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FARMINGTON – The members of Christafari have two major things in common: a love of reggae music and a desire for Christian ministry.

So it makes sense that the 10-member Christian band travels the world performing music and doing mission work. The group is scheduled to perform this weekend in Farmington and Shiprock.

Mark Mohr started the band about 26 years ago. Since then, the band members have changed, but Mohr has remained the front man for the group.

Justin Nalimu, who plays keyboards, became interested in joining the band after he attended a Christafari concert in 2008 in his hometown in Hawaii.

“I loved the music,” he said. “I loved the message.”

When Christafari returned to Nalimu's hometown a few years later and needed a keyboard for a studio album, Nalimu volunteered his equipment and skills. And he has been playing with the band since then.

Since Nalimu joined, Christafari has increased its focus on mission work. That was one of the things that attracted Alex Avila, the band’s drummer, to the group.

Avila auditioned for Christafari about eight years ago but did not make the cut. Still, his audition caught Mohr's attention. Last summer, while Avila was preparing for a trip to help victims of human trafficking in Thailand through a music therapy ministry, he received a call from Mohr asking him if he would audition again.

Avila completed his mission work in Thailand before joining the band.

“I’m just trying to enjoy every day of it,” he said.

Avila’s story is similar to that of the band's sound technician, Kenny Moreno, who originally auditioned for the guitarist position. After being turned down after his audition, he finished college at California State University at Dominguez Hills. Even after he graduated, he followed Christafari on Instagram, and when he learned they needed a sound tech a little more than a year ago, he contacted Mohr.

This will mark the fourth time Christafari has performed in Farmington, although for members like Avila and Moreno this is their first time in the area.

The band recently returned to the U.S. after playing in the South Pacific. Avila said each venue the band plays is a different. Thousands of people bought tickets for one of the group's South Pacific stops. But in other areas, they may play for a couple dozen people in a small church.

“It always feels like home when you’re traveling in the United States,” Moreno said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

If you go

Friday: Christafari will perform at 6 p.m. at Marantha Christian Church, 618 W. Arrington St. in Farmington.

Sunday: Christafari will perform at 10 a.m. at the Four Corners Community Church on U.S. Highway 64 in Shiprock. The band will also perform at 6 p.m. at Calvary Chapel, 6925 E. Main St. in Farmington.

Monday: Christafari will perform at 6 p.m. at Farmington High School, 2200 N. Sunset Ave. 

Cost: Free

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