USA (MNN) — Five days of intense spiritual discipleship is nearing an end, and now according to On Eagles Wings Director Craig Smith, "The picnic is over."
Native American teens from various tribes, some of whom once warred against each other and decimated their own populations, have now joined forces for an even greater battle: the fight over the souls of Native American teens across North America.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries' Warrior Leadership Summit is over, and teams of Native youth will fan out and head to over a dozen reservations in the U.S. and Canada. They will be proclaiming freedom from the chains of alcohol, drug and sexual abuse, victory over suicide, and the hope of a new age to come.
Smith says these teens have experienced the Holy Spirit's power in a dramatic way. "We've had an amazing spiritual climate here. I believe the very presence of God has visited these Native young people in a very remarkable way." In truth, it has affected some in different ways. Some 70 teens who came gave their lives to Christ for the first time. "We had over 50 decisions last year, and this year it's gone up."
Smith says some groups come in knowing this will be a discipleship event, but the Gospel message still gets through, and lives are always changed. These teens will now head out over the next month and share their testimonies, or "hope stories," with other Native youth on reservations. These are areas of extreme poverty and sometimes hopelessness. But that doesn't stop God's truth from touching the lives of others through young people who have been changed.
"Our people are story tellers," Smith pronounces. "There can be all kinds of sports and noise and events going on, but when one of our team members picks up the microphone and says, 'I want to tell my story,' it gets quiet. Our people want to hear those stories."
But that's only the beginning. "I'll tell you, the power of the Gospel comes through in those stories." And the message of hope once again touches needy hearts.