Tuesday, November 13, 2012

REVIEW: Growing Up Wild DVD’s Volumes 1 and 4 by Growing Up Wild



We had the pleasure of reviewing Growing Up Wild Volume 1 and Volume 4 by Growing Up Wild.


FROM THE WEBSITE:
 

What is Growing Up Wild?


Growing Up Wild is a collection of educational DVDs that takes you into the remote jungles of Indonesia and shows you the day to day life of the four Wild brothers.

Each episode will share an aspect of missionary life and offer activity ideas that will cause your children to explore their world and connect with ours.

Purpose & Vision


The "Growing Up Wild" DVD series was developed for the purpose of introducing children to the work going on in foreign mission field. Our hope is that "Growing Up Wild" will educate and challenge your children, and be used by the Lord to play a part in raising up the next generation of missionaries!

"Growing Up Wild" was developed to compliment a Home school or Sunday school curricula. It can be used by elementary age students (ages 5-12) but is entertaining and educational for all ages. It can also be useful for summer programs, youth groups, extra semester study, private or Christian schools, or anyone wanting to learn about the "in's and out's" of modern day foreign missionary work. 

We hope and pray that "Growing Up Wild" will bless and challenge your children to see what part they can play in being obedient to God's word in seeing the nations reached with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!

Take a look at some video clips here

There are currently 5 volumes available, and each volume is $18.99 plus tax and shipping costs.  Each volume is approximately 45 minutes long and consists of 3 roughly 15-minute episodes that give insight to another aspect of life in Papua New Guinea with the Wilds.  Each volume includes the DVD and another disc that contains the printable activity guide.

You can buy all 5 volumes in a bundle for $80.99 + shipping and tax and save 15%.



OUR EXPERIENCE:
 
My children, ages 13, 8, and 4, really enjoyed watching these 6 episodes.  I had printed out the activity guides from the included DVD’s, and we discussed the activities orally at the end of each episode.  There is still more material we can explore later…some suggested videos to watch on the internet and some interesting research we can do.  I liked that there were opportunities to expand the experience after watching the episodes. 

In Volume 1, we saw the first 3 episodes in the series. 
    • In Home Sweet Hut, we were able to learn about how the Wild family designed and built their hut.  They made it round to blend in with the native huts in the village, but the inside was very different.  It included partitioned rooms and multi-levels, including a 2nd story Lego room!  That was definitely not what we were expecting.  In addition, they had solar powered conveniences and running water.  They even had a shower!
    • In Supply Trip, we learned about how they kept active lists of how many packages and boxes of foods they used throughout the month, and then used that list to determine what they needed to buy on their next trip to purchase supplies.  We saw how they transported their stuff by plane up to a certain point, and then the villagers came and happily assisted them in transporting it the rest of the way to their hut.  We saw how they had to weigh everything and were limited by weight how much they could load onto the plane, including their own weights!  They said this became a challenge to them as the Wild boys grew older and larger, as it limited their supply weight more and more with time.  My kids were awed at how the boys enjoyed delicacies on their trip like the eyeball of a fish and the tentacle of a squid!
    • In Sun &Water, we got to see how they used the natural resources of the sun and water to provide for their needs.  We saw how they harnassed the sun’s energy to give them solar power inside their hut.  We saw how they used hoses run from a riverbed at a higher elevation to channel water to tanks nearby where the water was filtered for their use of running water inside their hut.  Very creative, indeed!
In Volume 4, we saw 3 more episodes in the series.
    • In Amazing World Around Us, the kids and I got to see lots of surprising creatures like the giant stick bug and these huge, ugly spiders that hide themselves all over their hut, in their rafters and even in their beds!  Ugh!  We saw the Wild boys spearing the spiders to kill them after driving them out of their hiding places.  They certainly seemed very accustomed to their surroundings!  I know my own kids would be screaming and running for their lives! 
    • In Adventures in Culture, we got to see many of the differences between the culture of the native peoples in Papua New Guinea and what we know of our own culture.  There are some vast differences indeed, and the Wild boys seemed to fit right in.  One of the physical cultural differences was the huge piercings that the people often receive in their noses.  It was very different from the small piercings people might receive in this country.
       
    • In Tribal Calling, the Wilds explain how their family originally came to be called by God to work with tribal peoples.  There was a particularly touching interview with the boys’ uncle, where he explained why he felt compelled by God’s word to do missionary work.  I felt this was explained so well that even a young child of God could understand the stirring in one’s heart that comes from hearing God call us to spread the word of the good news to those who have not heard.
Overall, the kids and I really enjoyed this series, and I’d love to see the remaining episodes on the other 3 volumes.  It was fascinating to see the way the Wild family has knitted themselves into life in the jungle.  I think the price of $18.99 is a bit steep for under 45 minutes of viewing time, but I’m a pretty frugal homeschooler. 

If you’re looking for an entertaining show about adapting to life in a remote place, this might fit the bill.  But if you’re looking for a visual of the life and experience of missionaries, I think this misses the mark. 

After years of study and reading detailed accounts of great missionaries such as William Carey and Gladys Aylward, we’ve learned of the trials and disappointments that accompany their daily lives.  We’ve gained insight into the dedicated long-term commitment needed to fit in with the culture, gain the trust of the native people, learn their language (which is often unwritten), and spend years translating the bible into that language.  We’ve seen how the missionaries endure attacks and brushes with death, conflicts of all kinds amongst the native peoples, and all the while, try to embed the word of God into the hearts of those who have never heard it.  That’s the true life of a missionary.  It involves immeasurable personal sacrifice, patience, and perseverance to reach the hearts of strangers.

These Growing Up Wild videos lack that element of sacrifice that most missionaries endure.  And the episodes we saw showed nothing of the disappointments in attempting to reach the hearts of the native peoples whose way of life and thinking are so different from our own, largely because they do lack knowledge and understanding of the ways of God.

While these are great videos, and I could definitely recommend them, I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed that they are filled with the lighter side of missionary work and not a complete picture of what it’s really like over the long-term.  However, they are definitely worthwhile for their ability to inspire a child to think in terms of spreading God’s word to those who do not know it.

Take a look at what other Crew members had to say about the Growing Up Wild series by clicking the banner below.

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I received Growing Up Wild Volumes 1 and 4 free of charge for review purposes, but all opinions are mine and reflect my family’s honest use of the products.