I think my relationship with God has finally become true and real. There’s no more hiding or pretence.

Andra was in a difficult place. Then she found acceptance, freedom and love when she went on Alpha.

Before I came to London I lived in Latvia, travelled the world and ran my own charity helping abused children. I came to London just to rest, so it was a bit of a culture shock! But it’s so diverse here and I really like London now.

A few years ago I had a traumatic experience and honestly, it felt like I died in that moment. I started to find it very difficult to connect with who I was, and suddenly things didn’t make sense. I felt like God had not protected me. I think I started hating Him. I was completely stripped of my identity, my faith, and even normal functions. I could barely eat, sleep or speak to people during that time.

But somehow, despite all that, I decided to go to CCL. I was initially skeptical, but what surprised me was that people just allowed me to be me, to work things through, and eventually I started to connect with them.

Then when Alpha started, I laughed so much at the first session because we had such great people at our table. I kept going back, session after session, even though I felt like the most annoying group member, because I kept asking these difficult questions and challenging everything.

I didn’t want to admit it, but it was changing me. It’s really been a journey of restoration; every little thing that’s happened on this journey has shown me that God’s there. When we go through suffering sometimes He is silent, not because He wants to cause us pain, but because He allows us to feel pain and anger whilst He is always by our side.

If I hadn’t experienced the love and total acceptance from everyone at CCL and on Alpha, I don’t think I would be a Christian today. God’s people came, stretched out a hand, and really cared.

Through this journey, I discovered how many people have gone through similar things. I’ve realised how many people feel unworthy of church, and of God. I would like people to hear that God can turn sadness to beauty.

I think my relationship with God has finally become real. There’s no more hiding or pretence.

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