0n the surface, Morgan Wild looks like an average Boyce College student. He not only grew up in Papua, Indonesia, but he also grew up with his life on camera.
In high school, Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively, began chronicling the life and adventures of his family through video.
The Wild brothers, spearheaded by their oldest brother Morgan, collaborated with Answers in Genesis to write scripts, film, and edit some of their adventures for an eight-video series. They created the videos in order to share the story of what life was really like for missionary kids. They wanted to not only help foster a heart for an interest in missions, but the brothers also desired to show how “life on the mission field for missionary kids is not all pain and suffering. It’s hard at times, but there’s also excitement and adventure that goes along with that,” Morgan Wild said in a recent interview.
The result was an “apologetic-adventure series” that resonated most with kids and accomplished its goal of fostering an interest in missions. The series was aired on Answers in Genesis’ website, complete with DVDs, a soundtrack written by Morgan, a blog, and memorabilia.
The story Answers in Genesis told through this series is, in fact, an extraordinary one.
Wild spent his childhood mornings in his home, being taught alongside his three brothers by their mother, much like any other homeschooler. But he spent his afternoons and evenings running around shirtless with a piece of bamboo through his pierced septum. Throughout the jungles of Papua, Indonesia, he played with bows and arrows, and he cooked bugs for sport. Besides his own brothers and the daughters of their partner missionary family, his best friends were native to the Wano tribe.
The remote Wano tribe was previously unreached before the Wild family and their partners came along. Their religion was characterized by animism, and they live a life virtually “off the grid.”
From the time his family surrendered to the call to missionary service when he was young, this was the life that Wild knew. Although he felt a call to pursue a life similar to his parents, he has chosen to “step aside from the missionary kid bubble, so to speak, and experience what the rest of the world has to offer,” he said.
Wild explained that many missionary kids choose missions because of comfort or familiarity — all the wrong reasons.
“What really interested me about going to the mission field was I had the unique privilege to see the Lord work in amazing ways that not a lot of people get to experience,” he continued. “Having that background was a profound influence on even my younger years that ‘this work is real. God is powerful and He changes people. There’s still so much more work to be done. Why can’t I do the same thing as my parents?’ That’s how I always confronted it.”
Growing up on the mission field, his parents, along with their partner family, the Ingles, slowly immersed themselves in the Wano tribe, starting with building trust through medicine. The tribe of about 1,500 individuals had essentially no Western influence, and therefore, practiced no modern medicine. The infant mortality rate was approximately 75 percent.
Eventually, they not only learned the language of the tribe, but they also began writing it down. The missionary team became so proficient with literacy that within a few years, they were teaching it to the Wano tribe.
The next step was to teach and translate the Bible chronologically and systematically. Story by story, they shared the gospel with the tribe. Although the entire Wano Bible translation is not completed yet, they have worked through enough of it that the formerly animistic tribe now has a clear understanding of the gospel. There is a growing Wano church.
Now, after 12 years, there are teachers of the Bible within the Wano tribe. Wild grew up with friends who practiced and believed the animistic religion, and are now teaching the gospel to other more remote parts of the tribe. Several small satellite churches have been formed. In addition, tribe members have taken over their healthcare and literacy training as well, freeing the missionaries up for discipleship and translation.
Wild is thankful for his role as a missionary kid. Although he was never the one translating Scripture or teaching the Bible, especially in the early days of their ministry, many in the tribe were intrigued by the way the family loved and respected each other.
“Kids can have a tremendous role on the mission field, serving alongside their parents,” he said. “Some people think kids can’t cope on the mission field. That even prevents people from going on the mission field because they love their kids so much that they think that the risk isn’t worth it.”
He explained that one of the most influential ways to “be Christ to a dark and hopeless people,” is by living out Christ’s example in their lives and mirroring the gospel.
Wild added, “Growing up in an unreached tribe was great because it really opened up my mind to see the world from a broader perspective and to appreciate cultural differences and also to be aware of the need.”
He continued, “My parents raised my brothers and I instead of looking at missions as a cost and a sacrifice, as more of a privilege and opportunity. My brothers and I have really taken that to heart and we’ve tried to make the best of it.”
Because of this deeply ingrained love for missions and ministry, Wild’s first step in pursuing ministry involved coming to Boyce College to study worldview and apologetics. “Boyce was tailor-made for students preparing to go into ministry, not just out to get a degree or get the college experience,” Wild said. “I think what struck me the most about Boyce College was the fact that students loved the Lord and they were actually going to college because they were interested in pursuing ministry.”
He enjoys his time as a Boyce student, using this as an opportunity to grow theologically, better learn how to defend his faith, and see what other areas of ministry God could be calling him to.
“Boyce College has prepared me for ministry because it has given me a new outlook,” he added. “Coming to Boyce and engaging with professors, students and even just hearing a wide range of views on different things has opened up my mind and allowed me to just solidify what I believe and also bring on new ministry philosophies into my life and broaden my worldview for ministry.”
More information about the Wild brothers, including their video series, is available at answersingenesis.org/wild-brothers.