As my husband and I were growing up, we were big fans of Christian audio adventure series. Some of the ones we listened to are still around, but I decided to try a different one with my children during the last few weeks. We had the opportunity to review the Brinkman Adventures-- specifically we tuned in for the Brinkman Adventure Season 4.
Prior to listening to the first episode, I lazily did not do a lot of research. However, after Episode 1 which chronicled the family's "failure" of a family vacation, I visited the website and spent some time really browsing around.
I think that to understand this product, it is vital to understand what goes on behind this product. You need to know that these are based on a real life family and that while the names have been changed, the actors and actresses play themselves! Knowing that makes these adventures really come alive. Sometimes I would think a certain voice seemed a little bit off as I listened. But then I realized that they weren't necessarily using locals to do the voices -- they were using the actual family to produce this. This gives you a whole new appreciation for what you were hearing. In addition, while some of the events are dramatized or changed a bit, most of the adventures are based on things that really happened to this story.
Even better is that you can read about the story behind each of the adventures on their website. However, you have to be warned that if you view the backstory, it could spoil the adventure for you.
It is always hard for me to "show" an audio program because it is so, well, not visual. But I thought if I highlighted one episode we really loved and discussed it, it would make the program come as alive for you as it does for us when we listened. I have included pictures of our own farm along the side because this episode left us talking about our farm and attempt to "use the land" correctly for quite a long time.
I'd like to take a closer look at Episode 43 with you. This was by FAR our favorite episode, and I should warn you that this will be a spoiler (but well worth it in my opinion!)
This episode looked into the lives of Glen and Rita who serve in a remote part of the Congo where they run a Bible School that trains villagers to be pastors. Glen also flies into these villages with no roads between them using a powered parachute and will show these people the Jesus Film. Most people have never even seen a movie so seeing videos (and even ones that Glen has taken of them are incredibly amazing to them.)
In the episode of The Mysterious Palm Feller we are transported via the powers of audio to their mission which is on 1,000 acres of land that has been with their ministry since the 1930's. They talk about the people in this area are hunters and gatherers which means they often kill any animals they can get a hold of whether they are young or old. As a result, wildlife has become scarce and the only thing they can really plant, corn, is very bad on the soil. So they started to cut down trees to make room for more corn to be planted.
Glen and Rita are using their 1,000 acres to show people in the area how to take care of the land. This was so interesting for our family to listen to being as that is what we are trying to do on our 100 acres in rural Tennessee. They are showing people how helpful planting trees are and also that you can raise domestic animals for food to help save more of the wild animals.
I love what the website says about the "real story" about this episode
when the author writes: "It is hard to convince people who are hungry and barely surviving to trust that the extra work will be worth it." This really resonated with me. This is how I feel here on our farm. Not that we are hungry, but the old farmers around us don't understand why we would waste our time doing the things we are doing! One of the actors in the story said of Glen's mission: "I can see that as a mission, you're not just dealing with people's spiritual needs, you're dealing with their physical needs." And the response is: "Yes, I like to call it a holistic ministry!"
In this particular story, someone was chopping down the palm trees on their mission's land. They were trying to catch the person responsible but were not fast enough t do it. He ended up confronting a man he thought might be responsible and was lead to a local witch doctor which is who they were collecting the palm sap. He ended up confronting the witch doctor and bringing him to Christ! It was an incredible story.
This is just one example of the great stories on these adventures. When this episode was finished, Abigail begged for me not to turn off the radio, and she ended up listening to the next one all by herself! We ended up listening to all twelve episodes but in various ways. Sometimes one child would listen to one. Sometimes we would all listen to one together. Sometimes a few children would listen together. We did it in various ways. We really enjoyed all the episodes.
Both of my boys said that Episode 43 was also their favorite. But Abigail really enjoyed Episode 42 "The Crashed Kitchen."