The Saints, Azusa Pacific University’s smallest and newest ensemble, will be touring Brazil in February, ministering to San Palo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia with their music. This 10-day tour will be the furthest from home The Saints have ever taken their voices and they will certainly be kept busy.
Director of Spiritual Care, Dr. Kevin Mannoia, grew up in Brazil and has spent the last six years visiting multiple cities in his home country, reconnecting and building new relationships in light of his employment at APU. Consequently, it was his idea that The Saints accompany him on his visit this February.
While in Brazil, The Saints will be singing at a pastors’ gathering put on by Mannoia, as well as a variety of local churches in the area and at both high school and elementary schools. They will be representing APU as they tour, providing an opportunity for local Brazilian students to hear about the school and hopefully consider applying.
“It’s recruiting, it’s ministry, it’s good image for the university,” Mannoia said.
The Saints and Mannoia will also be accompanied by Dr. Aja Tulleners Lesh and Dr. Renee Pozza from the School of Nursing. The trip will also serve as a chance to connect APU’s school of nursing with three different Brazilian universities, in hopes of creating possible partnerships between the schools. Hopefully providing opportunities for both Brazilian and APU students.
“Much of what we’re doing is partnering with [Mannoia, Lesh and Pozza] to augment their various agendas in Brazil. The mission that transcends all others on this trip, though, is that we’re spreading the Gospel through song and intentional ministry,” the Saints student leader Jonathan Hughes said.
This group of eight talented young men will be doing one to two concerts a day and using their free time to explore the country. While in Brasilia, The Saints will even have the unique opportunity to stay with host families.
“That’ll be really neat, to go into someone’s house and see how they live and eat their food; get to know the people,” Hughes said.
This trip has been self-funded with the majority of the donations coming from churches and people that The Saints have sung for. It is the funding that has prevented them from making a trip like this before, but Mannoia hopes this will be the start of something new.
“I would love to see them go every year,” Mannoia said. “I would love to see them continue doing what they’re doing and even amp it up more in terms of the kinds of music they do, in terms of the ministry focus they have because they do really well.”
The Saints are a vocal group committed to singing solely for the glory of God and regularly will have between 10 and 20 local performances per semester. They also tour during the summer, having spent the last two summers in the South and Northwest.
“Their heart is primarily for ministry,” Mannoia said. “When they start singing…[The Saints] do good music, but really their focus is on the people who are listening. They connect with the people at a heart level because of their authenticity, because there’s something that comes through with those guys.”
Mannoia also frequently takes business students to Brazil and will be meeting with two companies, Patrobas and Vale, this February in an effort to provide further opportunities for APU’s business students. This is a comprehensive trip in creating opportunities for APU and will be a good opportunity for The Saints to take their music one step further.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing Brazil and all that it has to offer,” Hughes said. “And seeing what we have to offer it.”