Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cabeza, Hombros, geueliu, e pe (all of which are probably spelled wrong)

For the past couple of weeks we have been touring with a band called "Xote Santo." Xote is a kind of music/dance, and santo means "holy" in Portuguese. We were really able to experience this part of Brasil in two weeks- Xote. For the length's sake and for your sake we will just list the places and a few highlights, because I am tempted to write a novel about this time of my life. The trip went like this: Santana, Acari, Carnaubas Dos Dantes, Currais Novos, Macaiba, Natal (2 nights, one in a church- other in a theatre), Baahia Famosa, Boi Selado, Lagis, and Assu. The rough schedule went like this, show up, set up the stage or "transformer", go back to home base (a local church or pastors house), sleep and eat, get ready, then go back and play, tear down, and either go back to that place or head to the next city. We would open, and play three songs, then head off the stage and listen to Xote Santo. Well, listening is only half right- dancing is what we did. The kind of dancing is "Forro," which is a fast pace and simply dance, with a partner or single. The Forro can be simple or extremely complex and we would dance simply- but the two dancers for the band would go crazy. By the end...well... more of that later... The stage was like a regular trailer with two axles, and literally transformed. It opened up and was dangerous. The total was 4 two-man speakers, 4 equally heavy, smaller speakers, one beast box thing, and a mass amount of other equipment.

It started off with Santana and we hit it off when a larger member of the band named himself "Big Mac" and slowly handed out other nick names. It was obvious as soon as we begun that every single band member were supreme musicians. Any one could hop on an instrument and jam- which was great to say the least. Later on in the trip we found how much of a blessing this would be. It was really amazing to see Veridiano and his wife again, Jacqueline. This was an incredible meet up, but unfortunately she wasn't feeling well. The doctors said that she will need surgery, and in order for them to get the means for it (public healthcare) this may take a long time. Please pray for her health and Gods provision. Please continue praying also for their encouragement and strength, because being a missionary in the country-side here in Brasil we've found is draining and support is needed. We were given another house to stay at though- and we stayed up so late watching soccer with our host on a 13" fuzzy t.v.

Next stop was Acari. Toward the end of the show, a few accepted Christ. This was a very "productive time" in getting to know the band. By this we mean that toward the end of setting up there is not a lot to do, and it is a perfect time to break the ice. The "scoop" game is simple- you swiftly brush your finger against the nipple of another man and say "scoop" in a higher pitched voice. Along with scoop we taught them "melon, trout, viper..." If you don't know these, its okay- just know that they are similar and disturbing like scoop. Big Mac picked this up all too quickly- and the game soon became trying to avoid him. Lifting heavy speakers becomes more difficult when someone scoops you. This game lasted until the very end of the trip, every few minutes. We stayed at the pastors house that night and long until the next afternoon. The next day we got to play guitar, read the bible, pray, visit and rest together. One man showed up who was an alcoholic and fell to his knees in front of the stage. He accepted Christ

Carnaubas was beautiful. This is a warmer place, and our relationships were more established. We were reintroduced to the infamous "slup" ice cream. Christian was drawn in by a group of rough little boys who asked him to play guitar. Christian wanted to pray for them, and asked Eliana to come translate more or less. Her idea was to share the Gospel first. Christian and Eliana in broken english/portuguese shared the gospel with the 3 boys. The boys said that they had some friends recently accept Christ and wanted to know more about it. After sharing the Gospel, the 2 prayed over the 3 boys and Christian continued to play guitar and sing with them.

Currais Novos was a huge night for us- the most people anyone of us have ever played for. We played on a real stage with hundreds there. This was the night that we started to learn more of the dances- which was very entertaining even for me. Again, we were given a place to stay there with a huge amount of food. This night we were invited to do a dance up on the stage. In what seemed like a millisecond- we were up on the stage and the rest was a blur. We were face to face with hundreds trying to do a dance we were unfamiliar with. I'm not sure if it was videotaped, but it sure should have been.

Macaiba is the place where lily of the Valley orphanage is located. We were able to take a trip back to this place, but this city is a lot more dark. There was another guy that showed up that was high. He walked up to the front of the stage with his hands in the air. After Marconi and a Pastor talked to him, he told us that the man said, "I want freedom, i have to get rid of these drugs..." Luckily the Pastor knew him and was going to be able to meet up with him afterwards. Later on we headed home to Marconi's house about 10 to 15 minutes away. Ju Ju, Ceaser, Eric and Big Mac stayed over. We had coffee, laughed at youtube videos and hit the hay.

The next two days were shows in Natal. First was at a theatre- which was incredible- but before we had a beach day at Ponta Negra beach in Natal. It was the four from the band, us three and Kener. We rented a surfboard and tried to ride it. That's all there is to that. The second night was good though because this is where we met the professional violin player, Luiz, who conducted an orchestra. Getting to play with him was so awesome.

Baahi Famosa was the next stop. We were given another beach to play at before setting up! Three guys accepted Christ that night. Marconi asked us to go up to the front of the stage with the people who wanted to accept Christ and pray for them. This was a radical and exciting thing for us- remembering that encounter with God. After praying for them Evan pulled one of them aside as well as his friend. He sat down on the curb away from the stage between the two and talked in portuguese-spanish-english about drinking and God.

Home again, home agian- Boi Selado. This is where we feel most at home and comforted. Fatima is our hostess there along with her whole family and extended family. This was a time of planting more seeds for us. All the people here knew why we were there, and it was just putting God in front of them more and more. We were living out and living with them what we told them the trip before. Refer to the story below for some more details on Boi Selado.

All we had was one guitar and a box. Every single show, Andrew was able to use the guitar of "Olisandro," (guitar player of Xote Santo). Evan doesn't even know how to play the box- and we were faced with some small and some huge crowds. The theme for this was "five loaves and two fish." The idea here is that we knew that we are nothing special, and all we got is... nothing special honestly. Time and time again though, we were given something. For instance, I am sitting here listening to Andrew playing with a violin player named Luiz Antonio that came along who is professional. One night in Natal he played in his church with us to a song, "Amazing Grace" by The Almost. In this song, there is a trumpet playing in the back ground, and this guy hopped in playing with us- the exact same part as the trumpet. He has never played with us nor heard this song, but just played with us improv, and it was so beautiful. Night by night, band members joined and added to what we had, and other singers helped as well from Marconi's family. One night (in Boi Selado) we met back up with Cabrinha (little goat) and had Luiz playing violin. Just them played with Kelita (Marconi's daughter) and her friend and a few others. After, we played with Luiz and it was the same deal. We were blessed every night of playing.

The last night was in Assu. By the last day we were all tired and worn out. It started to get extremely redundant, lifting and moving heavy stuff, battling with language, hitting our heads repeatedly- all of this and more in the hot hot sun. And as soon as we got done, we had to take it down (at that time) for some unknown and (what felt like) ungodly reason. Regis (the accordian player) gathered everyone together in prayer. Later on that night, it was affirmed that we were going to be playing on a huge truck- similar to the ones that were used for advertising. This was an 18-wheeler lit up with speakers across the sides. It was beautiful. Evan sang "head, shoulders, knees and toes" or "Cabeza, Hombros, gueliu e pe" in Portuguese for the crowd on the truck. Our last night was the most of all, joyous dancing in the streets. Hundreds of people surrounded the stage that night. After, we didn't have the painful experience of packing up and it was so much more glorious than the trailer. We had no idea what was really in store for us:)

It is funny because we are just like the Israelites in Exodus. In this story in the bible, God delivers them from slavery, performs a mass amount of miracles, and is in a personal relationship with them. He protects them time and time again- and miraculously rains food down from heaven... etc. And when things get confusing or they struggle- they ask for God to take them back to slavery. They complain and moap around. If i was God i would be infuriated. But God continues to love them more and more. With this stage we were all complaining and whiney, but we found that Gods plan is perfect everytime, even when we are out in the hot sun, tired, hungry and burnt out. God is good.

This entire trip was very draining in some aspects. Marconi left us more for ourselves with the band, and we were getting tired physically from the struggle of communication. In addition to this, we would stay up late moving heavy stuff- and try to sleep in the bumpy car....

1 comment:

hollyplant said...

I can't wait to experience life in Brazil. I will have to look out for Xote Santo when I'm there. I really like some of Santana's music but don't know any of the other bands.

I am also thinking about moving to Brazil, my family bought an investment property in Joao Pessoa so i was planning to travel through Brazil next summer when I break from university. I'm studying Theology and hope to teach one day. Hopefully you're blog will help me prepare for life in Brazil.