Home School Adventure Co. is one of my go-to companies for solid biblical teaching resources which are affordable. Their unique content is always refreshing and a nice break when we want something different from our usual resources. The opportunity to review Walking with the Waodani was a great one for our family. Although we have not been called to full-time overseas mission work we are passionate about missions and passionate about teaching our children about those who have come before and trail-blazed through unbelievable difficulties, leading the way for what we call modern missions today. This unique study highlights the Waodani people now. I love this perspective because we get to hear about a first-hand account of a young man, Russel Green, and his journey to visit Ecuador and learn where the sacrifice of missionaries who walked the land before had taken this native tribe. While the target audience for this study is middle school, all of my children participated and they all enjoyed it! The girls and I worked alongside each other, but in addition to being an excellent collective-learning family study, I think it would also be appropriate for independent learners to complete on their own.
We have previously learned about the missionaries martyred in 1956 and a little about their families who then went back to the tribes to tell them about the love of Christ. It had been a while though so we watched an animated retelling of this story. Because of the violent nature of what happened I felt it best to prepare my youngest as gently as possible. She still struggles with nightmares at times and while we do not want to soften the sacrifices made, this was a good way to introduce our learning time. I remember the first time I heard the story of Operation Auca when I was in college. I had just finished reading one of Elizabeth Elliot’s books. I learned what happened to her husband, Jim, and his colleagues, and was deeply moved by the desire of their widows and children to come back to the place where their husband’s were martyred to tell them about Jesus. These examples of faith are exactly who our children need to learn about during their studies as they are young.
I love that this study shows the Waodani people currently and tells how many have come to find salvation through Christ. This study isn’t only about this people group! We also learned a lot about Ecuador geographically, economically, and socially. The images in this study are absolutely stunning! I printed the work pages for my girls and we used my iPad to look at all the pictures. They are vibrant and enticing. More than once my girls asked if we could visit Ecuador just because the pictures were so beautiful!
Agriculture, food, and animal life are also taught. I absolutely love how seamlessly all of this information is woven into the story of Operation Auca as well as the eventual salvation and growth of the church there. This is such an incredibly rich study with so much information! The information led my girls to ask more questions about the region and we did even more research on things that peaked their interest. There were a few, “Ew!” moments as they discovered what the indigenous people of the land ate, but it was a wonderful opportunity to talk about respecting other cultures and how missionaries must often sacrifice comforts and desires in order to take the gospel to unreached peoples. Rose, my oldest daughter has a strong desire to serve overseas as a teacher. When I first told her what we were going to be studying her eyes lit up and she revealed a huge smile! While I know God may shape and even change this dream, we try to encourage her even now by giving her opportunities to learn about missions. This study was an absolute joy for her and she couldn’t have been more eager. If you desire to include missions study in your homeschool this is a great unit study with which to begin!
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We also love to teach them about those who have gone before us in this endeavor. Seed Sowers: Gospel Planting Adventures by Gwen Toliver ($13.95) from Seed Sowers is a beautifully written book. It is also available as a hardback ($30.95) and in an Kindle format ($3.99) which we reviewed. Each section focuses on a different missionary who is now retired and some of their adventures focusing around their work with translating the Scriptures into the heart language of the nations. I love Gwen’s perspective as a current translator with Wycliffe. It is clear she has a true passion and love for seeing the Scriptures written in the heart-language (the language they most relate to) of groups all over the world.
Her writing drew my girls in and captivated their attention from the first sentence. I have aimed to read aloud more to the girls and this has been a perfect place to start. I have had to, “Read just one more Mommy!” more than once as my eager little sweethearts soak in the spiritual heritage of those who have gone before us. Rose has tried to sneak off with my Kindle to read ahead and Beth has been playing missionary as she pretends. Anything which brings excitement to my girls makes me happy. When it causes them to grow more deeply in their understanding of God and His work, it thrills me.
I love that these captivating stories were written after the author was able to interview many retired missionaries. They are first-hand accounts and this is invaluable. So many books of missionaries are written from research. This is not necessarily bad, but using primary source material for historically accurate books is vital. As I read I watch as my girls are transported to jungles, islands, and other far-away places. I typically allow them to draw while I read. More often than not they are listening spellbound as the crayons and pencils lay unused on the table and eager faces lean in waiting to hear what comes next.
My favorite response from my girls came from Beth as we prepare for our recent conferences where two married international workers shared about their work in Russia. When I was telling the girls about the services we would be attending each night Beth twirled around the room and said, “I’m just so excited! It will be just like our missionary stories!” To hear my six-year-old proclaim her excitement over hearing about God’s work in other lands brought tears to my eyes and joy to my soul.
I can only hope there is a sequel to this book. I know there are so many more stories of God’s faithfulness as many before us made so many sacrifices to bring God’s Word to then nations.