Growing Up Wild
The Wild Brothers (and their parents) are missionaries living in the remote jungles of Indonesia. Growing Up Wild is a collection of 5 DVDs that they have created to share their experience with people back home, whether they be homeschoolers, church groups, or just anyone curious what the day to day life of a missionary is really like.
We were sent two volumes, 1 and 4, to review. Each DVD has three episodes centered around a particular facet of missionary life, and follows the four Wild brothers as they show (and sometimes explain) it to you. Narration is done by the boys’ mom, Libby. You can meet the Wild family in this video:
We popped in volume 1, and were promptly rewarded with upbeat music and excellent photography – since the videos were created for ages 5-12, I’d only asked my younger two to watch, but my teens were immediately attracted to the TV, too. Music + cool pictures = a winner. They were fascinated. Plus, it was four boys. And they were in the jungle, and might as well be camping there. Total coolness factor award.
In Growing Up Wild Volume 1, the three episodes are , Home Sweet Hut, Supply Trip, and Sun & Water. In Home Sweet Hut, we are shown the Wild’s home, first as it is being build, and then later, a tour as it is completed and they are living there. Despite the rustic appearance, the interior is surprisingly modern, especially in comparison to the huts of the Wano people. The kids were quite amused at the Lego area, and even more surprised to see the Lego people reappear throughout the series. They’re quite curious what the Wano people think of the Lego toys.
Supply Trip follows the family as they fly into a more populous area for a rest and resupply trip. They’re used to the way that we stock up on some items, but my hot-sauce-loving kids were incredulous at the quantity of hot sauce on that pantry shelf. That image, out of all of them, impressed upon them just how far from civilization they really were… because if they need to stock up on that much hot sauce, they’re really in trouble if they have anything they absolutely NEED, and not just *want*.
In Sun & Water, the Wild Brothers head up the mountain to show their household water system. Their water is taken from a mountain stream, which is then fed through filters and downhill through a series of barrels and hoses via gravity, eventually arriving at the house with a water pressure that seems about what we would expect here in the U.S. They are able to watch dishes, clothing, and even have a flush toilet in the house – though now that I think about, I didn’t catch mention of their wastewater sanitation system. (My guess is, given the age the videos were designed for, they chose to skip that part.)
Growing Up Wild Volume 4: has three episodes titled the Amazing World Around Us, Adventures In Culture, and Tribal Calling. Amazing World Around Us is the total creature episode, full of snakes and birds and bugs – this was both cool and creepy. Depending on the kid, reactions ranged from “Cool!” to “Eeeeeew!”
Adventures in Culture speaks about the differences (and similaries) in cultures – highlighting things like war, hunting, red fruit, and nose piercing. Mano of the Wano tribe have their nose pierced – and of course, it brought back up in our household the fact that my 14-year-old son wants to get his ears pierced. I haven’t made up my mind on that one yet – though the main reason why is that behavior-wise, he most certainly hasn’t earned it!
Tribal Calling discussed how the Wild family was led to missionary work, and while this episode will be relevant to those in the church, it was much less interesting to the kids, and since they were at home and could (as opposed to sitting in a church or classroom), they wandered off to elsewhere in the room while this episode was on.
Growing Up Wild, is, of course, created by Christian missionaries for the purpose of educating others about missionary work, so they include information about God and relevant bible verses and teaching. There are some episodes that I believe that others might well find educational and ought to consider viewing, even if their specific worldview differs.
Each volume is supplemented by a PDF activity guide that is on an included disk. These activities are mentioned at the end of each episode with visuals, but the printed activity guide explains each in a slightly different way with a little more detail, and the two combined complement each other well. Activities range from the very simple no-prep (the missionaries built their house near a tree, sketch a tree that is near your home) to the more complex (build a solar oven), but all of the activities are realistic for use in a home situation. Many of them take no prep at all, and use supplies that any homeschool family would have in the household, like paper, pencil, coloring supplies, and people to use them! Other activities include places to go, interviews to have, or topics to research.
There are three other DVDs available in the Growing Up Wild Series, Volumes 2, 3, and 5:
The first episode in Growing Up Wild, Volume 2, is called Rainy Day. Even though it’s raining, the Wild Brothers don’t stay inside – they head off to an adventure on a tropical island with their surfboard. New Discoveries lead them to wonderful treasures like beautiful butterflies, a giant phasmid, and eternal riches. Then the Wild Brothers set out on a Hiking Adventure and explore (and camp) in a tropical rain forest with a backpack and a bag of marshmallows. (I have a suspicion *this* would be our favorite episode, *if* we had it.)
In Growing Up Wild Volume 3, God bestows numerous blessings as the Wild Brothers show how The Good Earth yields food for a village with toil, sweat, a little seed. Within a days’ walk of the village is incredible terrain, and the Wild Brothers take you Near & Far while they cross raging rivers, see the effects of a landslide, and listen to the history that the jungle holds. Being so far from civilization means that illness can be a much more serious matter, and those raised in that reality have a much different worldview than those who are used to towns and hospitals. In Dr. In The Hut, the Wild Brothers explore the complex relationships, and how compassion and love build bonds among people.
Growing Up Wild Volume 5 has three episodes titled Discovering Language, The Feast, and Misconceptions of Missions. Discovering Language is the story of the Wild family’s effort to learn the Wano people’s language as part of their effort to share their missionary message. The Feast is a journey through the preparations for a feast, Wano-style, including gathering greens, cutting firewood, and even shooting a pig! The final episode on Volume 5 explores some Misconceptions of Missions, and invites the viewer to examine God’s word with the Wild family as they delve into how the concept and implementation of missions must purposefully meet God’s desire.
Each volume may be individually purchased for $18.99 + shipping and tax, or purchase all five volumes at once for just $80.99 and save 20%!
We really enjoyed watching the videos. I’d highly recommend them for church groups or those that are interested in missionary work. For me, as a homeschooler who isn’t considering missionary work or involved with it in any way, they’re a little on the pricy side since they’d primarily be entertainment/elective material, but they’re highly watchable, and I wish my budget did stretch to allow me to just randomly purchase the rest for enjoyment right now. (Especially volume 2 – we *all* want to know what actual camping in a tropical rain forest is like!)
**Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.**