Jul 16, 2013

Oqaatsut

I have updated my new blog with pictures from our hike to Oqaatsut from 2 weeks ago. I won't be posting directly to this blog anymore, just referring folks to the new blog.

You can navigate to my new blog by clicking here. Make sure you sign up for email updates on my new site.

Thanks so much!

Jun 27, 2013

Long time, no post

I just noticed it has been a while since I have posted on here. I have been working on a few posts, I even have one saved as a draft, but since I never hit post, nobody got to see it. (^_^)

I have been keeping busy with several different projects. Several of them revolving around furlough. I'm trying to get new letterhead designed, a new prayer card, new presentation, and calling for meetings.

Furlough prayer card in the works (click to enlarge)

Updating the igloo on our prayer letters (^_^)

I've also been dealing with some stomach sickness for a couple weeks. Once I got sick we started boiling our water, so thankfully the rest of the family is still healthy.

After being sick for a week I went to the hospital, but they couldn't tell me what was wrong. They gave me some Nexium and told me to come back in a week if I was still sick. I want to thank those that have been praying for me. I'm feel good today. But I have noticed that one day I'll feel good, and the next day I'll be back sick again with the stomach pains and sleepiness.

About the time I got sick we were contacted by a man in a supporting church in FL about our needs. I mentioned about a water filter and my sickness. God worked things out to where we will be getting a nice gravity water filter/purifier! Lord willing, this will put an end to the water sickness!

I have been working on a blog post about traveling in Greenland. I'm not done with it yet, but trust me, travel here is either difficult, expensive, or both. Since we don't have any roads that connect towns together I can't just hop in a car and drive to another town. The travel between towns here is either boat, plane/helicopter, walking, or in the winter, dog sledge.

With this in mind I ask you to pray for me and Eli as we are scheduled to walk to another village on Monday. We are going with the other missionary and his oldest son. The distance is 13 miles one way. Please pray that we have a safe trip and that I will be healthy enough to make the walk. I am a little nervous because this is probably the longest hike I have ever done. The plan is to hike there next Monday, camp out, and hike back on Tuesday. We covet your prayers.

Another thing to pray about is our paperwork. We have a window to file between July 10th and August 10th. If we don't have the paperwork filed by August 10th, we are automatically denied. I don't see any problem in getting things filed in that window, but please pray for the renewals. It's not something we can rush along, so we could be waiting for 6 months (probably longer) to hear an answer.

Also, check out my other blog (it will mirror these posts for a while, until I make the final move to the new site). Let me know if it loads slow, strange, or just doesn't work right. The address for that one is freezinforareason.wordpress.com

Thank you and God bless.

Apr 30, 2013

Praying about a Building

Point A is where we used to live, Point B is the location of the building we are praying about.
We have been praying for a while about a building to use once we move back to Sisimiut. We prayed much about it before we left, and we have continued to pray since we have been in Ilulissat. The picture above is the location of one that we would love to use. It is a building that would be suitable not just for a church, but also for our family to live in a separate part.

The building is owned by INI (a Greenlandic company that handles the government housing). When we first moved to Greenland in 2011 it was being used as the temporary police department.  Since shortly after we arrived there the police moved back to their old building, and it has been sitting empty.  I have been taken through the building and believe that it would be excellent for our purposes.

Here it is. It's not a very good picture, but the ones on the realtor's site is a lot nicer.


The building is for sale with a realtor in Sisimiut, but when I spoke with INI they told me there was an option to rent it. I'm not sure if that is still available, but we are praying that it is. The rent would include the house, electricity, water, and fuel oil and would total around $4,000 a month (depending on the exchange rate). The price may seem large, but I believe it is cheaper than trying to maintain separate home and church buildings.

Click here for the link to the realtor that is currently handling the building for INI.  There you can see more photos of it.

Please pray with us concerning this. I will update if we come across any other viable options. Also please continue to pray for us about learning Danish and Greenlandic. Thank you!




Apr 4, 2013

Communicating with missionaries


I've had this post about communication drafted for a while now, trying to decide when to post it.  I think what this talks about is important for all missionaries and churches to get a hold of. Take this post as you like. Some may agree with me, some may not.  I hope this short article can encourage those who have been in good communication with missionaries and be a rebuke to those who, for whatever reason, are neglectful to communicate and prompt then to start keeping in contact with missionaries.

I want to start out saying that we aren't living in total isolation here in Greenland, but some missionaries might be.  I want say THANK YOU to those who have stayed in contact with us.  It is a great blessing to me and my family to get the cards, emails, letters, and packages that have been sent.  But I believe the issue with communicating with missionaries is something that does need to be addressed.

I remember hearing much on pastors in the US telling missionaries that they need to communicate. Don't forget to "keep in touch".  Don't forget the monthly, bi-monthly, or how-ever-often prayer letters. I have read the “Missions Rules” that say a supported missionary MUST send prayer letters/updates to the church at least every two or three months or their support would be stopped. I have probably even signed some form of agreement along those lines with churches.

Now we sit on the other side of the fence (or ocean, as the case maybe). We have been in Greenland for almost 2 years and there are some churches that we have never heard from. It didn't start when we came here, some of them never kept in contact when we were Stateside either. I'm sure they have some reason or another, but is there really any good excuse? Letters aren't that expensive to send (they expect missionaries to send them) and emails cost nothing but a couple minutes in typing. And with today's technology you could even send an SMS that would arrive instantly.

I can only imagine a church's reaction if I, as a missionary, communicated with them as often as they communicate with me. What if the only time they heard from me is when I am calling to find out why they have neglected or been unfaithful in support (ooohh...that's a no-no for a missionary to do, am I right?). The only time I have communicated with some churches is when they have moved buildings or changed email addresses (without telling us, the missionary) and they want to know why they haven't been receiving prayer letters!

There has to be a better way to do this, and I hope these ideas will help someone, somewhere.

First let me mention a things concerning communication:
  • Communication is best when it is a two way street: giving and receiving.  Communication should involve dialogue, not monologue.  It gets tiresome being the only one to say things and almost never get a response.  It would frustrating if you were on either side of the fence, USA or overseas.
  • Lack of communication breeds suspicion.  In this time of growing apostasy and heresy, proper communication is needed more now than ever. If I suddenly quit sending prayer letters out, and churches never heard from me for let's say a year, they might start to wonder what was wrong.  "Have they quit?" "Has he gone off in some goofy heresy?" "Are they dead?"  But there are some churches that I have not heard from since arriving in Greenland.  It makes me wonder: "Have they closed?" "Have they gone off in some goofy heresy?" "Did the pastor quit and the church die?"
  • Communication can help to build relationships between the missionary and churches.  Really, how many of you think you could have a good relationship with your wife, husband, or children if you never talk with them?  The relationship that a missionary shares with churches isn't the same as a husband/wife/child relationship, but I hope you get the idea.
    • Like I mentioned about how lack of communication breeds suspicion, can you imagine how your spouse would be if you just stopped talking with them, hugging them, and telling them you loved them?  They would probably start wondering what was wrong.  AND SOMETHING WOULD BE GREATLY WRONG!  But is is accepted as standard operating procedure in most churches concerning missions even though it is very harmful.
    • Along the same line of building relationships goes the thought of getting churches to know the missionaries and vice-versa. I would hope it would go without saying, but sending questionnaires under the guise of "Getting to know our missionaries" is ridiculous. If you want to send a questionnaire, send one. If you want to get to know missionaries, the spend to time and effort to do so. When you met your future wife or husband you wanted to get to know them, right? How many of you had them fill out a 6 page essay questionnaire? Hopefully NONE! That is not how you get to know anyone, it's how you have people apply for a job or enter a contest.
  • Be consistent! However you choose to stay in contact with missionaries, I beg you, do it consistently. I can't tell you how often I have known of folks feeling bad for not keeping with missionaries better, contact them once or twice, and never hear from them until a year or so later when they feel bad again.  Please, be consistent.
There is nothing new, strange, or uncommon in my ideas for staying in contact with missionaries, except that you should do it and do it consistently.
  1. Call them – you can use Skype (that might get costly though), use Google Talk, calling cards, or research some other method.
  2. Email them – It's the perfect price for most people – FREE!
  3. SMS (text message) them – Not all phones can text internationally but if you have a smart phone, chances are you can find an app that will let you do it for free.
  4. Send a letter or a card – Send it to the missionaries directly on the field, not to their church where it will either be lost, forgotten, or arrive 3 months after the fact. My kids LOVE to get cards for birthdays or whatever reason as do other missionaries kids that I have talked with.
  5. Social media - Find out if they use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or some other type of social media and keep up with them.
  6. Visit them – This is the highest cost of ways to communicate, but it is the most effective and memorable. There is nothing quite like seeing the missionaries field in person.

    Staying in contact can be a great joy and source of encouragement for both parties when done properly.  When neglected or misused it can be a source of hurt, maybe even deep hurt, for one or both sides. Not just with churches and missionaries either, this applies to all relationships in life.

    I hope this article will help some missionaries, churches, and individuals.  It's been something that has bothered me for a while now, but I wanted to do the best I could to convey the frustration involved AND propose some possible (and mainly simple, common sense) solutions.  Hopefully this will help someone.

    Proper communication will take time and effort (and maybe some money too) but it will be worth it when it is done right.  Thank you for taking time to read this.  May God help us when it comes to communication.

Mar 4, 2013

Walking to church video - Bad Quality

I decided to go ahead and post the video of our walk to church that I filmed around December 2012. Yes, it's shaky, too dark, and looks like I had coffee jitters while filming, but maybe you can get an idea of our walk to church.

It is lighter now, we have a sledge to stabilize the camera, but it's been SO cold that I didn't know if the camera battery will last for the entire walk.

So here is the video, sped up to 16X, with a little music that Masey suggested would make it more fun. I hope you don't get motion sick too easy. (^_^)

video

Mar 1, 2013

Greenland Videos

I have put a few videos on my Google+ account of Greenland.  A few of you may have received notifications when I put them on there, but I'm sure everyone didn't.  I thought I would repost them here and add an extra one.

I'm calling the videos "10 Seconds in Greenland." I kept the videos short for a few reasons, mainly because  of our limited internet I wanted to keep them short. Another reason for the name is because they (should be) 10 seconds long, either because I sped up the video or only shot a short sequence. Sometimes they'll upload to be 11 seconds, so enjoy the bonus second for free. (^_^)

This one is of a snowstorm we got a few weeks ago:

video

This one is of a wonderful moonrise I was watching. I had noticed that the moon seemed to be rising very rapidly while I sat and watched it, and I thought it would look even better to record a few minutes and speed it up. I think this video was originally 5 minutes long.

video

This video one is of Ilulissat's bay. At least that's how it looked a few weeks ago. Now it's all frozen over.

video

I haven't forgotten about uploading a video of our walk to church. I'm still working out a way to strap our camera to the sledge to keep it warm and get a more stable recording. When I get it, I'll be sure to post it on here too.

Thanks for taking time to watch these videos of common, everyday things here in Greenland.

Feb 19, 2013

A place colder than Greenland

Nope, that's not in our neighborhood


I came across this article about a frozen village in Russia called Oymyakon.  It said their average temp in January is -50 Celsius (almost -60 F) but lately it's been down to -71 Celsius (about -95F)!  Whooee, that's a cold place!

 It gets cold here in Greenland, but I've never seen or heard of temps that cold!  Now I have a place to think of when I'm doing the 25 minute walk to get groceries and say "At least it's not as cold as the Oymyakon area!" (^_^)

Click HERE for the article with lots of nice pictures.  I think the people there resemble Greenlanders.

On a side note, it would be great to hear of missionaries in this place, but I do not know of any.  Pray for the Oymyakon area and if you happen to know of missionaries there, let me know.  Thanks!

Jan 9, 2013

10 years

I'm a week or so late but "Happy New Year!" (^_^)

These past few weeks had our family quite busy.  Maryanna had her 8th birthday on the 23, Masey and I celebrated our 10th anniversary, then all that goes on with Christmas (especially since it's celebrated over the course of 3 days up here), and New Years.

Maryanna had a great time when we finally had her birthday party (on the 27th).  She enjoyed the presents, her birthday meal, and getting to have the other missionary family over.  She especially loved getting her "Birthday Box" from her Aunt Mena.

Yep, I was once skinnier and smooth faced

Masey and I had a wonderful time in town as we had a meal (all by ourselves!) and got to look around town some.  It's hard to believe that we've been married for ten years, but I gotta admit that I've had a great 10 years!  I not only count Masey as a wonderful wife and mommy, but as my best friend that I have on earth.  I wouldn't trade her for anything! (Not just cause she knows too many embarrassing things and the hush money would be unaffordable, but also because I love her! ^_^)

The last half of December is usually a blur of things to do, things to remember to do, or trying to remember something that we are sure we forgot to do.

Also today (Jan 9) is 10 years since I got saved.  Like with my marriage, it feels like only yesterday it happened, but so much has occurred between now and then.  I remember how the Lord would convict my heart of sin, yet I would resist Him, not willing to admit that I was a sinner in need of a Saviour.  Instead I would try to do better and be better, deceiving myself into thinking that things would be alright.

The first time I ever remember hearing the Gospel was in the Fall of 1999 in my hometown of Corinth, MS.  I remember God convicting me then about sin, yet I chose to reject Him and His Son, choosing instead to try my best to be a good enough person to earn God's favor and blessing.

On Wednesday Jan 8, 2003, I remember calling into work cause I was "sick" (more like love-sick) and I went to church with my beautiful bride.  We had only been married a couple weeks and I was very busy between work and college, so I was looking forward to spending the extra time with her.  I had no idea that God was going to deal with me about my sinfulness that night.

The pastor of the church we went to was out of town on that evening and an older, godly man preached a great message from 1 Corinthians 15 about being settled in God.  I can still recall the passing comment he made from Psalms 40 about the pit of sin and how nobody can lift their self out of it, that only God can, and how that is a picture of salvation.

I may not be able to remember what clothes I worse yesterday, but I still remember God working in my heart when the preacher spoke, "If you don't remember God lifting you up out of that pit of sin, you should be concerned about your soul."

I had been in a spiritual turmoil for a while, not sure what to do, where to go, or who to talk with.  Some days I thought things were OK between me and God, at other times I felt crushed under a burden I couldn't move.  I prayed at church that night, went home with my new bride, but the troubled feeling didn't go away.

As the night rolled on, Masey didn't know what to do to help me and she eventually went on to bed.  I was trying to find something to soothe my pricked conscious so I read my Bible some and listened to a preaching tape.

The time continued on and it was about 12:30 on the morning of Jan 9 that I woke Masey to tell her I was lost and needed to get saved.  I no longer trusted in my good works, or my own deception to make me right in God's sight.  (One of the biggest things I faced was that I kept telling folks I was saved that I had started believing my lie.  AND I was too proud to admit that I was such a bad sinner that I needed to get saved.)  I was now convinced that the only way I could have a right relationship with God and ever get to go to Heaven was through salvation in Jesus Christ.  I guess you could say that my pride was cast down, as was my vain logic and thoughts, and I finally, truly, believed the what the Bible says.

As I knelt on my bed I remember praying to God, confessing that I was a sinner, that I couldn't save myself, and by faith turning from my works and other things that I hoped might save me to the One who would save me, Jesus Christ.

Looking back I can see how God had been convicting my heart for a long time, yet I kept rejecting Him and not letting His Holy Spirit work on my heart, I must praise God for not giving up on convicting me.  I think of the song Must I Go, and Empty Handed? when I think back to those days in my life.  One verse in particular says "O, the years in sinning wasted, could I but recall them now, I would give them to the Saviour, to His will I'd humbly bow."

I didn't grow up in church, but in the time that I had been in church before my salvation I had learned the verses that are commonly used when dealing with the lost.  I knew about Romans 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" and Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  But somewhere along the way I didn't acknowledge some of the verses as applying to me.  Verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."  How could a person that actually does believe the Bible be blind to those verses?  I guess I could say that not only was Jan 9 the day I got saved, but it was also the day that I became a Bible believer.

After 10 years of trying to walk with God and serve Him, I'm still learning to walk right, still wanting to grow more, still hoping to serve God better.  I've never been sinless, and after having had my sins forgiven, sadly I do still sin and struggle with things.  BUT I'm so glad that God is faithful, even when I'm not.