An Arctic Assignment - Good News for the Sami people of Lapland

Kenny and Joan enjoyed a warm welcome
Kenny and Joan enjoyed a warm welcome

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Joan and I left on our recording trip from London Gatwick airport as the UK was in the grip of the coldest and snowiest winter it had experienced in 30 years.

However, this was good preparation for our visit to Lapland in the Arctic Circle where temperatures got as low as minus 12 degrees Fahrenheit. We had to put on two pairs of everything to stay warm. I even borrowed a fur hat from our host family and put in on over my own, just to be sure. We were amazed by the deep snow and the breathtaking scenery. It was a winter wonderland.

Our purpose for going to Lapland was not to see how much cold we could endure, but to make recordings of the Good News for the Sami people. The Sami are one of the indigenous peoples of northern Europe, inhabiting a region called Sapmi which encompasses portions of several countries along the Arctic Circle. The Sami are proud of their language and love their culture. Most wear traditional Sami dress.

The Sami have a variety of livelihoods including fishing, fur trapping and reindeer herding. A family may have about 500 reindeer to provide income for themselves. The meat is delicious. They use the hides for all sorts of things including shoes, boots and clothing.

In the winter, Lapland has only about three to four hours of daylight. At two pm it was as dark as night. With shorter hours of daylight the Sami spend a lot of time indoors. Depression can be a problem, as can alcoholism, which has led to death in the elements. However, there is little or no crime and the people are warm and welcoming to outsiders.

We were able do our recording work in a local studio using a good language helper. Praise the Lord that the sessions went very well. Our contact told us that he loved our Good News program and that it was perfect for the Sami. We plan to supply this program on cd/mp3/dvd for distribution and will also arrange for it to be put on the GRN web site.

As Sami is spoken in several countries, this will make it possible for the people to listen to it and download it from wherever they live. We hope to link it to various Sami web sites, thus making it available to more people. Pray that God would use these recordings to point many Sami to the Saviour.

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