USA (MNN) — As a new school year begins, many conversations revolve around one question: “What did you do this summer?” The answer for 21 Native American Christians may sound strange at first but it is eternally rewarding. They spent their summer telling “hope stories.”
“Amy gave her hope story. It’s a story of abuse, of alcoholic parents, her depression, her suicide attempts, and of the hope that Christ has given her,” Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says.
Believers can learn a thing or two from Native young people like Amy, Hutchcraft says. “Each of us going to our ‘tribe’ could be the difference between hope and hopelessness, and eternity with hope or unthinkable eternity,” he says.
“They are models of what the whole Church of Jesus Christ ought to be.”
RHM’s On Eagles’ Wings team went to seven reservations during the Summer of Hope outreach. See reports from each reservation here. Through their stories, team members point other Native youth to Christ – the only source of true hope. Then, lives change.
For example, after Amy finished speaking, “she started [to leave] and saw a grandmother and a teenage granddaughter coming. The grandmother immediately said, ‘Amy, your story is her story exactly’ and pointed to her granddaughter,” Hutchcraft says.
After speaking further with Amy, “she began a relationship with Amy’s Savior that night. That’s what happened night after night” during Summer of Hope 2021.
Today, some of the “warriors” who shared their hope stories are heading to Bible college. Pray God uses this experience to bless each believer as they seek His will. Learn how you can equip Native believers here.
More hope stories: Dylan and Missy
Each of the 21 people on this year’s Summer of Hope team represented a different Native American tribe. It was the smallest team in the outreach’s 29-year history, but “they were an awesome group of young people, and it turned out to be Gideon’s Army,” Hutchcraft says.
Just as every team member hailed from a different tribe, each young person had a uniquely different hope story. “Dylan talked about his violent father, and the first thing he remembers as a child was seeing his mother in a pool of her blood,” Hutchcraft says.
Hate filled Dylan’s heart until, one day, he looked in the mirror and realized he was becoming the same man as his father.
“He was ready to get the rope (to hang himself). Instead, he gave his life to Christ, and boy is he a powerful leader for Christ now.”
Missy’s hope story resonated with many Native young women. “Missy still has the scars on her arms from the times she tried to bleed out her pain. She had to be stitched up so many times, and she used to be ashamed of those scars,” Hutchcraft says.
This summer, “she said, ‘I’m not ashamed anymore. They are my reminder that, because of Jesus, I’m not that girl anymore.’ She led girls just like her to Christ, who didn’t have the hope she had until they found her Jesus.”
Each of the 21 people on this year’s Summer of Hope team represented a different Native American tribe. (Header photo courtesy of On Eagles’ Wings)