North America (MNN) — Jonathan* is a young Native American from the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho. Jonathan was persuaded by some people to attend a conference called Warrior Leadership Summit. But he did not expect to live beyond that week.
Ron Hutchcraft with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries shares, “What we did not know was [Jonathan’s] plan was to end his life as soon as he got back. This was going to be the last thing he ever did. He had experienced so much alcoholism and abuse and incredibly destructive treatment in his family. He was trashed at home, he was trashed outside the home, and he had believed the lie that he was trash.”
Warrior Leadership Summit isn’t just a time for Native American young people like Jonathan to gather. It’s a five-day conference where fellow Native Christians share their stories, lead worship, and introduce other Native young people to Jesus Christ.
So, when Jonathan went to Warrior Leadership Summit, “Little did he know that the night the Gospel was presented, he would find Jesus as his hope. Instead of taking his life, he found life.”
Hutchcraft says, “He has gone on to go back to his people, have a get together of his friends, and at that get together he asked how many of them would like to choose Christ and 40 of them publicly chose Christ back home. He has become a valuable member of our On Eagles’ Wings teams and when he gives his hope story, you can hear a pin drop around the basketball court. He has become an incredibly powerful follower of Christ and we have had the privilege of helping to scholarship him at a Bible college.”
A Life-Changing Conference
Jonathan’s story is similar to many in the Native American community. Over the course of North American history, Native Americans have lost their land, their language, and even their lives — often in the name of Christianity. Today, Native American reservations are marked by this pain and many cope with drugs, alcohol, gang involvement, or even suicide.
Additionally, Native young people grow up wanting nothing to do with Jesus. They believe He is the white man’s God.
But Warrior Leadership Summit tells them a different story — the true story of a God who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16a NIV).
This year, Warrior Leadership Summit is taking place July 2nd-7th. The conference is put on by On Eagles’ Wings, a branch of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries.
Hutchcraft explains, “When they come to this conference from all over North America, from as many as 100 Indian nations, tribes, they come into an environment bringing with them so much hurt and so much pain and so much baggage and wondering if there is really any hope. And thank God they come to this epicenter of hope called Warrior Leadership Summit!”
Warrior Leadership Summit is led by Native believers who have the same experiences as these young people. A Native band leads worship and Native speakers share their hope stories. They tell the men and women attending that they are not alone — the difference is Jesus.
“Probably one out of five Native young people who attends there will give their heart to Jesus Christ for the first time. That’s amazing because, again, commitments to Christ are rare in Native America, but not rare at Warrior Leadership Summit. Some will be baptized there. Some will be liberated from years of addiction and bondage to the dark side of the spirit world…. All of them will be equipped to be warriors for their people.”
Some of the young people from Warrior Leadership Summit will also go on to join the On Eagles’ Wings team this summer. This team will travel to reservations across North America and spread the contagious hope of the Gospel they have found.
Sponsorship and Prayer Needed
For any young person, financial struggles are often too real. But Hutchcraft says for many of the Native young people who attend Warrior Leadership Summit, their parents aren’t always willing or able to help them financially and a local church may not be accessible.
“[It] is going to take some sponsorship to sponsor a warrior to get there. You can find out how to do that at hopefornativeamerica.com…. If we join together, those of us who have the resources to get them there, I can tell you we will give them a youth conference they will never forget,” Hutchcraft assures.
To learn more about sponsoring a warrior for the Warrior Leadership Summit, watch this video.
“We can’t change the past. It’s an awful past. But we can change the future and the best way to do that is to help a Native American young person early in their life discover that Jesus is for them, surrender their life to Jesus fully, and then be equipped to go back and be a warrior for their people. That’s exactly what the purpose of Warrior Leadership Summit is.”
Click here to sponsor a Native young person for Warrior Leadership Summit!
Finally, Hutchcraft asks that the Body of Christ cover the approaching conference in prayer.
“Because this is such an incredible battle against huge odds, we really need the prayers of God’s people. We can equip you with a prayer kit. Go to hopefornativeamerica.com and you can get that as well. But we really need to pray for the breaking of strongholds, that God will gather young people that need to be there.”
You can also follow Warrior Leadership Summit on Facebook here to get updates from the conference!