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A Harsh Climate, A Difficult Life, A Great Darkness
The Need for Christ in Greenland
By Gage Gilbert
As the plane made its descent to Kangerlussuaq
(one of two towns with airstrips large enough
to handle a commercial airbus), my wife,
Aleah, and I stared out the window, waiting
for our first glimpse of Greenland. The clouds
finally began to disappear and there it was!
Greenland’s interior, the 85 percent of the land
covered by an ice cap, looked like a bumpy
wasteland of snow and ice. While the majority
of towns lie along the coastline, Kangerlussuaq
sits less than an hour from the ice cap. As the
plane drew nearer to land, our view abruptly
changed from a sea of ice to snow covered
mountains and frozen fjords.

4 Our first steps on Greenland soil were met with
minus 35° F windchill. Never before had we
experienced such cold weather or felt the hairs
in our noses freeze! Our next flight brought us
to our destination, Ilulissat, where we met Chris
and Carole Shull. The Shulls, along with their
five children, have been the only independent
Baptist missionaries in Greenland for a little
over 10 years. During our two-week visit, the
Shulls were very gracious and open to share
with us their life and ministry in Greenland.

In many ways, we saw how Greenland parallels
other arctic regions. The Inuit people with their
shamanistic background, the harsh climate
and difficult way of life, the constant summer
sun and winter darkness, the northern lights,
alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide can
be found all across the Far North. We also
observed many things that seem unique to
Greenland. While first world influences are not
uncommon in the Far North, Greenland has a
distinct European flavor due to its ownership by
Denmark. European designs, shops, and décor



are evident in the larger cities. Greenlandic
is the official language. Danish is also spoken
and taught, and all of the resources to learn
Greenlandic are in Danish.

Another unique characteristic is the blending
of religions. Denmark introduced Lutheranism
to the Inuit, but this has only brought
them into more darkness. While no longer
practicing shamanism, the Inuit have kept their
superstitious mindset and blended it with the
traditions taught in Lutheranism. For example,
their superstition keeps them from buying a
good-sized house (rare in Greenland) because
they believe it to be haunted by ghosts. These
people call themselves Christians, baptize
their babies, and seek confirmation because
that is what they have been taught. However,
their immorality, drug abuse, alcoholism, and
suicide point to the emptiness and hopelessness
in their souls.

As far as we know, these Greenlandic Inuit
had never had the Gospel until 10 years ago.

Because of this, their hearts are hard to the
truth. Hard and rocky soil needs many laborers
to faithfully and lovingly cultivate it. Only then
will the ground be ready to receive seed and
bear fruit. Greenland is such a place. For 10
years the Shulls have worked hard on their
corner of Greenland, waiting for others to help
them. Through them, God has opened the
door for more laborers to go and continue the
great work.

We are excited that God has called us to take
the Gospel to these precious people. Almost
a third of the entire population of Greenland
live in Nuuk, the capital city, and not one Bible
preaching missionary or church can be found.

Our burden is to plant a church in Nuuk and
see the Gospel spread into all 75 towns and
villages. God has done much to open up this
pioneer work, but there is still an abundance
of work left to do. Would you pray that the
Lord would send more laborers into this needy
harvest field that in the days and years ahead
a mighty harvest of souls would be seen for
God’s glory? W
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