Good Grief!

Friends at our church recently posted the following:

Here is Joshua saying a line from his favorite video--The Beginner's Bible: Creation.

It's fun to note that our good friend, Rich Swingle, did the voice of Adam in this video. And seeing as Adam is the one who delivers the line, we saw it fitting to let Rich in on his far-reaching influence.

So, here it is..."Good grief!" Enjoy! :)

From (9/27/09).

For a list of all the characters I performed for the series, visit Beginners Bible Video Series.

Compassion Australia

Some time back, while a theatre student at MasterWorks, Irene Kao sponsored a child through Compassion. When she returned home to Australia she went online to see if she could correspond electronically to save international postage. While she was there, she discovered that Compassion had an Australian branch...and that there was a job opening. She's been working for them for about three years now, and she arranged for me to perform for their national headquarters while I was there. As a bonus, I got to lead some enacted prayers for their team. Some of them were quite powerful.

If you don't already sponsor a child, you can do that right now by clicking here.

The Butterfly Circus

I have a friend who performed a minor role in Butterfly Circus, which won $100,000 for first place at The Doorpost Film Project Competition. It was also recently featured the Searching for Sanctuary Film Festival at Biola University. It's a profound look at hope despite unfortunate circumstances.

It's now being made into a feature film: "The Butterfly Circus" To Get Full-Length Treatment

Hungry for a Tiger

Graeme and Neryl, who arranged our trip to Australia, introduced us to an Aussie meal called The Tiger, a meat pie covered with mash (potatoes), mushy peas, and gravy. I was telling friends at church about it, and I got such a hunger for one that I made them for dinner. There was no sign of meat pies at our local grocery store, but they did have Jamaican beef patties, which actually came pretty close. Yum!

The Beginners Bible Video Series

Rich Swingle has provided several voices for The Beginners Bible video series. This series, produced by Sony Wonder and Jumbo Pictures, is taken from the popular children’s Bible entitled The Beginners Bible.

Rich provided the following voices for this project:

The Story of Creation
• Adam
• The Serpent

The Story of Noah's Ark
• Shem
• Villager

The Story of Moses
• Pharoah
• Slave Master
• Young Moses
• Advisor to Pharaoh

The Story of David and Goliath
• Shammah
• Hebrew Soldiers
• Philistine Soldiers

The Nativity
• Second Shepherd
• Third Wise Man
• Advisor to Herod
• Centurion
• Villager

The Story of Easter
• Jesus
• John
• Pharisee

Jordan Hubacz was First Assistant Director on "There," a short film produced and directed by two of Rich's students at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Jordan shared how he grew up hearing Rich's characters in The Beginners Bible videos.

Overcoming Stage Fright

Here's a poster for a workshop I'll be doing at the University of Memphis next weekend:

Miraculous Tales from Down Under

This Thursday at Thirst, we'll be sharing some of the miracles that took place surrounding our performances in Australia and New Zealand as a kick off to the study of the miraculous Exodus. Hope you can join us for Aussie snacks at 6:30pm:

Here's a brief report from Sunday:

Crescendo Retreat postponed

This retreat was postponed until the spring.

I'll be performing The Acts and Big Fish Little Worm in addition to speaking.

A baker's dozen at Prayer on the Square

We thought it quite significant that we brought twelve from our church (Westchester Chapel) to Prayer on the Square.

Here's Joyce's report:
We at WCCC ended up with twelve people -- the Disciples' Dozen -- which seemed entirely from the Lord. There was a mix of praise and prayers of repentence -- for the church and the various sectors of our society. Bloomberg spoke and we ended in small circles of prayer for each other on the streets.

We felt hand-picked to bring prayers only we could bring to join with 60,000 others.

If you counted us up, you noticed there are 13 of us. That's because Mike, on the far right, who attended our church before moving to Manhattan to study, noticed us from atop the bleachers reserved for pastors. He's leading a Bible study at Coopers Union, so organizing that group got him a place to sit.

A Taste of Oz

Brooke and Ash Sellers came up to NYC from Australia for their honeymoon. We had them over for waffles with Vegemite. I was actually the only one to try that tasty combo, but the sweet and savory effect was delicious! We offered to bring out the TimTams, but they honored our limited stock.

This is an amazing couple, with huge potential for Kingdom work. They're both at the top of the list of soloists for The Sydney Staff Songsters, which was the group that brought us Down Under for their 20th anniversary.

It was an honor to spend time with this new couple, and pray over their new life and ministry together. We're expecting great things!

Back on the right

I composed this a week ago, but i'm sending it now because I just had to seriously think about which lane to choose on the jogging path!

Sept 15, 2009
I went cycling today and pulled into the left lane.

Praying against racism

Kathy Lee Gifford's brother, Rev. David Epstein, led us in a prayer against racism, including a prayer for President Obama and his family. Rev. Epstein cited John 4 and the Woman at the Well, which was the scripture in our youth Bible study this morning!

During the main service, I slipped away to read to our nursery from some cartoons I picked up in Australia called The Agents of T.R.U.T.H. (The Real United Transformation Heroes). I just had the idea this morning, but when I walked in they were gluing macaroni to signs saying, "Jesus is Truth!" After I was done I led them in prayer. After I said, "Amen," a three year old said she wanted to pray, so she led us in The Lord's Prayer. At the same time our worship leader started leading the adults in singing The Lord's Prayer. I told that to her, and later she told her grandpa (who's one of our drummers), "Papi, the Holy Spirit connected us!"

We were pleased, but not surprised when we sang The Lord's Prayer on Times Square as well.

The Holy Spirit was connecting us all day long.

264 churches

Mayor Mike Bloomberg brought correction to the number I reported earlier. He also said people are praying corporately as far away as Kenya.

Praying for the economy

The people praying have been from a broad spectrum. They've had the pastor of the largest church on earth, a teacher from the Bronx, a flight attendant, and now a Wall Street executive.

Praying against human trafficking

We're praying on Times Square against human trafficking right now, specifically that police will take action. This was an enacted prayer we did at a drug rehab in Sydney a couple of weeks ago.

Lord, hear our tens of thousands of prayers!

237 churches+

We're on Times Square right now with a perfect 12 from our church with 237 (I think that's what Pastor Conlon said) churches from the Tri-State area. There are hundreds of churches and colleges watching as groups via webcast. If you're reading this now Sept 20, 3-4pm EST, join us:

Answered prayer in every city!

We facilitated enacted prayer ( in Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne and Auckland, and we just heard a report indicating prayer has been specifically answered in all four cities!

What a mighty God we serve!

Prayer on the Square

4x6 Flier
Joyce and I are bringing folks from our church to be a part of a prayer meeting on Times Square estimated to draw over 30,000 people. Endorsed by Mayor Bloomberg, it is calling all churches from the city (and the globe through a live webcast at 3pm Eastern Savings Time through to pray for New York City and the world.

The Prodigal available on DVD

Ken Wales just told me that The Prodigal, which he produced for Billy Graham, is now on DVD...


We stopped at a shop where they blow glass out of local lava. The name of this piece is "Flight".

Most dangerous bird

Joyce and I walk past a flock of geese on the way to church each week. They can be intimidating, but we're glad they aren't equipped with knife-like claws like Australia's cassowary.

Most venomous snake in the world

We were blown away by the animals of Australia!

One bite from this Inland Taipan has enough venom to kill 100 humans

We saw 130 species only found natively in Oz in this wildlife park located right on Sydney's Darling Harbour.

The last leg

As we touched down at JFK, Joyce said, "There and back again." We've seen the wonderful land of Oz and Middle Earth on the same glorious adventure. Bilbo would be proud.

So many prayers were answered on this journey, and so many times we saw God move more mightily than we dared Hope.

One small miracle was that, despite the fact that we booked all of Joyce's legs with frequent flyer miles and we were rarely told (or offered a choice) of seat assignments on any of the seven flights we took, God always answered our prayer that we sit together. Now that we're back in NYC it's been about 31 hours since our last shower, so you'll get no proof of this last miraculous seating!

The only exception was that flight to Taupo, where there was only one seat on either side of the aisle. But we could still smooch across it and see the other's coastal view as we treasured times away from the performances as our 13th honeymoon.


To our friends Down Under,
We're in LA, and we've never been so pleased to have had a delayed flight! It reduced our layover at LAX from 9 to 4 hours. Much better.

Coming through customs an officer asked us if we were carrying any TimTams. We told him we were, and he said, "They're illegal. You must give them all to me."

Grateful for humor at immigration, and a stock of our TimTations (which will run out all too soon) we're glad to relive Saturday. With all the delays we're not sure when we actually lifted off, but we arrived about six hours before our scheduled departure. It makes up for that Wednesday we missed heading over. How's that for fun? We exchanged a weekday for an extra weekend day!

But oh how we miss it Down Under! The flaura and fawna were amazing, but it was the people that made it such an absolute joy!

Thanks for your part in making this the trip of a lifetime!

Can't wait to get back!!!

In Christ alone,
Rich & Joyce Swingle

How we'll miss New Zealand

We're boarding our flight to leave this remarkable land.

One of our hosts said that when God created New Zealand He took the best of all He'd done, put it on two little islands, and started the day there.

That's a pretty good description.

Thanks, God!

Last night Down Under

We're going out with a bang! Youth groups from all over Auckland are gathering for a night of games (can't wait!), worship (can't wait!!), Big Fish Little Worm (pray for my throat to hold out!) and enacted prayer (can't wait!!!).

Greetings from Hobbiton

Just before our friend, Malcolm, was about to snap this photo in Matamata, New Zealand, my "camera" had an incoming call from my commercial agent in NYC. She asked if I was in town for a while, and, with mixed feelings I told her I was in Hobbiton.

TimTam Slam

One of my lowest points this year was when the Theatre Department at MasterWorks received a box of TimTams, an Australian cookie, from MWF alumna Irene Kao, and by the time the box reached my eager hands it was empty.

We were told there may not be TimTams in New Zealand, so we stocked up in Melbourne. There are TimTams aplenty here on the North Island, by the way.

Our friends in Newcastle, Australia, told us how to do the TimTam slam: you bite off opposing corners of the cookie, and use it like a straw. Last night I was given a different strategy, which was to bite off the full ends. I tried both approaches last night with warm milk, and found that fuller saturation levels were achieved by the latter method.

I tried it again this morning with coffee. Oh, yes, they're delightful for brekky (breakfast).

Since experimentation was put to rest I was overjoyed to discover that a second take was necessary, since the first picture didn't show my TimTation.

Maori church

We just poked our heads into the Maori church at Rotorua. It was quite lovely. We were impressed by the fact that we had to kneel in order for the image of Christ, sandblasted into the window, to appear to walk on the lake outside. Photos weren't allowed, so we bought a book with the image of Christ dressed in a Maori chief's cloak, adorned with kiwi feathers.

Best landing ever!

Last night we landed in Taupo, New Zealand at sunset. It was the most spectacular landings I can recall. My Treo's camera couldn't do it justice at all, but I will post more photos when we get back to the States.

Together but apart

This was the first flight of our journey on which we haven't been able to sit next to each other: there was an aisle between us. Then again, we both had window seats over some of the most breathtaking landscape on earth. For the first leg of the flight we both had coastal views.

God cares

When we were in Sydney we performed at the William Booth House, a drug rehabilitation facility. I performed Sheepish and led a bibliodrama and some enacted prayer, while the Sydney Staff Songsters blew us all away with sweet music. Graeme Press, who leads the Songsters just sent me the following quote from one of the pre-believing residents: "I didn't know that anyone, including the Salvation Army, could care enough for me to succeed in this program so much that they would give us a night like last night." Succeed, my friend, succeed!!!

Down Under update

Thanks so much for your prayers! Things have been going miraculously well
down here in Newcastle (2.5 hours north of Sydney).
I got a text requesting me to teach a couple of workshops in a Christian
school here. Though I only had about an hour's notice I felt the Holy
Spirit guiding, and both classes went quite well by the grace of God.
Last night's performance of The Revelation was well received, and someone
spoke to me about extending our trip a bit for some additional
performances. Follow to see what develops.
A number of young adults went out after The Revelation, so the ministry
continued. It wasn't until then that it was confirmed that I'll lead a
workshop on sociodrama and enacted prayer tonight, so that should be fun!
In a few hours we'll lead devotions for the staff at Compassion's national
headquarters ( ), so pray that these
advocates for the world's poorest children will be encouraged by the
stories of Jonah and Gideon.