From Greenland's Icy Mountains
by David Snyder - Far North Director

THE 100 Nations Project has called our attention to the enormous world in which we live and the comparatively small number of missionaries serving around the globe. This truth was expressed by our Lord when He said, “…The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). The “Far North” area of God’s harvest field (Alaska, Canada and Greenland) is no exception to the great need of which Jesus spoke. First of all, Alaska is by far the largest of the fifty states that make up the United States of America. Next, Canada is second only to Russia in size, making it the second largest country in the world. Third, Greenland is the world’s largest non-continental island with an area of 843,207 square miles. The Far North’s massive amount of land, and the approximately 33 million people scattered over this entire region, reemphasizes the need for additional missionary laborers. One particular area within the Far North that has been highlighted by The 100 Nations Project is the island of Greenland.

Located northeast of Canada and northwest of Iceland, Greenland is more than three times the size of Texas. Greenland has approximately 56,000 residents who live in about 80 different inhabitable areas throughout the island. The greater majority of Greenland’s population resides along the southwestern coast, with nearly one-quarter of the people living in the capital city of Nuuk. Of those living in Greenland, approximately 88 percent are native Greenlanders, with the remaining 12 percent being mainly of Danish descent. Those whose ancestors were the earliest inhabitants of Greenland are made up of native Greenlanders, Eskimos, and Inuits. Some of Greenland’s residents speak the English language; however, the main languages spoken on the island are the native Greenlandic language and Danish.

The climate and geographic conditions of Greenland make missionary endeavors extremely difficult. This frigid land is about 81 percent ice-capped, and there is continuous permafrost over the northern two-thirds of the island. Transportation is difficult due to the weather and because there are no roads between towns. To add to the hardship of the physical climate, there is also the difficulty of the spiritual climate. The national religion of Greenland is the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church. The grip of this religion, along with other major denominations, such as Roman Catholicism, is unmistakable among the people. In comparison to the established religions of Greenland, Independent Baptists are almost nonexistent in this part of God’s harvest field. At the present time, research reveals that there are no Baptist churches in Greenland and that there is only one Independent Baptist missionary family preparing to serve on the island.

Although we are often reminded of the need to evangelize Greenland when we sing the hymn “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains,” Greenland is a land that seems to be neglected when it comes to missions. Those who would heed Christ’s call to go to this island will surely need to rely solely on His grace and strength to establish an Independent Baptist church. Without a doubt, the missionary who labors in Greenland faces a great challenge. However, when Christ gave the Great Commission, He also gave the great promise, “…Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Therefore, no matter what challenge the missionary faces, he does not face it alone. The land of Greenland presents a unique opportunity for the missionary who is up for the challenge of this needy field.

If you feel God might be speaking to you about Far North missions, please feel free to contact me directly at (423) 344-5050 or E-Mail Dave Snyder. Also, if you feel a definite calling to Greenland, please consider taking a survey trip to the island as part of The 100 Nations Project. For those who qualify, there are a limited amount of funds available to supplement the cost of the trip. We are praying that God would send laborers into Greenland’s icy mountains…as well as into its cities, towns and villages. Perhaps God is calling you to be one of the elite few who would carry the Gospel to the forgotten shores of Greenland.

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