Thursday, November 5, 2015

Enjoying Some Missionary Stories With The Brinkman Adventures {A TOS Review}

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review

We had the fun opportunity to review the latest season of the Brinkman Adventures.  I had heard of these exciting audio dramas before, but I hadn't taken the time to really look into them. In fact, the Schoolhouse Review Crew had reviewed a previous season of The Brinkman Adventures a year and a half ago. At that time, I wasn't sure if our children would be old enough to enjoy them. Since then they have been exposed to other audio dramas and I have discovered that they really enjoy listening to them. When the time came to decide whether we wanted to try to review The Brinkman Adventures: Season 3, I remembered we had a sample disc of season 2 that we received from our core curriculum provider. Let's just say, listening to those few episodes left us yearning to hear more. We were thrilled when we were chosen for this review. 

We received the 4-CD Season 3 set of The Brinkman Adventures. Each of the 4 CD's has three 26 minute episodes for 5 hours of adventure fun. The Brinkman family is a large missionary family with 9 children. This family is based on a real family (though the names have been changed) and the children play themselves. You can read more about how this series came about on the Brinkman Adventures website

There are actually 10 different stories contained on these discs. Two of the stories are double length and are broken up into parts 1 and 2. Here is the list of the episodes you will find in season 3. 
  • God's Mule
  • Mountain Mover
  • The Silent Ambassador
  • Translating Trouble
  • Man-Up
  • Acorns & Oaks 
  • A Saint's Story, Pt. 1
  • A Saint's Story, Pt. 2
  • Untouched
  • Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
  • Missionary Tourist, Pt. 1
  • Missionary Tourist, Pt. 2
These stories combine real life missionary stories with the lives of the Brinkmans. The missionary stories usually come to us through the missionaries telling their story to the Brinkmans or them interacting in some other way. There are also adventures that happen to the Brinkmans that are based somewhat on real life. I love the way reality and fiction meshes to bring the listener amazing adventures. Though the missionary stories are all based on real events, some details have been altered, such as names of people and cities, and how the events actually occurred. 

We were treated to tales of a daring man who smuggles Bibles into dangerous countries. a family who translates the Bible into the Yalunka language with the help of a native who had become a Christian, and a camp in Hong Kong for children being purchased thanks to the donation of one little girl, to name a few. God's mighty hand is clearly seen in these stories, as is the faithfulness and trust of the missionaries. 

The two-part adventure titled, "A Saint's Story" was very emotional for me. The real-life Steve Saint played himself, though there are also scenes of Steve as a boy (which obviously couldn't be played by him). The story shares his childhood where his dad was killed by natives and a little later where he goes to live with this same tribe after they have become Christians. However, these early-life scenes are alternated by scenes later on in his life where he is in and out of consciousness after being hit by a piece of the flying car he had invented. Yes, there truly is such a car which is one of the inventions of i-tec, his company that comes up with amazingly useful inventions to aid in the natives becoming self-sufficient.You can find out more about this car (along with true details of all the stories, by going to the Real Stories section of the website: Stories Behind the Stories.

There are also some episodes that focus more on the adventures of the Brinkman family and their friends. "The Silent Ambassador" is about a girl named Evilyn who started a club to put together 200 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. In the story Gracie Brinkman and Evilyn were friends, though in real life they didn't meet until this episode was being made. Evilyn is a shy 9 year old girl who prayed to God for a way to help poor people. God led her to start the club and miraculously provided some of the contents of the boxes. You can listen to the episode to see how God continued to use her in a very special way.

A couple of other fictional stories focus on Mr. Pennington and Ms. Bernice, though there is more true adventure going on surrounding their story. We were thrilled that Mr. Pennington was back. He had first made an appearance in a couple of the episodes in season 2, episodes that happened to be on the sample disc we received. Ms. Bernice is the Brinkman's elderly next door neighbor, who is actually based on the real next door neighbor combined with a friend of Aunt Sarah's. It is in the "Acorns & Oaks" episode that Mr. Pennington comes with Mr. Benti (also from season 2) to visit the Brinkmans. Mr. Benti tells the story of needing a camp for children in Hong Kong and how that one little girl's donation helped to make it possible. In this episode we also see little Charlie saving up money for missions. Mr. Pennington and Ms. Bernice are later featured in "Busy Bees and a Bullhorn," along with some very aggressive bees and a wedding. 

The episode "Man-Up" is based on a real event in the life of Jack Brinkman's brother-in-law. However, the story has the events happening to Ian and Anthony. It is the story of a coming of age, manhood trip to a glacier in Alaska. Though certain details were added to make it more suspenseful and adventurous, there was really a dangerous hike in the freezing weather which involved hypothermia and God's intervention. 

Each one of these episodes was amazing. The children took a particular liking to "The Silent Ambassador." They enjoyed hearing about a real-life child who was around their age. It became even more relevant when they discovered that our church participates in Operation Christmas Child and provides the shoe boxes for us to fill. Guess what we are going to be doing this coming week! My husband and I both enjoyed the stories focusing on Thomas who smuggled Bibles into hostile countries. It was amazing to see the way God intervened to make this possible. 

These episodes were just the right length to be listened to in the van on our way to co-op or the near by towns to run errands. We could listen to one episode during the round trip to co-op, and we could listen to a couple of episodes (or more) on other trips. I prefer having the children listen to the CD's in the van, so I know they are not being distracted.

In addition to the website, you can find The Brinkman Adventures on Facebook.

Don't forget to check out what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about The Brinkman Adventures. Just click on the banner below:

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review
Crew Disclaimer

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