Week 25 - "I wanted to know more but I wasn’t sure where to start"

Athena’s story, Citizen Church Pontypridd - Moving to Pontypridd from Greece to study, in the midst of the pandemic, led Athena to question if there was more to life than this. Her journey to discover a spiritual connection ended with her trying Alpha at Citizen. Here she describes how she discovered answers to all her questions. 

"I grew up in Greece, which meant I was brought up in the Orthodox Church. I wasn’t in the most religious family; we believed in God, but we didn’t go to church every Sunday. When I was 17 I came to the UK on my own to study at the university of South Wales. During my first year of uni, I realised I wanted to get more experience volunteering and so I ended up volunteering at the chaplaincy in the university. I found the covid lockdown really difficult. I was stuck inside with my then boyfriend and housemates, and found it really lonely. We were all atheists, but my friend and I decided we wanted to start exploring spirituality to see if it could offer more meaning to our lives.

We explored witchcraft and tried to contact spirits, but nothing really made any sense. I was studying death and different concepts of the afterlife in my third year of university and I wanted to know more but I wasn’t sure where to start. I ended up spotting an Alpha invitation in the cafeteria of my university, and I thought it was worth a try. I thought maybe it could give me the answers I had been searching for. At Alpha we spoke about the Holy Spirit, and everything just started to click. It was so interesting to discuss those questions I had with other people, to hear their thoughts, and not feel judged by anyone. It was great to feel like some of my questions were being answered, and to understand the idea of God more.

As the weeks went by, I began to realise it was this that I had been missing. I came to Citizen Pontypridd for a Sunday service and during the worship experienced the Holy Spirit. I felt a real sense of emotional healing, almost like my body was glowing. I felt a joy that made no sense, and knew that Jesus would carry me through any tough times I was facing. Alpha really helped me to understand what christianity is all about and answered lots of my questions but I know that I have people I can talk to about them and that together we can understand more about Jesus!"

Every week of the academic year, we are sharing a story of student mission. If you have a story to share, let us know.

(This story is taken by permission from Citizen Church magazine.)

Maral Harries

Partnership Developer

Maral is passionate about student mission because she first experienced God's love through hearing the Gospel at uni in Iran. She is now part of the Partnership Team based in Wales serving churches to reach the 99% of students who don't yet know Jesus.

Partner with Maral