USA (MNN) — Together with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, teams of Native American youth shared the Gospel with their peers on reservations across the U.S. and Canada this summer. They went as part of RHM's On Eagles' Wings (OEW) ministry on an outreach tour called "Summer of Hope." Members of the OEW team, dubbed "warriors," traveled an excess of 3,000 miles to 9 reservations, bringing the hope of Christ to nearly 5,000 people.
The result? Over 800 Native American young people began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
"It's something breathtaking," said Joe Donnell about seeing hundreds of his people come to Christ. Donnell was a Native leader on the tour. "You're just in awe that you can be a part of something like that."
Taking a step of faith toward Christ is, in essence, taking a step away from Native culture. Donnell said many Native Americans are taught at a young age to resist Christianity. While most young people aren't aware of the Gospel message or who Jesus Christ is, Donnell said they'll resist it anyways.
"They won't consider Jesus because of what Christians may have done in the past," he explained. "It's just sad to see that."
Pray that God would open their eyes. Click here to read more about the spiritual warfare teams encountered this summer.
The issues plaguing Native Americans today are complex, Donnell said. Past governmental wrongdoings like broken treaties and the assimilation of thousands of Native children into boarding schools lay a foundation of general mistrust. Rampant poverty and unemployment add another layer of hopelessness.
Many Native teenagers turn to drugs or alcohol to dull their pain. According to a national study, Native Americans aged 12-17 years had the highest rate of substance use and abuse. Over a third of Native teens had substance-related disorders.
This is why knowing Jesus is so important.
"It can make things right that were wrong," Donnell said, speaking about the power of forgiveness. "That's what the Lord Jesus has done for me, and that's what He's done for the On Eagles' Wings team members.
"That's the hope that we carry."
Pray for strength and boldness for the 800+ new Christ-followers. Pray that they could bring more people in their family to know Jesus.
Click here to read full reports from the 2012 Summer of Hope tour. While there, you can donate to support the ministry of On Eagles' Wings.