It seems like only yesterday that I was the Sunday School Director for our small church in Western New York. I wanted to give our regular teachers the summer off, and we had lined up relief staff for eight weeks of the summer. God had laid it on my heart to make the summer focus missions. I spent hours combing the internet looking for resources, but in the end I had to come up with my own curriculum which I wrote from scratch. It wasn’t fantastic, but it worked.
To me, the new series from Wild Brothers Productions is like an answer to prayer. The next time I am in that position, I won’t have to wonder what we will use! In fact, we are going to use the videos from Growing Up Wild at AWANA for SPARKS council time. I can’t wait to see the kids faces when the Wild brothers explain how they get running water into the house. We received Growing Up Wild Volume 1 ($18.99) and Growing Up Wild Volume 4 ($18.99) for this review and I will be purchasing the remaining volumes.
My kids and I set down to watch one video segment the first night the videos arrived and we were so fascinated we ended up watching all three episodes on the first video and supper was late. My oldest daughter refused to watch. When we sat down to watch the second video, she was already in the room doing school work and she got very interested. I have children from three-years-old to thirteen-years-old and they are all six fascinated by the lives of the Wild family.
My three-year-old boys especially loved the episode called Amazing World Around Us which highlighted creatures from Papua including snails, which my boys love to catch and hold just like this — only our snails are not yellow! Maybe now is a good time to tell you who the Wild Brothers are and what the videos are about. The Wild brothers are four boys who are roughly the same age as my children. They live in Papua, Indonesia with their parents where they are a full time missionary family.
They live in a round house under a tree and are regularly visited by huge spiders, rats, and a variety of other wildlife. They pump their water in from a stream up the mountain, and pick up supplies from a city by helicopter every three months or so. This family has made their home with the Wano people, translated their language into a written language, and shared the gospel to change lives.
Each DVD has three episodes. The episodes are short fifteen minute segments which highlight some aspect of their lives as missionaries. The first episode, Home Sweet Hut, is a wonderful inside tour of the Wild home and also a typical Wano home. Another episode describes how they get running water and electricity in the jungle. Yet another episode shows a supply run and how that works. One of our favorites was the episode called Adventures in Culture in which two of the boys get their noses pierced. I love this quote from the activity guide:
Our hope is that growing up wild will be a blessing to many families. We pray that this program will spur you on to live for Christ. I tell my boys all the time, “We learn and work hard at gaining knowledge, not so that we will become smart or be known as clever, or in order to make a name for ourselves, but so that we can be used for Christ.” I believe that our purpose is to make His name great among all peoples, to glorify Him.
Each DVD comes with an activity guide with ideas of how to connect your world with that of the Wano people and the concept of missions. The activity guide includes venn diagrams and other charts for comparison, craft ideas, research projects, and even vocabulary terms. Each video has enough ideas in the activity guide to fill a Sunday School classroom with giggles and fun for a full hour, and each video also has a message about God, Jesus and the gospel.
My Bottom Line: I plan to order the remaining Growing Up Wild DVDs and anticipate using them for years to come, both at home and in our local church wherever we are. This is an excellent resource if you want to give your children a heart for missions.
Disclaimer: I received two volumes of Growing Up Wild at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review on my blog as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Here you have my honest review.