My name is Alex, I’m 21 and I’m part of St Thomas Church in Norwich. This year I have been given the privilege of working in Argentina with Alpha and as part of the Alpha team, I work and live in Córdoba (the second city in the country and around nine hours bus ride from Buenos Aires).
Aviva, the church I am based in which plays a large role in the work of Alpha throughout the country, is different to any experience of church I have ever had. You walk through the door and a storm of kisses, embraces and man-hugs descend on you as you make your way through the crowd to your seat. They then invite everyone new to the front to be interrogated, the most important question being what football team you support. I sided with my Pastor's team, which caused an uproar and a lengthy debate into why Talleres, in Division 3, are in fact useless compared to Belgrano, in Division 1.
Aviva started 3 years ago after 3 Alpha courses changed so many people’s lives that they needed a church for all the people who had given their lives to Christ. So they created Aviva. It's filled with 20-30 somethings who just love each other and love Jesus. They define themselves as a ‘youth church without formalities... Sharing the gospel is natural.’ And it definitely seems that way, from an announcement at church asking for less people to help at Alpha because we couldn’t physically fit in, to monthly conferences on how they can impact this generation.
It is so refreshing walking into such a generous and open community that has Alpha at its origin but now, simply Jesus at its centre.
What God is doing here is so similar yet so different, and it's so cool to be part of it. Since I arrived and was immediately asked to be part of an Alpha training for a group of students starting Alpha, my life has become Alpha. Starting this month, I’m part of Catholic Alpha on Saturdays and Protestant Alpha on Sundays, so fully part of the spectrum of Alpha from the tiniest chapel alpha group, to our crazy church's group packing out the local church hall to running Alpha on national radio.
This is all with the usual and appropriate dosage of endless food, Hellman’s Mayo, football at every opportunity and the slightly happier atmosphere here in regards to the rugby world cup…
However, it hasn't all been easy. There have been some tough times with getting settled in a country where everyone stares at you, causing you to debate whether it is your good looks or the fact you didn't brush your teeth, and also constantly speaking in a language that is to put it simply, not English. And that is where you lovely people come in, prayer would be great, to make good friends, to better my Spanish, and to simply make a difference with Alpha.
Last thing to say is that my church small group's name is literally translated fat group. They’re a great bunch of lads. Eating is their priority.
Thanks for reading, I would love your prayers and if you want to get in touch or want more news, please do.
Send a message to Alex