The Faroe Islands comprise eighteen small, rocky islands halfway between Norway and Iceland. Their jagged cliffs are lashed year-round by powerful Arctic winds. While the natural scenery is stunning, tourism is limited due to the nation’s remote location. The major industry is commercial fishing in the volatile North Sea.
Over the centuries, the Faroese people have endured Viking invasions, the Black Death (which killed half the population), and many seagoing tragedies. Those historic challenges, along with the isolation and elements to which the Faroese are exposed, have forged a small but resilient population of just 50,000. As you can imagine, reaching the Faroese with the gospel also involved some resilience.
No true evangelistic work ever took root on the Faroe Islands until 1865, when a Scottish missionary, William Sloan*, arrived. While in Scotland, Sloan had been forced by his fiance to choose between marriage and the Faroe mission field. To the benefit of the Faroese – including those living today – he sailed alone to fish for souls in a land of pagan fishermen. Through many years of going door to door selling books and conducting Bible studies, William Sloan established thirty-six churches spread among the islands. Evangelicals in the Faroes now make up one of the highest percentages of evangelicals in any nation on earth. – John MacArthur (born in 1939), from a letter to his supporters (March 17, 2016)
*William Sloan (1838-1914) died on September 4, 1914, his 76th birthday.