Global Alpha Training Mission, Freetown, Sierra Leone, April 2010




Dear Friends


            I have recently answered a call to join a Global Alpha Training (GAT) team bound for Sierra Leone in West Africa April 16 to May 4, 2010. As many of you know, I continue as an active member in my church at St George’s Ottawa where I have also been particularly involved in the Alpha Course ministry. I have personally experienced how Alpha powerfully and wonderfully introduces and affirms people of all walks to Christianity and into a meaningful deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. While GAT is another exciting outreach opportunity, my decision to become a part of a small Ottawa based team is not without its challenges, not the least of which is in preparation and in mounting a support team over a relatively short period.

            GAT is a global Alpha initiative which provides local training in a localized setting. It is designed to equip and empower local church leaders and people to run Alpha courses and train others where there is a need in their respective communities. Teams are sent out with specific training, programs and GAT talks as they share their experience and passion for this ministry worldwide. Currently there are 163 countries running Alpha courses in many languages resulting in over 14 million having taken a course somewhere. Alpha worldwide has set a goal of having 100 million people complete an Alpha course by 2020!



The Republic of Sierra Leone is a small country on the west coast of Africa and is bordered by Guinea in the north, Liberia to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. It covers an area about the size of Ireland or New Brunswick. Since 2000 Sierra Leone has reestablished itself as a democratic republic after 9 years of civil war. Historically after1792,

this country became a significant repatriation point for former slaves of the transatlantic slave trade. It is now a country known for its production of diamonds and other minerals and it boasts having the third largest natural harbour in the world. Among a population 6.4 million, up to 30% are Christian, 60% are associated with the Islamic faith and the balance are part of various indigenous religious groups. While the official language is English, the majority (97%) speak a native dialect known as Krio (a mix derived from English and a variety of local African languages).  Many schools were unfortunately destroyed during the civil war and two thirds of the local people remain illiterate. However, there is a growing sense of renewal and hope as Sierra Leone extends a welcome to the outside world. As with the experience of GAT in other parts of the world, it is our team’s prayer that the Good News of Jesus Christ through Alpha will be received, established and embraced by the people of Sierra Leone.

            Our GAT team has been invited by some of the Christian leaders in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, to come and introduce Alpha, telling of our collective experience in organizing, training and leading Alpha courses in Ottawa, Canada. I consider myself privileged to have the opportunity to join in this mission. I am therefore personally asking you to stand with me and the team in prayer support and, if possible, in offering some funding assistance. (My total share of budgeted costs amount to $5500, with up to a quarter to be assigned as seed money for Alpha in Sierra Leone.) Donations can be made payable to St. George’s Anglican Church, attention: “Alpha Sierra Leone” (152 Metcalfe St., Ottawa ON K2P 1N9). (Tax receipted donation arrangements are currently being pursued)


I am a servant in Christ,




Richard Gilman