Reposting a report on Toronto and the Olympics from 2012

Rich with Ian Sadler, organist for
Chariots of Fire.
My Toronto performance of Beyond the Chariots in April was bookended by Ian Sadler playing the same pieces on the organ as he did in the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. To hear "Jerusalem" played as it had in the film, just before I walked out to perform my play about Eric Liddell, one of the main subjects of the film, was a very special moment indeed.  Two of the daughters of Eric Liddell also spoke that evening, marking the fourth such performance, starting with Heather Ingham, Eric's middle daughter, speaking after an Off-Broadway performance in 2006. Heather found out I was performing the play at Trafalgar Castle School for girls the following Monday, and she was kind enough to speak there, as well.

Rich with Eric Liddell's daughters
and their husbands.
The highlight of my time in Toronto was when Heather told me upon my arrival about the story told about her in Our Daily Bread, about how her faith had been "rekindled" through a prayer for her aunt which was instantly answered while they were in China preceding the 2008 Olympics, visiting the key places Eric and Flo Liddell had lived.

Puerto Rico, Transylvania and London were all during the two weeks of the Summer Olympics.

In Puerto Rico I taught with fellow board members of Christians in Theatre Arts at a conference for applied theatre practitioners. In London we had four performances in various parts of the city, and three were within five miles of the Olympic Pavillion. We were surprised that Transylvania was the highlight of the trip. We found ourselves laughing at everything, and it occurred to us that, in a land scarred by persecution, we were bringing healing through our laughter.

By the end of the second week of the Olympics we had reached people from 30 nations and every inhabited continent.
At the Eric Liddell Legacy Breakfast with world-record breaking Olympic gold
medalist Madeleine Manning Mimms, with whom I performed during the
Beijing Olympics, and Ashley Null, who served as a chaplain during
previous Olympics.

Grace to the Nations

I just posted a number of photos from our travels to Puerto Rico, Transylvania and London during the Olympics: GraceToTheNations.Shutterfly.com.

We reached people from 30 nations during those two weeks!

We have more stories on this blog as well as Facebook.com/RichDrama and TheLizThatWas.Tumblr.com.

The photo shows how close as we could get to the Olympic Park. We waited on tickets to allow for as many bookings as possible. We're praying for openings in Sochi, Russia, and Rio de Janero, Brazil, for the next Olympics. We've decided to order tickets early for morning events!


This is my report to Westchester Chapel of our performances and workshops in Puerto Rico, Transylvania and London during the Olympics.

This will be part of a brief documentary of our trip. Find out more about that by signing up at RichDrama.com/Updates.

"The Rich Young Ringmaster" © Copyright 2012 by Rich Swingle
Translations by Tarjányi Krisztina Irma @ Copyright 2012 by Tarjányi Krisztina Irma

The rest of the service can be found at WestchesterChapel.Blogspot.com (8/19/12).

30 Nations During the Olympics!

During the Olympics we reached people from at least 30 nations:
Puerto Rico
Romania
Hungary
England
USA
Australia
Canada
Holland
Switzerland
India
Zimbabwe
Liberia
Kenya
Congo Brazzaville
Japan
Philippines
Sri Lanka
South Africa
Malawi
Nigeria
Russia
Poland
Italy
Belgium
Ghana
Guyana
Jamaica
Barbados
Trinidad
Bangladesh 

The Paralympics begin on August 29, so this Sunday's performance of Beyond the Chariots with translations for Chinese in Richmond, VA, will fall within the larger Olympics window, making it 31 nations.

Amazing connections

We've been having a ball in Europe!
We've been posting as often as we can to http://Facebook.com/RichSwingle and our friend and colleague Liz has been posting to http://thelizthatwas.tumblr.com .
Here's a video we just posted telling some of the amazing connections the Lord has been setting up: http://vimeo.com/47153213
It's for our Hungarian friends, so I didn't put in subtitles. The Hungarian is:
Istan hozott: welcome (literally "God sent you."
I don't know how to spell the phrases I said at the end, but they're from a monologue I performed for them and they mean, "It will change your life. You'll be refreshed and renewed."
Also, we were on the Tube, waiting for our train, bummed because the other line had come past a number of times. Had ours been as regular we wouldn't have discovered that the couple sitting next to us were good friends of the creative team that cast me in Judah Ben Hur in Singapore!

A mid-journey report

We've come to London to share my play about Eric Liddell (RichDrama.com/BeyondTheChariots) during the Olympics.

Last night was the debut of the Tamil translation, which was well received. They translated it for seven people who had come from Sri Lanka and India to attend the International College of Officers for the Salvation Army.

This morning a woman told us how integral Eric Liddell's story was in her coming to faith, and there she sat in the William Booth Officers Training School, where she'll start attending in the fall, watching a play about the man who had inspired her to go into ministry! The things that our Father orchestrates are so far beyond what we could ever plan!

Before we came here we performed the play in Romania with Hungarian translation slides. It was in Transylvania, a region that used to belong to Hungary, and the people we visited were Hungarian speakers. One of the men there asked us to tell him more about Jesus. We stayed up until 1am. In the end he prayed that Jesus would cover his sins, so that he could be in a relationship with the Father. The next morning he walked into our room radiating joy, but he still wants to see miraculous signs to confirm this. The next day, when we flew to London there were seven specific Appointments that we knew were all about confirming our friend's new relationship with the Lord. The highlight was when we discoverd that our waitress was from Tirgu-Mures, Romania, the city from which we'd flown only a few hours before. We'll also tell our friend about the woman who will start training school and her story. We're praying that these Love letters will encourage him to grow in his new relationship with the Lord.

On Friday we'll have breakfast with 120 Olympic athletes (some of which will be sitting at our table) as the Eric Liddell Award is given to two gold medalists who exhibit not only outstanding athleticism but also a strong committment to the Father.

filled with Hope,
Rich

Total triumph in Transylvania

We had an indescribably great time in Transylvania. My shirt says, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings Salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile." (Romans 1:16 NIV) Though we're in Romania, it's written in Hungarian, the language of the wonderful people with whom we partnered in ministry.

They are an ecumenical group, though the hosts are Charismatic Catholics, and none of the leaders were ashamed of the Gospel! We sensed the presence of the Lord so powerfully in their prayers and worship songs, though we only understood the ones that were translated from Hillsong, Vineyard and other English sources.

It's always overwhelming to me when I worship with fellow believers in other parts of the world. A connection to the Lord is so powerful it doesn't need words to experience.

We did an awful lot of laughing. It seemed to us a supernatural joy. It occurred to me that it was the Lord's gift to the land scarred by communism. We were in the same county where Richard Wurmbrand was tortured and beaten daily year after year because he wouldn't renounce Christianity. He explained in his book Tortured for Christ that he was actually allowed to serve as a pastor so long as he cooperated with the Communists. They were to teach that Moses brought the first revelation, Jesus brought the second and Joseph Stalin brought the third. But when Wurmbrand's underground activities came to light they imprisoned him and his wife.

With the fall of Ceausescu and the Iron Curtain there is joy in the land. We sensed it and praise the Lord that we could add to it.

My performance of Beyond the Chariots was translated to Hungarian just in time for the performance. They clearly appreciated it, and I was thrilled to receive a special applause in which they unified their clapping into an ever-faster beat.

I wrote a two-minute piece that was translated by a former student of mine in the States who set up our visit. When I got to speak to her on the phone when she called the camp I wept for joy and deep gratitude. She had recorded her translation for me, but the Hungarian language is quite different from any other. I recorded myself speaking it, and all who heard it thought I was better off using translation slides, which I did. I memorized a few Hungarian phrases, and those were received well. Phew! I posted that performance here.

I got to teach two acting workshops and closed by introducing enacted prayer to Romania. Some of the enactments were quite powerful.

One of the camp organizers said they always pray for just under half of the students to be pre-believers, since, at their age, they are influenced toward the majority of their peers. We rejoiced to see 17 of them go forward to indicate a desire to know the Lord more. Last night the call was to come forward if they want to give their lives to the Lord. We missed it because we had to get to London, but we know of at least one of them that is quite close to making that commitment, and we were privileged to pray with one to that end. [We later heard a report that our friend did go forward, along with all but two. Pray for them to continue to consider the Lord.]

During the weeks of the Olympics we've been blessed with bookings in Puerto Rico, Transylvania and London. We're working on a documentary we've decided to title Grace to the Nations. One of the leaders told us, "The Love of God is an ocean, and Grace is an invitation to swim."

The student pictured above asked me to film her telling her father how beautiful the worship and fellowship is at the camp and how much she longs for her father to experience this kind of joy through a relationship with Jézus. Pray he dives into the Love of God.