Below is a Story of Transformation from Paul and Linda Caughlin who attended the Alpha Course at FGCC this past spring.
My family of five recently started attending Sunday worship at Forest Grove Community Church (FGCC). My wife, Linda, and I were encouraged to attend Alpha by a couple from the church we knew well. As we were new to the church, and knew only a few people within it, we decided it would be a great way to become more familiar with our new community. My wife and I attended Alpha in the spring of 2017. Initially we were drawn to Alpha as a way to become part of the church community; however, it turned out to be a key component in rekindling our relationship with God.
Linda and I attended church as children and were reasonably familiar with the Christian faith. However, I had done little cross-examination of the bible and its stories, which I had often thought to be far-fetched. The Alpha program did a great job in the first few sessions to validate the bible as a document and give it objective credibility. As a scientist, this portion of Alpha was very significant for me as I was uncomfortable expressing and discussing my very real doubt. Alpha created a comfortable environment for me to ask questions and have discussions without feeling embarrassed or judged.
One of the most standout memories I will take away from Alpha is the night after the prayer session. We had a great evening at Alpha, but our 3-month-old child was starting to fuss and cry in bed after two attempts to put her to sleep for the night. My wife was clearly annoyed and over-tired. I said a brief prayer in my mind asking that God would help our child go back to sleep. I facetiously told Linda to return to bed and go to sleep as I had prayed that our child would go back to bed. As it occurred, minutes later we all went back to sleep for the night. As small a coincidence as it might seem, it truly felt that God was trying to tell us, “I hear you, and I am here for you”. It was more than a night of sleep. It was the opening of a communication channel with God.
Alpha was a place that my wife and I could grow in our faith. It gave us information that strengthened our faith in Jesus Christ and also allowed us a platform to discuss our evolving faith with each other. This is a starting point for us to choose to learn about and follow Jesus in our everyday life as well as with our newfound community in FGCC.