At the end of the first day of my two day tour of southwest central Alberta. I had a ten o'clock appointment at Crossfield Baptist. It was exactly 8:00 AM when I left my garage at home and exactly 10:00 when I turned off my ignition in the church parking lot, 219 km later. What timing!
As I indicated in the title of this post, my day was off to an encouraging start. Pastor Dave Wiebe has run Alpha in the past in BC, and plans to run it here in the spring. Youth Pastor Darrly Siemens ran Alpha for Youth here and was very enthused by it. He is planning to run it again this year, hoping to attract kids from outside the church. So, that is two Alpha's lined up for the coming year.
Next stop was Carstairs, at the Church of God there. I was particularly looking forward to meeting Pastor Harry Hoehne there because he hails from Hamilton Ontario, my own home city, back in the day. He has only been in Alberta a few months, so has not yet had time to change his allegiance from the Tiger Cats to either the Eskimos or the Stampeders, whichever might be appropriate. Or, may I add, from the Maple Leafs (yuck!) to a suitable Alberta hockey team.
Carstairs Church of God has run Alpha extremely successfully in the past, but Pastor Harry, being new to his position, has never had any Alpha experience himself. However, he was familiar with it by reputation. In fact, as he told me enthusiastically what he had heard about Alpha, how it was such a wonderful place for seekers to be introduced to the Christian faith in a relaxed and non-threatening environment, I thought I was listening to myself extolling its virtues. He was pleased (and somewhat amazed) to hear that Alpha is offered at no cost for download online. Alpha will once again be run in Carstairs, Alberta.
Finally, for the day, I visited McDougal Chapel, east of Sundre. Once again, Pator Kent Janz had run Alpha in the past, but by the end of our conversation, was seriously considering running it again. He was impressed by some of the new materials, and by the fact that we offer them free online. (I noticed the old original VHS tapes on his office shelf). A glowing report by McDougal's Youth Pastor, Spencer Smith, was a highlight of my day. They ran alpha for Youth last fall and had about 50 guests (this in a rural, or at best, a small-town church), many from outside the church. Several kids invited Christ into their lives. Spencer could not say enough about how well it went for him. Obviously, he will run it again.
Tomorrow I have 4 or5 appointments lined up in Olds, Didsbury, Eckville and Rimbey. Lord willing, I will post again then.