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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