- Isaac Hurst
C&L! Artist Interview: Christafari
Christafari, our latest addition to the Come&Live! family, is a reggae group of “musicianaries” based out of L.A. Their mission is to reach as many different people and nations as possible with the undiluted gospel of Jesus. I recently had the privilege of interviewing Mark Mohr, lead vocalist and founder of the band.
How did Christafari start? What is your mission?
I started the band in 1989 after coming out of many years of drug addiction. I began smoking weed when I was ten years old and eventually I was introduced to reggae, (you probably can imagine why) and I got really into it, writing songs about marijuana, and trying to form my band. I then had an encounter with God at a youth camp when I was 17, and it was so clear that I wasn’t just called to follow Him but to use my passion; reggae, as a medium or language to reach out to Rastafarians and people who have never heard the Gospel in such a way. I had a quiet time just two weeks after giving my life to Christ, and God put a new song on my heart. I then performed at another Christian camp’s talent show, and they told me: “You’re not a Rastafarian anymore, you’re a Christafarian.” So what was initially a play on words, eventually became a band and I would have never imagined that 27 years later, I would still be doing it with the same zeal and passion for preaching the Gospel, reaching the lost and ministering to people who are coming out of drug addiction.
Tell us a little bit about the journey that Christafari has gone through and the season that you are in now.
I remember when I first started doing missions work in 1990, I had written a letter to my Grandma about how three people had just given their lives to Christ; I was so excited. I hadn’t initially set out to count numbers, but over the years we’ve learned to keep track. For about 15 years in a row, we would plateau at around 5000 decisions for Christ each year. We were excited, and I didn’t know of any other Christian bands doing such a thing at the time.
Then in 2012, after going to a country called New Caledonia, I just really felt like God was downloading the new firmware for Christafari, the 2.0 version. This version was to take the list of countries we had been going to at the time, for over almost a quarter of a century, and to flip it upside-down. No longer was America, England, or Canada at the top. Now places like Colombia, the Philippines, Kenya, and so on and so forth became our focus. We were gonna go to the poorest of the poor, the places that can’t even afford to bring you out.
This was when we began to see the decisions jump up to 6000, to 8000, to now this year in the last 12 months we’ve seen 123,000 decisions for Christ.
It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with God blessing the mission trips, where we finally say: “I’m all in, I’m not chasing the money, I’m chasing the decisions, I’m chasing how we can we reach the greatest number of people and have the greatest impact for eternity, not for the here and now”.
Could you share some stories from the experiences you’ve had, and maybe from some of the places you’ve been?
When we were in Slovakia two months ago, we saw 6000 decisions for Christ. We were there for two days, so I asked myself: “What am I going to do the next night, an altar call again?” Well, I had already done that, and I was reminded that Jesus preached come and then go. So the first night was come, come to Jesus and the next night was go into the world. That day we saw 2000 youth commit to going and taking the Gospel to at least one other country. That’s a big part of what we do. Not just seeing seeds grow into plants but seeing those plants bear fruit themselves.
Our hope is that what many people are calling revolutionary, what we’re doing, other bands would realize is not revolutionary. It’s called Christianity, it’s called the great commandment, love God and love others and the great commission, go and tell others. We want to see other bands start to latch on to that and say: “You know what? Maybe we should also be driven by this same vision and mission, not by where the money is. Maybe we should be driven by where the need is and not how can we become famous?”
What would be your advice for someone in the C&L! community who is maybe just starting out or who has been doing this for a while? What would be the greatest lesson you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on to them?
What God asks you to do, won’t make sense, and what the world asks you to do will, and that’s where faith comes in. So my advice to them would be to follow the Lord, as He guides you through His Word and your heart and though your spirit, not through your flesh.
The easy way is usually not God’s way, and we learn that through the book of Acts. We see it time and time again: the obstacles, the challenges, the persecution, the suffering, the trials that God will use. He’ll use our trials and turn them into triumphs, and that’s something that I’m excited about. It’s not fun to be in the midst of them, but this too shall pass, and wherever your treasure is your heart is also. Focus on your trajectory and where you’re going!