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By Samuel Hutchens M y family started deputation for New Zealand a little over 14 months ago, but it has been more than two years since we first became acquainted with the country of New Zealand and the church with whom we will be working. In the time since we first started praying about going to New Zealand, the Lord has done a work in my heart about the spiritual climate of this small country. Often, when a missionary comes to your church, he has all of his country stats lined up for his presentation. For instance, “Thailand is a country of x-million people” or “Vancouver is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world with 16 different ethnic groups widely represented.” One of the most common stats would sound something like this: “In Mexico, nearly 90 percent of the population is Catholic” or “92 percent of all Japanese claim to be Buddhist.” As we prepared for deputation, I gathered stats for New Zealand. What I found dumbfounded me! The largest religious affiliation in New Zealand, at 41.9 percent of the entire population, is NO religion. The largest actual religious representation is the Anglican church, but it comes in at a mere 14 percent of the population. When I read these statistics, it occurred to me that many people will claim a religion even if they are not actively practicing. So for me to see that 42 percent of the population claim absolutely nothing, it is a huge indicator of just how spiritually dark New Zealand really is. A humanist organization in New Zealand ran a billboard campaign that perfectly captures the mind-set of the average Kiwi. Each billboard had some derogatory message about God and then concluded with this tagline: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying, and enjoy your life.” Satan has truly blinded the minds and hearts of the nation of New Zealand. This is why we are so eager to get there and begin sharing the Gospel with as many as we can. It will not be easy. With many, conveying the Gospel will start with Genesis 1:1. It will take weeks and months of showing the love of Christ to one individual to see him or her saved. Satan will fight, but we have no doubt that God will prevail in the lives of many, many Kiwis. We cannot wait to get started! W