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4 Christian Bros Homeschooled in Jungle Bring Christ to ‘Superstitious’ Tribe—Who Share Survival Savvy


The jungle was their playground—the harsh wilds of Indonesia their backyard. The hardy tribes-children of the Wano were the neighbors’ kids next door, whom they would call on, and it all seemed perfectly normal to them.

It sounds exotic. But living a real-life Jungle Book upbringing, the sons of American missionaries, for the Wild brothers, it was home. They were blessed with parents who saw it their mission to bring “the good news” halfway across the planet. They, in turn, experienced things few Stateside will ever know.

Their dad, Mike Wild, a marine biology student, and their mom, Libby, a gifted teacher, in their early twenties shipped off and met the Wano people, tribesmen living deep in the jungles of Papua. Both had to learn a wholly new language but within months they were speaking Wano.

Epoch Times Photo
The Wild family required a helicopter to reach the Wano tribe in Papua, Indonesia. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

Years passed. Back and forth between the States and Papua, soon Morgan was born; followed by Hudson; followed by Kian—all 3 boys born Floridians. The baby, Asher, was the sole sibling born Indonesian. They would meet their neighbors: the men of the jungle and their sons, the woman and their daughters, who became their teachers and their pupils; family and fellow adventurers.

Now grown, the brothers are back Stateside and making movies about their unique experiences—and new adventures in America. But their backstory is so intriguing we had to ask them about it; they speak of eye-opening friendships forged, survival skills, new perspectives on life, and—er—evil jungle spirits.

They were evangelist Christian shoots in a jungle of superstition and magic. There were no roads, no internet, schools, or hospitals. The only way in was by helicopter, yet they were welcomed with open arms.

What was that like?

Morgan, 24, the eldest brother: When we moved in to work with the Wano people, we saw very quickly that even though they lived in virgin jungle, a beautiful, beautiful area, their lives were very hard. They were plagued by all sorts of sicknesses. And then their worldview was very dark and they believed that everything around them in the jungle is controlled by evil spirits. And so basically their lives revolved around manipulating and appeasing the spirits in order for life to go well for them. And so that’s a very hard burden to bear.

Epoch Times Photo
The Wild siblings spent over a decade with the Wano tribe. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

They believed that all sickness was caused by evil spirits and that women had the power to transform themselves into witches at night and kill others. And so this society ran off of fear and so we saw very quickly that even though these people were living in a jungle paradise, there was no Garden of Eden. There are many struggles within society, many wrong ways of thinking and that had harmful effects on a culture.

Even though we were in there having great adventures, the biggest challenge was living among them, to learn their language and culture so that we could clearly communicate the gospel. And so the biggest adventure is watching God, through the power of His Word, through the power of the gospel, transform this people group.

The Wano tribespeople would hear the “good news,” but were they receptive?

How were they transformed?

Morgan: God was so good to save many. And many of the Wano people’s eyes were opened to truth, and the power of the gospel has had an extreme impact, a good impact on their culture and their society. And we saw so much positive change and saw [them] no longer living in bondage to fear of evil spirits, treating each other with respect and dignity, not being superstitious about ailments and sickness, but understanding. All those things had a positive impact on the culture.

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Wano tribesmen giving and receiving baptism in Papua, Indonesia. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)
Epoch Times Photo
The Wild brothers spent time with the Wano tribe during a gathering. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

Teaching the gospel, it was never imposed on them but it was always just offered as a gift to be received or rejected. We tried to have a very light footprint. So we went in to be insiders, to be like little children in their culture, students of the culture not imposing our own Western ideologies or beliefs on them but very much just living among them.

Living among the Wano, who had such awesome survival skills, the Wild brothers were taken under their tutelage. But first, they would have to learn to speak Wano. 

How did that go?

Asher, 18, the youngest brother: We were able to learn language quite fast. Actually, it’s when you’re little; you just go around and you pick up words from your friends. And all of a sudden, before you know it, you’re starting to speak the words and stuff and so that was really cool.

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Morgan Wild and several of the Wano spending time together in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)
Epoch Times Photo
(Left) A Wano tribesman; (Right) Hudson as a young boy holds a Wano child. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

What jungle survival skills were handed down to them from the Wano, and what adventures were had?

Morgan: We befriended many of them. And so we had very close relationships with many people. We grew up much like them in a lot of ways, using bows and arrows, and learning how to set jungle snares, and learning how to travel discreetly through the jungle. And they taught us a lot about their ways. … Many other cultural aspects rubbed off on us. So that was a lot of fun.

But through it all, we really think that this adventure … was just watching the power of God at work.

Hudson, 22: One of the most practical things was just how to hike correctly in the jungle. Everything is covered in moss, and you rarely actually see the ground or dirt. The moss forest is made up of trees that fall down and they decompose and moss grows over. And it kind of becomes this giant skeleton of fallen trees and moss. So there’s a lot of deep holes that you could fall into if you don’t know how to walk correctly.

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A Wano tribesman after spending several years with the Wild family. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

Also how to handle a machete, that’s one of their biggest tools. And a machete can be dangerous. It’s easy, as you’re chopping your way through the jungle, to accidentally chop your foot or your hand.

Kian, 21: There’s lots of adventures to be had. … We loved nature and creation and discovering new species of insects, hunting down mysterious animals, going on lots of adventures with their friends, the Wano people.

The Wano live a life we can only imagine, so how did they live?

Hudson: The Wano people are semi-nomadic, which means they live in one area for maybe four or five years while the crop is good, and then as the soil begins to lose the fertility, they’ll move to a new location, maybe a couple of miles away, probably within hiking distance. And then they’ll make a new house and a new garden and live there for a couple years and then move on. So they have a semi-nomadic lifestyle. And they really just live off the land.

They’re very good at gardening; they clear large areas of land by chopping trees down. And then they segment the garden into different portions for each family member. And they have a variety of crops. So their main staples are sweet potatoes and they plant large areas of sweet potatoes.

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A Wano tribe village, whose locations vary, as the Wano people migrate to new locations ever few years when soils deplete. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

Do they hunt or are they mainly an agricultural society?

Hudson: They do a little bit of hunting, but meat is pretty scarce. There mainly are just vegetables and [they are mainly] plant-based in their diet. But the women, they work hard at weaving a kind of bark—they make thread out of it—and then they weave these large net bags. And so the net bags are one of their biggest tools. And now they’ll use it to carry their children in and the crops that they grow.

And the men, one of their main tools are bows and arrows which they use for hunting but also as a way of defense and in wartime—that’s their main weapon. And they also raise domesticated pigs. And those kind of pigs, and chickens, are kind of their source of their currency or money. That’s what they use to trade.

How was it being homeschooled in the jungle?

Asher: When you’re homeschooled, you don’t necessarily have all the same due dates like a public school would have but it really makes you self-disciplined and want to do the work yourself. And it’s actually more fun, more enjoyable, too. So yeah, being homeschooled in the jungle was definitely one of the main reasons why we’re able to even be there and do all of that [adventuring].

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The Wild brothers and their mother, Libby Wild. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)
Epoch Times Photo
The Wild family engage in Bible study (Left) and gardening (Right). (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

Kian: My parents would buy homeschool curriculum from the States and have it shipped over. And then, just in the mornings … my dad would go down to work and do translation work and my mom would teach us math, and science, and history, and Bible. And usually, we finish our homework by around 2 in the afternoon; we’d have the rest of the day off just to go exploring outside with our friends, collecting insects, going on hikes, and doing fun adventures. And so it worked out really good for us. 

Their being immersed in Wano culture from childhood and living with them for 15 years has impacted their worldviews in drastic ways. The Wild brothers gained a perspective rare among Westerners.

It has made them keenly “culturally observant.”

Hudson: If you only live in one culture all your life, oftentimes, you can just take things for granted and you see your way as the best way or your traditions as the best traditions. … Within all cultures, there’s things that are good and beautiful. But also, there’s things that are wrong and sinful. So it just gave us a broader perspective, observing that—even when we came back here to our home culture because we’re American citizens.

We got to evaluate our own culture, and what are things that we really love about America and the Western culture, what are things that are not good, that are either sinful or we don’t appreciate it quite as much. So it just gives us that broader perspective and helps us to be more culturally aware.

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A collage of the Wild brothers and the Wano people in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia, over the course of over a decade. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

The Wano people are very community-focused and so they do everything together. They’ll all go to the garden together, or cook a meal together, or go on hikes. And so we just joined along and really became part of the community.

Morgan: A lot of cultures in Southeast Asia are collective—or collectivist cultures. … Learning how to live in a culture, in a society, not as one unit but as a member of a larger group was something very valuable. And we don’t experience that a lot as a part of a Western nation back here in America.

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(L-R) A Wano tribesman and Morgan Wild. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

We’re all very individualistic: “I’m the center of the universe, life revolves around me,” and that’s not how the Wano were. And so it was beautiful to grow up in a culture where—a very imperfect culture, right? Riddled with sin, not a perfect culture. But to see just the beauty of a collectivist culture, how no one was discarded or cast away, how everybody was always taken care of, how the elderly were respected and honored, just a lot of those aspects of living in a collectivist culture, I think, rubbed off on us. And that really has shaped the way that we view people as a whole.

Kian: Growing up in two cultures allowed us to really grow our understanding of what’s important in life. And it’s not necessarily your house or your home or where you grew up, because all those things are temporary. We moved around so many times that we never got to attach to one specific location. But I think it really helped all of us understand that we are wanderers on this Earth and our ultimate goal is to be with Christ in Heaven. And that’s our ultimate home.

Epoch Times Photo
(L-R) Asher, Kian, Morgan, Hudson. (Courtesy of The Wild Brothers)

How does it feel coming back to America?

Kian: There’s always culture shock coming back, though, because it’s completely different worlds, Indonesia and then America. And everything—from the roads and the buildings to just the worldview and the lifestyle—everything is so completely different.

Coming back, it’s always a culture shock. And it takes a little while to kind of get back into the routine, to start figuring out the culture again, and I’m kind of getting into it.

Today, the Wild brothers have branched into making movies about their new adventures back in America. They share their exploits on wildbrothersproductions.com, on their YouTube channel The Wild Brothers, and on Facebook and Instagram.

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