I’ve not been keeping up with posting about our journeys and experiences thus far, and I intend to change that in the coming weeks. We are getting ready to send out our first prayer letter in the next week or so (email me at shutchens.nz@gmail.com to receive a monthly copy via email), so I can’t reveal too much and spoil the letter. We have had, however, a blessed six weeks on the deputation trail.

We’ve had meetings in Canada, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, and tonight we finish a missions conference in West Virginia. We have seen old friends and made brand new ones as well. We’ve had incredibly long drives at times, and other days we’ve had the chance to get out of the car and “smell the roses.” We’ve seen church plants being pastored by two stellar WCBC grads, Josh Robinson and Jonathan Redford. We’ve congratulated a pastor on his 40th anniversary of pastoral ministry. We’ve yet to come close to lacking – the Lord has supplied for needs in an irrefutable way. We’ve had our desire to get New Zealand and to get there quickly enlarged. After six weeks and thirteen meetings, we sit at 12.23% of our needed support raised, with more promised.

But we’re only six weeks in; still a long way to go. Despite that, one word has already defined this period of our lives:

Remarkable.

It’s remarkable to think that the God of the universe loved me enough to come to this earth as a human being and pay my sin penalty on the cross, only to rise again three days later to prove his undeniable power over death.

It’s remarkable the spirit of unity and giving we have seen in the churches we have visited as they invest in us to take the Gospel to another country.

It’s remarkable to see how God is using people with whom we have become close friends to reach their Jerusalem.

It’s remarkable that I get to make this incredible journey with a loving wife and a cheerful daughter.

It’s remarkable that every single need has not only been met, but been exceeded.

It’s remarkable to meet godly Christian laypeople who desire to reach those who don’t know in the Lord in lands they’ve never even seen.

It’s remarkable that I get to travel across this great nation.

It’s remarkable that God would allow me to serve Him in a beautiful nation like New Zealand.

Fellow Christian, sometimes we need to stop and think about how tremendously blessed we truly are. Whether your mission field is the neighborhood in which you live, or a country across the ocean, realize we are blessed with the gift of salvation. We are blessed with friends and family. We are blessed with material possessions. We are blessed with our bond we have with other Christians in Christ. We are blessed to serve the King of Kings!

Today I couldn’t help but think on these things and be grateful. May I challenge you, wherever you may be, to do the same. Stop. Turn off the phone. Stop thinking about what you don’t have. Consider what God has done for you and what you get to do for the love of Christ.

It’s just remarkable, isn’t it?