Report: The praise bus ride in Leicester's torch run - London Olympics 2012



The Emmanu’-EL Apostolic Gospel Academy (EAGA) Choir joined the Journey on the Olympics Praise Bus which was in aid of the UK’s torch relay which was started from May 1927. On July 3, 2012, Day 46 of the 70 day torch relay, the EAGA choir sang all around Leicestershire, staying one hour ahead of the Olympic flame. Starting in Loughborough, we travelled through 6 cities: Hoton, Wymeswold, Asfordby, Melton Mowbray, Langham, and Oakham.

'The Journey' is an initiative birthed out the Escalls Chapel aiming "to give fun and encouragement, letting every man, woman and child know that God loves them" (See thejourneyfromescalls). On a half open top bus equipped with a keyboard and a drum set, local Christian groups have joined from Day 1 of the relay. Praising the name of Jesus Christ with singing, music, prayer and fellowship.

The EAGA choir surely had fun. As we sang through small villages, we waved to all those around singing songs such as 'O Happy Day'; 'This Little Light of Mine'; 'Everybody Ought to Know who Jesus Is'; a medley of Shona/Ndebele songs. A highlight was when we were singing down a street of terrace houses and residents opened their windows and little children just waking up waved to us. This was truly an experience to remember. When driving down many side roads, we passed many farms and saw the horses, sheep, and cows seem to dance as we passed by singing.

Unexpectedly when we were a few miles outside of Oakham, the coach driver was forced to stop the bus for 45 minutes. Stuck on the A606 with only farmland around us, it seemed as though these 45 minutes was going to be very long. However, there happened to be a house right next to where we had stopped. This was a relief as some had to use the toilet. So many went to the house after the coach driver explained the situation and a gentle, elderly lady met us. As we waited for our turn she told us of how she was a born and raised Leicesterian and had lived on the farm for over 40 years. She told us how her husband was in hospital after surgery. We prayed for her and her husband who she was going to visit in the hospital. All on the Praise Bus were ever so grateful for this lady's generosity. This is truly what the Praise Bus is all about; meeting locals and impacting their lives through praise and prayer.

As our 45 minute stop break came to an end we entered Oakham. As we came to EAGA’s final stop, we came near a school of children who were on lunchtime break. As we sang 'O Happy Day' the children gradually flocked towards the fence, jumping and singing along with us. It was a sight to behold. A great way to end our time on the Praise Bus, it really encapsulated the whole day's journey.

2012 is truly an eventful year, seeing the queen's diamond jubilee, as well the 30th Olympic Games, held in London, England. Traditional to the Olympic Games, the flame is lit by the sun's rays among the ruins of the old Olympic Games venue at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece. The flame follows a journey around Greece until it reaches Panathenaiko Stadium, Athens, Greece. Here it is then handed over to the host city. Once the flame is flown to the host city, it then travels around the host country, being passed from torchbearer to torchbearer.

The final torchbearer lights the cauldron at the official Olympic venue to start the Olympics.