The missionary who risked it all for Ecuador
His ultimate sacrifice lit a torch of faith
Media Type: DVD
Running Time: 30 min
Gold Crown Award
Crown Awards 2006
Gold Remi Award
Worldfest – Houston 2006
Gold Award – Best Children’s Film
ICVM Crown Award 2006
Geared for children ages 8-12, this stunning, half-hour, action-packed program uses top quality animation to bring to life the story of missionary martyr Jim Elliot.
For more information on the Torchlighters series, visit www.torchlighters.org.
– Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Hindi, Gujarati
– Subtitles: English
– Interview with Steve Saint, son Nate Saint, a fellow martyr with Jim Elliot
– Autobiography of Marj Saint Van Der Puy, Nate’s wife
– Comprehensive leader’s guide with reproducible student worksheets in pdf format
Visual Parables, Fall 2005
This short animated film does an excellent job in bringing to children the story of Jim Elliot and his four fellow missionaries. It begins in the 1940s when Jim, a college wrestler, is practicing with a friend. While pinning and almost being pinned by his friend, he talks about their going into missionary work together. Thus the film provides some helpful background on the martyr’s earlier life and, in Jim’s case, his marriage to Elizabeth, who becomes his partner in the jungle station in Ecuador. The violence is not shown in graphic detail, though it is not glossed over. The rest of the story unfolds very quickly, including the missionary families’ forgiveness and the moving into the jungle village of Rachel Saint and Betty Elliot with her daughter. This would be a good investment for every church library and children’s program. The DVD includes a fascinating piece in which Steve Saint talks about his parents and his experience, and how he went about to investigate why the men, although they were armed, did not use their weapons to defend themselves. The answer is very revealing of the depth of the faith of the five martyrs. The Jim Elliot Story is the first of a new series entitled “The Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith.” This ambitious attempt to bring the great stories of famous Christians to the attention of children 8-12 years old is highly commendable. Future titles in production are: William Tyndale; John Bunyan; Eric Liddell; and Perpetua. Watch these pagers for reports on them. If they are even half as good as the first title, you will not want to miss them.
Church Libraries, Fall 2005
Torchlighters is a series of animated, adventure features targeted for 8 to 12 year-olds that tell life stories of Christian heroes. This one shows, in an age-appropriate way, how five young men were martyred by Ecuadorian tribal Indians in 1955. For all but the extremely sensitive, two scenes of Auca Indians killing with spears – first a group of oilmen, then Jim Elliot and four other missionaries – is not too violent for this age group. Most will take away the message in Jim’s own words, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot lose.” Recommended for any church library children’s media collection.
Christian Retailing, Jun. 6, 2005
The Christian History Institute has teamed up with International Films and Voice of the Martyrs to launch a new animated children’s series, “The Torchlighters.” Targeting ages 8-12, the series is designed to introduce children to the lives of heroic men and women from Christian history. The first episode, The Jim Elliot Story, was released in March and covers the inspirational life of missionary martyr Jim Elliot. The DVD follows Elliot’s adventures from his college years to his work in Ecuador through to his martyrdom at the hands of the Auca Indians. “Vision Video has planned this series over the past four years in partnership with its sister organization, Christian History Institute,” said A. Kenneth Curtis, executive producer of the series. “Many excellent ministries have been developed to minister to teens, but we felt the need to reach children at an earlier age. So Torchlighters was conceived in the awareness that children love stories, and a well-told story will remain with them for the rest of their lives.” Thirteen episodes are planned for the Torchlighters series with episodes on William Tyndale and John Bunyan currently in production for a fall release. In addition to the DVD programs, educational supplements have been created to accompany the video, including curriculum, children’s activities and a Web site. “Our hope and prayer is for the Torchlighters stories to give children a foundation in the history of the faith that will give them grounds to stand up to secular influences and recognize that in the treasury of Christian heroes they have worthy models for their own lives,” Curtis said.
Video Librarian, Jul./Aug. 2005
A new animated series aimed at children from ages 8-12, The Torchlighters “tells the story of Christian heroes who have risked their very lives to bring the message of Jesus Christ to an antagonistic world.” In this program, Wheaton College hunk Jim Elliot is wrestling with Ed McCulley, but instead of the usual trash talk amidst the grunting and fighting, Jim says, “You ought to be a missionary, Ed, and I’m praying God makes you one.” During the mid-1950s, the pair embarked (along with others) on a missionary expedition to locate and convert the Auca people of Ecuador, who initially extended a tentative welcome to the missionaries, but later killed them. While some might have taken this as a hint, the widows and children of the slain men eventually traveled to the Auca village to meet the people, forgive them, and teach them about Christianity. Regardless of one’s feelings about Western Christianity’s mission to save “savages,” this production should have spent more time on the women, who not only had the courage to meet their husbands’ murderers but also to continue working towards fulfilling their goal. Still, this is a well-done program, overall, and DVD features include bonus live-action interviews with two other missionaries from Elliot’s group. Recommended.
Home School Enrichment, Nov/Dec 2007
I am so thankful to the folks at the Christian History Institute for their quality animated DVDs that promote knowing the heroes of our Christian faith. Our children need good role models. They need to know their Christian “ancestors.” They need quality movies to watch. Our children will receive all three of these things by watching these DVDs. Actually, I (aged forty-something!) watched these movies with my 85 your old mother and we were both moved by these stories. Scripture is quoted in each of them and important Biblical concepts are enhanced. When you see what God can do through a torchlighter, who is completely devoted to the Lord, your children (and you) will be inspired to serve Him more fully. Not only are the movies great, but the Web site, www.torchlighters.com, has teacher’s guides, student handouts, maps, games, crafts, activities, discussion questions, and more that can be downloaded and used with the DVDs if you wish to make this more than just good movie watching. If you’re looking for quality resources that will teach your children to be committed to God and His truth, you’ll definitely want to check out The Torchlighters DVD series! Reviewed by: Betsy Lawrence
Homeschooling Today, May/Jun 2008
The church marquee tells passers-by, “God isn’t looking for the able, He wants the available,” “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called,” and “What God orders, He pays for.” As trite as these may sound, the annals of history are chock full of stories of mere men being faithful in the small things and seeing God do the big things through them. Introducing your children to these heroes has just gotten easier. Vision Video has made available on DVD the Torchlighter series, featuring animated retellings of The Jim Elliot Story, The William Tyndale Story, The Eric Liddell Story and The John Bunyan Story. All of these heroes of the faith were sent by God to be faithful in the small things: reaching out to a remote tribe of hostile natives, translating the Scriptures into the common language of the people, remaining true to the faith in the face of wide acclaim and going against popular opinion, and suffering in prison while writing the second-bestseller of all time. But, far from Saturday morning fluff, these well-told stories are accompanied by extra features that help you and your family learn even more about God’s work in the lives of these men.
Jim Bob Howard
Tim Challies – blogger, author, and book reviewer
The Torchlighters video series is a new series of animated DVD’s dedicated to “Highlighting the honor, integrity and life-changing experiences of those well-known and little-known Christian men, women and children who in response to God’s call, dedicated their lives to a life of whole-hearted commitment and passionate service to Jesus.” It is a production of Christian History Institute along with International Films and Voice of the Martyrs. The first in this series is The Jim Elliot Story. Elliot is widely known in the Christian world because of the prolific writing and speaking career of his wife, Elisabeth. In 1956 Jim Elliot, along with four other young missionaries, were killed by a vicious tribe of Euadorian natives whom the men were trying to reach with the gospel. The tragedy has become an inspiration to people across the world as they have seen the families of those who were killed continue to love and serve among the tribe who put them to death.
This video, which is about a half hour long, provides a brief glimpse of Elliot’s short career as a missionary. It introduces each of the men who served with him and shows their love for the Lord and their determination to serve him whatever the cost. The cover for the DVD says, “In the inaugural Torchlighters episode we follow Jim’s adventures from his college years to his work in the jungles, showing young people his faith in action as he answers God’s call to do the seemingly impossible.” The story is presented well, focusing on the unshakeable faith of these young men.
It should be noted that the series is targetted primarily at children between the ages of eight and twelve. I was hoping that I could show this film to my son, who is five, but my wife feels that it might be a little too intense for him. Perhaps next year. There is nothing too terribly graphic (certainly by today’s standards) but the viewer will nevertheless witness the deaths of many people, including the hero of the story.
Included with the film is a study guide suitable for children that includes a leader’s guide and reproducible student worksheets; an interview with Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint who was killed along with Jim Elliot and who has gone on to serve with the same tribe; and a video autobiography of Marj Saint Van Der Puy, Nate’s wife. These add significant value to what is already a strong presentation, though these extras will appeal far more to adults than to children.
Future titles in the Torchlighters series include The William Tyndale Story (release is imminent), The John Bunyan Story (set for a 2006 release) and The Eric Liddell Story (also set for a 2006 release). This looks like a wonderful little series and I am sure each of the titles will be a valuable addition to any church or personal library. I hope to make each of these titles available to my children.
The Jim Elliot Story is well-made and will surely appeal to the target audience. It will share with children the deep and inspiring faith of some of God’s most dedicated servants. I am glad to recommend it. http://www.challies.com/music-movies/dvd-review-the-jim-elliot-story