North America (MNN) — The On Eagles’ Wings Summer of Hope initiative with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries has come to a close. And because of God’s work through their outreach, 600 Native young people now have freedom in Christ, who just a month ago did not know Him.
Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says this summer was historic in the evangelization of North America’s first nation of people. And there were some amazing stories of transformation that came from it.
But first and foremost, Hutchcraft says, “This is a story about a great Savior, not about a great organization and a great team.”
So what happened this summer? First, the overview:
- On Eagles’ Wings Summer of Hope was 34 days of outreach across 4,000 miles.
- The team consisted of 48 Native American warriors from 26 different tribes.
- They went to 11 different reservations in North America to put on 32 spiritual rescue events.
- It was from there that 600 Native young people came to Jesus.
Hutchcraft explains, “This all began at Warrior Leadership Summit, which turned out to be our largest gathering ever of Native American young people representing about 88 tribes of Native young people from across the U.S. and Canada. It was easily the most powerful we’ve ever had. Over 200 young people came to Christ there.
“The [On Eagles’ Wings] team was trained and launched from there, and we began to travel to an area of the country where really many of the tribes have been largely unreached. We were literally asked, ‘Who is Jesus?’… They had not heard of Him, they didn’t know about Him in some cases!”
An overlooked mission field
While it’s not surprising to have non-Christians in North America, people tend to assume most individuals in the U.S. and Canada have at least heard of Jesus.
However, Hutchcraft says in the Native American community, “only four percent know Christ after about 400 years of mission work. Their young people have the highest suicide rates and drug abuse rates and sexual abuse rates and sexual assault rates. It’s just an awfully broken generation.
“We went this summer with a team of Native Americans who have lived all that brokenness, who once were the dealers and users, who are the abuse and rape victims, who have been the abusers, have been the violent, have been the gang members, have lived all of this, the family brokenness, and they’re the ones who are the messengers [for the Gospel].”
A culture of death
The last reservation they visited for Summer of Hope was the first ever to be reached by missionaries in North America. But it looks very different today.
“This tribe, where the light has come for so long, has chosen in this generation to consider Christianity and Jesus an unwelcome intruder, feeling that in His name centuries ago everything was taken from them. And in some cases they’re right, but it wasn’t Jesus. It was done in the name of Christianity. But there’s been hardened hearts.”
Hutchcraft goes on, “The first lady we met said, ‘I have had 11 people I love in 12 months die of drug overdoses.’ There have been ten drug overdose deaths in just a four-month period that we were told. And we were told many of them we never would have heard about, we’re not even counting. It’s just going every day, all day, is just a tremendous amount of dying.”
God in the park of drug dealers
The On Eagles’ Wings team was set-up for their Gospel outreach and presentations in the reservation’s park. This same park is where the drug deals went down on the reservation.
“Even the smell of marijuana was in the air, a temptation by the way for many of our warriors who that was their gateway into very heavy drug use. It was literally one of the darkest places we could possibly be.
“The last night there, [the team gave] a powerful presentation of a brown-skinned Savior who came from a tribe, who died on a cross for us. Virtually every person in that park that night came forward to give their heart to Christ. It was an amazing breakthrough.”
Then, says Hutchcraft, an amazing thing happened…
“One of the young men who came to Christ that night is the dealer for the dealers. He’s the one who had the drugs the dealers are dealing. And he said, ‘I’m tired of dealing death to my people. I don’t know how many people have died because of what I have done. But I’m sick and tired of it. I need to be forgiven.’
“He burned his drugs, he burned his drug money, and said, ‘I am now going to go to the dealers and tell them this is exactly what they need.’”
In each of the Native reservations, local leaders were given plans for follow-up and discipleship of those who accepted Christ.
Speaking from brokenness
Hutchcraft says throughout the Summer of Hope, much of the response they saw to Christ’s message of hope and healing came from how God used the warrior’s testimonies.
“What we found was when you speak out of your brokenness, it reaches the brokenness in somebody listening. And that’s what these team members did. No matter how high a wall people have put up — their traditional religion, their drugs, their mask, their lifestyle — something happened when they heard about Jesus.”
This is something we can all embrace; when we are willing to be vulnerable and share our stories of healing and change through Jesus Christ, hearts and souls are shorn of their pretenses.
“All of us know somebody with a hard heart and a super glue mask they don’t want to take off. And I’ll tell you, the way to their heart is for us to speak out of our brokenness. Not arguing with them, not even throwing Scripture verses at them, but bringing the Gospel to them through our own brokenness.”
Pray for the ongoing discipleship of Native young people and individuals.