When Gleason met his wife, Kathryn he knew right off, that she was the right one but when he proposed, he added a condition: Would she be willing to live in an igloo?
Kathryn took 19 weeks to think about that one and she concluded she preferred living with him in an igloo to living than with anyone else in a mansion. Thus a missionary partnership was born that would last for many years.
Gleason and Kathryn spent fifteen years of ministry among the Eskimos in the Canadian Central Arctic. Traveling in a ski or float- equipped airplane or by dogsled, sleeping for months in igloos, enduring severe sub-zero temperatures, they took the good news to many Eskimos for the first time. Their trips could cover 5,000 miles from their base on the west coast of Hudson Bay. God brought them safely through whiteout flying conditions, blizzards on the ground, raging storms on the water, and two plane crashes.
The exciting story of this ministry period is presented in Eskimos (new hardcover edition) by Gleason Ledyard, published in Canby, Oregon by Christian Literature International published in 1999.
After fifteen years of pioneer work, others came to continue their work and Gleason and Kathryn felt that the could leave the Arctic for another ministry. Their first new assignment was a survey and report of the diversified home missions operations of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
During some of their visits to Indian reservations, they became concerned the Indians were not fully understanding some of the difficult biblical words, and they needed a simpler translation of Scripture. The Ledyards thought something should be done, but at this time they did not see this as a task for themselves but hoped that they would find something that would meet their need.
When the survey was completed and the Ledyards felt the tug to get back to their primitive ministries in the Canadian British Columbia, so they obtained a four-wheel-drive truck and camper. They then traveled over a wide area for several months, but it seemed to them they could not find their niche. What was wrong?
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