Ask the Missionary

Do you have a Question about our Life or Ministry here in Greenland? Are you curious about the Greenlandic people, Climate and Customs? Send questions to and we will post the questions and answers here!

Is it ever warm enough to go outside without a coat? 
          Summer temperatures can reach as high as 60°F. There is always a cool breeze near the water, especially if it is full of icebergs. If you are in a boat on the water you need to dress warmly in a coat, hat and gloves.

I was wondering how your grocery options are. I know in times past there weren't many options on fresh foods. How are things now? Do you buy online what you aren't able to purchase at the store? 
          As long as supply ships can get through the ice we have a supply of fresh foods. Because of the ice during the winter months fresh foods aren’t readily available. We enjoy them when they are here and depend on frozen and canned when not. As a side note: “Fresh” is relative. By the time the fresh fruits and vegetables arrive in Greenland the "freshness" has dulled somewhat. J

Here in the States people often date someone, get engaged, and then get married. What do people do in Greenland?
          Greenland isn’t so different in this area than other countries. Many people do marry someone they’ve dated and become engaged to, while many others choose to just live with their partner without the benefit of marriage. Click here for a small glimpse into a Greenlandic Wedding.

Since our trip to visit you guys, a couple people have asked me about how you get your mail, but I wasn't sure. How often and where do you get your mail?                

          There is a Post Office in town and we go there to pick up our mail. Mail isn’t delivered to houses here, only store flyers and the occasional town notice.

I remember a few years ago there not being too many options as far as learning the Greenlandic language. Has that changed any? What would you recommend as far as learning the Language. Thanks!
          Not much has changed. There are a few more books, but of course they are all in Danish. There is the DVD to teach Greenlandic to English speaking people, but it is very complex.  As of right now it is the only resource in English for learning the Greenlandic language.
As far as learning the Language, it is hard work! The best way is to be among the Natives as much as possible while studying and practicing it as much as you can.

Why are the houses in your town painted all bright colors?  
          The houses are painted bright colors to help combat the depression that comes with the long, dark winters. Many Greenlanders also paint the inside of their houses in bright, colors.

The main picture featured on your blog, how far is that from your home? 
          The main picture right now is of the Disco Bay and that is just a short walk from anywhere in town. From our home we have a beautiful, clear view of the Bay.

Do you have to shovel a lot, or do you wear those big snowshoes? 
          Yes, shoveling is done at least 8 months out of the year.  Chris used to do all the shoveling, but now Christopher Jr. does most of it.  The snow can pile up quickly.  The church deck needs to be cleared and then a path needs to be made leading to the road.  The plows like to cover our path with snow! 
We actually don’t wear snowshoes. The snow gets a thick, hard crust on top, making it easy to walk on.  However, it can be frustrating when the crust is not strong enough to hold your weight and every step becomes hard work because the snow can be well above your knees.  The crust is also what igloos are made out of. One just needs to carve out blocks of snow and stack them on top of each other.

Do you cross country ski to get to locations? 
          Most cross country skiing is done for recreation. The town is small and it is a short distance to walk anywhere.

Are there street lamps on all the time during the dark months? Is everyone just as active even though it is always dark?
          Yes, the street lights stay on all day long during the dark period. Life is business as usual, people still walk to work and school, etc… But, in the summer months, during the 24 hours of sunshine people stay out longer and are more active. We take advantage of every minute of nice weather and sunshine we have! 

Is it difficult to get people to come to church there? What may hinder them from coming to church, and also what means do you guys take to get them into the Church service there? 

          Yes, it can be difficult, the State Church is so much a part of their culture (though they rarely attend) that they feel it is “wrong” to attend another church. We spend a lot of time advertising, visiting folks and building relationships.  Some of our church folks are good at inviting friends and family to the services.  The Kids’ Club requires very little advertisement as kids bring other kids!  We sometimes don’t have enough space for them all.  As a result of the club, we have a steady flow of visitors that attend on Sundays.  We even get an occasional parent or family member of one of the kids.  As a result of the prison ministry, we’ve also had several inmates come to the services, before they returned to their hometowns.


  1. I apologize if I asked an inappropriate question when I asked about alcoholism in your area. It's something my family has dealt with personally so the issue is near and dear to my heart, and I actively seek opportunities to pray for others in this regard. I also understand that you may not have wanted to post the information on your blog, and sincerely pray that it is not an issue for your neighbors.

    1. Hi Laura! I never received a question from you, did you email it to us? Alcoholism is a huge problem in the Arctic, and in our town we've personally seen devastating affects from it. It destroys marriages, ruins homes and ends lives. It has heartbreaking and devastating consequences.

    2. Hi! I am just now coming back and seeing this! I had actually left a comment here, but perhaps it didn't "take"--you know how the Internet can be! Thanks so much for replying. I have read that alcoholism can be a problem in rural and isolated areas and will keep your little village in prayer!

    3. Yes, the Internet can be a little weird sometimes :-) Thank you for praying for the people in Greenland!

  2. We are doing a VBS at a small church in Virginia. It was established in 1812 and the log church was constructed during the Civil war. We are talking about your in the missions portion of our VBS. We have infant through Grandpa in our one-room VBS. I thought you may be encouraged to know that others are talking about your ministry, and you may pray for our VBS. If there is something in particular you would like us to share on Tuesday or Wednesday, please let me know! And feel free to pray for our little VBS> It's not where we normally attend, but we have done the VBS there several years.

    1. Thank you for letting us know!!! It's always exciting to hear from people we've never met who are praying for us! We will be praying for your VBS!

  3. Hello,
    We were interested to stumble across your blog! My husband and I were missionaries (with New Tribes Mission) in Greenland from 1988-1993. We lived in Paamiut, learning some Danish and beginning on Greenlandic until we lost our visas. How wonderful that you have been able to live in Ilulissat since 2007. We look forward to learning more of your ministry through your blog.
    Gary & Donna Ferch


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