Centuries-old castles. Rolling hills dotted with sheep. Rowdy rugby matches.
Maybe that’s what you envision when you think of Wales.
But at the U.K. Evangelism Summit in its capital city of Cardiff, another nationwide passion became evident.
“I always heard the Welsh people could sing, and you guys have proven that today,” said David Bruce, Billy Graham’s longtime executive assistant who emceed the all-day event in “the land of music.”
On Tuesday, more than 400 voices singing God’s praises echoed across the stately and expansive Cardiff Manor Resort. And it was enthusiastic.
Think raised hands. Shouts of “Hallelujah.” Unprompted clapping. And a shofar.
“It has been so good to hear the sound of many voices praising the name of Jesus,” said Lou Fellingham, who led worship with her husband Nathan. “To join with so many around the U.K. who are hungry to meet with God themselves and are passionate to see the power of the cross proclaimed to a lost and needy world.”
With just vocals and a piano, Lou and Nathan are leading these special moments of worship at all four cities where the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is offering the Evangelism Summit. They had front row seats as believers in Wales jubilantly sang along.
“Music is a language that can cross over and through many barriers and can move us emotionally, and furthermore, give us a real sense of the Creator,” said Fellingham, who’s from the neighboring country of England. “This is why music can be an effective point of contact with those who don’t yet know Christ.”
Caroline Mugagga Nalwanga has experienced that firsthand.
After moving to a British city just across the border, she noticed many people singing on street corners and realized, “I could do the same, but I could be singing God’s praises.”
So she did.
This music-based evangelistic effort started with just her voice, bravely rising above the everyday city buzz. Then, she learned guitar. Now, she travels with a whole band that plays worship music on streets, in schools and at prisons.
“I evangelize through music because that’s how I experience God’s presence, and I want other people to experience Him,” Muggagga Nalwanga explained. “And I love the sound of people worshipping.”
On Tuesday, she’d occasionally stop singing to soak in the moment—paying attention to and being encouraged by the voices of those around her.
>>Watch a short video from Cardiff of Caroline Mugagga Nalwanga:
Hear why Caroline drove from England for today’s evangelism summit in Wales: pic.twitter.com/q3Vm2TLDnO
— BGEA (@BGEA) October 19, 2021
The song lyrics reinforced summit sessions where speakers talked about key elements of sharing the Gospel—including the cross, discipleship, persecution and unity. And the melodies drove those lessons into the hearts of those listening.
There’s just something about music that makes words even more impactful. Especially for the people of Wales.
“The Welsh people sing when they talk,” explained lifelong resident Jacqui Cadogan.
The mother from Cardiff explained that music is a distinct part of Welsh history, identity and even rugby matches. In fact, many popular sports anthems are actually spiritual in nature.
“But they don’t realize they’re praising God,” she said.
At the very end of Tuesday’s event in Cardiff, David Bruce invited Cadogan to blow her shofar. She stood, blew the horn several times, and the crowd cheered and clapped.
But that wasn’t a part of the original event schedule.
“I felt led to blow the shofar, but wanted to be respectful,” she explained afterward.
So she tapped Bruce on the shoulder to ask for permission, which led to the triumphant ending to Tuesday’s summit.
“God is working on the boldness in me,” Cadogan said. “I think that’s why God brought me here today.”
Throughout the day, the Fellinghams would sing one song at a time before the next speaker took the stage. And each time the last note rang out, it seemed like attendees yearned to keep singing.
But one day—as the hundreds gathered in that Cardiff room are dedicated to telling their neighbors—Jesus will return. And then, they’ll never have to stop singing.
“Singing with other believers is like touching heaven,” said Cadogan, shofar in hand. “It’s something you can’t experience outside of God.”