Our Newest Audio Favorite: The Brinkman Adventures (Crew Review)
If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ve probably read about how much we enjoy various forms of audio entertainment. My boys seem unable to get dressed without some form of “stories” playing on their iPod dock. I had never heard of The Brinkman Adventures until an opportunity arose to review their latest season of audio dramas, but I jumped at the chance to review The Brinkman Adventures Season 2: Episodes 13-24. They have quickly become a favorite around our house.
These 12 episodes follow the adventures of a family with eight children as they work to support missionary efforts around the world. Even if you haven’t listened to the first season, you can easily jump in and enjoy this set. (Our whole family was so engaged, however, we decided to buy the first season just so we could get more time with the Brinkmans!)
Without going into every episode, here are a few of the highlights from this season:
The first seven episodes are centered around a trip to Belize, where the Brinkman family is planning to visit a missionary couple involved in multiple ministries, including a school. In the first episode two of the kids find an old class ring and try to sell it to raise money to buy curriculum for the school, while also trying to track down the original owner. When they find him, he turns out to be a retired missionary. As the family drives to Belize they end up meeting with him and his wife, who encourage them with stories of their work trying to help the underground church in China and planting churches in Hong Kong. Eventually the family makes it to Belize and gets to see the work being done by the missionaries there. They even learn a little about the pirate history of Belize (which fascinated Ian)!
The last three episodes focus on the story of a family working in the Middle East. In one we meet a young man from a Muslim family who has a dream that starts him on a journey toward Christ, even though choosing to follow Jesus will come at great cost. His decision also triggers events that force the missionary family to flee the country to avoid imprisonment. The Brinkmans later meet this family at a retreat and get to know the son, who is struggling to come to grips with some of the hard things that have happened to his family recently, but eventually learns to bring his troubles to the Lord.
The stories are fascinating, and provided good opportunities for our family to talk about how blessed we are to have the freedom to worship openly, how God provides for people doing the work of His kingdom, and how people’s faith can grow stronger during persecution.
True Family Entertainment
Because the stories feature characters from toddler to teenager, they really are for people of all ages to enjoy. My oldest is six, and he was the biggest fan in our house, though these will certainly appeal to older children and teens as well. Our younger kids listened in the car, but I’m not sure how much they were following along. Occasionally certain lines would catch their attention, and then they would burst out laughing and repeat those lines to keep the giggles going. Arianna (2) thought it was hilarious to shout, “I need a Bible!” over and over.
My husband and I especially appreciated having something we could all listen to together that was family friendly, faith-building, and entertaining. The “Brinkmans” are based on a real family, and all the children play themselves (with names changed). We loved listening to them interact with each other, help one another, and learn valuable life lessons as they faced different circumstances. The stories were also a wonderful tool for teaching our children about missionary life, both the positive side as they heard about how God miraculously provided for the missionaries in the stories, as well as some of the harder aspects of serving in different places around the world.
The first time I put on The Brinkman Adventures, Ian wasn’t that into them, but I think it was because he already has things he enjoys listening to and he wasn’t really looking for something new. However, it wasn’t long before he was drawn into the stories, and pretty soon he was requesting them in the car, at bedtime, or just putting them while he was working on art projects or playing in his room. He has listened to the entire series more times than I can count, and I know they’ve really impacted him because he’ll often ask me questions out of the blue that end up being about something he had heard in the Brinkman Adventures and had been thinking about for a while.
Beyond the Episodes
If you’re interested in The Brinkman Adventures you’ll definitely want to check out their website (and Facebook page). Because the stories are based on a real family, many of the adventures are based on real life. On the website you can find out about the true stories behind each episode and watch behind-the-scenes video. If you want to hear an episode before purchasing anything you can even listen to one on the website for free (and if you explore the site you can find more than one!) They operate on a donation basis, with the suggested price for the entire season being $25 for a 4-CD set (with free shipping!) or $17 for an mp3 album, which you can download immediately. Happy listening!