Field Facts

Treading Where No Baptist Has trod Before


How shall they hear without a preacher?
On April 9, 2007, we landed in Ilulissat, Greenland as the first Baptist missionaries in Greenland’s history.  We left for Iceland in 2005 because Greenland was a closed country. Our plan was to gain Nordic citizenship by living in Iceland for seven years.  This would allow us residence in Greenland. In 2007, the LORD miraculously opened up the door for us and we were granted the first visa “to plant the Baptist church in Greenland.”  We packed our belongings and quickly made the international move though Carole Ann was 8 months pregnant and we had no housing.  We both knew that delay was not an option. Little did we know that the months ahead would be some of the most challenging we have ever lived.
The Shull Family
Pioneering in Greenland
Being the first ones means figuring it all out on your own.  It means making many mistakes.  However, it puts us in the position to help others that answer the call.  We can save them a lot of heartache, wasted time, and money.  After living for 10 months in substandard conditions which included 7 months with no plumbing, the LORD gave us the opportunity to purchase a 968 square foot house with plumbing!
Our Home
Ilulissat is an isolated town 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle and has a population of 5,000. The sledge dogs outnumber the people.  It is the third largest town in Greenland and lies at the mouth of one of the most productive glaciers in the world.  Each year, many Europeans come to see the glacier.  From America, it will cost one $2,500 in airfare and several days of travel to get here. Thankfully, we do have an airport. Tourism, fishing, and hunting are the main means of livelihood.
Ilulissat - A Town of 5,000
Greenland is the biggest island in the world and is 1½ times larger than the State of Alaska. There are no trees in Greenland because it is situated above the timber line. Two-thirds of Greenland lies above the Arctic Circle.  Because 85 % of the country is covered with snow and ice, only the coasts are inhabited. There are 78 towns and villages giving Greenland a population of over 57,000. The Greenlanders (Inuit or Eskimos) make up 88% of the population. The other 12% are Europeans and their presence can be felt in the larger towns.
Kapisillit - A Village of 100
There is no road system in Greenland. The towns are separated by mountains, glaciers, and water. The only way to travel within Greenland is by Air and Water if the weather permits. There are 12 airports, 5 heliports and 16 harbors.  The villages have landing docks.  It is our desire to purchase a boat and reach as many villages as we can with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Kulusuk - A Village of 300
Supply ships from Denmark stock the towns with food and goods to last during the winter months when the sea freezes over or there is too much sea ice. Milk has a shelf life of six months. Other perishable dairy products and produce aren’t available during the coldest months of the year.
Qeqertarsuaq - A Town of 1,000
Throughout Greenland, you will find many homes without plumbing and without running water.  A bucket is used for a toilet which has been termed “the Honey Bucket.” It is not uncommon that an entire village will have a public bath house.  People still supply their own water by melting ice over a stove. In one village a V-8 and 5 cylinder engine are used to produce electricity to the homes.
Chopping Nilak (Ice) for Water
Most villages have no medical facilities, but are visited by healthcare workers from the hospitals in the larger towns.  Major medical emergencies must be handled in Nuuk, the capital city, and more severe cases outside of Greenland.  High school is optional in Greenland.  Only two towns in Greenland have high schools and there are boarding facilities for students attending from other villages. 
Puisi (seal) Hanging out to Dry
The Greenlanders embrace today’s technology while still clinging to their traditional ways.  The main sources of income are fishing and hunting, but tourism is becoming very popular. Cruise ships visit from Europe during the summer months.  This year the larger towns in Greenland expect to be up to date with modern technology such as high speed Internet and better phone service. 
The Qajaq (Kayak)
In North and East Greenland, polar bears are regularly hunted to help supply food for the villagers as supply ships are few and far between. Whale hunting in some villages is only permitted from kayaks and not from motorized boats. Seal, walrus, musk-ox and reindeer are also hunted. The Greenlanders use the animals for food and clothing.  Seal soup and whale stew are as common to the Greenlanders as spaghetti and meatballs to Americans.
Working on a Seal Skin Iperaataq (Whip)
Above the Arctic Circle, the dog sledge is a vital part of everyday life.  It is used as a means of transportation, on extended hunting and fishing trips, as an ambulance, and for recreation.  Occasionally, one can be found parked outside the local grocery store or on its way to the airport with a load of luggage.

Qamutit - The Multi-Purpose Sledge
The Greenlandic dog is a descendant of the Arctic wolf.  Their howls can be heard through the long winter nights.  They are not pets and will attack without being provoked.  Each year many people including children are mauled. There is much debate on the mistreatment of dogs in Greenland.  Dogs will quickly turn on each other as well as on their owners. 
Beware of the Dogs
Greenland’s coldest temperature on record is -87F making it the coldest temperature ever recorded in North America.  In Ilulissat alone, snow falls nine months out of the year. The sun never sets during the summer and does not rise for two months during the winter.  The further North one travels, the longer the period is without sun. Having sun all day and not having any sun all day has an effect on one’s body and mind.
Got Snow?
Greenlandic is the native language of Greenland and Danish is the official language though many of the young cannot speak it or understand it.  Greenland has recently voted for Independence and will soon make Greenlandic the official and national language of Greenland.    A recent study in Norway found Greenlandic to be the hardest language in the world to learn.  We have learned Danish and continue to learn Greenlandic.  I have translated a Gospel tract into Greenlandic and am preaching in Greenlandic.  Please pray as we perfect our understanding and pronunciation of the languages.
 The Arsarnerit (Northern Lights) Above Our House
 The Lutheran Church is the State Church of Greenland and functions as a branch of the government. One becomes a member by being baptized as a baby. The State Church teaches that baptism washes away one’s original sin. Though 95% of Greenland is Lutheran, few attend church services. Greenland’s bishop is a woman. The Jehovah Witnesses have been in Greenland for years. There are 7 Kingdom Halls and roughly 200 followers. The Mormons have recently begun work in Nuuk, the capital city. The Baha’i Faith and the Roman Catholic Church can also be found in Nuuk. Many Inuit still believe in the spirit world and are superstitious. For some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” (I Cor. 15:34) The Baptists are finally here! 

A Traditional Greenlandic Wedding
The reason we are here is to preach the Gospel to the Greenlanders and establish Independent Baptist Churches. The Greenlanders have a history of immorality, molestation, incest, drugs, drunkenness, domestic violence and a very high suicide rate. Last year there were more abortions than births in Greenland. We are here to offer Hope! We are not offering another religion, but are offering the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of God unto Salvation! We are laboring to establish a Baptist Church in Ilulissat and to make this town our base.  From here we hope to branch out and reach many more villages with the Gospel.  It is becoming more difficult each year for us to get our Resident Permits. Please pray that Greenland stays open!

We pray that God allows us to remain here indefinitely, but our time here may be short.  We earnestly covet your prayers that we can get long term residency and that we will have the funds to effectively do the work on this Pioneer Mission Field.  We strongly believe that the Great Commission is given to the Church; therefore, the responsibility of reaching Greenland cannot be laid on the shoulders of one family. We will do our best to reach Greenland with the Gospel, but we need churches to financially and prayerfully HOLD THE ROPES and STAY BY THE STUFF.  Will you consider holding the ropes for this missionary family?

Towns and Villages in Greenland

Kujalleq Municipality (pop. 7,791) 
  • Aappilattoq – pop. 158
  • Alluitsup Paa – pop. 425
  • Ammassivik – pop. 95
  • Eqalugaarsuit – pop. 130
  • Igaliku – pop. 55
  • Ikerasassuaq – pop. 5
  • Nalunaq – pop. 50
  • Nanortalik – pop. 1,450
  • Narsaq – pop. 1,740
  • Narsarmiut – pop. 140
  • Narsarsuaq – pop. 153
  • Qaqortoq – pop. 3,100
  • Qassiarsuk – pop. 102
  • Qassimiut – pop. 47
  • Saarloq – pop. 50
  • Tasiusaq – pop. 91 

Sermersooq Municipality (pop. 21,164)
  • Arsuk – pop. 140
  • Isortoq – pop. 99
  • Ittoqqortoormiit – pop. 537
  • Kangerluarsoruseq – pop. 5
  • Kangilinnguit – pop. 176
  • Kapisillit – pop. 88
  • Kulusuk – pop. 316
  • Kuummiut – pop. 377
  • Nerlerit Inaat – pop. Unknown
  • Nuuk – pop. 15,047
  • Paamiut – pop. 1,817
  • Qeqertarsuatsiaat – pop. 273
  • Sermiligaaq – pop. 212
  • Tasiilaq (Ammassalik) – pop. 1,924
  • Tiniteqilaaq – pop. 153
Qeqqata Municipality (pop. 9,742)
  • Atammik – pop. 215
  • Itilleq – pop. 130
  • Kangaamiut – pop. 363
  • Kangerlussuaq – pop. 522
  • Maniitsoq – pop. 2,784
  • Napasoq – pop. 98
  • Sarfannguaq – pop. 130
  • Sisimiut – pop. 5,500
Qaasuitsup Municipality (pop. 19,178) 
Aappilattoq – pop. 198
  • Aasiaat – pop. 3,100
  • Akunnaaq – pop. 101
  • Attu – pop. 295
  • Iginniarfik – pop. 100
  • Ikamiut – pop. 88
  • Ikerasaarsuk – pop. 109
  • Ikerasak – pop. 261
  • Ilimanaq – pop. 85
  • Illorsuit – pop. 99
  • Ilulissat – pop. 5,072
  • Innaarsuit – pop. 154
  • Kangaatsiaq – pop. 669
  • Kangerluk – pop. 54
  • Kangersuatsiaq – pop. 230
  • Kitsissuarsuit – pop. 109
  • Kullorsuaq – pop. 405
  • Moriusaq – pop. 21
  • Naajaat – pop. 63
  • Niaqornaarsuk – pop. 334
  • Niaqornat – pop. 68
  • Nutaarmiut – pop. 55
  • Nuugaatsiaq – pop. 94
  • Nuussuaq – pop. 216
  • Oqaatsut – pop. 52
  • Qaanaaq - pop. 616
  • Qaarsut – pop. 200
  • Qasigiannguit – pop. 1,320
  • Qeqertaq – pop. 136
  • Qeqertat – pop. 22
  • Qeqertarsuaq – pop. 978
  • Saattut – pop. 243
  • Saqqaq – pop. 200
  • Savissivik – pop. 78
  • Siorapaluk – pop. 87 
  • Tasiusaq – pop. 240
  • Ukkusissat – pop. 184
  • Upernavik – pop. 1,144
  • Upernavik Kujalleq – pop. 198
  • Uummannaq – pop. 1,500

  • Northeast Greenland National Park
    • Daneborg – pop. 12
    • Danmarkshavn – pop. 8
    • Mestersvig – pop. 2
    • Nord – pop. Unknown