through the Holy Spirit Weekend, I learnt what it really means to allow the Holy Spirit, also known as an advocate, our guardian and helper, to fill my life and to understand the fact that it is God’s voice that leads me in all the things I do.
Apart from all the above, I can’t help but to express my gratitude for being able to volunteer as one of the hosts that was to lead the group sharing sessions we had throughout the programme. In this way, I surely am doing my part in fulfilling the words of Jesus where I am to be a witness for him, in this case, among young children. During this Alpha program, the sense of leadership really allows me to build friendships with my juniors whom I never had the chance to talk to. I absolutely enjoyed myself working together with new friends besides getting to know people from all over Malaysia too. I believe that it is via these interactions and communication that open my mind to a wider horizon, at the same time, reminding me of the old saying where every cloud has a silver lining. The countless cherishable memories I made with all my juniors and new pals, and the relationship that was bonded will indeed stay rooted in my heart. And for me, thinking of these small and simple things, allow me not only to always be happy, but to remember that God’s love is indeed present in the lives of everyone.
Most of all, I would express my special thanks for the opportunity to join the Youth Alpha Course, and I definitely have no regrets in the decision made. I’m indeed honoured to boldly and courageously participate as a host as a way of service in this program. It is without doubt that through the weekly sharing and discussion, the fire of passion and love for God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity is ignited among youths, thus allowing them to love God more dearly, follow Him more closely, and know Him more intimately.
• Amanda Loi (F5 Phi)