INDIA (BP) — Bryson Holtson* started drawing cartoons when he was 10 years old. Now as an adult, he works as a graphic designer in India. Several years ago, Holtson and his creative team recognized the need to educate children about life in Asia. After several brainstorming sessions, the group created a boy named Zeke, a monkey named Googly, a tiger named Raj, an elephant named Hati, a camel named Sindhi, a mongoose named Jatra and a few others.
Together, these characters make up “The Caravan”.
Zeke and his Caravan friends have fun learning about Jesus and about people in Asia. The stories and activities teach kids about culture, religion and everyday life in countries like India, China, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia as well as encourage kids to become involved in missions right where they live.
“We believe that children can serve Jesus right where they are,” Holston, a father of three, says. “With the Caravan, we wanted to find a fun way to connect children in the U.S. with mission work in Asia because those who learn about international missions as kids are more likely to be interested as adults.”
Holston’s favorite Caravan character is Googly, the monkey.
“I like Googly because he’s fun. He likes to explore, and he asks a lot of questions,” Holston says.
Holston works with a team of people on The Caravan cartoons, including writers, graphic designers and animators. Tess Rivers*, one of the writers, began writing stories and poems for fun at age 8. Now, Rivers lives in Thailand and writes stories about the Caravan’s adventures.
“Jatra and the Good Shepherd” is Rivers’ favorite Caravan story. In it, Jatra the mongoose explains the Bible story about the lost sheep to a shepherd in Pakistan who lost one of his goats.
“I like writing stories that point kids to Jesus and help them get to know Him,” Rivers says. Even so, she notes, “Jesus was the best storyteller.”
Reported by the Asia communications staff of the International Mission Board. To access The Caravan, click here. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).