Top Gospel Reggae group, Christafari, is in Samoa.
With over half a million albums sold worldwide, the group is in the country for the Feast of Tabernacle Festival which ended last night at Sogi.
Samoa is the 70th country the group has visited.
The band uses the art of fusing gospel and reggae style music to share the message of Christ Jesus to their audiences.
For those who haven’t heard of the band, Mark Mohr who is the lead vocals and founder, told the Sunday Samoan a bit about themselves.
“I started the band Christafari in 1989; I started it when I was 17 years old,” he said.
“I didn’t have aspirations of doing it for the rest of my life; God put a new song in my heart. If you read Psalm 40 in many ways that’s who I was; that’s when I came out of the muck mired pit.”
“I was a drug addict, a drug dealer, a marijuana grower, I was all about the world and when God delivered me from that he put a new song in my heart, in my mouth and it was a hymn of praise. I just kept writing.”
Mark said that so far, the tour has been a huge success for the band.
“So far on this tour we’ve seen 29,100 decisions for Christ,” he said. “A hundred of those were from here and we are praying for an even greater harvest tonight (last night). It seems like it’s harder to get the churches mobilised.”
“I think that probably the older people are a little more traditional and may not get or understand what we’re doing. It really takes them telling their kids to go or taking their kids to the event for it to happen. So we are just praying that word of mouth from last night (Friday) spreads and we can get five times as many people and reach even more people.
“In a culture where chances are you were dragged to church and maybe still are every Sunday; we know that it’s your grandma’s faith or your grandpa’s faith but is it yours?”
“Is it yours personally? Have you put all your trust in Jesus? And that’s our challenge; that’s what we’re trying to do.”
According to Mark, the trip to Samoa has been a dream of theirs for a long time and they are very excited.
“Our trip to Samoa has just been a dream come true,” he said. “From the beginning we’ve had a dream of coming here; it’s been a long desire. I mean I live in the South Bay of Los Angeles, California right near Carson where I think there are more Samoans living there than there are here right now.”
“So I grew up with a lot of Samoans, Aside from Mexican culture which is obviously predominate throughout Southern California, its (Samoan) the second biggest culture that has influenced us.”
“It’s (Samoa) always seems so far away and it became a reality just a few days ago when we arrived here.”
The tour has taken the band to many Islands in the Pacific with Samoa being the last on the list.
“We have been to Hawaii 15 times, we’ve done Melanesia three times now,” Mark said.
“We’ve just came from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji and now here. So we’ve been kind of going down. We’ve saved the best for last though, it seems like it.”
One of the main goals of the visit is to show that reggae and Jesus can go hand in hand.
“The concerts that we’re doing, two nights in a row, Friday night and Saturday Night shows people that reggae and Jesus go together,” Mark said.
“It’s to ultimately introduce people to Jesus that know him as a religion or as a tradition or as someone that we talk about on Sunday. (We want) to introduce them to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.”
Mark’s final message for Samoa is to never lose that unique culture.
“I guess the first thing that hit me is we’ve been to Hawaii about 15 times but this is so much better,” he said.
“In that this is how Hawaii would be if they kept their language, kept their culture and it’s just so incredible, such beautiful people, so hospitable, so kind, so loving and so welcoming.”
“Don’t ever lose your beautiful culture, everything from your dancing; I have seen some pretty cool tattoos, your language and most importantly your love for God and your heart for mankind.”