Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Missionary Stories in Radio Theater format

Okay, most Americans don’t spend their evenings sitting around the radio listening to the Lone Ranger any more…but don’t think for a second that “radio theater” is dead.  Take for instance our latest review item: Season 2: Episodes 13-24 from The Brinkman Adventures.

Rather than coming over the airwaves, we listened to 12 episodes of The Brinkman Adventures (over 5 hours) by popping 4 CDs into our car or home players.  We were introduced to the Brinkman family (fictional name)—a homeschooling family that performs Christian concerts and interacts with missionaries around the world.  Sometimes the adventures are their own (racing through Mexico to a concert in Belize with a crate of chickens on the back of the bus) and sometimes they listen to the stories of the missionaries they meet (one shared God’s amazing provision of a church/school building in communist China). 

Names and countries may have been changed to protect those still in the field, but the stories all have a basis in actual events (especially the parts describing God’s protection and provision).  After listening to the stories we could visit the Brinkman website and learn more about the real stories.

We live in a very rural area and have a fair share of time in the car to run errands, but listening to these stories made the time fly.  My Schnickelfritz wasn’t patient enough to wait for the next trip to learn what happened next so the Brinkmans became his just-before-bed audio entertainment. 

His favorite story was the Pirates of Mayan Island—not that he’s part of the modern pirate craze, but for the series of unfortunate accidents that hamper the pirate’s caper. Although the island and the Mayan temple are real, most of this adventure was fictional.  His least favorite stories were the two parts of Sapphire Slaves.   His tender heart broke at the thought that some children are still held in slavery in this day and age.  (There is a warning  at the beginning of the story for children under 10 to listen with their parents).

My son loved the adventure portions, both the humorous and the perilous –chasing down chickens, held captive by pirates, etc.  I was pleased to hear how God takes care of his own – a women in a blue hat leads three missionaries to a private compartment on a train and a note directs the kitchen to provide them with food but no one else sees the woman.  On a separate trip, the family is prepared to sleep on their bus when a total stranger approaches and says “God loves you” and leads them to a penthouse suite in a beachfront hotel.  I loved for my son to hear that God still performs miracles today.

Just like old time radio adventures, the stories have sound effects and a cast of  actors.  The Brinkman kids are played by the real brothers and sisters of the family (even the youngest with their sweet voices).  The parents and the people they encounter are played by actors and I’ll admit I sometimes had trouble understanding the accents of some of the foreign characters, especially in the stories about China.  It could just be my middle aged ears because my son didn’t complain.  Speaking of actors, the woman who portrays the mother just lost her husband to a heart attack over the weekend, so please lift her up in your prayers.

We were introduced to the Brinkmans in their second season, but I didn’t feel like we had missed any vital information not having heard season one.  I would suggest listening to the episodes in order because some story lines carry over from story to story.  If you’ve got a road trip in you summer plans, these stories would be great to listen to along the way.  They can be enjoyed by all ages (but do heed the warning for those under 10 to listen to certain stories with their parents).

Season 2 is available on CD ($25) or MP3 ($17).  These prices are suggested donations so don’t feel they’re too expensive if your budget is tight and consider blessing this missionary family with more if God has let your cup runneth over.

Click to read Crew Reviews

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