“Going Vertical”? Are we going upwards or downwards? Nevertheless, the Hosanna! Music ministry (H!MM) decided to give people a nudge in the ascendant direction by evangelising through the media of music. H!MM did this recently by organising a concert of the same name at the Youth Park (beside the National Youth Council off Orchard Road) on Sept 10 and 11. Publicised as an evening of song and dance, H!MM together with Archdiocesan groups like Earthen Vessels (EV) and Legion of Mary praesidiums did some contact work in the Orchard Road area the week before.

Andrew Tan, the H!MM co-ordinator of this project said, “In evangelical work there are several stages. Amongst them, includes the sowing of the seeds of faith and getting the people interested in the faith and the message of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I think very often this is largely the area of ministry that H!MM is involved in. Recognising this, we have set out to work with other groups that could perhaps take these faith enquirers further. As such we have approached people from Earthen Vessels who have a vast amount of experience and training in working with youths on the streets. We also approached the Legion of Mary who have contact work as part of their ministry. So in this synergistic effort where H!MM sharing becomes the outreach front, the Volunteers go out for more personal contact and make special invitations to the Youths on the streets.”

The concerts lasted for about an hour each time, and started at 5 and 7 pm on both days. During each concert, H!MM and EV volunteers welcomed the audience personally, and contacted them for follow-up work. About 50 persons attended the concerts each time, sometimes even participating in the trendy Christians songs sung by following simple actions after some prompting from the emcees.

The outreach exercise proved to be quite fruitful, even though not every one of the youths came down for the concert. The Catholic volunteers, who numbered about 30 (some who were already experienced through their previous apostolate in the Befrienders of Youth), spent a few evenings from 7pm to 9:30pm contacting teenagers from the ages of 13-18. ‘Going Vertical’ publicity flyers and cards containing information on various Archdiocesan groups, eg, Youth Praise Ministry, Pregnancy Crisis Service, Choice, and Novena Helpline, were given to the youths, providing entry points for ‘breaking the ice’. Andrew Tan, who is also the H!MM vice-president, continued, “This outreach was certainly a success as we were able to reach out to many Youths given the manpower we had. Many of us spent time talking to them and making that first contact. That was after all, the main purpose of this outreach, to make first contact.

“In the process of this outreach we collected almost 200 names of Youths who attended our sharing, some were already Christians of other denominations and some just walked by and joined in the sharing. H!MM will be making contact with these youths and try to see what the needs are and possibly direct them to proper channels or get organisations and groups to contact them as well. We may also organise more such outreaches or get these Youths to work with us on our next project. What finally happens depends on several factors, including their response, our resources and where we feel God is calling us to do next. The potential is certainly vast and we hope in our next outreach, many more will come up to join us - for the harvest is rich and the labourers are few.”

Eileen Chong, 20, a non-Christian who came for the concert on Sat, said that she wasn’t Christian yet, but was interested to find out more. She left her contacts with the H!MM volunteers, and she indicated interest in joining future activities.

The Catholic News (October 3 1999)