Gospel singer Ben Waites stunned the judges on “America’s Got Talent” last week, bringing actress Sofía Vergara to tears with his stunning performance. But it’s his story of overcoming and persisting that is truly inspiring.

Waites, 32, was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), a disease that impacts the joints. Despite many struggles, he persevered and brought his talents to the stage. The talented singer chose to perform his rendition of “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, a song he said is all about having hope.

Waites told the judges, “I am a Southern Gospel singer and a vocal coach. The message of the song, I feel, is able to speak to people no matter their age, their race, or their background. It’s able to communicate a message of hope.”

Waites’ performance not only sparked cheering and a standing ovation, but Vergara was in tears throughout the singer’s rendition of the song. After Waites’ performance, judge Heidi Klum said, “Sophia is bawling her eyes out right now.” Then, Vergara explained her emotional reaction, saying, “I loved it because you know it’s a beautiful song, but you made it yours. And it was special. It was different.”

Simon Cowell, a harsh critic, known for his oft-times stern rebukes, called the performance a “great audition,” and all three judges voted for Waites to advance.

While advancing and trying to win are beautiful goals, Waites told the Baptist Press that, for him, it’s really all about “serving Christ and showing the love of God” to as many people as possible. He sees “America’s Got Talent” as a platform to reach others.

Waites said winning isn’t important to him but that he is focused on spreading Jesus’ love. He said, “What I’m more concerned about is appropriately and effectively showing the Gospel of Christ through this opportunity. It’s very important that I get that message across.”

Waites, who is in a wheelchair, also told Baptist Press about his past health struggles and how his family encouraged him never to let his disability hold him back, saying, “It wasn’t really a thing growing up because it was just my life. I don’t ever think about it just because each day is just another day for me where I’m using this wheelchair to get around or a stylus in my mouth to type. Growing up, my parents and grandparents kept that same mentality in how they raised me.”

Waites told Baptist Press, “My mind always goes to Romans 8:28 and knowing that everything has a purpose. What I would hope my life demonstrates for others going through hard struggles is if your perspective is in the right place, then you can persevere, endure and see it through to the end.”

Life has never been easy for Ben Waites. Dealing with a disease that affects your joints can be challenging, but Waites didn’t let that stop him. He’s the perfect example of why we should pursue our dreams despite our circumstances. He didn’t let his disease stop him from performing and even brought Sofia Vergara to tears. We should all see Waites’ perseverance as an inspiration.


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