They were told it would never work. More than 10 years ago, the Christian History Institute came up with an idea to reach out to and teach children—an animated series named Torchlighters. “We were quickly told that children won’t be interested in Christian history,” recalls Dawn Moore, director of new product development.
Ten years and eleven DVDs later, and with a circulation of a quarter-million DVDs, Torchlighters is clearly a success—but for more than just the numbers. “We regularly hear from parents, teachers and kids that Torchlighters has impacted their lives and inspired their faith,” Dawn says. “This makes all the hard work worth it!”
The newest DVD in the series, The Augustine Story, was a difficult story to tell. “After all, he is mostly known as a thinker of deep thoughts and a writer of great books,” she says. “How does one bring such a legacy to children in a way that engages them?”
It is a question they ask with every story they produce. “We keep a sharp eye on the history, but then concentrate on our target audience and how to engage it with a great story and real characters. Our heroes have depth. They struggle, they doubt, they fail; but in the end, they rely on God, which makes all the difference. In showing that these real people with real weaknesses can make a real difference, we hope to inspire the next generation to do the same.”
Other volumes in the Torchlighters series spotlight Jim Eliot, John Bunyan, Eric Liddel and Dawn’s favorite, Amy Carmichael. “Amy has touched my own family. As I worked on her story, I opted to purchase one of her many books for my daughters to read. One poem in particular brought us the hope we needed in a tough time.”
This article originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of FamilyFiction Edge digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!