Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Road Less Traveled

The following article was written in 2010 and we recently pulled it out of the archives. To date, there is a missionary family on the field here with us and another on deputation to Greenland. With God all things are Possible!
When we think of Pioneering, we think of Adventure. We think of every young boy’s hero, Daniel Boone, the Trailblazer. There is a lot of adventure with being the first one to discover a new world. It is exciting to be the one making inroads into a new territory that has never been chartered before. What an adventure Daniel Boone had as he blazed the trail into that wilderness! 
Pioneer missions is similar. What an adventure it has been to be the first Baptist missionaries into this spiritual wilderness! How exciting it has been to bring Good News from a far country! We have seen God do the impossible over and over again. We have seen God open the door to Greenland and give us the authority to invite others to this pioneer mission field. Wouldn’t you like to join the adventure and claim an unreached village for Christ! 

When we think of blazing a trail, we think of Danger. It is not easy being the first ones. There are always things you never expected or planned on happening. On one of Boone’s trips, his son was captured and killed by Indians. This scared the settlers so much that they went back East. In those early years, most settlers traveled in large groups to better protect themselves against the dangers on the trail. Boone gained his fair share of battle scars to prove the dangers of settling a new territory. How we admire those brave men who sacrificed all to cut a road through the wilderness in hopes to find their “American Dream.”

There are dangers and trials lurking ahead of the pioneer missionary that he can never be fully prepared for, because no one has gone before and helped prepare the way. He can take classes, read books and do all he can to ready himself, but the path is an unknown path with unforeseen hardships. It is by God’s grace and by the prayers of His people that the pioneer lives to tell another day. Greenland has had its fair share of unforeseen trials of which I don’t have the space to go into. Missionaries are not involved in Missions in order to pursue the American dream, but to pursue the mind of Christ and fulfill His last commandment on this earth, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature!” Pioneer missions isn’t about staking land, but about claiming souls for Jesus Christ! 

Lastly, when we think of cutting that trail into the wilderness, we think of Loneliness. The men with pioneering spirits were no doubt some of the bravest men to ever live, but sometimes even they got lonely. How many brave men have fallen, been wounded, or lost heart on this lonely path. Boone left family and friends behind and found 30 people willing to cut a trail through the wilderness. It was a lonely feeling being alone in that seemingly “God forsaken” wilderness. 

The Arctic is by far one of the loneliest and isolated mission fields. There are no malls, no Wal-Marts and, of course, no McDonalds. Sometimes we are blessed just to have food on the shelves in the grocery stores. As bad as that sounds, the most disheartening feeling is the lack of Christian fellowship. There are no other missionaries in Greenland! There is no one to share the work with. There is no one to be encouraged by. On most mission fields, there are several missionaries within driving distance of each other. There is no doing that in Greenland - a place where there are No roads connecting the towns. The only way to get in or out is by plane. One plane ticket to the next town costs around $1,000. Imagine coming from the US. The cost of getting here has discouraged many from even visiting this spiritual wasteland. Our town of 5,000 is small in size and sits on the Disko Bay surrounded by mountains. Winter lasts around 9 months bringing with it 3 months of darkness and lots of snow. Imagine being stuck in such an isolated place with no way out! Yes, it is overwhelming. For years, we have begged God to send someone to help and encourage us on this needy mission field.

The Wilderness Road that Daniel Boone carved through the Cumberland Gap was at first steep and rough and could only be passed on foot or horseback. As more and more traveled this road, it was widened and made to accommodate wagons. Twenty-five years after Boone’s first attempt at trailblazing a path through this wilderness, over 300,000 men and woman followed the path he had marked.

We are slowly making a path into Greenland. The more folks that trod this path, the easier it will be for others to follow. Wouldn’t you like to be a Pioneer and tread where no Baptist has trod before!

Trailblazing at the Top of the World,
The Shull Family in Greenland

The Aurora Borealis

We are often treated to a Magnificent Display of the Northern Lights. As we gaze in wonder at the Heavens we can only stand in awe at what a Mighty God we serve!

Monday, February 03, 2020

The Hope of Missions

It was another one of those weeks that could only happen, because we have been here for almost 13 years. We had 2 former inmates reach out to us on social media who we have not seen in years. Both are from other towns and villages far from here, yet they found me and reached out to me via social media. You have no idea what a thrill that is for a missionary! Then I bumped into another former inmate in town who told me about some of his problems and what he was doing about them. Then another former inmate dropped into our church service yesterday. Praise the LORD! We have reached a lot of souls via this prison ministry. A lot of seeds have been planted!

Then last week at our children´s ministry, there was a 20-year-old man who dropped in afterwards to pick up his niece. He asked us if we remembered him. It took us a second, but yes, we did remember him. He and his siblings were the very first ones that we opened our door to over 12 years ago! We were living in a one room apartment without any plumbing with four children 6 and under. We saw these Native children playing outside and invited them in. We had no church building, we had no flushing toilet, but we had a smile and a few Greenlandic words! They spent a lot of time with us. This 20-year-old brought up those memories. We would play games with them, sing with them and teach (try to teach in Greenlandic) them Bible stories. When he saw our church building and all those Greenlandic children attending now, he could not believe his eyes. Pray for him. He was only here for a short visit. He returned to Denmark to continue his education, but he hopes to move back to Ilulissat one day.  

Carole and I learned many years ago that we have to open our door to strangers, even to little, dirty smelly Native children. Just last week, 2 new children knocked on our door and asked to come in, their first time in the missionary´s house! In America, many people have an experience with a Bible-believing church. Perhaps, they rode the bus, maybe their neighbor was a Christian or they knew a Christian in school. On the mission field, the missionaries are the ones that create those experiences and it takes a lot of time! Missionaries, Don’t quit! Keep planting those seeds & watering them. God will give the increase!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Ghosts in Greenland. Part 2

Since the last post about Ghosts, I discovered that Greenland once again has a shaman. She is a young woman that traces her ancestry back to the shamans of North Greenland. Remember, shamans were Inuit witch doctors that could heal, talk to spirits, cast spells and bring good luck. This young woman said she was ordained last year by her “ancestors.”(i.e. their spirits) On All Saints´ Eve which is Halloween, she received her “healing” name and was blessed to practice shamanism. She calls herself a “Shaman Practitioner.” According to her advertisement, along with offering alternative healing methods, she can also use her own soul as a medium to talk to a person´s deceased loved ones. She can also “clean” places, things and people from spirits that are looking for power sources. These spirits, she says, are souls without bodies that seek to steal vitality from living hosts. She claims that these spirits can possess their hosts and control them. She takes pleasure in giving people back their free will from these spirits. We may laugh or chuckle when reading something like this. However, it is not a laughing matter. It is real to these people and to many people around the world. As a Bible believer, we know that ghosts are not the souls of the dead. They are the result of demonic activity and influence. Many of us have been blessed to grow up in Christian homes away from the influence of demonic activity and superstitions. However, the mission field is full of it! In recent years, there have been seminars held in town to promote psychics and clairvoyance. Yes, the people are very superstitious. Some are even so superstitious that they will not darken the doors of the Baptist Church. They are afraid that their souls will be damned if they betray the State Church by simply visiting the Baptist Church.  

I am reminded of the Apostle Paul´s message to the people of Athens, “I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” It appears no church was started by Paul in Athens. However, it is interesting that Athens was one of the first places not to threaten or chase Paul away. They actually listened to him and wanted to hear more about his message. We praise God that we have the opportunity to be here and preach the Gospel! We need your prayers though to break through all the superstitions, so these precious souls can see their need for Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:3-5)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Ghosts in Greenland. Part 1

The State Church of Greenland is working on a new hotline where people can call in to discuss their ghost problems. Though the last shaman (witch doctor) was “baptized” in the 70s, the culture is still heavily steeped in superstitions. I have stayed in a home where the host told me about a ghost who would wake him up in the middle of the night and motion with his hands to follow him. Apparently, this was a “good” ghost and wanted him to build a kayak.

Everyone that I have talked to in Greenland has a ghost story to tell. A couple years ago, folks in Greenland were asked to send in their ghost experiences to the national newspaper. The scariest ones were published in the newspaper.

Several times on visitation, after being in a house for a few minutes, we were told that the evil spirits had left after our arrival. We have also been asked on several occasions to come & pray over homes where the ghosts were scaring the children so much that they could not sleep. Some older folks say they are no longer bothered by the ghosts and have gotten used to their presence. Upon questioning a man about his salvation, not once did he mentioned his sin or the atoning death of Jesus Christ, but told me that a priest came and cast out the spirits in his house.

Over 95% of the people are members of the State Church & identify as Christians which makes it very difficult to reach them with the true Gospel. Their Christianity is not rooted in the Bible, but in traditions and superstitions. One becomes a member of the state church when they are sprinkled as a baby. This, they are taught, is their rebirth moment. They have never experienced the joy of turning to Christ & becoming a new creature.

Our prayer is this: “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” -Acts 26:18