MEMOIR
Of Br. John Lundberg, Missionary in Labrador, who departed this Life at Herrnhut, May 8th,1856, in the seventy-first Year of his Age.
Periodical Accounts, Vol. 22(1856-8), 481-7

"I CAN place on record nothing that is good respecting myself; while that which is bad is not likely to tend to edification. However, the desire to show forth the infinite mercy of my Saviour, though even in an imperfect manner, has caused me to determine on writing the following brief sketch of my course through time.

"I was born on the 3rd of May, 1786, at New Herrnhut, in the island of St. Thomas, at which station my parents were engaged in the Mission-service. In my fifth year, I was sent, in charge of some returning Missionaries, to Europe, in order to be educated; I remained at school until I was thirteen. Although the system of education at that time was rather severe, yet the years of my childhood passed, on the whole, pleasantly. Our Saviour was often engaged in drawing my heart to Himself; and when my companions and myself artlessly united in singing hymns, I not unfrequently experienced profit.
"In the year 1799, I was admitted to the choir of elder boys. On this occasion, I devoted myself, soul and body, to our Saviour, and implored Him to help me, which He has faithfully done.
"The master, with whom I learned the carpenter's trade, treated me very kindly, as I was weakly and little for my age, and thereby rendered my employment easier for me.
"At that time, it was the custom, that those who had not been received into the congregation, did not attend the liturgy on Sunday afternoons: I much wished to be able to be present at this meeting, and, on one occasion, when I was alone in the boys' room, at the time of service, I prayed to our Saviour, that I might be received into the congregation. This petition was fulfilled, the very next Sunday. Hence I was convinced that our Saviour heard my prayers, and was encouraged to commit all my wants to His faithful heart.
"On the 17th of March, 1800, I had the privilege to become a partaker of the Holy Communion.
"For some time after this, I experienced little of the desires of the flesh and of the mind. But, at length, my innate depravity was aroused by my intercourse with one of my fellow- apprentices, who was a stranger. Being by nature very timid, and disliking rebuke, I took pains to conduct myself so as to give satisfaction to those with whom I had to do. But, alas, living faith, and love to our Saviour, had no place in my heart. Yet the Spirit of God did not cease to strive to cause me to devote myself wholly to my Redeemer.
"On my entering the choir of the single Brethren in 1803, I again formed the resolution to live to our Saviour. However, I was wanting in sincerity, and therefore yielded to the seductions of my evil heart; and, had not my unspeakably faithful Saviour interfered, I should soon have been lost. Through His gracious leading, I was, in 1804, commissioned to serve as overseer of the boys, a position which was all the more trying for me, as I had so recently entered the number of single Brethren. In the conviction of my/482/ unsuitability I at first declined to accede to the proposal; but on being reminded by the choir-labourer that our Saviour probably had thoughts of peace concerning me, I was induced to accept it. Being now doubly in need of the gracious help of the Lord, I was driven to earnest prayer, that He would have mercy on me, and would give life to my dead heart, so that I might first myself experience that He was my Redeemer, and then deal with those entrusted to my care in a manner well pleasing to Him.
"In 1805, I was called to enter the boarding-school, to take part in the care of the youngest children. My natural shyness caused me much trouble; and when I had been helped through difficulties, I too soon, in spite of the faithful admonitions of the Holy Spirit, forgot Him who had assisted me. I began to read a good deal, in order to acquire useful information; but got hold of such books, as would have led me in the way to certain destruction. These were romances of various descriptions, the poison of which I greedily imbibed. But thanks, eternal thanks be given to my Saviour! Even at this period, when I had strayed from Him, He held His gracious hand over me, and made use of suitable means for my benefit. A book fell into my hands, in which the character of such works as I liked, and the results sure to follow from the reading of them, were plainly and impressively set forth. I was alarmed, and now the voice of the Holy Spirit made itself heard in my troubled heart. I saw before me the abyss of destruction, and cried to our Saviour to rescue me; and He was pleased to bestow comfort, and to assure me, that I should be and abide His property, if I submitted to be led by Him and His Spirit. The Holy Ghost took me under His discipline, and I became better and better acquainted with my throughly depraved heart, but at the same time was taught that the Saviour's sufferings are the remedy for all sin. I was enabled to make complaint to Him of all that would have estranged me from Him, and to obtain strength from His bleeding wounds. The meetings of the congregation were a real refreshment to my heart, and in them I obtained a renewed impression of the love of Jesus to me, poor worm. It was my soul's desire, to be firmly grounded in Him, and to be assured of my salvation. But He, the true Shepherd of souls, who knows what is best for every man, said to me, when I was imploring Him to bestow on me in a very sensible manner the forgiveness of my sins, 'My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness!' Had our Saviour granted my petition for a distinguished period of pardon, I might perhaps have been satisfied with this, and then the continual longing for His grace might have been lost. But as it was, I had to cry daily for renewed mercy and assistance.
"My period of service in the school, and especially the last two years and a half of it, was a very pleasant and happy time. I loved the children under my care, and was beloved by most of them, as, although I insisted on order, I allowed them as much liberty as I consistently could.
"On the 31st of October, 1810, I received a call to the service of the Mission in Labrador, and at the same time the wish was expressed, that in case our Saviour bestowed on me willingness to accept the call, I should learn the cooper's trade before setting out. I felt assured/483/ that I owed myself to our Saviour, and to ought to go wherever He might think fit to send me, although the conviction of my natural unworthiness made me timid.
"I left Kleinwelke, much affected at parting with so many whom I loved, and proceeded in the first instance to Gnadau, and employed the winter there in making myself acquainted with the cooper's trade, and in learning English. On the 4th of April I set out for Altona, leaving behind me all my effects, except one small trunk containing the most necessary articles. On arriving at Altona, I found that no vessel was allowed to leave the harbour, and was directed to endeavour to reach Sweden by way of Stralsund, and to proceed thence to England. At Stralsund I was informed I could not go on to Ystadt in Sweden, as I had intended, without a Swedish passport; and not being able to obtain the latter, after waiting eleven days, I was advised to proceed through Denmark. This I did, and arrived by way of Copenhagen at Helsingborg in Sweden. Thence I was ordered by the police to go to Lund, and await my passport. I did not understand Swedish; but our Saviour ordered it, that I was able to travel in company of a French family, one of the members of which could speak both German and Swedish, and kindly assisted me till we arrived at Lund. As soon as I had obtained my passport, I went to Gothenburg, where I was kindly received by the Brethren and Sisters, and had every assistance afforded which was required for the prosecution of my voyage to England. At Harwich, I was obliged to wait several days for permission from the Alien Office to proceed to London. At length, on the 30th of May, I reached that city, and found there was time to procure the most needful supplies, as I had little more with me than what I had on. As the Labrador vessel and three ships bound to Hudson's Bay, were to sail under convoy of a ship of war, we did not reach Gravesend till June 13th, and arrived at Yarmouth on the 25th. Here we remained until July 5th, on which day we sailed in company of about 300 vessels. On the 2nd of August the ship of war and the Hudson's Bay vessels left us, and we sailed on alone, commending ourselves to the protection of God. The wind was contrary, and, on the 13th, increased to a violent storm, so that all our sails had to be taken in, while the helm was securely lashed. The waves washed over the ship in a frightful manner, especially on the 14th, on which day the bulwarks of the ship and several spars were carried away. The Lord heard our prayers for the safety of the ship and the preservation of our lives, so that on the 15th the storm abated. But what a spectacle our ship presented! It was like a wreck, and we had been driven back 150 miles. We had fog and rain almost every day, so that the sailors were constantly wet through. At length, by continual tacking, and with the gracious help of the Lord, we were able to see land on the 2nd of September. Sailing backward and forward among the icebergs, we at last reached Hopedale. On the evening of the 3rd, we landed with feelings of hearty gratitude to God, and were welcomed by the Missionaries all the more warmly, because they had given up all hope of seeing the vessel this year. On the 17th, I proceeded with the ship to Nain, the place of my destination, and was most kindly received by my future fellow-labourers.
/484/ "The winter set in so early, that we were obliged to get in a part of our crop of vegetables, when the ground was already covered with snow. It was particularly trying to fell a quantity of wood under such circumstances, as we were obliged to do. However, our Saviour made all toil easy to me, insufficient for His service as I felt myself to be. He also enabled me to devote my only leisure time in the mornings and evenings to the learning of the Esquimaux language, means for the acquisition of which were at that time very slender. I was also enabled to love the Esquimaux heartily, and to pray for their eternal welfare. Of 154 inhabitants of the settlement scarcely half were baptized. On the 19th of February, 1812, I was present, for the first time, at the administration of the sacrament of baptism. On this occasion the presence of God was so sensibly felt, that a savage heathen, who was in the church, was affected by prevailing grace and truly converted.
"In 1816, I was called to serve at Okak, whither I proceeded on the 1st of October, in a large Esquimaux boat, accompanied by the Brethren Kohlmeister and Stock. This voyage was rendered difficult and even dangerous by storms, attended with frost and snow. On the second day our boat narrowly escaped being shattered on a rock. Contrary winds hindered our progress, our provisions were consumed, and, after strenuous efforts, we found ourselves unable to round the promontory of Kiglapeit. At length, violent contrary winds obliged us to cast anchor in a small bay near the cape. Hardly had we done so, when the storm increased in violence, and the sea dashed over our boat, though we were not more than 50 paces from the land. In the night of the 13th, the storm was so severe, that we were compelled to cut away the masts of the boat, as the latter was in danger of going to pieces. But the Preserver of men held His hand over us, heard our united prayers, and stilled the tempest. On the 14th, we were able to erect temporary masts, and to leave our anchorage. The wind blew gently from the south, and was therefore favourable for the prosecution of our voyage. But it was accompanied by such heavy snow, that we quite lost sight of the land. However, our steersman succeeded in bringing us into a small harbour. Here we suffered from want of water, all the streams being frozen and buried in snow. However, we at last obtained sufficient to make a little coffee, and to refresh our Esquimaux companions who were parched with thirst. In the evening of October 17th, we reached the bay of Okak. It was frozen over, and we were obliged to break open a passage for the boat. The stormy weather which had protracted our voyage, also prevented the ship from reaching Hopedale that year.
"I soon felt quite at home at Okak, and had the privilege to devote my services to the elder boys and single Brethren, besides taking part in the public duties of the church. Under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, I became continually better acquainted with myself as a sinner worthy of damnation, and with Jesus as my Saviour.
"In 1819, I was called to Nain, where I was united in holy matrimony to my dear and faithful partner, Sr. H.A. Gorke. We covenanted together to love our Saviour and to serve Him with all the powers bestowed on us by Him.
/485/"In 1820, our eldest child John Eugene was born. Two other infants were taken hence when less than a year old.
"In 1827, we visited Europe, placed our son in the boarding- school at Kleinwelke, and spent the winter pleasantly with my wife's parents at Herrnhut.
"In the following year, we set out on our return to Labrador. During our short stay in London, we received much kindness from our Brethren and Sisters in that city; and our voyage was very pleasant, until we arrived off the coast of Labrador. For some time, a dense mass of drift ice rendered it impossible for us to approach the coast. We exerted ourselves to penetrate it, but at length were so completely blocked up, that no water was to be seen. After spending some time in this dangerous situation, the Lord heard our cry, and as the ice separated, we were enabled to proceed. At length we came to a complete barricade of ice, extending from one island to another. A way was opened through this by the violence with which the ship, in full sail, struck against it, happily without injury to the vessel. A second barrier was passed in a similar manner. How true is it, that 'they that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep!' (Ps. cvii. 23, 24). Next morning some Esquimaux from Okak came to us. O what joy there was on both sides! We were not yet able to reach the harbour on account of the drift ice. When at last we endeavoured to go forward, the wind died away, and the sailors were obliged to tow the vessel by means of the boats. At length, after strenuous exertions, we reached the usual anchorage. Our further voyage to Hopedale was very agreeable.
"At Hopedale, I experienced many blessings. The Lord enabled us to gain the confidence of the Esquimaux, and helped us in all difficulties. We had especially much encouragement with the young people. But our residence at Hopedale was not a long one. In 1829, I was called to Nain, to take the general superintendence of the Mission. Knowing the difficulties connected with this office, I would gladly have declined it. But believing it to be the Lord's will, who had hitherto had patience with me and helped me amid all trials, and who had caused me to enjoy the love and confidence of my fellow-labourers, I anew submitted to His direction, entreating Him to stand by me, to preserve me from following my own will, to guide me by His Spirit, and to afford me grace to love all my fellow-labourers, and to bear no malice against no one who might give me offence, whether with or without cause, but to be ever ready to forgive, even as I needed daily forgiveness and cleansing. This prayer, I believe, He graciously heard and answered.
"The establishment of a fourth Mission-station at Hebron rendered it necessary that I should go to Nain and Okak, in order to confer with the Missionaries at both places. These journeys were performed in sledges, with great rapidity, and freedom from injury.
"I could relate many instances of the gracious protection afforded by my faithful Saviour, during various official journeys performed in winter, on which I had to pass the nights in snow- houses, or even without shelter on the frozen sea. I will only mention one of these occurrences. In the year 1838, as I was on my return from Hebron /486/ to Okak, we were just crossing Naparatok-Bay, when a heavy snow storm came on, and caused us to lose sight of the land. Having reached a small island, the Esquimaux were led to believe that we had gone too far seawards, and therefore directed our course in an opposite direction, until we entered a narrow inlet, with only one entrance. As it was already late, the Esquimaux built a snow-house. In it we retired to rest, but in the night heard the howling of the storm, and in the morning found the house half buried in snow. We could not think of continuing our journey in such stormy weather, and when the thermometer stood at 22ø below Fahrenheit's zero. We therefore had to pass another night in our snow-house. Next morning the weather had cleared considerably, and there was very little wind. When we reached the snow-house where we should probably have spent the night, if we had not lost our way, and been led to the other more sheltered spot, my sledge-driver remarked, 'How graciously the Lord led us, so that we did not come hither. Only see how the storm has shattered the house. Here we should have been quite exposed to the wind and cold, for in such weather repairs are not to be thought of.'
"I arrived at Nain in time to assist in the erection of a new dwelling-house, as well as at the enlargement of the church. During the performance of the latter work, I experienced a merciful preservation of my life, a heavy hammer failing from a considerable height, and stiking me on the head. In 1847, I slightly injured one of my feet, which resulted in much swelling and lameness. Other symptoms of a decay of strength supervened, and prevented me from attending to needful duties. This obliged me to seek permission to retire from active service; and my wish was acceded to in 1850.
"On reviewing my service of 39 years in Labrador, I cannot sufficiently thank our Saviour for the numberless tokens of His aiding grace afforded to me. Ashamed and deeply abashed, I can only offer the petition 'O Lord, enter not into judgement with thy unprofitable servant! Cover all my mistakes, my offences, and my frequent inattention to the voice of thy Holy Spirit, with Thy atoning blood, and remain my gracious God and Saviour till the end of my days.'
"On the 17th of August we left Nain, and sailed in the Harmony to Okak and Hebron. At the latter place, I held my last Esquimaux meeting. We arrived at Herrnhut on the 25th of October. At this place we had the pleasure to have our youngest daughter, Emma, residing with us until her marriage. Our eldest son, whom we had not seen for twenty-two years, was already engaged in the service of the Mission on the Mosquito-Coast.
"During the early years of our residence at Herrnhut, we occasionally experienced difficulties in regard to temporal matters. This often depressed my spirits, and I was led to pray that my confidence in God's fatherly care might be strengthened.
"In December, 1854, I experienced a distressing compression in the chest, which, although it was subdued by the use of proper means, left such a weakness of the lungs, as daily reminds me of my latter end.
"May I be enabled to make good use of the time of preparation for eternity which is afforded to me, and to be always ready for my /487/ dismissal from this life! Then, in a blissful eternity, I will praise Thee, my faithful Saviour, for all that Thou hast done for me! Amen."

The widow of our late Brother adds the following particulars:

"After the attack referred to above, my late husband's weakness gradually increased, and he could only leave the house in very fine weather. It was a source of great distress to him, that he could not attend the various meetings of the congregation. It occasionally happened at such times, that I wished to stay at home with him, as I apprehended he might be suddenly attacked in my absence. But he was accustomed to answer, 'Do not stay on my account. Profit by the opportunity of obtaining spiritual edification with the congregation, as long as it is afforded to you.'
"At length, dropsy in the chest manifested itself, and increased the sufferings of the dear patient to such a degree, that he longed for his dissolution. The wished-for moment, when he was permitted to leave a world of sin and suffering, arrived on the 8th of May, 1856, a few days after he had completed his 70th year."
(Text made available by Dr. Hans Rollmann, keyed in by Pamela Andersen).