This series has really enthralled our family, but has also perhaps given our eldest son too much information about what rivers can hold. We assure him that a family swim in the Amazon River is not on our list of holiday activities.
Not only does the presenter search for and catch fish that have the potential to bring a grown man down, he also embarks on territory that opens up discussions that take on a spiritual form. Deep rooted spiritual beliefs and customs that go back hundreds of years are revealed as the presenter goes from village to village in search of monster fish.
We didn't realise this about the show when we first got 'hooked' on the series. What is presented alongside this angler's heaven is a very graphic description of the gods worshipped in that village and very often is related in some way to the fish in question. The presenter is very open and respectful to the differing beliefs and partakes in whatever is necessary to land a giant on his line.
Brought up in a Christian family, and having recently started their schooling at a Christian school, our children have been very sheltered from the fact that Christianity is not something that the whole world embraces. As we have watched this program, my husband and I have realised that our children (at least the older two) are quite shocked, if not horrified by this very fact. More recently they have been asking many questions and are trying to make sense of this new found information.
One particular night, our 6 year old was staring wide eyed at some of the village people talking about different gods and how one of their gods was living in the fish that were being searched for. He turned around to us in absolute desperation saying, "Why doesn't someone just go and tell them about Jesus?"
If only it were that easy to hike for a day and catch a boat through the jungle for 3 days to find the village to tell them the Good News. To a child, someone just going to tell them seems like the best solution. And it is. There is just a lot more to it.
But for now, if our children are disturbed by the fact people haven't heard about Jesus, I pray that remains. As time goes on, many (myself included) can become complacent and unmoved by this knowledge. I pray our children from this point on are stirred with the desire to share the message of salvation.
The spread of Christianity worldwide has been phenomenal. One sometimes hears the comment "Certainly everyone has heard of Jesus by now. Surely missionaries have been sent to every country. Haven't we already completed the Great Commission?" But the reality is that there are still nearly 3 billion people who have never heard the name of Jesus or the message of salvation presented clearly, in a way they can respond to (joshuaproject.net).
God has a multi-coloured tapestry in mind. At the core of his heavenly vision, he wants colours, languages, "people groups"â€"not just some, but ALL peoples. Revelation 7 verses 9-10 paints a beautiful illustration of this in saying, "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
It's interesting how a show about big fish lead our family down this path. But for once I am thankful we turned on the television
Laura Veloso is wife to John and the mother of 3 young boys. She is trained in child welfare and primary school teaching and has experience in overseas missions and youth leadership.
Laura Veloso's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/laura-veloso.html