Comfort. Encouragement. Love. While familiar for most children, these feelings were completely foreign to Alan Quaife. From an early age, he grew up in a home that lacked sincere intimacy and affection. He recalls being raised in an environment where there was a lot of tension and pressure. “My parents never gave me much encouragement and love, especially my father. I would come home and tell my dad about different things I had done and every time there was no response – he just didn’t care”.
Growing up, Alan was a gifted sportsman and placed much of his passion and energy into Australian football. At the young age of 14, Alan was signed up by Collingwood football club. “I thought this would be the real moment when my dad would be proud of me. However after telling him the news, there was still no reaction.”
Going against his father’s wishes, he went into sales and worked his way up to become a National Sales Manager. All the while trying to gain any sort of interest from his parents. After receiving no encouragement and interest, he started to feel dejected.
Finally after years of trying to please his parents, Alan resorted to questioning whether he was in fact an adopted child. “For years I asked my parents about it and the response was always the same – I would get yelled and screamed at”.
It wasn’t until five years ago, Alan’s mother finally admitted the truth. “I received a phone call on a Monday morning at 5:25am, I will never forget the time. That was the moment I found out. All of a sudden, I lost my identity”. Alan’s complete sense of belonging and knowing who he was shattered.
Following this, Alan struggled with depression. However, during a surgery for an injury in football; he had an encounter with God. “When I had my operation, I stopped breathing. In that moment I remember crossing the bed and began floating up. I nearly got to the top when a figure (which clearly was God) leaned over and clearly said to me “I’m not ready for you yet”. Suddenly Alan awoke. It was a defining moment that he would never forget.
The following year, he moved to Dromana and was invited to church by a friend. During the service, Alan experienced the touch of God and decided to join Alpha the very following day. “I was there because I was lost. I was looking for something, but didn’t know what I was looking for. Within the first four weeks of Alpha, I learnt why I was there. I found the direction where I was going.” Only few weeks into the course Alan felt led by God to take up sport chaplaincy.
(Photo credit: Frankston Standard Leader)
Today Alan heads up his own football team for disadvantaged, addicts and homeless people within the community, and also runs Urban Chaplaincy, an organisation aimed at supporting and helping people who have lost their way and bringing them to church.
Despite facing hurt, rejection and pain throughout his life, God has outpoured love, healing and purpose over Alan. Alan has taken his gifts and talents and chosen to share them with the people around him, bringing light and joy to the community.
“We are all looking for something. Come to Alpha with an open mind and heart. Sit and listen and reap the rewards. The main thing is that you have got to COME. Not for one or two weeks but come for the full ten weeks. You will understand life so much better and you will meet such great people – I have friends for life through Alpha”.