Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Growing Up Wild

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:15

Though we've all been given the commission to "preach the gospel to every creature," not all of us have been called to serve on a foreign mission field. We want our children to be mission-minded though. Our church has a missions conference every year. We're involved in faith promise mission giving. We graduated from a Bible college and have many missionary friends. But none of that truly shows our kids what it's like to be a missionary or live in another country.

The Wilds family remedied that with their Growing Up Wild series. This collection of 5 DVDs welcomes you into the lives of the 4 Wilds brothers and their parents in the remote jungles of Indonesia. Each 15-minutes episode highlights a different aspect of missionary life in Wano. The videos are shot and produced completely by the family. These are not the typical home-movies though. The quality is great and the content even better.    

When I pulled out volume 1, the kids (6, 4, 3) were so excited. Any time we can watch TV for school is a plus for them. Instantly, they were drawn into the video itself. The first episode, Home Sweet Hut, walks you through their home in the jungle. You see how different their hut is from our houses here in the States - round, all wood, open ceiling, hammocks. You'll also see how they are the same - bunk beds, bathroom, Legos, schoolroom.

The second episode, Supply Trip, shows how they get their necessary things in the middle of the jungle. You'll see how they use Sun & Water in episode three to power every-day things.  

There is also a great activity guide that accompanies each volume to help you further the learning. They can even be used as a unit study since you cover so many subjects - Bible reading and discussion, geography, math, science, vocab, worldview, art. My kids really love hands-on activities. They were thrilled when I told them that we were going to make a Wano hut. We watched episode 1 again - for probably the 5th time - and wrote down everything we wanted to add to our hut (or the yurt as Alyssa keeps calling it since it's round and we stayed in one this past September.) Then, they ran around finding the absolute perfect supplies. It was neat watching the hut take form. When their daddy cut the oatmeal container so it would swing open to play inside, their faces lit up. Of course, we had to have an opening for the cat to come and go and a Lego loft, just like the Wilds. They've been having fun letting their mini figs play inside their "AWANA" hut, aka Wano hut.

We were also given volume 4 which includes these episodes: Amazing World Around Us, Adventures in Culture, and Tribal Calling. Jake, my 6-year-old, really likes the first episode since they show some pretty creepy creatures that are commonly found in and around their house. The snakes and spiders produces big smiles from him and grimaces from me.  I have no desire to open my eyes in the morning and stare into glowing spider eyes. No thank you.

On this disc, you'll also see how differently the people of Wano live. We paused the videos many, many times to talk about the differences - the clothing, the simple life, the food, the behavior, the priorities. It was so strange for my kids to see a world so different from their own. We discussed how the people make everything they need, how they can't run to the store to purchase whatever they want, how they don't own frivolous things. One thing that really impressed me about the Wild family and their partner family that is working with them in Wano, is that there was no written language when they first moved there. They had to learn the language just from living with the people. It took them 3 years to master the language. Then, they worked on writing that language down. From there, they began translating the Scriptures into the language. How amazing to be used to bring God's Word to these people! Also on this video is a native who gives his salvation testimony. The Wilds are truly living the lives of missionaries.

Each video costs $18.99 and is good for the whole family. They captivated my family from the 2-year-old on up. I think these are a great teaching tool for children and a good starting point for further discussions. It's one thing to tell our kids that we support missionaries by sending money, but it makes it so much more real when they can see what that money is used for - furthering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you'd like to see how other families used Growing Up Wild, you can find more reviews on the School Review Crew blog.

* Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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