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Monday, April 28, 2014

Brinkman Adventures - A Review

This is a review.

Brinkman Adventures is a fun, family-centric, missions based radio theater program.  That was a description filled with lots of words that

We got to listen to Season 2 of the Brinkman Adventures.

The Brinkman Adventures is the brain child of Ian Bultman, who thought it would be fun to follow along on these adventures with a large missionary family.  The Bultmans have 9, I loved how accurate and real some of the family moments were in a large family.

There are 12 episodes on Season 2 and they follow the adventures of the missionary family as they travel around the globe and the various people and fellow missionaries that they meet along the way.  (Lots of the stories are based on real things that happened to missionaries)

They travel to Mexico, Belize, China, to name a few places.  They have normal family foibles of going on a road trip together.  They meet interesting people along the way.  They laugh.  They are scared.  They worry. They pray.  They praise.

These are little fantastic stories that are about 30 minutes or so long, which adds up to about 5 hours of entertainment.  Some of the parts are  even acted out by the real family.....some of the kids voices are just adorable.  Each episode, in addition to telling a real life story about missionaries, also teaches things like how to communicate within a family or what kind of bugs you find in Mexico.  I can't cover all of them, but each episode is full of little educational tidbits.

The titles of the episodes are:

1. The Mystery Ring
2. Blue Hat and the T-Shirt Bible
3. How Big is Your God, part 1
4. How Big is Your God, part 2
5. Mexico by Bus
6. Treehouse Academy
7. Pirates of Mayan Island
8. Sapphire Slaves, part 1
9. Sapphire Slaves, part 2
10. Hadi’s Choice
11. Castle of Secrets
12. On the Run
It is really like those old radio theater shows that they used to know, back in the olden days! Sound effects, dramatic music and all.

Another cool feature is that you can read about the "real" missionary stories behind the episodes.  You can see exactly what parts of the story were real and what were fictionalized to tell the story.  We didn't do this for each episode, but one we did look up was  the Blue Hat and T-shirt Bible episode.

We had great discussion on this one because the kids really didn't realize that not everyone can happily sing about Jesus, go to church a few times a week, have Vacation Bible School, or read their Bible openly, like we can.  It was such a strange idea for my kids that in some places you have to be secret about God/Jesus/Bible.

The episodes are all interesting and filled with lots of real family type moments, but there are a few that were sort of....I guess....intense.....would be the right word.  Slightly scary to the kids, but what it did was allow for great discussion afterwards about the fact that these kinds of things (child slavery) really can happen.

If you become a fan of the Brinkman Adventures Facebook page, you can see some behind the scenes footage of the episodes being taped.

I love this one where the mom has a tough "mom moment".  It is cool to see a little bit of how these are recorded.  Some of the actors are really "actors", but the kids are the kids of the creator, Ian Bultman.  It is fun to see the kids lined up behind their microphones waiting to say their lines as they are getting in trouble from their "mom" who is holding a bullhorn!

We listened to these together as a family.  Sometimes as we ate breakfast, sometimes after breakfast while the kids were doing their math homework, sometimes while we ate our lunch, one time we even listened at bedtime (but honestly, that one time got the kids a little too riled up to head right to bed!  These would be a fantastic thing to listen to on road trips or if you have to travel and are in the car for about a 30 minute stretch.  I would make sure you have the full amount of time available, because otherwise, you will find yourself sitting in the parking lot at your destination....waiting to see how the story ends!

Want to listen to one of the episodes to get a feel for the Brinkman Adventures?  Check out Episode #9 The Provider  Per their website: In this episode, the Brinkmans run low on cash and Jack recalls the story of how God provided for him using a commercial fishing trip in Alaska.  Full of adventure and God's intervention, the Provider is a modern day telling of casting the net on the other side of the boat.

We really, really loved listening to these stories.  It is sort of a crazy thing nowadays to enjoy listening to a story without a screen to watch, but we loved it.  Some of us just sat and listened, some colored, some did math drills, but we all had moving pictures inside our heads of what was happening.....and it was awesome!

You can purchase a CD or get the download versions of Season 2 of the Brinkman Adventures.  They operate on a suggested donation suggested donation for the CD is $25 and for the download version is $17.  Season 1 is also available for the same suggested donation amounts.

Take a look and see what other TOS Reviewers thought of the Brinkman Adventures.