are not easily translated into stories
that capture children’s attention. Some
of the heroes, such as John Bunyan, left
a legacy primarily of writings. For his
story, they pulled in the exciting back-story of his salvation, his time in prison,
and even some of his character Pilgrim’s
story. Others, such as Jim Elliott, were
ultimately martyred for their faith. The
series handles such scenes delicately but
also works hard to end each special on a
positive note. With the story of Jim Elliott, they accomplished this by using a
story wrap, a scene at the beginning and
end of the special that framed the story
and showed the impact Jim Elliott and
the lives of the other martyred missionaries had on the Auca people.
How Did Torchlighters Get
Bill shared that it began on a family vacation when his wife was sharing from a
book about Gladys Aylward. His daughter Michelle looked deep in thought and
said, “I’d like to become a missionary.” It
was then Bill realized these stories have
incredible power that can impact lives.
That was the seed that began the Torchlighter vision of sharing stories of heroes
of the faith with children.
What Are Some of the Elements
That Make Up a Torchlighters
Robert and Dawn described a complex
list of components that all come together to create a finished Torchlighter
production. The hardest part is often
the script, which goes through several
iterations until it is just right. Once the
script is written, Robert’s team develops
the characters and an animatic with a
very rough soundtrack so that the entire team can evaluate the flow and feel
of the story. One of the most incredible
and time consuming elements is the over
30,000 hand-drawn pages that are used
in the animation of every episode. Rather
than the easier method of computer animation, Torchlighters are still painstakingly drawn by hand. Each special also
requires an original musical score, audio
effects, and a tremendous amount of historical research.
How Can Parents Help Their
Children Learn More About These
Heroes of the Faith?
Torchlighters.org has a ton of helpful information, including free student guides and
teacher/leader guides with lesson plans that
you can download and use with your family or church. The study guides are broken
into sections that can be done before, during, and following the video. They include
questions, crafts and service projects, and
much more. You’ll find a book on Corrie
ten Boom’s life that is available for purchase
as well of lots of other free resources including a long list of ministry ideas, ways you
can use and build on the Torchlighters series or use them in outreach, a Torchlighter
craft and coloring page, and news about
the upcoming episodes. Plus, each DVD
comes with a documentary for adults about
the Torchlighter’s life.
I encourage everyone with children,
grandchildren, or students to check out
the Torchlighters series, or simply watch
them for your own personal walk with
God. I think you’ll find, as I have, an incredible series of challenging, convicting,
and life-changing stories. Learn more at
Bonnie Rose Hudson works as the Executive Editor of SchoolhouseTeachers.com,
the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine®. Her heart’s desire is for every
child to feel the love of God and know how
special they are to Him. She would love for
you to stop by her author’s blog WriteBon
nieRose.com for resources to help teach
your children about missions and the persecuted Church, free history and writing
printables, and to discover how you can
write for the homeschool market.
Vision Video ( www.visionvideo.com) is
approaching their fifth decade of deliver-
ing a wide range of Christian and family
programming. Their mission is to produce
and distribute visual media that commu-
nicates the Gospel in a winsome and con-
vincing way that connects with contem-
porary audiences. Today, they offer more
than 1,900 titles with ample selections
for all age groups including drama, docu-
mentary, live events, curriculum, and rare
historical footage among the many genres.
They clearly understand their calling to
provide video resources that allow families
and churches to have an historic awareness
of how God has worked among his people
over the centuries. Their titles have won
close to four hundred film festival awards.
You can view their entire selection of in-
credible titles at www.visionvideo.com/.
Christian History Institute ( www.christian
historyinstitute.org) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. Their
aim is to make Christian history a delight to
the widest possible audience, using modern
media such as video and the internet. They
publish Christian History magazine and
also have produced several books. They are
involved with film and video production
through their sister company, Vision Video.
They are also the creators of Refo Thursday,
( www.christianhistoryinstitute.org/blog/) a
weekly look back at the impact of the Protestant Reformation as well as the landmark
special This Changed Everything: 500
Years of the Reformation ( www.christian
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In order to become a Torchlighter, Dawn shared that the hero has to have a lasting
legacy they can point to, someone who has made a major impact on the world.