by Terry J. Hallock

We Shall See Him in Just a Little While
An Easter Sermon
Terry J. Hallock
John 16:16-24; 1 Peter 1:3-9
March 31, 2002

When he left South Georgia Island on December 5, 1914 in his bid to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent, Ernest Shackleton had no idea the perils and terror that lay ahead of him and the 28 members of his ship's crew. That date would be the last time they would touch land again for 497 days.

On October 27, 1915 - ten months after leaving South Georgia Island and with their ship, The Endurance, being crushed by pack ice at the 77th parallel in Vahsel Bay - Shackleton ordered the ship abandoned and then watched her sink into the icy waters. With only three lifeboats saved from The Endurance the crew began a six month journey by land and boat to Elephant Island some 400 hundred miles north of the Antarctic Circle. The journey was so tortuous that when they finally arrived at Elephant Island on April 16, 1916 the men's hands were frozen to the oars and had to be chipped free.

With no civilized life, indigenous vegetation, nor any game to hunt on Elephant Island except for penguins, Shackleton announced that he would seek to accomplish a feat no other man had ever attempted let alone completed. He and five of the crew would try to sail one of the 22-foot lifeboats 800 miles across the freezing South Atlantic back to South Georgia Island where there was a whaling station and the hope of rescue. If he succeeded he would return with on one of the whaling vessels and deliver the remaining crew to safety. On April 24, 1916 Shackelton and five volunteers crowded into the small open boat and began their journey.

A senior crewman named Frank Wild was left in charge of those who remained on Elephant Island and was given but one order by Shackelton, "Keep the men alive." Not knowing the fate of his compatriots at sea, Wild set up daily routines of penguin hunting, cooking, cleaning, and diary writing for the men under his charge. ...

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