Greenland & Iceland
Welcome to the story of the worlds largest islands.
I was amazed and intrigued as I spent time studying out life and ministry in these two very large islands. They have both been largely controlled by Denmark & Norway. Iceland was settled by Vikings and in fact still has many remnants of the Viking culture remaining. Iceland is a completely independent country now, while Greenland only has partial Independence. Iceland was listed as the 13th most developed country in the world, while Greenland is said to be a third world country with a first world facade.
Iceland is a volcanic country and has a tourism industry that brings in income. Iceland draws people with its beautiful volcanoes, waterfalls and northern lights. It is a country of 300,000 with 0.01% being Bible believing Christians.
Greenland on the other hand is a country largely made up of ice with no roads to connect any of the towns and supportered 90% by the fishing industry with hardly any flights coming in or out. Greenland is the worlds largest island but is also the worlds least densely populated country, with only 57,000 people. However it is 3/4 covered by ice.
Greenland has 3 months of the year that has complete darkness and 3 months that are complete sunlight. Only those who have lived in areas like this can truly understand the power of dark and light on the psyche. The constant darkness affects our energy and largely affects our mood and spirit. Depression is a very big problem in areas like this. Couple this with the sins of alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, abuse and godlessness and you get Greenland, who has the highest annual suicide rate in the world. The natural thought would be that the three months of sunlight would be full of joyous rejoicing. While that could be the case with Jesus in your heart and life, without it, sadly it results in even more suicide due to sleep deprivation as they stay up partying constantly. Another facet of this extremely uniques ministry is the missionary in Greenland, the Shulls, have found suicide counseling to be an active part of their outreach. People from all different parts of the country will call them, looking for help when they are struggle with suicide. While it is heartbreaking to see the need for this, what a blessing that the Lord has risen up a family to "stand in the gap" and spread the gospel to these people.
Along with suicide counseling they have several ministries for outreach. They have children's ministries, prison ministries, nursing home ministries and most recently a boat ministry. With their boat ministry, they are now able to reach some of those towns around the country that have no roads to reach them.
In Iceland, there is a family named the Weimers, there working faithfully with the Icelandic people. They have been there 18 years now. Bro. Weimar has been working on the arduous task of translating the Bible into the Icelandic language for 10 years. As we can see in time past, anyone who has worked on Bible translation such as William Carey, have dedicated most of their life to this task. It is a huge and daunting task. I am so thankful for men of God who take up the this huge task and labor to make Scriptures available. They also have bus ministries, English ministries and karate classes they use to reach out to their community. In Iceland people are largely agnostic and take upwards to 7 years to take the step to trust Christ for salvation.
Also something that I really appreciate about both of these families ministries is their emphasis on outreach being in part their faithful church services. My husband has often described the church as a lighthouse to the community. Something that you can always count on to be shining the light, no matter the conditions or popularity. Sharing the gospel once is great but their is miraculous power in a faithful church open to the community that they can always count on to be ready and waiting when they decide to take a step towards Christ. I know it is extremely challenging to run a church when it's only your family. I know the doubt that comes to your mind when it seems you have a church that no one comes to. But I have also seen the importance of consistency in pioneer mission fields. It speaks volumes to those unsaved who are watching and considering your message. Places where the gospel is new will many times watch for a long time before they ever consider your message. They will wait for us to quit. They will hope we will. But what a testimony when missionaries stand strong in Christ and remain faithful when it's not glamorous. Their watching and we must be faithful.
The Shull's church
Shockingly, Greenland has NEVER been evangelized! This blows my mind. Through all the years of time the Schull family is the first and ONLY missionary to these peoples. Also while Iceland has had missionaries come through the years, only one remains and only one church has been planted. I can slightly fathom living in a country where there is few Christians. But there is something about the word, ONLY. Have you ever been the ONLY one? The ONLY one who was different. It isn't easy! We are built to desire companionship and comradarie.
I was privledged to meet the Schull family about two years ago on one of their brief visits back to the states since being there 10 years I believe. While they are not only the lone missionary, converts also are slow in coming. People are steeped in the Lutheran church that declares all babies saved at their infant baptism and they are extremely hesitant to stray from it. Another challenge they face is the Greenlandic language being one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn. They brought their family back for a brief multiple week furlough. They hastened their return due to lack of church leadership at the time. It was such a privledge to meet them. I can honestly say, my husband and I frequently talk about the Schulls being our heroes. They have faithfully pioneered a work for God in a hard and lonely place and yet they possess a very meek, humble and sweet disposition. They are a walking picture of Christ. While frequently challenged by the largeness of their cause and the lonliness of their mission they are also filled with the peace and joy that only Christ can give to those following him.
I have not had the privledge to meet the Weimar family but I strongly respect their service and ministry through the years to a people that need to hear about Christ. I'm thankfully for their faithfulness and determination to continue on in this pioneer mission. They are truly a missionary hero!
It is always amazing to see Christ guide and provide in Pioneer mission fields. When the Schulls began their journey there was no way to enter Greenland as a missionary, you had to be a ctiizen. To acquire citizenship you had to live in Iceland for 7 years. The Lord miraculously opened doors and they were in Greenland in a little less than two years and now have status as a church leader and can freely sponsor other missionaries into the country! They have fervently and faithfully prayed for laborers to come. They have done the pioneering and started the arduous task of breaking the soil for Christ there and this next year they will be blessed to sponsor a new missionary coming to Greenland.
They are extremely excited to have co-laborers in their field. As you can see from the article they will both need fervent team effort in prayer to help them in this battle field mission. Discouragement is a very very real thing that Satan loves to use in the lives of all Christians but especially those attempting to reach those who Satan has had his grip on for years. Please lift up Greenland and Iceland in your prayers. They are largely unreached and few have taken up the yolk to labor for their souls. Pray for laborers. Pray for strength. Pray for encouragement. It makes a difference.