USA (MNN) — Gang violence can't stop the
advance of God's Word on a Native reservation. That's what the Ron
Hutchcraft Ministries On Eagles' Wings team discovered recently.
Each year, On Eagle's Wings takes ministry teams of Native American and First
Nations young people onto reservations across North America and Canada
through the month of July. This outreach ministry is called "Summer of
Hope" and has been used by God to bring healing and hope to many Native
American and First Nations people throughout North America and Can
The second stop for the OEW team recently was "The dirty rez." That's what some people call the "Red Rock"* Reservation. It has a Third-World-like feel with 85
percent unemployment, heavy drug use, and gang violence.
The reservation desperately needs the saving power of the
Gospel, but all sorts of challenges conspired to halt the message. The team faced repeated generator breakdowns,
a power outage that closed the grocery store and the gas station, lightning
storms, and gang activity.
Lightning storms cut short the first night of ministry. On the second night, the storms surrounded
the team's location on a basketball court but did not touch it. However, another, more serious setback threatened the
outreach that night.
The basketball court known as "Hallelujah Square" is
located on the border between the territories of two different gangs. Only two weeks before, one young man had been
shot to death on the court in gang-related violence.
On the second night of outreach, a white car drove past the
court repeatedly and then parked. The
leader of a gang got out of the car, drunken and hostile, with some of his
The team lost precious ministry time as the guys escorted
the girls back to the bus and worked to defuse the situation. One of the girls observed an apparent attempt
to bomb the vehicle in which Ron and Brad Hutchcraft were praying for the
ministry. She said it looked like they
were trying to place a "fire bomb" in the exhaust pipe of the vehicle. She flashed her cell phone at them, and it
appeared to frighten them away.
God didn't allow the violence to succeed or to stop Him
from doing a work among the Native youth that night. One girl on the team shared her Hope Story,
telling how she had turned to destructive behaviors to escape the pain of her
"Life without my mom and dad
is hard, but I've got Jesus who loves me and takes care of me," she said. "He's taken away my pain." God used her testimony to draw 39 people to
The third night of ministry was
free from serious disruptions. One after
another, team members commented, "It's so peaceful here tonight." One shared the story of how God healed her
from the pain of sexual abuse.
When the challenge was given to
believe the Gospel publicly by stepping out onto the basketball court, one
quarter of the people surged to the center. The group included a group of girls between 10 and 11 years of age. They clung to the girl who gave her testimony,
saying her story was the same as theirs. Afterward, the girl said tearfully, "I've never had so many young girls
hold me so tight."
That night's response to the Gospel
was unprecedented for that reservation.
"We've talked to a lot of people here tonight,"
said the three missionaries who work on the reservation. "When they saw all those people coming
forward, they said nothing like this had ever happened on this reservation."