DEAR SUPPORTERS FRIENDS & FAMILY,
It’s been a wild ride ever since our whole band chose to be full-time musicianaries (musical missionaries) almost 2 years ago. With over 150 ministry events a year and a crazy travel schedule, we apologize for not sending you an update sooner. While our hectic tours may have been exhausting, they’ve also been tremendously rewarding and we’ve seen 6,385 decisions for Christ so far this year! Here is a brief rundown of some of the exciting things that the Lord has been doing since our last update.
A VERY REGGAE CHRISTMAS
We ended 2013 with our first “Reggae Christmas” tour that had us ministering 26 times in just 27 days. There is no better time of the year to try and get your friends to go to church. And a reggae concert full of Christmas carols proved to be a creative outreach opportunity for many churches. At each event we encouraged the audience that the greatest gift you could ever receive was the gift of eternal life. We saw 1,073 lives impacted by the Gospel. What sets us apart from typical missionaries is that we essentially never stop traveling. We’re a large spiritual family, all using our gifts and talents to create scripture based music with a clear message of hope, love and salvation. We kicked off 2014 with an extensive tour of Arizona and Nevada and then headed over to Texas. We saw 790 come forward and declare they are “ALL IN” for Jesus in our southwest tour. During this time, we also had the privilege of adding two new faces to our team.
NEW ADDITION TO OUR BAND
We added another tiny member to our tribe. On February 20th, Solomon Jabby (guitar) and his wife Jacquie (sax) welcomed Naiya Livity Ritter to the world. We call her “Livity.” She was born 5 lbs. 14 oz. and 19 inches long. She’s a precious bundle of joy with cheeks that are always smiling and making us smile. We are now a two-baby band—pray for us!
Since then we’ve done tours throughout California (where reggae is popular amongst surfers), the Hawaiian Islands (where reggae is played heavily on mainstream radio) and the Northeast US, which has proven to be some of the hardest soil for the gospel in America. Given our counter-culture ministry, we always find ourselves counseling drug-addicted youths or offering hope to the parents of rebellious/runaway teens. At every single show, we clearly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and see an average of 50 decisions per night!
THE HARVEST IS RIPE IN BRAZIL
Brazil has been our most memorable tour so far this year. We knew that the Lord was calling us to go there, so we raised the money to cover the airline tickets and headed down there in faith that He would provide the shows. It was a month-long tour with 19 presentations of the gospel all over the country. It was a true missions trip with a rugged schedule, tough travel days, many of us getting very sick and even homesick. It was also Maka’s first international tour and truly a life changing experience for all of us. We dubbed Brazil the “Pray for Sean Tour” as our good friend (and roommate of three of our band members) was diagnosed with brain cancer right before the tour. We know that God is greater than cancer and we ask for your continued prayers for Sean Mathison as he is currently in the throes of chemo and radiation. Despite all of these challenges, Brazil was well worth it after seeing 3,135 decisions for Christ!
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF MINISTRY
This month Christafari celebrates 25 years of ministry. It’s such a privilege to be an integral part of such a longstanding ministry. To commemorate this milestone, we released our Greatest Hits Volumes 1 and 2. One of the new recordings on these albums is “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”. Given this, we’ve just kicked off our “Oceans Tour” that will have us saturating both coasts of the United States for the next few months. Included in this set will be a message based on the story of Peter walking on water. We will be encouraging those who are drowning in their sin to cry out “Lord save me!” as Peter did.
HAITI MISSION TRIP – December 2014
Words cannot express our experience in Haiti. It was the toughest trip we’ve ever taken and the greatest stretch for us both physically and spiritually. We traversed horribly dangerous and bumpy roads (with two flat tires) to visit 5 remote cities that have never seen an international band or visiting evangelists. The accommodations were extremely challenging, and there were times when we had no electricity, or running water and we had to take ice cold bucket showers. This was the bottom of the bucket, frontline old-school missions at it’s best. But our discomfort wasn’t in vain. We were uncomfortable for two weeks so that we could be in a position to comfort others.
We didn’t just worship, sing and evangelize in each city, we also fed hundreds of people, clothed children and trained people in evangelism, follow up and leadership training. One of the ways that we helped build a rapport with the audiences was through teaching them dances. In Beaumont, our stage located on a muddy downtown street was rained out. But bad weather wasn’t stop the Gospel from being preached. We used the balcony of our small rural hotel as a makeshift stage. The winner of the dance contest that night was an old man who didn’t know his own age since losing his birth certificate years ago. After he won we treated him to some warm porridge.
Everywhere we went in Haiti we saw people balancing baskets, buckets, bags or bins of all sizes on their heads as they walked through town. We took advantage of their balancing skills and held a basket dancing contest. It was a huge hit and in all the nights that we did it, only one person dropped their basket!
Doing the basket dance in Jeremie, Haiti
While the mission trip was extremely challenging, it was also tremendously rewarding and our hearts are so full of love for these beautiful people. Overall, we had the privilege of seeing 6,352 total decisions for Christ in Haiti and we were able to connect them to local churches to be discipled!
Stay tuned for more updates!