Ethan’s story: from purposeless to driven

By July 1, 2024

USA (MNN) — The On Eagles Wings Leadership Center in northwest Arkansas prepares Native young people like Ethan to be disciple-makers on their reservations.

Ethan Joe first connected with On Eagles Wings, a division of Hutchcraft Ministries, in 2018 as a student. Then, “coming out of high school last year, I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’” Joe says.

Friends at OEW encouraged Joe to check out the Leadership Center and its nine-month gap year program. He hesitated at first, with family responsibilities heavy on his mind.

“I was scared for my mom; I didn’t want her and my family to be alone because they relied so much on me,” Joe says. “But then Seth [my mentor] told me, ‘When you go somewhere, God doesn’t forget about your family.’”

MNN’s Ruth Kramer and Ethan Joe pose for a photo at the On Eagles Wings Leadership Center.
(Photo courtesy MNN/Ruth Kramer)

Joe submitted his application and was accepted. “When I got accepted, I was dancing everywhere [and my] mom was laughing and seeing how happy I was. I was just so overjoyed to see that the Lord had provided this,” he says.

Joe completed the Leadership Center program this spring and now has a new direction and purpose for his life. “It’s taught me to understand the role of leadership, where I’m meant to be, and how I’m supposed to act as a man of God and as an adult,” he says.

“It’s also revealed a lot of baggage that I’m still chipping away at and a lot of things that I still need to work on.”

Joe is attending the On Eagles Wings Warrior Leadership Summit this week in preparation for Summer of Hope 2024. More about that here. The week-long youth conference serves as a launchpad for “hope teams” sharing their testimonies during a month of outreach events.

“We have hardly any Native men who are willing to stand up and take that role of leadership,” Joe says.

“I want to teach the young generation that looks up to me what it truly means to seek God with your whole heart and put Him first over anything else, and not seek after the pleasures of the world.”

Support from people like you helps Native young people like Joe discover God’s purpose for their lives at the OEW Leadership Center or Warrior Leadership Summit.

Pray for continued growth and focus as young believers attend this week’s events and share their hope stories throughout the summer. “[Pray] for peace of mind, to stay focused on the task and be consistent, and, above all, to keep seeking God first,” Joe requests.

“I feel like nothing can satisfy me except for God. Nothing pleases me more than being in His presence and doing His will.”




Header image depicts the 2024 graduating class of the On Eagles’ Wings Leadership Center; Ethan Joe in the center with a blue shirt. (Photo courtesy MNN/Ruth Kramer)

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