I had lunch with Pastor Wes Dong of Grande Prairie Alliance Church (GPA) today. Wes was the driving force behind the Global Alpha Campaign earlier this year in this city. In all there were close to 20 Alphas registered in the GP area.
We ate at the Jackpot Grill, a former Bingo hall. Bingo halls in Grande Prairie seem to have fallen on hard times. In addition to this one converted to a restaurant, another one has been purchased and beautifully renovated by McLaurin Baptist church. I was there too, today.The person I spoke with at McLaurin said they were happy with their Alpha, and had some good results, but most guests were from their own church and they thought that many guests from outside church might have been more comfortable going to one of two others close by - one at GPRC (Grande Prairie Regional College) and one at a local cafe. Both of the latter were run by people from GPA, so it was wonderful to see the spirit of cooperation among the churches in the city.
Wes told me that every Alpha bore fruit; a militantly atheist student at GPRC became a Christian; the employee who ran Alpha at Jeffrey's Cafe West enjoyed it so much she plans to run another one. Victory Church On The Rock also had great results; a church I've been pursuing for 4 years, that Wes was able to bring into the fold. I'm hoping to visit Victory on Wednesday, as well as Christian Fellowship Assembly, the day after I travel to Peace River to visit churches there and see Bishop Fraser Lawton of the Anglican Diocese of Athabasca.
I love the people I work with, not only at Alpha Canada of course, but key brothers and sisters in every corner of the Province who, when I get to meet with them, always encourage me with their enthusiastic attitude for God, for Alpha as a means of reaching their communities for Him, and their stories of wonderful conversions in their midst. I won't mention Amy, Alana, Mark, Brent, Kevin, Kenny, Jerry or others I'm sure I've missed. What a team! God is amazing - He has raised up people in every corner of Alberta with such a passion for how Alpha, "simplifies" evangelism. I suppose that is His way of delegating.
But this post was about Grande Prairie and about Wes and how encouraging is his heart for the Lord, for Alpha and for this city.