Back to main magazine page now!!

By Robert Rutta
New Zealand has been called one of the most
people who have broken our hearts by leaving
beautiful countries on earth. It is a land of
the church and going to the world, my thoughts
are that these are the people whom we love.

sheep, cattle, beautiful pastures, rolling hills,
and snow covered alpine mountains. People
The beauty of New Zealand has also created its
come from around the world to hunt or to
own problems. The creation is worshipped and
fish or to participate in extreme sports like
the Creator is ignored. British settlers began
bungee jumping, mountain climbing, and
settling here in the 1840s. There were initial
whitewater rafting. It is an amazing land of
confrontations with the original people of
volcanoes, boiling mud pools, and steaming
the islands, the Maori, but then missionaries
geysers. came in with an effort to reach them with the
But that is not why we have given our lives
to serve in New Zealand. When I think of
New Zealand, I think of people—people who
need the Lord—people we love.

Diana and I have served here for 29 years. My
sweetest memories are the people whom we
have led to the Lord or watched grow in Him.

We have served in church planting works
on both the North and
South Islands.

Even when I
think of
Gospel. Statistics tell us that church attendance
peaked in the 1890s with around 30 percent
of the nation’s population attending church
on a regular basis. That has decreased slowly
to the point where only 3–4 percent of the
people attend church. The main religions are
Anglican and Catholic, so most of those who
do go to church still hear no Gospel message.

What this really means is that we have cities
of 20 or 30 thousand or more people with no
sound Bible-preaching church within driving
distance. The closest church to us with whom
we can fellowship is three hours away.

A number of years ago I got a call from a pastor
from the United States who was on vacation
and passing through our city. That does not
happen often, so it was a real treat. He asked if I
would like to meet for coffee. We met the next
morning and after we had talked for a few
minutes, he said, “I have been here for over
a week and I just have one question: Where
are the churches?” He had travelled about