My daughter replied, "It seems like each one is better than the last one we watched!"
My 5 year old said, "Please - can we watch more Torchlighters?"
The Tortchlighters series of DVDs. Not only do they teach children about "heroes of the faith" (Christians who were persecuted for their beliefs), but they are actually well done!
The Corrie ten Boom Story. My kids were riveted - and so was I. (If you're unfamiliar with ten Boom, she protected Jews during WWII in Holland, and went to a prison camp because of it. She suffered much, but when the war was over, she set to work to heal everyone who was lost because of the war, even Nazis.) The DVD features an animated version of her story, half an hour long, and very appropriate for children about 5 or 6 and up. It also includes a documentary about ten Boom, with interviews with those who knew her; my children (5 and 8) found this less interesting, but it holds great appeal for teens and adults. Finally, the DVD includes a study guide. We printed this out and discovered something for everyone: coloring pages, simple and more complex puzzles, questions and answers, and so on. Even after all this, my children couldn't wait to have me read the book version of ten Boom's story, from the same publishing company. (For my full review of this book, click here.)
I was so impressed with the DVD, we got a few more: The William Tyndale Story, The Samuel Morris Story, and The Perpetua Story. I knew something about Tyndale, but Morris and Perpetua were new to me. As it turns out, Morris was a 19th century boy/young man from Africa and Perpetua was a young mother who lived in the 3rd century. Each of these DVDs also includes a documentary and study guide. After watching them, I asked my children which DVD they liked best. My daughter replied, "It seems like each one is better than the last one we watched!" My 5 year old said, "Please - can we watch more Torchlighters?"
There is much to like about the series. For example, it takes what could be a difficult subject (Christian persecution) and makes it kid-friendly. Although the publisher's recommended age group is 8 - 12, and even though one of their employees thought some of the DVDs I chose would be inappropriate for my 5 year old, I found we could watch all of them without any problem. Yes, in Perpetua all the main character's die - but they also go to God in a miraculous way. And as my 5 year old said, "If they at least as inspired by the stories as my kids were. I actually cried tears of joy at the end of Perpetua.)
I also love the documentaries that comes with each DVD; they really make the stories a whole-family affair. And the study guides are quite flexible. But for me, the real greatness of these DVDs is that they are teaching history - and history the Bible promises will repeat itself. Indeed, as we see the rise of Christian persecution throughout the world, and as we read the book of Revelation, we can be sure future generations will need to stand strong in the Lord, despite Christian persecution. Will our children be among those generations? No one can say. But the Torchlighters series is a great way for kids to begin thinking about those who are persecuted for their faith - and how they might react if put in a similar position. I will be buying the rest of the series.
Click here to see the complete list of Torchlighter DVDs. The movies may also be watched via Amazon Instant Video and some are available through Netflix. The publisher's website also includes the study guides, ministry ideas, and games.