Busking away every Saturday morning on the Leicester Square is the band of Jesus’s very own army from the God’s Vision Church at the heart of central London. Their singing may not the most polished of sounds, as most of them are seeing the lyrics for the first time, but that is exactly their purpose: to simply sing out their passion for the love of Christ and spread its joy.
Led by Pastor Young-joo Lee, the team of singing evangelists sacrifice their morning snoozes and Saturday brunches to inform, sing aloud and pray for the city of London. As choir sings the contemporary Christian tunes to the acoustic guitar, a glance at the individual faces tells you that while they would never find themselves on stage for anything, being together in faith with the rest of their Christian community is making them the happiest and the most proud as they can be in the Square. Pedestrians stop their way to take a snap or a video of the choir, only to realise few seconds into the song that they are listening to Christian hymns. However, no matter how progressive or “sinful” that some have been calling this world, the lyrics of peace and love are enough to bring the world together – at least the mini version of the world of tourists and diverse Londoners you see on Leicester Square.
The half-hour busking session, however, is not the only reason why the young Londoners come together on Saturdays. Their day starts at Oxford Circus, where they are divided into groups of three or four and handed a pack of flyers that preach the word of God. And here is the difficult part: they have to hand these out to the pedestrians throughout central London. Contrary to the stigma against street evangelists, they are not blind nor are they white, Trump supporters. Most of them are South Korean millennials residing in the city, trying to build a career or pass their final exams at uni. They are students at the most prestigious universities around London. They love friends and going out as much as you and I. But on Saturdays, they have to prepare themselves to be dismissed, disheartened and discouraged. People are quick to reject their offers of the gospel and it is only their faith and boldness that they have as shield against one of the most secular cities in the world.
“Handing them the gospel flyers is never easy but every single one that a person does decide to keep makes you happier than anything,” says one of the choir members. He goes on to account for his best Saturday when he got into a discussion with a homeless man and eventually had him visit the God’s Vision Church after a lengthy conversation. “He was full of spite – at the world, at the gods, and at God, mostly,” says the young evangelist, who currently is currently a BA student at the London College of Fashion, “but once we got talking, he realised that love was the key to understanding the higher power.”
While they are uncertain of their future plans or true “calling” in God, they want to share the bit of the love that they look to every day in trying to make sense of the busy, cold world. They are not masters of the gospel – they still stammer when are attacked with pointed questions from the atheists and have to turn to the Bible to find the exact verse. They are not going to warn you against eternal damnation or condemn you for the nights of binge-drinking but instead, share their own experiences in overcoming the lonely struggles of being young and free – what love they hold on to and what bliss they look for.
When you see the band this Saturday, join them in the love for Christmas – if not Christ – and the holiday season. All they need a smile to let them know that they are welcome to sing whatever they want to sing.
WRITTEN BY JENNY JIN LEE | SUBBED BY ERIN ZHANG