The Girls Who Sang in the Coffee Fields

“When a person begins to think, God has the advantage.” Anon

Friends from Brazil complain about our coffee. With a big smile they say, “Up here you have to drink a gallon of water to get a cup of coffee.” And there is a certain truth to what they say for the coffee they serve in a demi-tasse cup is a good deal stronger than ours. We know it as espresso, and there is no doubt about it, their coffee is good. And it is strong.

If you were downtown in any Brazilian city, and going about your business, it would be easy to find a little coffee shop to serve you a piping-hot cup. Yes hot for the cups would be soaking in hot water till you received yours. That coffee will give you a boost for the next hour or so.

I’ve mentioned coffee before in this blog, so why now again? Well, I was listening to a Brazilian octet singing some wonderful Gospel songs, when a lady soloist in Portuguese took the lead with the eight men provided accompaniment. That lady’s voice with perfect harmony soared over the voices of that smooth background. It raised Goosebumps all over my body. Oh, I could not understand all the words of the song about hope in the Christian faith. But with the woman’s lilting voice it made the music totally compelling.

Memory then switched me back to two other ladies who had wonderful voices–Vanilda and Marilda. They stand out in my mind as superb soloists but when they sang together it was something to die for. One thing is for sure—Brazilians have inherited the artistic talent from their Latin background and added more yet from their New World culture.

Then my mind took me on board to travel back to the coffee fields in the interior of São Paulo state.  I picture the three girls from one family who with the dad and mother were working in the fields of coffee bushes. It is a scorching hot day and all the ladies are wearing loose clothing and hats with huge brims to protect them from the sun. And I hear the girls sing as they rake the red soil to clean up all the coffee beans and then to bag them

They were just a poor sharecropping family. That is why all the family worked the fields. But on Sunday they came to the little rented hall to worship with us. And that is where I first heard the three girls sing. Guitar accompaniment was common but this family did not use one most likely because they could not afford it. But they could sing beautifully in three part harmony—once again they were Gospel songs that reached beyond the tough work of the coffee fields to a Heavenly Father.

So many things I wonder about as I think of those girls singing in the fields. Surely the coffee from those bushes was milder and sweeter than any coffee from any other field in Brazil. Somehow I imagine that the beauty of these girls’ faith soaked into the coffee beans. More important yet the songs they sang gave hope during the long hours this family worked as sharecroppers. I have no doubt, they sang out of their faith that would lift them one day from the sun and the coffee fields to an eternal home.

So to-day as I have my 2nd. or 3rd. cup  of coffee I will lift my cup to touch the cup of those who have sung of their Christian faith over the years. In my mind I will toast with them their faith, though some now are enjoying the heavenly home about which they sang. Even the scientists tell us of a number of other dimensions beyond ours. From that number I believe in a place called Heaven where that trio of girls and other I have known will lift up their songs about our Lord Jesus. Join me in that hope, won’t you?


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