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Puerto Rico with the mind of Christ

Submitted and written by Westin Edwards, sophomore at Olivet Nazarene University
Posted: May 30, 2017

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José Freytes (L) was the guide for Olivet Nazarene University’s Orpheus Choir during their recent mission trip to Puerto Rico. He took them to the different churches, nursing homes, universities and schools where they served. The Freytes-Campos family helped coordinate the entire trip and were a blessing to the group. In the background is Castillo San Felipe del Morro (the fortress commonly referred to as “El Morro”). (Pictured L-R): José Freytes, junior Allison Beecher and Alexander Freytes-Campos.(Photo by Westin Edwards)

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Orpheus Choir members appreciated this colorful mural in Puerto Rico, commemorating the heroes of 1899: eight men who put out a dangerous fire that threatened the city of Ponce. (Photo by Westin Edwards)

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Sophomore Nate Tabor looks out onto the ocean and cemetery (Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery) from one of the walls of the fortress (Castillo San Felipe del Morro) during an afternoon of sightseeing in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Many of Puerto Rico’s prominent natives are buried in the cemetery. “El Morro” was built in the 16th century and is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular historic landmarks. (Photo by Westin Edwards)

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A different view of Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis cemetery. Puerto Rican musicians, poets and other prominent natives and residents are buried here. (Photo by Westin Edwards)

Westin Edwards is a sophomore at Olivet Nazarene University, double majoring in multimedia studies and public relations/strategic communication, from Simpsonville, South Carolina. In May 2017, he traveled with the School of Music’s Orpheus Choir to minister in Puerto Rico.

I admit I was skeptical about the Orpheus Choir mission trip to Puerto Rico, but God was keen on making me understand his sovereignty in the situation.

The week of final exams was extremely stressful for me. I found it difficult to prepare myself spiritually for the trip. When I looked at the itinerary for the week, I saw that we were doing more performances than service projects. It almost felt like a tour we would do in the Olivet region.

Puerto Rico is gorgeous. The tropical foliage spread over spontaneous hills is just so beautiful. The culture also feeds into the beauty of the territory. Having lived in South America before, I was not a stranger to the culture.

Everyone is inviting and almost overly servant-like. Every church or school we visited made us meals and fed us. The people were extremely eager to help us out with whatever we needed at the time. Watching the Puerto Ricans act the way they did was very inspiring. In fact, at some points it was a little convicting.

Every church we visited was ecstatic to have us come and sing there. None of our songs were in Spanish, but the people heard the Lord speak through the music. They were open to the Holy Spirit in their churches, so He came and moved among them. Who was I to discredit the work God had us participate in by worshiping Him?

After we finished one of our concerts near the end of our tour, a Puerto Rican woman stood up and said how much she appreciated our music. She told us how the Holy Spirit was apparent in the choir. Hearing from this woman had a tremendous impact on me.

Even though we were not painting or building something every day, we were still used by God. God was using Orpheus Choir and our talents for His good. That’s why we were needed there.

I am privileged to be a part of Orpheus Choir, and I was even more blessed by being able to go on this mission trip. I learned that God works in ways that are sometimes counter to how we think He should work, in ways we do not expect Him to. He will spread His kingdom regardless of any circumstances.

For more information about Olivet’s School of Music, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.
8

Percentage of Olivet freshmen who achieved ACT composite scores of 30 or higher (4% achieve this nationally)