USA (MNN) ― Witchcraft, faulty lighting, hardened hearts, and injuries have all helped paint a battlefield scene this summer for Ron Hutchcraft Ministries Summer of Hope "warriors."
This team of students has been going from reservation to reservation sharing Christ with Native American young people.
But Ron Hutchcraft says he has never heard students use the word "hard" more than this summer: not referring to the difficulty of the work, but to the state of the hearts they're trying to reach.
The most recent reservation was not a typical one. It is known as an "urban rez," or a city where many people from various reservations go to find work or summer diversions. Already hardened Native young people turn harder in the city. Gangs are everywhere. Violence reigns. And no one seems open to Christ.
That's the battle. But there have been numerous other cannons and rifles creating the battle scene, too.
On the most recent reservation visit, the Hope team was involved in all-out spiritual warfare. In the span of one basketball game, two warriors were downed with serious injuries, and another was overcome with an allergy attack so severe he had to be completely taken out of his rescue conversation.
With three warriors on their way to the hospital, the team was already in a rough spot. But then on the night of the final night of Gospel presentation, all the lights on the basketball court where the team was sharing went out.
"It was abundantly clear that this court was a battlefield -- with the enemy unleashing an all-out attack to cripple our team at our most decisive moment," says Ron Hutchcraft. "I prayed aloud, ‘O Lord, please call those folks who said they'd pray for this team to pray right now!'"
Hutchcraft says that some of the gang members there listening began to clear out even as a team member continued to share his testimony in the dark.
"I found myself praying out loud, ‘Lord, You said that Light has come into the world and that darkness could not overwhelm it.' At that moment, the lights came back on."
Hutchcraft continues, "And the Light was about to come on big-time on that concrete battlefield, because when the invitation was extended to come to Christ, it was over in 15 seconds -- with probably 80% of the people there flooding forward. It was a stunning, undeniable victory of the Light over the darkness."
Later, the team found out that a woman had brought witchcraft paraphernalia to disrupt the ministry's work. But that woman ended up not only throwing away all of her materials, but actually coming to Christ.
Hearts seem hard all around the reservations of the United States, but God is responding to the prayers of His people. Many native youth who had nothing but lives of drug abuse, violence, and drinking in their future can now see the brilliant light of eternal life ahead of them. Keep praying for the Summer of Hope as these warriors continue to boldly persevere in sharing their hearts and the joy they have found in a brown-skinned Savior.