Building an Igloo

by | May 26, 2002 | Great Commission, Witnessing

Kids have such imaginations! For Christmas, my youngest son requested a special bucket for building an igloo. I had no idea how he would find the time, or even if we would have enough snow to build one, but we dutifully purchased the item.

As is usual for our area, we didn’t have any snow all through January, and the igloo bucket sat in its box, unused and forlorn. In early February, however, a heavy winter storm buried us under half of a meter of snow. While my wife and I stood staring outside, groaning about how we would get all of that snow off of our driveway, the boys were dashing to don their to-date unused snowsuits, grabbing the igloo bucket and a plastic machete that came with it, and disappearing into the blizzard. They looked like a pair of arctic explorers prepared to attack a polar bear single-handedly!

That first day was a good one, and after working for two hours, they were able to finish the first row of their snow house. The next day they completed most of row two, but an arctic weather system then settled over our region, and the temperatures dropped to -30ºC (~ -22ºF). They only finished half of the third row that third day, partly because they were cold and partly because the low humidity level of the frigid air sucked the moisture out of the snow, leaving it less than ideal for molding igloo bricks!

They weren’t discouraged, however, and though the cold continued to be relentless over the course of the next two of weeks, forcing them to struggle along with frozen hands, toes, noses and eyebrows, they persistently kept at it!

Towards the end of the two weeks, the weather finally warmed up enough to put some of the moisture back into the snow. This was good news. The bad news, however, was that it was supposed to keep on warming up until, by the weekend, the temperatures would reach 10ºC (~50º F.). Enough to melt an igloo! If my sons wanted to finish their project, it would have to be before the weekend!

They worked on it until dusk for the next couple of days, but by Thursday night, they still had about five rows to complete. On Friday they hurried through their schoolwork and then scampered straight out into the yard. Fortunately for them, my wife had by this time also become invested in the project. She wanted to see the igloo finished almost as much as they did, and she dug out her snow pants and joined them in the yard. With the three working together, the roof was not hard to finish. Then they cut a window and shaped the doorway, and by the time I arrived home from school, this glorious masterpiece proudly dominated our back yard. It didn’t look nearly as proud as my boys, however. Or my wife either, for that matter!

The boys spent the rest of the afternoon reading in their igloo. They wanted to sleep in it, but when mom and dad refused to give them permission, they decided to eat their meals there the following day instead. And they did. Breakfast anyway. Unfortunately, however, the promised double-digit temperatures arrived, along with the sun, shining full on the igloo, and by mid-afternoon, the wail went out: “The igloo is caving in!”

Sure enough, the glorious masterpiece was missing a piece of its roof, and before long, the entire front caved in. It was so sad. All that work, and it was already gone. In all honesty, the adults had to ask themselves: “Was this huge project in the freezing weather worth it?”

The boys didn’t ask this question, however. In fact, as soon as the weather turned cold again, they were out there building a new one: on the north side of the house this time!

As I pondered the entire igloo experience, Jesus’ words before His ascension to heaven came to my mind: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:18-20) NIV

One may wonder if it’s worth sharing the gospel message to a world that is so ungrateful. Why persist when our attempts are often met with persecution and ridicule? Is this really worth it?

Jesus says, “YES!” Matthew 18:14: “In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” And remember: Unlike our igloo, Jesus’ project is one that will last forever!

It’s snowing! Hurray! Let’s build our testimony to reach out to those who haven’t experienced the power of forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 1:18 “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Do you have your spiritual machete (the Bible) with you and your spiritual igloo bucket (God’s Spirit)?

Rob Chaffart


Building an Igloo