Christmas time! Around the world the hearts and minds of many people focus on buying presents and eating special food. Some people sing of snow, Santa Claus, stars in the east and a baby in a manger – many without believing any of it.
But there is a group of students from KFS Denmark who are focusing on something quite different this year. They’re getting ready to go to Greenland in January.
Why Greenland? Are they looking for Santa Claus? What’s in Greenland?
Greenland is the largest island in the world. It is an autonomous Danish territory. Most of it is covered in ice which can be up to four kilometers thick. It has a population of less than 57,000.
But… there is a university there, as well as several high schools! And, more importantly for the KFS team, there are no IFES groups in Greenland.
I talked to Kristian Nakskov Kappel, KFS student ministry coordinator, about the 12 students and a staff worker who were selected from among 44 applicants to go to Greenland.
‘As Christians we have been given a big gift. But it comes with a responsibility: to share the good news of the gospel. For some students this has come to life in a desire to reach out in Greenland.
‘The trip is a part of a bigger vision in KFS called “Mission snow”. Because there is no Christian student work in Greenland, KFS want to start something there.
‘Greenland is considered quite isolated and is much colder than Denmark. It is well-known for the beautiful nature there, but also the social problems.
‘But these are things we rarely hear about in the news. We hear much more about the third world problems and about the larger countries in Europe. Greenland is invisible, you don’t hear about it when people talk about mission.
‘The group is going to meet the local people and visit three towns: Aasiaat, Sisimiut and Nuuk. They will experience a unique natural environment and a culture very different from their own.
‘But also they will learn how to live as Christians, especially how that might be different from Denmark. The trip will involve a lot of meetings with local people so that the newcomers can get an overall view of the life on Greenland. The team is there to gather information and inspiration to work or study in Greenland and to start KFS work.’
Samuel Kjøller-Hansen is one of the students going on the trip. He writes: ‘I am sure that God will give us love to the people of Greenland. Hopefully some of us will eventually move to Greenland to establish relationships, be part of the community and share the joy of Christ.’
Sigurd Larsen is already thinking about settling in Greenland. ‘My hope is that I'll find a city where I can see myself live, work and support or start a Christian community. Travelling as a group is very exciting as well, and I hope that we can encourage each other.’
As the Christmas season approaches, please pray for this group from Denmark who are focused on what really matters – taking the good news to a remote and often forgotten part of the world. Give thanks that God in his mercy had Greenland in mind, as well as each of us, when he sent a wonderful Counsellor, mighty God and Prince of peace into the world.