September 27, 2022

Amid waving flags and colorful dancers, a call for compassion


They came to worship, they came to sing, they came to pray.

NCC’s Christian Fellowship Club hosted its Samaritan Generation Concert in November at the Student Life Zone before an audience and representatives from churches near and far.

The concert derived its name from the Good Samaritan, who is acknowledged in the Bible for nursing the wounds of a beaten man he saw lying in the street. The concert’s message was a reminder to think about others and help those in need.

“People are concerned with their own well-being that they forget about their brothers and sisters,” said Cyndi Ortiz, president of the Christian Fellowship Club. “We are a selfish generation. Let’s be compassionate.”

Throughout the show, the Praise Dancers waved orange flags and their hands.

“It’s a symbol of worship,” said Dee Lowery, one of the dancers. “It’s a way we praise the Lord.”

The concert featured two singers. Franky Bells began the performance, singing “Here I Am to Worship,” and dancing around the crowd until realizing how “short” he was.

“I’m short, so I’m going back to the stage where you all can see me,” he said.

Keiana Parks, whose stage name is Lady J.T.O, recited a poem before singing. She also sang a duet with Bells. She started off the poem to serve as testimony.

Angel Hernandez, Bells’ manager and Christian hip-hop and R&B singer, joked with the crowd and asked Puerto Ricans to raise their hands.

“Thanks for raising your hands because I just wanted to know where to go to get pasteles at,” he quipped. “I have to ask because my Mom isn’t around.” Wrapped green banana-stuffed meat pastries, pasteles are traditionally served at Christmas time in Puerto Rico.

Hernandez also shared his testimony on how he once contemplated suicide because he was depressed, mostly because of his weight.

God understands us,” he said. “No matter what we go through, he loves us.”

The concert closed with Hernandez asking those who need prayer to come up, resulting in two standing by the stage for prayer.

Bells was all smiles at the end of the concert. He came to Christ through a cousin at age 19. Bells went to church out of curiosity and ended up saved, he said.

“It was awesome to fellowship with everyone,” he said. “It’s ministering to those my age.”

For Lady J.T.O, the concert was the perfect opportunity for testimony. She has been a Christian since age 14, and although she had a backsliding experience, she maintains her faith, she said.

“I always wanted to know God personally, so I read the Bible privately,” she said. “One day I asked God if he was real to reveal himself to me and he did.”

She spoke about her struggle with acceptance and looking for love in the wrong places.

“I turned to other men in need of a father figure. I was also involved in lesbianism,” she said. “However, I found true acceptance in God.”

For Ortiz, the strain of helping to organize the concert paid off in the end.

“It was very stressful beforehand,” she said. “When everything comes together, it just flows. Praise God. He shows up and does everything. Hard work paid off with his help.”


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