16 Jan 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
More than 60 people came to the "Elvis ’79 The Ultimate Tribute Concert" at the Botanic Resort Club in Klang, held by the Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Malaysia that is founded and headed by Ht Long. An award-winning singer, Ht Long is also a preacher of the gospel through his songs and testimony-sharing for the past 23 years.
The afternoon started with a few die-hard Elvis Presley fans singing on-stage, before the real Elvis Presley impersonators —Joe Rozario, Jeffery Moey, Eric Alvarez, Alex Wong, Aron Young, and Ht Long— imbued the crowd with other Elvis’ classics such as Always On My Mind, Wooden Heart, Welcome To My World, I'll Remember You, Young And Beautiful and Sentimental Me, just to name a few.
And through the common passion for Elvis Presley’s music, many have also found love and encouragement through their common faith in Jesus Christ.
Tommy Ooi —President of the Elvis Presley Fan Club in Hong Kong— for one, came on-stage to share how God has touched and miraculously healed him from the stroke he had a day after he held his 65th birthday party in Hong Kong. Paralyzed and bed-ridden in the hospital, he was touched when Ht Long who was visiting Hong Kong at that time came to pray for him. He was also thankful for bro Aron Young and sis Ann Teoh for taking care of him, even feeding him during these painful period at the hospital.
Another brother-in-Christ, Nicholas Ong, also shared how the Lord healed him from his major heart attack last year. “He was literally being raised from the dead. We prayed for him. If you want to know who were praying to? We were praying to the Lord Jesus Christ,” said Ht Long to the attending fans, where many of them were prebelievers.
The fans sang along and clapped their hands to the beat of the songs to the performers of Elvis Presley. But one that particularly caused a lasting impression that afternoon was Alex Wong who sang the Gospel songs by Elvis Presley—Crying In The Chapel, He Touched Me, How Great Thou Art, and If I Can Dream.
Fun fact: Did you know that all of the Grammy Awards that Elvis won were all for his Gospel songs and Gospel albums?
“This song talks about my life… how meaningless and burdensome it is to carry the load and what permanent joy it is to find Christ,” said Alex Wong. “God is a great God. He is the same person who helped me to be who I am today.”
Ten years ago, Alex participated in many regional and international singing competitions until he stumbled upon the ‘Elvis Impersonation’ contest, held by the Discovery Channel. He did not win, but he came across another ‘Elvis Impersonation’ contest (sponsored by BMG and Lite FM) a few months later, with the same prize of winning two tickets visiting Graceland.
“In life, we don’t have many second chances. But this time, if I win, I can bring my dad who is a huge fan of Elvis Presley,” said Alex Wong who prayed to God and was impressed in his heart to sing ‘If I Can Dream.’
Alex became the first caller into the radio station that day to qualify for the second round. And subsequently, he was voted with the highest rating by callers that week. Finally, Alex emerged as the winner among ten participants in the final round, with the song ‘Burning Love.’
“My dad thought that his son would never make it because there were so many veterans. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthened me. The fact that I won is a miracle and a testimony to my dad that it’s not my strength, but God Himself,” said Alex Wong. He had been a music artiste ever since then, even fulfilling his dream of recording his own song album. Also, he was thankful of Ht Long who had been his 'sifu' (meaning master) in bringing him to many churches to sing and share his testimony.
The afternoon ended with happy faces, as each Elvis fan shook each other’s hands to bid farewell. Indeed, songs are the best way to cross barriers and touch hearts, especially in sharing the Gospel.
“Music is originally created by God and it belongs to Him. Our whole body is an instrument; we can click our fingers and sing songs. That’s why we worship God in church. It pleases Him when we sing. When we go to Heaven, we will sing a lot of songs of praise. Humans love music. Karaoke is so popular because everybody wants to sings. That is where we can use to reach out to people, not only through Elvis’ songs but also other singers’ songs,” said Ht Long.
Let us pray that the gospel message shared that afternoon sow seeds in the hearts of Elvis Presley fans.