Sunday, April 19, 2015

Intro to God's Choices for His Beloved

Pastor Joyce Swingle launches a new series, God's Choices. She preaches on Psalm 119:169-176. Opening by Tim B. Testimony by Liz J. Prayer and announcements by Pastor Randy and Melanie Solomon.



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

 Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Now taking sign-ups for Engage Rio.

The Sticky Note

Our students from the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp produced "The Sticky Note," a short film that was selected to be screened at the Christian Worldview Film Festival. They were unable to attend because of a performance, so I answered questions as I could, though they produced the film before I worked with them. I believe they had already been to a previous camp before the production.



We still have a few more slots left on the acting and filmmaking side of the camp...

Now taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and sign-ups for Engage Rio.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Njeri "Miller" Gitonga

With Njeri in 2007.
As soon as I could understand English I was hearing stories about my mom growing up in Kenya when my grandparents were missionaries there from 1948-1953. So I grew up grateful for Njeri Gitonga, who watched over Mom and my Aunt Jeri when Grandma and Grandpa Miller were away ministering in the bush.

Our families had lost touch, but sometime in the mid-90's my Aunt Jeri was visiting Kenya and asked someone how she might go about finding Njeri. The local asked her what her maiden name was, and when he heard, he exclaimed, "There's an Njeri Miller living up on that hill." Aunt Jeri knocked on the door, and Njeri invited her into her home, where Aunt Jeri saw photos of herself, Mom, and my grandparents. We've stayed in touch over the years, and though I haven't made it to Kenya yet, I have had two miraculous connections with Njeri!

Njeri in 1999.
In 1999 I did a 16 city tour of England with my play A Clear Leading. I happened to be there the first time Njeri visited England to visit her children who were staying there. Though Njeri wasn't there when I was performing the play, her daughter, Alice, made it to a performance in Muswell Hill, a suburb of London. When I performed the dream of my character Dolly swimming to Africa I had tears streaming down my face. I'll never forget that performance.

With Mom and Alice in 1999.
When Njeri did arrive we spent time at a mall, where Alice interpreted for Mom and me. One memory of that visit was when Njeri got on an escalator for the first time. What a frightening contraption that must have looked like in her eyes.

Then, in 2007 I was back in England, where I got to perform "Lazarus" with some Swahili translations for Alice's church. I learned the start of a Swahili praise song, and opened the piece with that. They all joined in and went way past what I had memorized! I can still sing some of it: "Sifu bwana, sifu bwana, dayama. Moyuwangu, sifu bwana, dayama."

Later I was at Eltham College, where Eric Liddell had attended school. I was interviewing the headmaster and had an idea for a shot of their choir singing a song which was written about Liddell for the documentary Olympic Hero in China: The Eric Liddell Story. In the midst of scouting for the documentary I got a text from Mom saying she couldn't get to Heathrow in time to greet Njeri. So I hopped on the next train... the wrong way! I turned around, got off at Piccadilly and transferred to the metro bound for Heathrow. As soon as the door opened I sprinted for Arrivals. Just as I came bounding up, someone was pushing Njeri out in a wheelchair. I calmed my breathing, walked up like I'd been there for a good long while, gave her a Kenyan handshake (flying down from up above), and said, "Jambo!" That's a Swahili greeting. I also know a few phrases of her tribal language, Kikuyu, so I was also able to say, "Wimwega." That was about it until Mom was able to arrive with Alice who was able to take over the translations.

In my post from December 14, 2007 I wrote:
What are the chances my trips corresponded with hers without either of us knowing of the others' schedule either time? Only the One who set up both visits knows.
Njeri "Miller" Gitonga went to be with the Lord earlier this month. My heart is filled to the brim with gratitude for how she cared for my mom and how the Lord allowed our schedules to connect in England twice!!

Our prayers are with her whole family!

With Njeri, her son, Kamau, and Mom.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Providence




Our poster was miraculously in the main
lobby of AMC Empire. It could have gone
anywhere in the labyrinth of 25 screens.
I played the adult male lead role of Mitchell Little in the feature-length music video, Providence, which had a limited nationwide theatrical release through AMC Independent, which opened Valentine's Weekend, 2016. It's now won or been nominated for over 80 awards.

One of the venues was the historical AMC Empire Theatre on Times Square.  Click here to see how that was an answer to an eight-year prayer.

It's now beginning to roll out across the land, and you can schedule a screening in your area.

It's now available on DVD and digital download.

On February 12th and 13th, I was joined for a Q and A by actors Stacey Bradshaw (Touched by Grace) and Emily Knapp (The Good Book) who play Teen and Young Rachel, Apolonia Davalos (The Perfect Wedding) who plays Beautiful Woman at Church, as well as Jenn Gotzon (Frost/Nixon).

Providence is a charming modern silent film from the makers of The Good Book, their first silent film, which has been nominated for 21 awards and has won over half of those. Providence has already won three awards at the Faith Film Fest: "Best Story," "Best Directing," and "Best Lyrical Music!"

The story is only told through movement and brand new songs written for this film. I like to call it a feature-length montage.

I play the adult version of a character who has known a girl most of his life. Circumstances and shyness have kept them apart, but the Lord brings them together in His timing. I loved being a part of this charming film because it’s such a beautiful picture of how the Lord is at work in bringing couples together. I’m so pleased with the final result, and I love that its theatrical release means more people will see God’s love on film!

It premiered in Franklin, TN, on November 8.

Christians may want to know:
The Dove Association rates it "Faith-Friendly" for ages 12 and over. You can read more details here: Providence.

Director, Sharon Wilharm, wrote about how the film came into existence: You're Invited on Our Filmmaking Journey.





I was in Nashville over three weekends, and the dailies were looking great!

In the run-up to the February 12 nationwide release through AMC Independent they are releasing a series of music videos:















Here's a rough cut of my character's proposal scene:



Interviews from the premiere:






Sunday, April 05, 2015

The Victory of the Resurrection!

Pastor Joyce Swingle preached our Easter sermon on I Corinthians 15. Prayer and comments by Tim B. Opening, prayer and announcements by Pastor Linda Warren. For information on Beyond the Mask visit www.RichDrama.com/BeyondTheMask.



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.



If you've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.


Other Options

WCCC Easter Worship 2015 by RichS on Grooveshark Grooveshark is a third party source. If you listen on their website you will encounter advertisements, none of which are vetted or endorsed by Westchester Chapel. We encourage you to click Settings, then Preferences, then check the box for "Only show me family-friendly themes." If there are still ads that you find offensive we encourage you to click the "Report Ad" link below the ad. Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.
Now taking applications for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp and sign-ups for Engage Rio.