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Something I love about homeschooling is the freedom to alter your course for a bit when it is needed. I used to get hung up on checking those boxes for work completed and trying to replicate a brick and mortar school. Thankfully, I banished that need not too long after we began homeschooling as a move meant down time for regular school work. What I did was to use different audio and visual resources that complemented what we were learning or helped with what I could term character development.
Missionary Stories that Engage the Family: Brinkman Adventures
In a nutshell, Brinkman Adventures takes the stories of real-life missionaries and puts them into a radio drama format which has each episode lasting approximately 20 minutes. Some of the stories they share are short enough that one episode covers the entire story. Others are longer, more involved stories to tell and several episodes are needed for the listener to hear the complete story of that missionary.
Woven around the missionary stories are glimpses of adventures from the Brinkman family’s life. You hear Mr. and Mrs. Brinkman as well as their kids ON the audio being themselves. (Note ~ The names of the people featured on Brinkman Adventures have been changed, but it is always the real person talking. Also, there are some parts of the story that are dramatized a bit while maintaining integrity of the overall story.)
Season 3 is the latest release from Brinkman Adventures and provides you with a total of 12 episodes spanning over 5 hours of listening time. Episodes for this particular season are:
Ep. 01 – God’s Mule
Ep. 02 – Mountain Mover
Ep. 03 – Silent Ambassador
Ep. 04 – Translating Trouble
Ep. 05 – Man-Up
Ep. 06 – Acorns & Oaks
Ep. 07 – A Saint’s Story Pt 1
Ep. 08 – A Saint Story pt 2
Ep. 08 – A Saint Story pt 2 (2)
Ep. 09 – Untouched
Ep. 10 – Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
Ep. 11 – Missionary Tourist Pt 1
Ep. 12 – Missionary Tourist Pt 2
Missionary Stories that Engage the Family: Our Thoughts on Brinkman Adventures Season 3
This is the second season we’ve been fortunate to review. You can read more about Brinkman Adventures Season 2 in our past review.
I knew from experience that these missionary stories would engage my younger boys. I thought about including my teens in the listening times, but elected to let them work on their own work instead. Disc 1, which contains the first 3 episodes of the season, was listened to in our SUV while driving to and from my son’s music lessons. For a while, I thought it might have been only ME listening to the story as I drove since they weren’t saying anything. However, when I paused it to drive through security at the base, my youngest son asked me why I’d turned off the story. He WAS listening and picking up details in the process. Yeah for car listening as you have a captive audience!
My 12 year old kept questioning me about the first missionary featured, Tomas, who carried thousands of Bibles into a foreign country (renamed Bishmar to protect the missionary’s identity and anyone who might be following suit in being God’s Mule. I was glad to know that Brinkman Adventures links to the REAL story behind each of the stories they feature. This young man who left college to become a missionary is pictured with his face blotted out to protect his identity. (Side note ~ “Michelle” met the real missionary at the Alaska Bible Institute. I’m going to be looking that up as we live IN Alaska and I hadn’t heard of it.)
Sharing this with my boys brought about the discussion of how being a Christian can be quite dangerous in certain parts of the world. As much as I love Christ, I know that smuggling Bibles into those countries is something I would not want to be doing. Thankfully, it isn’t my calling from God so I don’t have to wrestle with that choice. However, I loved hearing in Tomas’ story how God moved mountains and kept him safe. It’s a great reminder that with God all things are possible and we just need to place our trust in Him.
And just so you don’t think that every missionary featured in Brinkman Adventures is someone going to foreign lands, the third episode “Silent Ambassador” features a 9 year old girl, Evilyn, who is extremely shy yet called by God to help others. She starts an Operation Child Shoebox Club which forces her to interact with others and ultimately is asked to be an ambassador for the program. It is by being bold and relying upon God’s Grace that she was able to go from hiding under the stairs to speaking in front of thousands of people and personally delivering the 100 millionth shoe box to the Dominican Republic. Her story also shows how God will provide what is needed when it is needed.
I could go on to describe more episodes, but I won’t. Instead, I will say that these missionary stories have served to not only entertain the boys during times when they might normally complain that they are bored, but they also have helped them better understand how important missionary work is in our modern world. While I do not expect them to hear a call to missionary life, I do hope that planting seeds like this will lead to more sensitivity and a desire to help those called by God to step boldly in faith.
Do you ever use supplemental materials to help a child learn?
Does your family enjoy audio dramas like Brinkman Adventures?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.