“Mom, do we have to listen to it?” my fourteen-year-old queried as I queued up the first Brinkman Adventures episode. “Couldn’t we just listen to music?”
It was Friday morning, and we were headed to Community Bible Study. The thirty-minute drive was the perfect length to fit in an episode of the digital audio drama we were reviewing, Season 6: Underground Rising.
We started with Part 1 of “Dutch Underground.” As it begins, two girls are visiting their grandmother, who regales them with stories from her youth. During World War II, their grandfather helped steal ration cards for the Dutch Underground. It was a dangerous job.
Our drive to Bible study had never passed so quickly. I was glad to hear my reluctant daughter audibly respond, laughing at a funny part of the episode. The twins in the backseat were listening intently as well. We were all so caught up in the audio drama that we were surprised when it ended.
As we began driving home later that morning, my older daughter asked, “Can we listen to the radio show?” It was music to my ears, given her earlier skepticism. All four of us enjoyed the exciting conclusion to “Dutch Underground.” None of us wanted the episode to end.
Later the girls summarized the story for me:
“During World War II, Dutch people were trying to help people who couldn’t get enough food by getting them ration cards and hiding them.”
“And they were ‘stealing’ ration cards so that more people could have them.”
“One day two of them decided to steal a Nazi car so that they could travel much more quickly, …”
“…then they became wanted for doing that because they were caught in the act!”
Doesn’t that sound exciting?
“Mom, when can we listen to another audio drama?” My tenth-grade daughter definitely appreciated the Brinkman Adventures! The opportunity arose the following Friday during our weekly drive to and from Bible Study. The girls chose to listen to the other two-part drama, “Free Burma Rangers.”
In Part 1, we met young missionary kid, Dave Eubank. He often picked fights at boarding school so he could become stronger. Why? He wanted to become a Green Beret in the U.S. Army. But after becoming a captain in the Army Special Forces, he prayerfully decided to quit the army to serve the Lord.
While attending Bible School, Dave received a call from his father. Doors had opened for this Christian warrior to become a missionary in war-torn Burma.
Part 1 of “Free Burma Rangers” captivated me. The episode brought chill-bumps to my arms. Tears threatened to fall as I heard of Dave’s turmoil between deciding whether to follow his own will or trust God. It may not have been the best episode for me to listen to while driving, but I held it together and made it to the church safely.
On the way home, there was no question of what we would listen to. We all wanted to hear the rest of the story.
At first, I was disappointed that the next episode did not begin where the cliffhanger from Part 1 left off. It skipped ahead several years to the Brinkman family visiting Dave in Burma. They accompanied a relief team on a supposedly-safe excursion to a village. Of course, it would not be much of an adventure if it were entirely safe, right?
As a military group attempted to capture or kill Dave for his controversial work, the Brinkmans were caught in the crossfire. The episode highlighted faith and prayer. Dave and the Brinkman family learned to trust God and follow Him. It was exciting to hear how God accomplished His plan through miracles along the way.
That Friday evening, the entire family piled into our minivan for a six-hour drive. While en route, my fourteen-year-old asked if we could listen to one of the Brinkman Adventures. I was happy to oblige and played one of single-episode dramas.
“I Wonder Why” tells the story of the Wonder family whom God called to minister in an Indian orphanage. I had a particular interest in this story since one of my friends runs a children’s home in India. However, her experience as a single adult on the mission field is much different than that of the daughter in this story.
Nine-year-old Sam had a hard time adjusting to the vastly different climate and culture. Her brother’s many allergies made living in India much more challenging for the family of five.
The house mother’s methods of discipline conflicted with the family’s ideals. Missionaries who previously came to help the orphans had abandoned their post. Everyone at the orphanage expected this family to do the same.
This inspiring episode details how God worked through this challenging situation to draw the entire orphanage to Him.
Our next opportunity to listen to the Brinkman Adventures came during our family vacation. On the way to the beach, I played the episode, “Twice Born Fly.”
At the beginning, a few kids were observing a fly hatching from a pupa. The boy, Charlie, accidentally swallowed the insect when he gasped in amazement.
Later, the father related a story from prison. My husband found the story strange—it seemed doubtful this family man would have ever served time. As the episode progressed, it became clear that he was merely retelling a dream. The dream served as an interesting allegory for the Christian faith. But this episode did not seem as exciting or well-written as the others.
By the end of the drama, the boy, Charlie, asked Jesus to be his savior. Like the fly he accidentally swallowed, he became twice-born.
My fourteen-year-old had enjoyed all the other Brinkman Adventures we listened to, but this one seemed boring to her: “Not much happened in this one….it would have been nice to have background information.” To her, the episode seemed pointless.
After listening to these episodes of the Brinkman Adventures, we checked out the Real Stories on their website. This behind-the-scenes peek at the actual stories was fascinating. It was neat to read about the process of recording the dramas.
The Real Stories page outlines the factual elements. It also discusses the segments they used artistic license for. The site includes images, video links, and podcasts related to the episodes.
Our mouths watered as we watched the video explaining how to make Oliebollen. This Dutch New Year’s treat plays a special role in the “Dutch Underground, Part 1.”
The girls and I were intrigued to see pictures of the rove beetles. These critters triggered mysterious blisters in the episode, “I Wonder Why.” A video of a maggot’s transformation to a fly extends the story of young Charlie’s salvation in the episode “Twice Born Fly.”
What kind of training did Dave Eubank endure to become a Green Beret in “Free Burma Rangers?” The page includes a video of Army Special Forces training.
We enjoyed most of Season 6: Underground Rising. The professionally-produced episodes are interesting, especially for middle and high school ages. I especially enjoyed the “Free Burma Rangers” episodes.
Later this year, my daughter will be studying World War II. Listening to “Dutch Underground” again will add to her understanding.
Even though we were not fans of every episode, these audio dramas are worth the investment. But don’t just take my word for it. Read other crew reviews to find out what other homeschool families thought of the Brinkman Adventures.
This month, Brinkman Adventures is offering a 10% discount for any of their products. Just use the code FALL10 when purchasing on their website.