Colin was invited to travel to the Amazon to visit a Stone Age tribe after choreographing Dayuma, a dance-theater production about their story. Dayuma was the name of the first member of the Huaorani to become a Jesus-follower after the martyrdom of five young American missionaries and the endeavors of Rachel Saint and Elisabeth Eliot. Colin wrote the production from the tribal perspective incorporating their dances, singing, and language. After the show had been performed in several countries, Wycliffe Bible Translators contacted Colin about partnering with them in the United States to raise awareness for 20 unfinished translation projects. Under the banner of “2020 Vision,” Colin and the dancers took the show to twenty (plus one) cities, performing and challenging each audience to help with a specific translation project. Within five years, all 20 Bible translations had been completed.
Colin also had the unique opportunity to debut the show to Dayuma herself. He contacted Rachel Saint about the possibility of traveling with Dayuma to see the Canadian premiere of the show. She responded that they had already purchased their plane tickets to come. To respect Dayuma and give her the best possible experience, they did a special, private show for just her and Rachel. As Colin watched, he noticed Dayuma sometimes laughing and sometimes crying as she watched the story of her life unfold. After seeing the show, Dayuma herself shared that she felt moved to go quickly back to the Amazon and take “God’s carving” (the Bible) to other downriver tribes. It was clear that God had used the performance in miraculous ways, touching hearts and lives as only He could.
Two years later, when Colin arrived in China along with 300 artists from 20 countries, they were greeted by government leaders. At the same time, one hundred people from regional tribal groups dressed in full regalia danced them to their bus. At every bridge they came to, there were banners hung welcoming them to the country. This was yet another example to Colin of how the arts offer the opportunity to transcend barriers. Colin had organized a historic performance of Handel’s Messiah. A Canadian conductor rehearsed the best orchestra in that region, together with a Canadian choir and both Chinese and international soloists. The words of Messiah (Scripture!) were translated into Chinese and projected onto electronic screens for the audience. In April 1999, on the 10th anniversary of the infamous Tiananmen Square Massacre, Messiah was performed for an audience of 1,000 plus people. Colin recounts that everyone he saw in the audience was weeping by the end of the performance. A communist newspaper headline the next day declared “Messiah Touches Hearts,” and people were invited to write in about how Messiah had touched them. Those stories were then published.
Check back in a few days for the next article on Colin, telling the story of his theatre production Toymaker and Son and its exciting new adaptation into a book!