After a particularly challenging day ministering to orphaned children in Africa nearly four years ago, Bachelor of Arts student Abigail Simonds returned to the missionary house burdened for each child’s longing for parental affection. As Simonds reflected on the hurts and desires of each child, she crafted a spoken-word poem entitled “Orphan.” Although it was the first piece she had ever written, she says the art came naturally to her.

“It was like breathing for me,” Simonds says. “It was the easiest thing I’d ever done.”

Simonds soon found spoken-word to be a unique way to glorify God with one’s skills and to proclaim the message of the Gospel. “I love that it is a fresh way to share the Gospel and to speak about what God has done,” she says. “I think there is power in that form of communication; it draws people into your message.”

Simonds has since written more pieces and performs whenever she has the opportunity. Four years after writing “Orphan,” Abigail performed it at the “Southwestern’s Got Talent” event, Feb. 10. The talent show, hosted by Student Life, featured 10 acts in singing, spoken-word and stand-up comedy.

Audience members participated in first-round voting, but three faculty judges ultimately chose the winners, and Simonds took second place. First place went to Master of Divinity student Zer Surigao, and third place went to Bachelor of Arts student Michael Davidson.

Each act reflected the unique skill and creativity of Southwestern Seminary’s students. Many wrote their own poems and songs or performed new arrangements of their favorite songs.

Master of Arts student Lauren Rodriguez, who performed two songs in the talent show, says the process of creating art or using one’s talents can be an act of worship. For Rodriguez, music has been a lifelong passion and process of developing her skills. Reflecting on the skilled student performers at the Student Life talent show, she says she was reminded of the importance of honoring the Lord through hard work.

“Whatever you do, whether it is painting, writing or even studying hard in school, we should do that for the Lord. It’s all for the Lord,” Rodriguez says. “We are all good at different things, and when we put that all together, we have all these different ways to come together to glorify Him.”