USA (MNN) — In many ways, starting a ministry is like raising a child. You pour your heart and soul into it and celebrate the milestones.
On Eagles’ Wings, a division of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, turns 30 years old this summer. Founder Ron Hutchcraft says the outreach grew from one speaking tour.
“I have in front of me my ‘Jesus journal,’ and this (entry) is from March 25, 1992: ‘Karen and I are going to Arizona today. We are leaving for the reservation’,” Hutchcraft says.
“To me, it was a week of speaking on the Navajo reservation. That’s all I knew. God had other plans; He’s the God of surprises.”
That week, Hutchcraft discovered a new calling. “Not only did I learn a lot, but God gave me an unscheduled broken heart,” he says. See a detailed timeline here.
“Native Americans – who were the first mission field in America – after 400 years of mission work, only four percent knew Christ.”
A few months after speaking in Arizona, Hutchcraft and his team began the first annual Summer of Hope outreach. “That summer, we took a few Native young people out to share Christ with other Native young people. That had never been done before,” Hutchcraft says.
“Little did we know, that would be the first of 100 reservations we’ve been to with teams of Native Americans.”
The future looks bright
As time went on, the ministry grew, and so did the number of believers. Native American Christians soon stepped into leadership, and On Eagles’ Wings started the first annual leadership conference exclusively for Native American young people.
“Then, 30 years later to the day, on March 25, 2022, the framing of the first structure of the On Eagles’ Wings Leadership Center was completed,” Hutchcraft says.
“I never could have dreamed how big and extensive the will of God would be.”
The center’s “gap year” program focuses on holistic discipleship. “Not just classes and teaching, but a whole life experience together with other Native young men and women who also want to pursue their love for Jesus and their passion for their people. Everything spiritually significant that needs to happen in Native America, and among the First Nations people of Canada, depends on Native leaders,” Hutchcraft says.
“That’s the key: [empowering] Native young men and women to go and be the agents of hope to their people.”
“The Trail of Tears of the Cherokee people, one branch went literally across this land in 1838. Where once there was a Trail of Tears, there will now be a trail of hope,” Hutchcraft says.
“There will be more leaders for more teams to go out to more reservations; a youth ministry on reservations that have none. There will be more Native pastors, workers, and nurses who love Christ and are representing Christ as they care for the physical needs of people.”
Header image courtesy of On Eagles’ Wings.