November 8, 2019
When Soo Seok Yang did a quick U-turn on Nov. 5, he had one song in mind — “In Christ Alone.”
He had turned on the radio on his way home from work and heard there was a Michael English concert that night at Eastmont Baptist Church, Montgomery. So he called his wife to let him know he was taking a little detour.
“Ever since I have known that song, I have sung it many times,” said Yang, a member of First Baptist Church, Montgomery. “The words of the song are so powerful — ‘My source of strength, my source of hope is Christ alone.’ It has made a big impact on my life, and I just wanted to hear him sing it in person.”
So Yang went, and he sat on the front row. And he waited.
“During the concert I was inspired and so touched by his testimony, his story,” Yang said. “He had to go through many dark moments in his life, and he was sharing with us a lot of the details of how God was delivering him from those moments. His testimony was great, very powerful.”
But Yang was still waiting for that one song — and it never came. English sang “all the other famous songs,” but still not “In Christ Alone.” And when Yang realized the concert was over, he piped up.
“I mustered the courage and spoke up — ‘Mr. Michael English, I have a request for you, can you sing one more song?’ And I told him that I was originally from Korea and his song was one of my favorites — it had made a big impact on me,” Yang said, noting that he had taught the song to his five children, too.
So English said he would sing the song but might need a little help with the lyrics and the high notes — it had been a while since he had sung it, and he was having some vocal problems that night.
And as he sang and Yang recorded from just a few feet away, something special happened — Yang helped him with the lyrics, and English invited him up to help him finish the song.
“It was a great moment for me; it meant a lot,” Yang said. “My simple request was for him to sing so I could hear it in person, but it was a surprise — I did not expect he would invite me to sing together with him.”
And as English was signing CDs out in the lobby after the concert, Yang sang the song for him in Korean too.
“I asked him if he knew his song had been translated into Korean and sung by many people in Korea,” he said. “He asked me if I could sing it for him. We got to have worship all over again, right there in the lobby.”
The song was the perfect reflection of the testimony English had shared, and “now it’s a part of my story in a new way too,” Yang said.
As part of English’s tour, sponsored by The Alabama Baptist in partnership with area churches, he also performed Nov. 4 at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Midland City, and Nov. 7 at First Baptist Church, Fairhope. (Article by Grace Thornton/Photo by Tracy Riggs)