Season 3

 


Episode 25: God’s Mule 

 

The Real Story:
    Tomás is a real modern-day Bible smuggler, whose name we changed to protect his identity. Tomás DID have a rich father who sent him to college to learn business. While at college however, Tomás felt God call him to “the Nations”, so he quit school and left pretty much right away. On his way to the mission field, he called and told his dad, and right there, over the phone his dad disowned him. Tomás spent 3 years serving with an older missionary before he asked God to tell him to do something impossible. When God told him to bring Bibles to “Bishmar” (We changed the name of the country as well,) he tried to tape 15 Bibles onto his body and was going to cover them with a big coat. But when he realized God was asking him to bring 300 Bibles, he knew he had to come up with a different idea. The older missionary really did give him a name of a pastor in “Bishmar” that the missionary had met 20 years earlier.
 
thomas
 
We changed Tomás’ name to protect his identity.
     Tomás really prayed that God would kill him just before getting to the front of the line in customs. He was so scared, and told God, “Why didn’t you tell me you wanted me in prison ministry?”. He was convinced he was going to get caught and go to prison. The guard really did have him put all the Bible on the table, and Tomás tried to cover them up a little bit with his clothes because he was scared. The guard did say, “What kinds of books are these?”    Tomás said, “Go and open one and you will see.”The guard’s hand really did fly off the Bible as if it was hit with an electric shock. Tomás had no idea what happened, but wondered if he should make his hand fly back too if the guard asked him to touch them.
 
     When he was let through, Tomás drew a line in the sand and asked God which city the pastor lived in. After a long time the name of a certain city popped into His mind. He trusted that God had given him that name and took a train into that city. Once he was there Tomás organized the city on his map into four parts and walked for one week in each part, asking God if each person he passed was the man or knew the man he was looking for. After three weeks he was so discouraged, he hadn’t seen one thing that was even remotely Christian. He cried out to God, and when he opened his Bible his eyes fell on the verse “With God nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37) That verse encouraged him so much that he cried and cried, thanking God for speaking to him. The next day he went out with renewed courage. It was the very next day that while he was walking down a road he had gone many times before,  he heard an audible voice say “Stop” in his native language. He stopped and looked around. That is when he saw a small cross on the side of a building. And inside that building and was the very man he had been looking for the whole time! In a country of millions of people God led him to the right city, and to the pastor’s front door!
 
Making it Work
     The older missionary, Don, was based off the man Tomás worked with in the first country where he served. But he did not meet him in the airport with a sign, and he also did not go on any of the trips with Thomas in Bishmar. As we were writing this story we realized Tomás needed someone to talk to in order to help the listener understand what he was thinking and feeling.  Don took on a whole life of his own, and although fictional, he shows the commitment and heart of many missionaries who are willing to give their all for Jesus, even when they are sick! We also made up the dog, Woody.
 
Fun Facts

Tomás’ stories are very similar to those told about Brother Andrew.

To learn more about carrying Bibles to closed countries check out this book: “God’s Smuggler” by Brother Andrew.

web 3-14 

Brother Andrew was another Bible smuggler. Here he is a young and then older man. He never lost his passion to get the Word of God to the unreached.

     While the real person that Michelle Brinkman is based on was attending Alaska Bible Institute the real “Tomás ” came and spoke at the church she attended there. Michelle told her dad how amazing Tomás ’ stories were, and later the writing team was able to skype with him and get all the details. At the end of the skype conversation Tomás said, “I am just God’s Mule.” The team was struck by the amazing faith and boldness of this man who saw himself just as a mule for God. The most amazing servants of God often walk with a humility that doesn’t make sense to the world. That’s how this episode got its name.
mules
Tomas called himself God’s mule, and said he would carry Bibles whenever God asked him.
     Eugene Rubenzer who played ”Don” (who is very sick in this episode) is an amazing actor. He also played the Australian missionary in Into the Wild, Charles Zender in ‘How Big is Your God’, and the professor in Untouched. But during this recording he actually WAS sick. He did not let anyone know that he was so sick, in fact, that he was near death. He still wanted to record though, and he did an incredible job. Since then he has recovered, and praise God, is doing well!
 
LINKS for PARENTS
John Sherr1ll, Elizabeth Sherrill, and these websites:   

Episode 26: Mountain Mover

 

The Real Story
     Tomás really did make 14 trips smuggling Bibles before anyone joined him. He carried more than 4,000 Bibles into the country on those trips. Tomás was surprised when suddenly many people from a certain church wanted to go with him. On the first trip 23 people went with 46 suitcases carrying 5,000 Bibles. More in one trip than Tomás had carried in all his 14 years of doing it alone! On their first trip in as a group the x-ray machines broke down right when the people were about to go through. The security guards let them all go through without looking in one single bag. On the second trip they went in with 64 people and 100 suitcases, carrying 10,000 Bibles. Again, not one suitcase was opened.



     Tomás’ dad really did become a Christian and started coming on trips with Tomás to smuggle Bibles.
During these trips many miracles happened which allowed them to enter the country with the Bibles, including a time when there were no custom agents in the building…something that never happens in airports! Tomás did get caught 5 times, but was never put in prison.
 
     The scene where Tomás was interrogated and let go is true also. The interrogators couldn’t believe Tomás would risk his life bringing Bibles into the country without getting paid lots of money. Finally, when Tomás told them he did it because he loved God, they looked down in shame. The head interrogator was so moved that he came over to Tomás, shook his hand, hugged him, kissed him, and said, “He is a brother. Let him go.” And they released him into their country
. 

No Bishmar isn’t a real country… we made it up to protect the people involved in this story.

     On their biggest trip they had  69 people carrying 375 suitcases with 11,000 bibles, and other books and CD’s.  Over the years, Tomás and those with him have carried more than 70,000 Bibles.
It is true that Tomás is no longer able to get a visa for that country, but he had made a “love pact” with God that whenever and wherever God asks him to carry Bibles he would do it. So he continues to look for ways to smuggle Bibles into other countries where it is difficult and risky for the believers to obtain God’s Word.
 
Making it Work

In the real story Tomás wasn’t chased through the city by policeman.

They actually brought him to the interrogation room right from the airport.

Samantha is a fictional character, but she might be like someone you know.
 
Fun Facts
Anthony is inspired by a real person. Stay tuned as he plays an important role later on in this season.
Links For Parents: For more information regarding Bible smuggling visit: www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/

To write the real John Benti, please submit your message using our contact page, and it will be forwarded to John.

Episode 27: Silent Ambassador

 

The Real Story
     Evilyn Pinnow is a real girl, and this story is very close to what happened in her life. She was extremely shy, but was asking God for a way to help poor people. She read about the Shoebox club and felt God was showing her that was what He wanted her to do. Even though she was scared, she did it. The first time the group met it didn’t go very well, but they kept meeting and were able to fill 200 boxes in 2 months. The way God provided very specifically for what they needed was true too. In one instance thousands of combs were delivered to the local Nike store. The people at the store heard of what Evilyn was doing and provided her with more than enough combs at just the right time.
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Evyline with kids from her shoebox club
 
Shoe box kids
The club got so big they had to move it to the church.
 
map 
Evylin never would have imagined that she would be an ammasador for Operation Christian Child, and get to deliver the 100 millionth shoe box.
 
100 million_shoebox-delivery
Brenda thanking Evylon for the shoebox that traveled all around the states to find her. (Photo from operation Christmas Child website)
 
      She really was asked to be the spokes person for Operation Christmas Child, and traveled for one month speaking and filling the 100 millionth shoe box. She spoke to thousands and thousands of people during that time. All along the way God helped her get over her fear, and at the end she went to the Dominican Republic and give that special shoe box to a little girl named Brenda.
 
 
Watch as Evylin begins her journey here:
 
 
 
Making it work Evilyn didn’t meet the “Brinkman” family until after this story happened. So Gracie  was not involved. But Evilyn and Gracie did meet in the making of this story, and Evilyn showed her the room where the boxes were stacked all the way up to the ceiling.
 
Fun facts Check out these videos to find out more about Operation Christmas Child. Including the funny way Uncle Si packs a shoe box.
 

 

Episode 28: Translating Trouble

 

The Real Story
Greg and Lisa Johnson’s real names are Greg and Rebecca Pruett, and they actually have 3 children.
greg p
Greg Pruett at the Bible dedication ceremony, when the Yalunka Bible was finally finished.
 
     This is also a story about Umar, whose real name is Kelafa. Greg and Lisa really did come to translate the Bible, but after one year they were ready to go home. The translating work was not going very well and they were fighting so much they considered getting a divorce. Finally as a last attempt to keep things together theywent to a cabin in the mountains to spend the week praying. But instead of praying, Rebecca got very sick and Greg spent the whole time trying to help her recover. The family didn’t pray until their ride home.  After they prayed things changed dramatically. Their relationship healed, the translation work came together, and they began seeing God move. Through all of this they discovered a new dependency on God. Oh, and they really DID watch a battle between a giant spider and Mammoth cockroach. Kelafa’s (Umar’s) story is also true, although he didn’t meet the Pruett’s until later. The doctor who told Kelafa about Jesus also amputated Kelafa’s leg due to leprosy. Kelafa couldn’t read his Bible very well, but he kept it with him at all times. Rebels came and everyone in his village fled. He couldn’t run, so he hid. At night he crawled past the rebels to the watering hole.
umar
Kelafa (Umar) and his wife and children… wth the completed Yalunka Bible
 
     Kelafa finally escaped by making a very difficult journey into the neighboring country. There he learned of people who were translating the Bible into his own language. (Some friends of Greg and Rebecca). Kalefa helped the translators and later met Greg and Rebecca. Now he is part of the team recording voices for the Jesus Film in the Yalunka language.  To find out more about the people who helped him escape chick here: yalunkaministries.com

Making it Work
     The Pruett’s actually have 3 children, who were younger when they first arrived in the village. We simplified things by giving them just one son, Mikey.
 
Fun Facts
     In 2007, Greg Pruett became the President of Pioneer Bible Translators where he still serves. You can find out more about Greg, and Bible Translation on the website www.pioneerbible.org. Watch a video of Greg encouraging people to pray impossible prayers here: Video of Greg. In 2013, the entire Bible was finally finished in the Yalunka language, watch them receiving it here: (Video of Yalunka people receiving the Bible)
kelafa recording
Kelafa helping to recording the Yalunka Audio Bible
     You can find out more about the Yalunka people at this website: http://www.yalunkaministries.comAccording to Pioneer Bible Translators, over a billion people in the world still do not have a New Testament in their language.The 2000 languages without a Bible represent about 209 million people.  There are about 900 language groups with no church.Check out this video – Answer the Call While great things are happening, there is still much to be done. Maybe you are one of the ones to carry on this important work!

Episode 29: Man-Up

 

The Real Story
     This story really happened to Jonathan Walker, who is Ian Bultman’s (Jack Brinkman) own brother-in-law.
jon and kitri
Jonathan and Kitri Walker in Homer Alaska
     In the real story, Jonathan led a group of men onto Grewingk glacier.  This is located across the bay from Homer, where Jack and Susan (Ian and Amy) attended Bible College. No one fell in an mill hole, but because the trip to the glacier took so long, they decided they would have to spend the night on the glacier.  Jonathan decided to hike back to the boat and tell them the group wasn’t coming back that night.  (because he couldn’t reach the boat by radio).  He left all his emergency gear with the group, and set out alone (not a smart idea for any hiker).web flares2-2
Hiking on Grewingk glacier one year later.
web flares2-3
Jonathan and Eric stop for a rest on the glacier.
     He thought he found a shorter way back on the map, but didn’t realize it was over a mountain.  While going down a ravine, Jonathan heard an animal below him and used his gun to scare it away. Later he fell and broke through the ice into the creek below.  Wet from the waist down, he kept hiking into the night as the temperatures dipped way below freezing.Meanwhile, across the bay in Homer, a man named Kyle really did see flares and reported them to the Coast Guard.  Because the Coast Guard helicopter couldn’t see the flares,  they asked to talk to Kyle directly.
flares
Similar flares being used at an army training base (Photo public domain)
 
     While talking to the helicopter, Kyle saw another flare. The team in the helicopter couldn’t see it, but they listened as Kyle directed them to it’s origin which just so happened to be the same location as the guys on the glacier.  The group on the glacier was airlifted and brought to the hospital, where they were treated for minor cases of hypothermia.
 
air lift
 
The coast guard used a big basket to airlift the guys off the glacier.
 
     No one else ever saw the flares, and the official Alaska trooper report attributed them to “An act of God.”Meanwhile Jonathan saw the helicopter overhead and unsuccessfully tried to get their attention. After some time he curled up by a log to rest.  (Something you should NEVER do when you are out alone in the freezing wilderness).  But whenever he drifted asleep, in a dream one of the guys from the team would come and command him to wake up. He would wake up and shadow box to try to get warm. Several times during the night he fell asleep, but always woke up the same way. Because of this, amazingly, he didn’t freeze to death.
 
web flares2-1
The group one year later poses by a huge crevice 
 
     Meanwhile, the Bultman (Brinkman) family woke Sunday morning with a call from Jonathan’s wife Aunt Kitri, asking them to pray. The entire church prayed during Sunday morning service.  At the very same time, (because of the time difference between Wisconsin and Alaska) the first light was dawning and Jonathan began to make his way down from the mountain to the beach. The search team which was just beginning the search greeted him at the beach.  He spent some time in hospital recovering, and finally after a lot of time in bed, under blankets, his temperature returned to normal. Here is what the Homer News had to say about the event: http://homernews.com/stories/031303/new_031303new001.shtml
jonathan
Jonathan in currently a pastor at Church on the Rock in Wasilla, Alaska, where he still enjoys hiking.
 
     Ian Brinkman did have a “man-up” trip but it wasn’t nearly as eventful as this story. His involved an all day hike on the western shores of Lake Michigan. You might hear about that later on in the episodes.   The boat ride story that Jack and Captain Mark were talking about was true also.
 
 
Making it Work
     We wanted to involve the Brinkman family, so instead of Uncle Jonathan, we had this happen to Ian and Anthony. We also added Jack and Mike to the trip.Thankfully no one fell into an Glacial Mill, and Jonathan didn’t use a dog sled, and wasn’t chased by wolves.


Fun Facts
     A glacier mill hole or moulin is an amazing feature of a glacier where water from the top creates a tunnel through the glacier. They often open up into caves near the bottom.
Features of a glacier (photo Public Domain)
 
 
     The picture on the cover of Ian and Anthony on the dog sled was taken in Alaska when Jack and Susan (Ian and Amy) visited Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Kitri who now live in Wasilla, Alaska. They asked if they knew anyone with a dog sled they could use for the photo shoot. They had a friend who let them use his sled, and told them after the shoot that this was the same sled that was used in the Adventures in Odyssey episode which featured a dog sledding scene. Do you know which one it is?
 

Episode 30: Acorns & Oaks

 

The Real Story

     Although a lot of this story is about Mr. Pennington and Ms. Bernice, the real story is about the amazing miracle of Mr. Benti(Name changed) buying a camp in Hong Kong for one dollar.  While he and his wife were there, they became aware of the plight of many orphans who were swimming to Hong Kong from China.

john and donna

John and Donna Benti

     The Bentis wanted to start a camp in order to introduce these children to Jesus.

It’s true that his friend was in charge of all government lands, and while Sunshine Island looked perfect, it wasn’t God’s plan. When they found another option for the camp, a good friend assured John that he could raise all the money needed. Surprisingly, after visiting many churches, they received only one donation from a little girl named Melinda.  She wrote, “Here is my ice cream money for the month. Please use it to buy the camp.”

When John shared the letter with the owners of the land, God did something in their hearts through this little girl’s act of generosity. They decided to sell the property to John for a single dollar. It’s amazing what God can do with one person who is willing to listen and obey.
 
Suen Douh Camp
Suen Douh Camp – bought for $1.00!
 
SD camp
1,300,000 have attended this camp so far.
 
SD camp2
140,000 accepted Christ as their Savior at the camp!
 
Watch John telling the story of the Ice Cream money Camp here: https://vimeo.com/31984503


     It’s true that over the years they have had one million three hundred thousand campers, and of those campers one hundred and forty thousand children claimed to have made decisions to follow Christ.The story about Charlie’s fund is true and based on a young boy who, like Charlie, started a fund to build churches in Africa. We wanted to show how older people and younger people are equally important in serving God.  Video of boy who raised money for Africa.
 
 
 
Making it Work

     Ms. Bernice &  Patrick Pennington are fictional characters, although the Brinkmans do have an elderly neighbor who they adore.  Aunt Sarah conceived of the idea of a sleepwalking Ms. Bernice.
She based the character off a friend who not only sleepwalks, but also collects things from her nighttime excursions.  Sometimes this lady will sleepwalk and go outside and take things out of her neighbors cars! Once she woke up and found a whole bunch of ground meat that she had cooked up in her sleep!   Our talented engineer/producer Jim Reith plays Patrick Pennington as well as several other voices in the Brinkman Adventures.  When acting we have another capable engineer take the helm. Fun Facts
This picture of Mr. Pennington and Charlie is actually a picture of the boy who plays Charlie and the man who plays Jack (Mike Landers). We made Mike appear older so he would look like Mr. Pennington.
penn1
Mike Landers and “Charlie” Pose for the cover of Acorns and Oaks

     To make the artwork for our albums we start with real photos of our actors and then digitally paint them. This symbolizes the way we start with true stories and combine them with a fictional family.
acorns
The picture after it’s been digitally painted. (Can you find all the differences?)

     The person who plays Bernice also plays another important character at the end of season 3.  Can you figure out who that is?

 

Episode 31: A Saint’s Story pt 1

 

The Real Story

We tried to tell this story as true to life as possible. So everything you hear on this episode is what happened in real life.

The most amazing part is that Steve Saint actually played himself. (except when you hear him as a boy of course!)

Here are some of the elements we wanted to bring out in this episode.

Steve really did get injured while testing a wing on an experimental aircraft.

He also is the son of Nate Saint, the missionary pilot who was killed with 4 other men in 1956 when they went to tell the Waodani about Jesus. Since then much has happened in that tribe, and in the Saint family.
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This picture of Nate Saint stands over the phone he once used in Shell, Ecuador.

 
After the 5 missionaries died, Nate Saint’s sister Rachel, and Jim Elliot’s wife, Elizabeth, went to live in the jungle with the very people who killed the men. Through years of genuine love and sharing the Gospel, many in the tribe turned to Christ.
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When the woman moved to the jungle, the world took notice. These are some of the news articles that were published.
 
     Rachel, who they called Star, spent all of her adult life with them, and was buried there when she died.

When Steve was a boy he lived with the Waodani for a while, too.  While there the  Waodani man who was involved in killing Steve’s father became like a father to Steve. He taught Steve how to survive in the jungle and watched over him. When Steve was older and had his own family, he left a successful business and took his  family back to live with the Waodani. He went there to help. But while there Steve discovered they needed something different than he thought. He saw that many Western missionaries were coming in and doing things for them, like building churches, preaching, and doing medical care, but this just made the Waodani more dependant on outsiders. He realized they needed to be taught to do the things that were being done for them. They told Steve they wanted to know how to fly planes, and how to fix each other’s teeth, how to have a business and how to share the gospel with their own people. So Steve went back to Florida and started inventing things that the Waodani could use in the jungle. He called his orginization I Tec.
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The main I Tec headquarters in is florida, but they also have a base in Equador. It’s located just down the street from the house where Nate Saint used to live.  
 
     He designed a dental chair and drill that a person can strap on his back and carry through the jungle and doesn’t need electricity to run it. He also made a training program that teaches people who can’t read how to pull teeth, drill, and fill cavities.
 
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This chair, solar powered drill and other tools all fit in that blue back, and can be carried easily through the jungle.

 
     He also made a flying car and powered parachute that is easier to fly than a plane. The flying car, called the Maverick, can be driven on rough terrain where normal vehicles can’t go.
(video of maverick on sand and in air.)



     Most of all, Steve wants to help the Waodani share the gospel with their own people. They are doing this and it brings him great joy!



     Today Steve’s children call this man Grandpa, the man who killed their grandfather in 1956.
 
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Steve Saint’s son Jamie, with Mincaye, the man he now calls Grandpa. 
 
     The story of Nate and Steve Saint, their friends and family, is told in many places.  The book called “The End of the Spear”  is written by Steve. In the movie by the same name  that was made from the book, the real Steve Saint makes a cameo appearance near the end.
 

Fun Facts
     Ian Bultman, our writer and director, went down to Florida. He and Steve spent 12 hours editing the script to get it as accurate as possible. While there, Ian also visited Itec and learned a lot more about the details found in our story. He met several of the inventive and creative missionaries who work there including Troy, the pilot of the Maverick.
 
steve j and ian
Steve Saint, his wife Jenny, and Ian at Steve’s house in Florida.
 

Ian also got a ride in the Maverick. (VIDEO OF IAN IN MAVERICK )

Episode 32: A Saint Story Pt 2

 

The Real Story
     In this story you get to see what Steve Saint’s life is like now. He is still the director of Itec, but he lives in constant pain because of his injury. It’s amazing to meet someone who is suffering so much, but is trusting God to also use this hard chapter of his life for good. After Steve’s injury, a video series was made to document what he’s going through and what he’s learning.
 
Steve in bed
Steve one week after his injury
 
Watch the next chapter video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DMoLPVZ5O8
     Steve actually is using the pain of his injury to help people understand missions better. ITEC is really a cool place like the episode describes. It is a place where inventive people make tools for indigenous people who want to use them to share the gospel with their own people. From dental equipment, eyeglasses, medical training programs, and flying cars, Steve and the ITEC team are developing all kinds of tools indigenous believers can use to help them share the gospel.
Mav
The Mavrick. A flying car built to help indigenous people share the Gospel.
 
     Click here to find out more about what ITEC does and how you can be involved. http://itecusa.org/index.html


     The story about Mincaye going to India at the end is also true. In this story an Indian pastor and his leaders wanted to learn how to fix teeth so they could have a way to show the people they cared and loved them while they preached.
Indian
The Indian pastors learning to fix teeth.
     But the pastor wanted Mincaye to teach them, not Steve. He figured if the leaders saw Mincaye could do it, then they could do it too. It was a miracle that Mincaye was able to go, but Mincaye didn’t end up teaching much. Instead he waited, and at the end when a woman came who had the hardest tooth to pull, he pulled it beautifully, showing all the Indians that it is not too hard for them either.
Min extraction
Mincaye extracting the woman’s tooth.


     For Steve the biggest moment came when he realized that the hands that killed his father were now covering his as they prayed for the lady. And the heart that was once full of fear and hate was praying that God would not only fix this woman’s tooth, but he would fix her heart, and show her how to walk His trail, and be changed just like Mincaye was.

Mincaye praying for that the God would fix the woman’s heart.


To hear more about this amazing story click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt0gnFVSxFU
Making it Work
     The whole Brinkman family did not visit ITEC even though they all went to Florida to meet the Saint’s.    Charlie did not accidentally trip Mr. Saint, but the idea of the story came from a talk that Steve gave that you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Oja-rnOlIM
 
 
Steve speaking at the Global Missions Health Conference, uses his injury to teach.


Kitri and Isaac did not ride in the Maverick but Jack (Ian Bultman) did and he loved it! Watch the video here:
 
Fun Facts

     This episode was recorded on three continents and in two states.

Mincaye’s lines were recorded in the jungle in Ecuador, the Indian pastor’s lines were recorded by an actor in India, and Steve Saint’s lines were recorded in Florida. The rest of the actors were recorded in Wisconsin.  



     Ian spent 2 full days recording with Steve Saint. It’s not easy to act something that is a reality in your life, especially when it is a very hard reality. Steve did an amazing job, and we are so honored and humbled that he would be willing to play himself in these episodes.
 
 
Steve Saint recording his lines for the Brinkman episode. 

 

Episode 33: Untouched

 

The Real Story

     The Waodani really do host Wao Tours where people can come and live for a week in the rainforest. The Waodani love hosting and teaching how they survive by using the natural resources all around them.

Basket

Mincaye’s daugher teaching how to make a jungle backpack.

Boat

Getting out of the canoe at camp

Not only do they teach people to make spears and blow guns, but also how to use them to hunt and fish, and then how to prepare the food over their fires.

Coati

 

Aunt Sarah learning how to skin a Coati over the fire.

     The Waodani teach visitors how to gather the plants they use to make rope, and then weave it into baskets and hammocks. People also participate in clearing the dense jungle overgrowth and plant gardens of plantain and cassava root.

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Mincaye teaching Gerry how to make a spear.

The Waodani include visitors in their traditional ceremonies and share stories about how God changed them from being a people who once killed each other to a people who love and tell others about Jesus.  It is a truly amazing and life changing experience!

There really was a group of non-Christian anthropology students who went on a Wao Tour, and realized, as they sat around the fire, that the Waodani were actually the feared Auca people who they learned about in school. The students were shocked as they listened to how God changed the Waodani. This is where the idea for the Corey character came from.

Story

 

Mincaye sharing stories around the fire.

     There really was an outsider who got bit by a snake and was saved by a Waodani named Tementa. In the real story Tementa flew the person out in a powered parachute so they could get medical attention.

     The Waodani really do fish by pounding a certain poison root and putting it into a mesh bag. Then they drag it through the water, which causes the fish to float to the top as they get oxygen deprived. Then they can easily spear them.

Making it Work

     Corey was a fictional character that we added by combining the college students and the person who was saved by a Waodani from a snake bite.

     Through Corey we wanted to show how many people think it’s best to leave isolated tribes alone. They think bringing Christianity and technolgy to a tribe ruins the peopl. But the Waodani show us that before they met Jesus they were living very unhappy lives full of fear and killing. Instead of stripping them of their culture Jesus stripped them of the things that were destroying them. And by obeying God they have a society that values all life, justice, and healthy relationships, and works to support the weak and vulnerable.

     The Waodani also teach us that they need to be the ones who decided how much technology and tools they want to use.

     The Brinkman family didn’t go on a Woa Tour, but Aunt Sarah did. In fact, that is how you are able to hear the real Waodani in this episode.

     She had never done audio recording before, let alone in the jungle. But she had so much fun and she fell in love with the Waodani people.

kids

After doing some recording with the kids

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Aunt Sarah learning to climb a tree the Waodani way. (With a little help!)

Read her blog about it here.

She loved trying all the different kinds of food, like cassava root, sting ray, and toucan soup.

Cassava

Aunt Sarah and Mincaye’s daughter enjoying fried plantain  

We were so privileged to have Mincaye’s lines played by his son Ode, and Timenta’s lines by Mincaye’s grandson Minewa.

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Minewa, Mincaye’s grandson who played Timenta in the episode.

Aunt Sarah recorded with them late at night when the day’s activities were done. They stood in the dark by a pond, and bugs swarmed around their headlamps. They laughed and laughed as they had to redo lines because the bugs kept getting in their mouth, or flapping their wings on the white pages of the script.

     The real Mincaye gives a message at the end of the episode, and he is also the one who sings the chant you hear in the middle of the episode.

 

Mincaye giving a message to the listeners of the Brinkman Adventrues. 

Want to go on a Wao tour? Click here: http://www.itecusa.org/trips.html

Fun Facts

     The Brinkman’s never met the Johnathan Park actors but Ian Bultman and Pat Roy (who write’s Jonathan Park Episodes) are friends. Pat was Ian’s inspiration and mentor as he started the Brinkman Adventures, and so to have the Parks show up in this episode was a real honor for the Brinkman team. And it was a fun way to help both stories.

     When you listen to the Jonathan Park episode that came out at the same time you will hear that they also meet the Brinkmans. In their story you hear this very same scene, but from the Park’s perspective. Later you will discover that the Parks end up needing to use all the equipment they were transporting for the Brinkman’s. They also helped our story by giving Corey some of the answers to his questions about Creation.

Episode 34: Busy Bees & A Bullhorn

 

The Real Story

     This story is for the most part fictional though many of the elements were taken from the “Brinkman’s” life. Ian Brinkman really does raise bees with his youth pastor. The idea of the bees becoming mean came from some bees his uncle Nate raised when he was young. They turned into “killer bees” trying to sting for no reason whoever would go outside.
Bees
Inspecting a brood comb. CC BY-SA 3.0
     The idea for this story came from Amy Bultman (Susan Brinkman).  One day in a moment of frustration she told Ian that it seemed like the kids just couldn’t hear her when it came to instructions for chores.  “I think I need a bullhorn!.”  And the idea was born.
 
 
Making it Work
     Mr. Pennington is a fictional character that was made up during one of Mr. Benti’s stories in season 2. We liked him so much we had to bring him back in this season.

Ms. Bernice is another character that is made up, taken partially from the Brinkman’s real neighbor, and partially from a woman that Aunt Sarah met up at Alaska Bible Institute. In the story Ms. Bernice was unknowingly married into the mob, and does crazy things when she sleep walks!
 
 
Fun Facts
     When looking for someone to play Mr. Pennington our sound engineer was giving an example of what he should sound like.  It was so funny we all couldn’t stop laughing. Needless to say we ended up using him.

So… all the hours and hours of work that is done to put these recordings together and make them sound good is done by…. Mr. Pennington! (Jim Reith) although he doesn’t sound like that in real life!
 
Ian, Josh and Jim Reith in the recording studio. 

Episode 35: Missionary Tourist pt 1

 

The Real Story
     These two episodes are inspired by a story that really happened to a group of people who went on a short term mission trip. They went to help two ladies share the Gospel in the country of Kashmir. The character Anthony is based on a guy named John. John, just like Anthony really wanted to see the country. Sharing the Gospel was was a good idea he thought, but he was pretty passive about it, and thought he would maybe talk about Jesus if it came up.
City in K
 
This northern town in Kashmir is the point of departure for mountaineering in the Karakoram mountains.
 
     In the real story there were six people on the team. They were driven back from the airport in a tiny car, and set out to do prayer walking. The prayer walking turned into a trip to the Muslim village where they decided to hand out Christian literature. They had a CD’s that spoke about Jesus not just being a prophet, but being the Son of God, Himself. Just like in the Brinkman story, there were check points they had to go through, and the village really was 100% Muslim. It was a place where a discovered Christian would be quickly punished by a public execution.
 
 
Making it Work

In this story we had Anthony and Mike going to build an aquaponics system for an orphange. That wasn’t what the real team went to do. But aquaponics is a great system that is helping people all over the world.

Here are some guys that give you a good look into how it works, as well as plans to build you own: The Urban Farming Guys  (get ready for their wacky humor)

 

Aquaponics

Aquaponics combines raising fish with gardening! The fish produce fertilized water which allows plants to grow in very little soil. Making it an ideal system in urban areas, or places with poor soil. (Photo Credit: Ryan Somma CC BY-SA 2.0)
 
Fun Facts
 
Llamas really do spit. Check it out. Spitting Llama
 
llama
 
Spitting is a funny defense mechanism that surprises their enemies (and people!) 

Photo Credit: Johann CC BY-SA 2.0

 
 
By the way, have you looked up the coordinates they give in the episode?  Extra credit. 🙂

Episode 36: Missionary Tourist pt 2

 

The Real Story
 
     The way you hear Anthony and his team captured and rescued is very close to how it actually happened. The rios scene was almost identical to what you hear in the episode, except John said there was more mud, more markets, and more people he had to navigate through. He even knocked a couple people down as he escaped.  The ladies really did put on burkas and go into the village to see if the men were still alive. They found them in jail, and contacted outside people for help. former terrorist turned pastor used his connections and influence to convince the Taliban to free the prisoners.  The missionary who led this man to the Lord really did get himself arrested to help facilitate the release and we had Anthony play this role. There was a man who was a former terrorist who became a pastor that used his connections and influence to convince the Taliban to free the prisoners. Just like in the episode he risked his life to get those guys out. At the end of the conversation with the jailers everyone was laughing and eating together. It’s also true that the man who led him to the Lord also came and got himself arrested and pretended to be the leader of the group so he could help negotiate the release.   When the group were in the plane flying out of the country, they picked up the local paper and saw on the front page, “Group of American’s killed in village.” The very village they were in. Apparently the whole country thought they were killed.
 
 
station
John doing ministry after he had a total life change.
 
     When John got home, he had a completely different perspective on life, on Christianity, and on sharing his faith. He, like Anthony, had a moment in Kashmir where he decided he was “all in” for God. Now he is a teacher and a pastor of a church. They have a prayer station where he leads groups in sharing the Gospel and praying for people. Something he would have never done previously.
station2
John Praying with a man at the “Prayer Station” 
 
Making it Work
     We made up the character Hasheed in order to put a face to the bad guys and add excitement. We used this story to introduce a new important character to the Brinkmans. Like all the Brinkmans, Anthony is loosely based on a real person.  Through this story we wanted to show how sometimes God often uses difficult circumstances to help people fully commit their lives to the Lord.  Anthony’s friend Mike Johnson & Derek represent some of the other men on the trip.
 
Fun Facts
By the way, have you looked up the coordinates given in the episode?  Extra credit. 🙂
Coordinates
(Image: Public Domain)

Season 3

 


Episode 25: God’s Mule 

 

The Real Story:
    Tomás is a real modern-day Bible smuggler, whose name we changed to protect his identity. Tomás DID have a rich father who sent him to college to learn business. While at college however, Tomás felt God call him to “the Nations”, so he quit school and left pretty much right away. On his way to the mission field, he called and told his dad, and right there, over the phone his dad disowned him. Tomás spent 3 years serving with an older missionary before he asked God to tell him to do something impossible. When God told him to bring Bibles to “Bishmar” (We changed the name of the country as well,) he tried to tape 15 Bibles onto his body and was going to cover them with a big coat. But when he realized God was asking him to bring 300 Bibles, he knew he had to come up with a different idea. The older missionary really did give him a name of a pastor in “Bishmar” that the missionary had met 20 years earlier.
 
thomas
 
We changed Tomás’ name to protect his identity.
     Tomás really prayed that God would kill him just before getting to the front of the line in customs. He was so scared, and told God, “Why didn’t you tell me you wanted me in prison ministry?”. He was convinced he was going to get caught and go to prison. The guard really did have him put all the Bible on the table, and Tomás tried to cover them up a little bit with his clothes because he was scared. The guard did say, “What kinds of books are these?”    Tomás said, “Go and open one and you will see.”The guard’s hand really did fly off the Bible as if it was hit with an electric shock. Tomás had no idea what happened, but wondered if he should make his hand fly back too if the guard asked him to touch them.
 
     When he was let through, Tomás drew a line in the sand and asked God which city the pastor lived in. After a long time the name of a certain city popped into His mind. He trusted that God had given him that name and took a train into that city. Once he was there Tomás organized the city on his map into four parts and walked for one week in each part, asking God if each person he passed was the man or knew the man he was looking for. After three weeks he was so discouraged, he hadn’t seen one thing that was even remotely Christian. He cried out to God, and when he opened his Bible his eyes fell on the verse “With God nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37) That verse encouraged him so much that he cried and cried, thanking God for speaking to him. The next day he went out with renewed courage. It was the very next day that while he was walking down a road he had gone many times before,  he heard an audible voice say “Stop” in his native language. He stopped and looked around. That is when he saw a small cross on the side of a building. And inside that building and was the very man he had been looking for the whole time! In a country of millions of people God led him to the right city, and to the pastor’s front door!
 
Making it Work
     The older missionary, Don, was based off the man Tomás worked with in the first country where he served. But he did not meet him in the airport with a sign, and he also did not go on any of the trips with Thomas in Bishmar. As we were writing this story we realized Tomás needed someone to talk to in order to help the listener understand what he was thinking and feeling.  Don took on a whole life of his own, and although fictional, he shows the commitment and heart of many missionaries who are willing to give their all for Jesus, even when they are sick! We also made up the dog, Woody.
 
Fun Facts

Tomás’ stories are very similar to those told about Brother Andrew.

To learn more about carrying Bibles to closed countries check out this book: “God’s Smuggler” by Brother Andrew.

web 3-14 

Brother Andrew was another Bible smuggler. Here he is a young and then older man. He never lost his passion to get the Word of God to the unreached.

     While the real person that Michelle Brinkman is based on was attending Alaska Bible Institute the real “Tomás ” came and spoke at the church she attended there. Michelle told her dad how amazing Tomás ’ stories were, and later the writing team was able to skype with him and get all the details. At the end of the skype conversation Tomás said, “I am just God’s Mule.” The team was struck by the amazing faith and boldness of this man who saw himself just as a mule for God. The most amazing servants of God often walk with a humility that doesn’t make sense to the world. That’s how this episode got its name.
mules
Tomas called himself God’s mule, and said he would carry Bibles whenever God asked him.
     Eugene Rubenzer who played ”Don” (who is very sick in this episode) is an amazing actor. He also played the Australian missionary in Into the Wild, Charles Zender in ‘How Big is Your God’, and the professor in Untouched. But during this recording he actually WAS sick. He did not let anyone know that he was so sick, in fact, that he was near death. He still wanted to record though, and he did an incredible job. Since then he has recovered, and praise God, is doing well!
 
LINKS for PARENTS
John Sherr1ll, Elizabeth Sherrill, and these websites:   

Episode 26: Mountain Mover

 

The Real Story
     Tomás really did make 14 trips smuggling Bibles before anyone joined him. He carried more than 4,000 Bibles into the country on those trips. Tomás was surprised when suddenly many people from a certain church wanted to go with him. On the first trip 23 people went with 46 suitcases carrying 5,000 Bibles. More in one trip than Tomás had carried in all his 14 years of doing it alone! On their first trip in as a group the x-ray machines broke down right when the people were about to go through. The security guards let them all go through without looking in one single bag. On the second trip they went in with 64 people and 100 suitcases, carrying 10,000 Bibles. Again, not one suitcase was opened.



     Tomás’ dad really did become a Christian and started coming on trips with Tomás to smuggle Bibles.
During these trips many miracles happened which allowed them to enter the country with the Bibles, including a time when there were no custom agents in the building…something that never happens in airports! Tomás did get caught 5 times, but was never put in prison.
 
     The scene where Tomás was interrogated and let go is true also. The interrogators couldn’t believe Tomás would risk his life bringing Bibles into the country without getting paid lots of money. Finally, when Tomás told them he did it because he loved God, they looked down in shame. The head interrogator was so moved that he came over to Tomás, shook his hand, hugged him, kissed him, and said, “He is a brother. Let him go.” And they released him into their country
. 

No Bishmar isn’t a real country… we made it up to protect the people involved in this story.

     On their biggest trip they had  69 people carrying 375 suitcases with 11,000 bibles, and other books and CD’s.  Over the years, Tomás and those with him have carried more than 70,000 Bibles.
It is true that Tomás is no longer able to get a visa for that country, but he had made a “love pact” with God that whenever and wherever God asks him to carry Bibles he would do it. So he continues to look for ways to smuggle Bibles into other countries where it is difficult and risky for the believers to obtain God’s Word.
 
Making it Work

In the real story Tomás wasn’t chased through the city by policeman.

They actually brought him to the interrogation room right from the airport.

Samantha is a fictional character, but she might be like someone you know.
 
Fun Facts
Anthony is inspired by a real person. Stay tuned as he plays an important role later on in this season.
Links For Parents: For more information regarding Bible smuggling visit: www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/

To write the real John Benti, please submit your message using our contact page, and it will be forwarded to John.

Episode 27: Silent Ambassador

 

The Real Story
     Evilyn Pinnow is a real girl, and this story is very close to what happened in her life. She was extremely shy, but was asking God for a way to help poor people. She read about the Shoebox club and felt God was showing her that was what He wanted her to do. Even though she was scared, she did it. The first time the group met it didn’t go very well, but they kept meeting and were able to fill 200 boxes in 2 months. The way God provided very specifically for what they needed was true too. In one instance thousands of combs were delivered to the local Nike store. The people at the store heard of what Evilyn was doing and provided her with more than enough combs at just the right time.
hug
Evyline with kids from her shoebox club
 
Shoe box kids
The club got so big they had to move it to the church.
 
map 
Evylin never would have imagined that she would be an ammasador for Operation Christian Child, and get to deliver the 100 millionth shoe box.
 
100 million_shoebox-delivery
Brenda thanking Evylon for the shoebox that traveled all around the states to find her. (Photo from operation Christmas Child website)
 
      She really was asked to be the spokes person for Operation Christmas Child, and traveled for one month speaking and filling the 100 millionth shoe box. She spoke to thousands and thousands of people during that time. All along the way God helped her get over her fear, and at the end she went to the Dominican Republic and give that special shoe box to a little girl named Brenda.
 
 
Watch as Evylin begins her journey here:
 
 
 
Making it work Evilyn didn’t meet the “Brinkman” family until after this story happened. So Gracie  was not involved. But Evilyn and Gracie did meet in the making of this story, and Evilyn showed her the room where the boxes were stacked all the way up to the ceiling.
 
Fun facts Check out these videos to find out more about Operation Christmas Child. Including the funny way Uncle Si packs a shoe box.
 

 

Episode 28: Translating Trouble

 

The Real Story
Greg and Lisa Johnson’s real names are Greg and Rebecca Pruett, and they actually have 3 children.
greg p
Greg Pruett at the Bible dedication ceremony, when the Yalunka Bible was finally finished.
 
     This is also a story about Umar, whose real name is Kelafa. Greg and Lisa really did come to translate the Bible, but after one year they were ready to go home. The translating work was not going very well and they were fighting so much they considered getting a divorce. Finally as a last attempt to keep things together theywent to a cabin in the mountains to spend the week praying. But instead of praying, Rebecca got very sick and Greg spent the whole time trying to help her recover. The family didn’t pray until their ride home.  After they prayed things changed dramatically. Their relationship healed, the translation work came together, and they began seeing God move. Through all of this they discovered a new dependency on God. Oh, and they really DID watch a battle between a giant spider and Mammoth cockroach. Kelafa’s (Umar’s) story is also true, although he didn’t meet the Pruett’s until later. The doctor who told Kelafa about Jesus also amputated Kelafa’s leg due to leprosy. Kelafa couldn’t read his Bible very well, but he kept it with him at all times. Rebels came and everyone in his village fled. He couldn’t run, so he hid. At night he crawled past the rebels to the watering hole.
umar
Kelafa (Umar) and his wife and children… wth the completed Yalunka Bible
 
     Kelafa finally escaped by making a very difficult journey into the neighboring country. There he learned of people who were translating the Bible into his own language. (Some friends of Greg and Rebecca). Kalefa helped the translators and later met Greg and Rebecca. Now he is part of the team recording voices for the Jesus Film in the Yalunka language.  To find out more about the people who helped him escape chick here: yalunkaministries.com

Making it Work
     The Pruett’s actually have 3 children, who were younger when they first arrived in the village. We simplified things by giving them just one son, Mikey.
 
Fun Facts
     In 2007, Greg Pruett became the President of Pioneer Bible Translators where he still serves. You can find out more about Greg, and Bible Translation on the website www.pioneerbible.org. Watch a video of Greg encouraging people to pray impossible prayers here: Video of Greg. In 2013, the entire Bible was finally finished in the Yalunka language, watch them receiving it here: (Video of Yalunka people receiving the Bible)
kelafa recording
Kelafa helping to recording the Yalunka Audio Bible
     You can find out more about the Yalunka people at this website: http://www.yalunkaministries.comAccording to Pioneer Bible Translators, over a billion people in the world still do not have a New Testament in their language.The 2000 languages without a Bible represent about 209 million people.  There are about 900 language groups with no church.Check out this video – Answer the Call While great things are happening, there is still much to be done. Maybe you are one of the ones to carry on this important work!

Episode 29: Man-Up

 

The Real Story
     This story really happened to Jonathan Walker, who is Ian Bultman’s (Jack Brinkman) own brother-in-law.
jon and kitri
Jonathan and Kitri Walker in Homer Alaska
     In the real story, Jonathan led a group of men onto Grewingk glacier.  This is located across the bay from Homer, where Jack and Susan (Ian and Amy) attended Bible College. No one fell in an mill hole, but because the trip to the glacier took so long, they decided they would have to spend the night on the glacier.  Jonathan decided to hike back to the boat and tell them the group wasn’t coming back that night.  (because he couldn’t reach the boat by radio).  He left all his emergency gear with the group, and set out alone (not a smart idea for any hiker).web flares2-2
Hiking on Grewingk glacier one year later.
web flares2-3
Jonathan and Eric stop for a rest on the glacier.
     He thought he found a shorter way back on the map, but didn’t realize it was over a mountain.  While going down a ravine, Jonathan heard an animal below him and used his gun to scare it away. Later he fell and broke through the ice into the creek below.  Wet from the waist down, he kept hiking into the night as the temperatures dipped way below freezing.Meanwhile, across the bay in Homer, a man named Kyle really did see flares and reported them to the Coast Guard.  Because the Coast Guard helicopter couldn’t see the flares,  they asked to talk to Kyle directly.
flares
Similar flares being used at an army training base (Photo public domain)
 
     While talking to the helicopter, Kyle saw another flare. The team in the helicopter couldn’t see it, but they listened as Kyle directed them to it’s origin which just so happened to be the same location as the guys on the glacier.  The group on the glacier was airlifted and brought to the hospital, where they were treated for minor cases of hypothermia.
 
air lift
 
The coast guard used a big basket to airlift the guys off the glacier.
 
     No one else ever saw the flares, and the official Alaska trooper report attributed them to “An act of God.”Meanwhile Jonathan saw the helicopter overhead and unsuccessfully tried to get their attention. After some time he curled up by a log to rest.  (Something you should NEVER do when you are out alone in the freezing wilderness).  But whenever he drifted asleep, in a dream one of the guys from the team would come and command him to wake up. He would wake up and shadow box to try to get warm. Several times during the night he fell asleep, but always woke up the same way. Because of this, amazingly, he didn’t freeze to death.
 
web flares2-1
The group one year later poses by a huge crevice 
 
     Meanwhile, the Bultman (Brinkman) family woke Sunday morning with a call from Jonathan’s wife Aunt Kitri, asking them to pray. The entire church prayed during Sunday morning service.  At the very same time, (because of the time difference between Wisconsin and Alaska) the first light was dawning and Jonathan began to make his way down from the mountain to the beach. The search team which was just beginning the search greeted him at the beach.  He spent some time in hospital recovering, and finally after a lot of time in bed, under blankets, his temperature returned to normal. Here is what the Homer News had to say about the event: http://homernews.com/stories/031303/new_031303new001.shtml
jonathan
Jonathan in currently a pastor at Church on the Rock in Wasilla, Alaska, where he still enjoys hiking.
 
     Ian Brinkman did have a “man-up” trip but it wasn’t nearly as eventful as this story. His involved an all day hike on the western shores of Lake Michigan. You might hear about that later on in the episodes.   The boat ride story that Jack and Captain Mark were talking about was true also.
 
 
Making it Work
     We wanted to involve the Brinkman family, so instead of Uncle Jonathan, we had this happen to Ian and Anthony. We also added Jack and Mike to the trip.Thankfully no one fell into an Glacial Mill, and Jonathan didn’t use a dog sled, and wasn’t chased by wolves.


Fun Facts
     A glacier mill hole or moulin is an amazing feature of a glacier where water from the top creates a tunnel through the glacier. They often open up into caves near the bottom.
Features of a glacier (photo Public Domain)
 
 
     The picture on the cover of Ian and Anthony on the dog sled was taken in Alaska when Jack and Susan (Ian and Amy) visited Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Kitri who now live in Wasilla, Alaska. They asked if they knew anyone with a dog sled they could use for the photo shoot. They had a friend who let them use his sled, and told them after the shoot that this was the same sled that was used in the Adventures in Odyssey episode which featured a dog sledding scene. Do you know which one it is?
 

Episode 30: Acorns & Oaks

 

The Real Story

     Although a lot of this story is about Mr. Pennington and Ms. Bernice, the real story is about the amazing miracle of Mr. Benti(Name changed) buying a camp in Hong Kong for one dollar.  While he and his wife were there, they became aware of the plight of many orphans who were swimming to Hong Kong from China.

john and donna

John and Donna Benti

     The Bentis wanted to start a camp in order to introduce these children to Jesus.

It’s true that his friend was in charge of all government lands, and while Sunshine Island looked perfect, it wasn’t God’s plan. When they found another option for the camp, a good friend assured John that he could raise all the money needed. Surprisingly, after visiting many churches, they received only one donation from a little girl named Melinda.  She wrote, “Here is my ice cream money for the month. Please use it to buy the camp.”

When John shared the letter with the owners of the land, God did something in their hearts through this little girl’s act of generosity. They decided to sell the property to John for a single dollar. It’s amazing what God can do with one person who is willing to listen and obey.
 
Suen Douh Camp
Suen Douh Camp – bought for $1.00!
 
SD camp
1,300,000 have attended this camp so far.
 
SD camp2
140,000 accepted Christ as their Savior at the camp!
 
Watch John telling the story of the Ice Cream money Camp here: https://vimeo.com/31984503


     It’s true that over the years they have had one million three hundred thousand campers, and of those campers one hundred and forty thousand children claimed to have made decisions to follow Christ.The story about Charlie’s fund is true and based on a young boy who, like Charlie, started a fund to build churches in Africa. We wanted to show how older people and younger people are equally important in serving God.  Video of boy who raised money for Africa.
 
 
 
Making it Work

     Ms. Bernice &  Patrick Pennington are fictional characters, although the Brinkmans do have an elderly neighbor who they adore.  Aunt Sarah conceived of the idea of a sleepwalking Ms. Bernice.
She based the character off a friend who not only sleepwalks, but also collects things from her nighttime excursions.  Sometimes this lady will sleepwalk and go outside and take things out of her neighbors cars! Once she woke up and found a whole bunch of ground meat that she had cooked up in her sleep!   Our talented engineer/producer Jim Reith plays Patrick Pennington as well as several other voices in the Brinkman Adventures.  When acting we have another capable engineer take the helm. Fun Facts
This picture of Mr. Pennington and Charlie is actually a picture of the boy who plays Charlie and the man who plays Jack (Mike Landers). We made Mike appear older so he would look like Mr. Pennington.
penn1
Mike Landers and “Charlie” Pose for the cover of Acorns and Oaks

     To make the artwork for our albums we start with real photos of our actors and then digitally paint them. This symbolizes the way we start with true stories and combine them with a fictional family.
acorns
The picture after it’s been digitally painted. (Can you find all the differences?)

     The person who plays Bernice also plays another important character at the end of season 3.  Can you figure out who that is?

 

Episode 31: A Saint’s Story pt 1

 

The Real Story

We tried to tell this story as true to life as possible. So everything you hear on this episode is what happened in real life.

The most amazing part is that Steve Saint actually played himself. (except when you hear him as a boy of course!)

Here are some of the elements we wanted to bring out in this episode.

Steve really did get injured while testing a wing on an experimental aircraft.

He also is the son of Nate Saint, the missionary pilot who was killed with 4 other men in 1956 when they went to tell the Waodani about Jesus. Since then much has happened in that tribe, and in the Saint family.
e18

This picture of Nate Saint stands over the phone he once used in Shell, Ecuador.

 
After the 5 missionaries died, Nate Saint’s sister Rachel, and Jim Elliot’s wife, Elizabeth, went to live in the jungle with the very people who killed the men. Through years of genuine love and sharing the Gospel, many in the tribe turned to Christ.
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When the woman moved to the jungle, the world took notice. These are some of the news articles that were published.
 
     Rachel, who they called Star, spent all of her adult life with them, and was buried there when she died.

When Steve was a boy he lived with the Waodani for a while, too.  While there the  Waodani man who was involved in killing Steve’s father became like a father to Steve. He taught Steve how to survive in the jungle and watched over him. When Steve was older and had his own family, he left a successful business and took his  family back to live with the Waodani. He went there to help. But while there Steve discovered they needed something different than he thought. He saw that many Western missionaries were coming in and doing things for them, like building churches, preaching, and doing medical care, but this just made the Waodani more dependant on outsiders. He realized they needed to be taught to do the things that were being done for them. They told Steve they wanted to know how to fly planes, and how to fix each other’s teeth, how to have a business and how to share the gospel with their own people. So Steve went back to Florida and started inventing things that the Waodani could use in the jungle. He called his orginization I Tec.
e25
The main I Tec headquarters in is florida, but they also have a base in Equador. It’s located just down the street from the house where Nate Saint used to live.  
 
     He designed a dental chair and drill that a person can strap on his back and carry through the jungle and doesn’t need electricity to run it. He also made a training program that teaches people who can’t read how to pull teeth, drill, and fill cavities.
 
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This chair, solar powered drill and other tools all fit in that blue back, and can be carried easily through the jungle.

 
     He also made a flying car and powered parachute that is easier to fly than a plane. The flying car, called the Maverick, can be driven on rough terrain where normal vehicles can’t go.
(video of maverick on sand and in air.)



     Most of all, Steve wants to help the Waodani share the gospel with their own people. They are doing this and it brings him great joy!



     Today Steve’s children call this man Grandpa, the man who killed their grandfather in 1956.
 
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Steve Saint’s son Jamie, with Mincaye, the man he now calls Grandpa. 
 
     The story of Nate and Steve Saint, their friends and family, is told in many places.  The book called “The End of the Spear”  is written by Steve. In the movie by the same name  that was made from the book, the real Steve Saint makes a cameo appearance near the end.
 

Fun Facts
     Ian Bultman, our writer and director, went down to Florida. He and Steve spent 12 hours editing the script to get it as accurate as possible. While there, Ian also visited Itec and learned a lot more about the details found in our story. He met several of the inventive and creative missionaries who work there including Troy, the pilot of the Maverick.
 
steve j and ian
Steve Saint, his wife Jenny, and Ian at Steve’s house in Florida.
 

Ian also got a ride in the Maverick. (VIDEO OF IAN IN MAVERICK )

Episode 32: A Saint Story Pt 2

 

The Real Story
     In this story you get to see what Steve Saint’s life is like now. He is still the director of Itec, but he lives in constant pain because of his injury. It’s amazing to meet someone who is suffering so much, but is trusting God to also use this hard chapter of his life for good. After Steve’s injury, a video series was made to document what he’s going through and what he’s learning.
 
Steve in bed
Steve one week after his injury
 
Watch the next chapter video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DMoLPVZ5O8
     Steve actually is using the pain of his injury to help people understand missions better. ITEC is really a cool place like the episode describes. It is a place where inventive people make tools for indigenous people who want to use them to share the gospel with their own people. From dental equipment, eyeglasses, medical training programs, and flying cars, Steve and the ITEC team are developing all kinds of tools indigenous believers can use to help them share the gospel.
Mav
The Mavrick. A flying car built to help indigenous people share the Gospel.
 
     Click here to find out more about what ITEC does and how you can be involved. http://itecusa.org/index.html


     The story about Mincaye going to India at the end is also true. In this story an Indian pastor and his leaders wanted to learn how to fix teeth so they could have a way to show the people they cared and loved them while they preached.
Indian
The Indian pastors learning to fix teeth.
     But the pastor wanted Mincaye to teach them, not Steve. He figured if the leaders saw Mincaye could do it, then they could do it too. It was a miracle that Mincaye was able to go, but Mincaye didn’t end up teaching much. Instead he waited, and at the end when a woman came who had the hardest tooth to pull, he pulled it beautifully, showing all the Indians that it is not too hard for them either.
Min extraction
Mincaye extracting the woman’s tooth.


     For Steve the biggest moment came when he realized that the hands that killed his father were now covering his as they prayed for the lady. And the heart that was once full of fear and hate was praying that God would not only fix this woman’s tooth, but he would fix her heart, and show her how to walk His trail, and be changed just like Mincaye was.

Mincaye praying for that the God would fix the woman’s heart.


To hear more about this amazing story click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt0gnFVSxFU
Making it Work
     The whole Brinkman family did not visit ITEC even though they all went to Florida to meet the Saint’s.    Charlie did not accidentally trip Mr. Saint, but the idea of the story came from a talk that Steve gave that you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Oja-rnOlIM
 
 
Steve speaking at the Global Missions Health Conference, uses his injury to teach.


Kitri and Isaac did not ride in the Maverick but Jack (Ian Bultman) did and he loved it! Watch the video here:
 
Fun Facts

     This episode was recorded on three continents and in two states.

Mincaye’s lines were recorded in the jungle in Ecuador, the Indian pastor’s lines were recorded by an actor in India, and Steve Saint’s lines were recorded in Florida. The rest of the actors were recorded in Wisconsin.  



     Ian spent 2 full days recording with Steve Saint. It’s not easy to act something that is a reality in your life, especially when it is a very hard reality. Steve did an amazing job, and we are so honored and humbled that he would be willing to play himself in these episodes.
 
 
Steve Saint recording his lines for the Brinkman episode. 

 

Episode 33: Untouched

 

The Real Story

     The Waodani really do host Wao Tours where people can come and live for a week in the rainforest. The Waodani love hosting and teaching how they survive by using the natural resources all around them.

Basket

Mincaye’s daugher teaching how to make a jungle backpack.

Boat

Getting out of the canoe at camp

Not only do they teach people to make spears and blow guns, but also how to use them to hunt and fish, and then how to prepare the food over their fires.

Coati

 

Aunt Sarah learning how to skin a Coati over the fire.

     The Waodani teach visitors how to gather the plants they use to make rope, and then weave it into baskets and hammocks. People also participate in clearing the dense jungle overgrowth and plant gardens of plantain and cassava root.

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Mincaye teaching Gerry how to make a spear.

The Waodani include visitors in their traditional ceremonies and share stories about how God changed them from being a people who once killed each other to a people who love and tell others about Jesus.  It is a truly amazing and life changing experience!

There really was a group of non-Christian anthropology students who went on a Wao Tour, and realized, as they sat around the fire, that the Waodani were actually the feared Auca people who they learned about in school. The students were shocked as they listened to how God changed the Waodani. This is where the idea for the Corey character came from.

Story

 

Mincaye sharing stories around the fire.

     There really was an outsider who got bit by a snake and was saved by a Waodani named Tementa. In the real story Tementa flew the person out in a powered parachute so they could get medical attention.

     The Waodani really do fish by pounding a certain poison root and putting it into a mesh bag. Then they drag it through the water, which causes the fish to float to the top as they get oxygen deprived. Then they can easily spear them.

Making it Work

     Corey was a fictional character that we added by combining the college students and the person who was saved by a Waodani from a snake bite.

     Through Corey we wanted to show how many people think it’s best to leave isolated tribes alone. They think bringing Christianity and technolgy to a tribe ruins the peopl. But the Waodani show us that before they met Jesus they were living very unhappy lives full of fear and killing. Instead of stripping them of their culture Jesus stripped them of the things that were destroying them. And by obeying God they have a society that values all life, justice, and healthy relationships, and works to support the weak and vulnerable.

     The Waodani also teach us that they need to be the ones who decided how much technology and tools they want to use.

     The Brinkman family didn’t go on a Woa Tour, but Aunt Sarah did. In fact, that is how you are able to hear the real Waodani in this episode.

     She had never done audio recording before, let alone in the jungle. But she had so much fun and she fell in love with the Waodani people.

kids

After doing some recording with the kids

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Aunt Sarah learning to climb a tree the Waodani way. (With a little help!)

Read her blog about it here.

She loved trying all the different kinds of food, like cassava root, sting ray, and toucan soup.

Cassava

Aunt Sarah and Mincaye’s daughter enjoying fried plantain  

We were so privileged to have Mincaye’s lines played by his son Ode, and Timenta’s lines by Mincaye’s grandson Minewa.

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Minewa, Mincaye’s grandson who played Timenta in the episode.

Aunt Sarah recorded with them late at night when the day’s activities were done. They stood in the dark by a pond, and bugs swarmed around their headlamps. They laughed and laughed as they had to redo lines because the bugs kept getting in their mouth, or flapping their wings on the white pages of the script.

     The real Mincaye gives a message at the end of the episode, and he is also the one who sings the chant you hear in the middle of the episode.

 

Mincaye giving a message to the listeners of the Brinkman Adventrues. 

Want to go on a Wao tour? Click here: http://www.itecusa.org/trips.html

Fun Facts

     The Brinkman’s never met the Johnathan Park actors but Ian Bultman and Pat Roy (who write’s Jonathan Park Episodes) are friends. Pat was Ian’s inspiration and mentor as he started the Brinkman Adventures, and so to have the Parks show up in this episode was a real honor for the Brinkman team. And it was a fun way to help both stories.

     When you listen to the Jonathan Park episode that came out at the same time you will hear that they also meet the Brinkmans. In their story you hear this very same scene, but from the Park’s perspective. Later you will discover that the Parks end up needing to use all the equipment they were transporting for the Brinkman’s. They also helped our story by giving Corey some of the answers to his questions about Creation.

Episode 34: Busy Bees & A Bullhorn

 

The Real Story

     This story is for the most part fictional though many of the elements were taken from the “Brinkman’s” life. Ian Brinkman really does raise bees with his youth pastor. The idea of the bees becoming mean came from some bees his uncle Nate raised when he was young. They turned into “killer bees” trying to sting for no reason whoever would go outside.
Bees
Inspecting a brood comb. CC BY-SA 3.0
     The idea for this story came from Amy Bultman (Susan Brinkman).  One day in a moment of frustration she told Ian that it seemed like the kids just couldn’t hear her when it came to instructions for chores.  “I think I need a bullhorn!.”  And the idea was born.
 
 
Making it Work
     Mr. Pennington is a fictional character that was made up during one of Mr. Benti’s stories in season 2. We liked him so much we had to bring him back in this season.

Ms. Bernice is another character that is made up, taken partially from the Brinkman’s real neighbor, and partially from a woman that Aunt Sarah met up at Alaska Bible Institute. In the story Ms. Bernice was unknowingly married into the mob, and does crazy things when she sleep walks!
 
 
Fun Facts
     When looking for someone to play Mr. Pennington our sound engineer was giving an example of what he should sound like.  It was so funny we all couldn’t stop laughing. Needless to say we ended up using him.

So… all the hours and hours of work that is done to put these recordings together and make them sound good is done by…. Mr. Pennington! (Jim Reith) although he doesn’t sound like that in real life!
 
Ian, Josh and Jim Reith in the recording studio. 

Episode 35: Missionary Tourist pt 1

 

The Real Story
     These two episodes are inspired by a story that really happened to a group of people who went on a short term mission trip. They went to help two ladies share the Gospel in the country of Kashmir. The character Anthony is based on a guy named John. John, just like Anthony really wanted to see the country. Sharing the Gospel was was a good idea he thought, but he was pretty passive about it, and thought he would maybe talk about Jesus if it came up.
City in K
 
This northern town in Kashmir is the point of departure for mountaineering in the Karakoram mountains.
 
     In the real story there were six people on the team. They were driven back from the airport in a tiny car, and set out to do prayer walking. The prayer walking turned into a trip to the Muslim village where they decided to hand out Christian literature. They had a CD’s that spoke about Jesus not just being a prophet, but being the Son of God, Himself. Just like in the Brinkman story, there were check points they had to go through, and the village really was 100% Muslim. It was a place where a discovered Christian would be quickly punished by a public execution.
 
 
Making it Work

In this story we had Anthony and Mike going to build an aquaponics system for an orphange. That wasn’t what the real team went to do. But aquaponics is a great system that is helping people all over the world.

Here are some guys that give you a good look into how it works, as well as plans to build you own: The Urban Farming Guys  (get ready for their wacky humor)

 

Aquaponics

Aquaponics combines raising fish with gardening! The fish produce fertilized water which allows plants to grow in very little soil. Making it an ideal system in urban areas, or places with poor soil. (Photo Credit: Ryan Somma CC BY-SA 2.0)
 
Fun Facts
 
Llamas really do spit. Check it out. Spitting Llama
 
llama
 
Spitting is a funny defense mechanism that surprises their enemies (and people!) 

Photo Credit: Johann CC BY-SA 2.0

 
 
By the way, have you looked up the coordinates they give in the episode?  Extra credit. 🙂

Episode 36: Missionary Tourist pt 2

 

The Real Story
 
     The way you hear Anthony and his team captured and rescued is very close to how it actually happened. The rios scene was almost identical to what you hear in the episode, except John said there was more mud, more markets, and more people he had to navigate through. He even knocked a couple people down as he escaped.  The ladies really did put on burkas and go into the village to see if the men were still alive. They found them in jail, and contacted outside people for help. former terrorist turned pastor used his connections and influence to convince the Taliban to free the prisoners.  The missionary who led this man to the Lord really did get himself arrested to help facilitate the release and we had Anthony play this role. There was a man who was a former terrorist who became a pastor that used his connections and influence to convince the Taliban to free the prisoners. Just like in the episode he risked his life to get those guys out. At the end of the conversation with the jailers everyone was laughing and eating together. It’s also true that the man who led him to the Lord also came and got himself arrested and pretended to be the leader of the group so he could help negotiate the release.   When the group were in the plane flying out of the country, they picked up the local paper and saw on the front page, “Group of American’s killed in village.” The very village they were in. Apparently the whole country thought they were killed.
 
 
station
John doing ministry after he had a total life change.
 
     When John got home, he had a completely different perspective on life, on Christianity, and on sharing his faith. He, like Anthony, had a moment in Kashmir where he decided he was “all in” for God. Now he is a teacher and a pastor of a church. They have a prayer station where he leads groups in sharing the Gospel and praying for people. Something he would have never done previously.
station2
John Praying with a man at the “Prayer Station” 
 
Making it Work
     We made up the character Hasheed in order to put a face to the bad guys and add excitement. We used this story to introduce a new important character to the Brinkmans. Like all the Brinkmans, Anthony is loosely based on a real person.  Through this story we wanted to show how sometimes God often uses difficult circumstances to help people fully commit their lives to the Lord.  Anthony’s friend Mike Johnson & Derek represent some of the other men on the trip.
 
Fun Facts
By the way, have you looked up the coordinates given in the episode?  Extra credit. 🙂
Coordinates
(Image: Public Domain)