North America (MNN) — Native American young people face incredible hardships such as abuse, rape, addiction, and suicide at alarmingly high rates. Left in the margins, Native communities often feel overlooked by society.
However, there is one ministry — supported by a diverse group of Christians and led by Native believers — that says to Native young men and women, ‘You are not forgotten.’
That ministry is On Eagles’ Wings, a branch of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, and their annual Warrior Leadership Summit is coming up July 1-6! Warrior Leadership Summit is a special week for Native young people to gather in a safe space, have fun, play games, enjoy good food, and learn about the hope of Jesus.
The Native team leaders with On Eagles’ Wings and the Native young people who go on outreach trips with them are really at the heart of the ministry.
Brad Hutchcraft with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says, “Story-after-story, it is about these individuals. It’s not about On Eagles’ Wings. It’s not about me. It’s not about any certain name. It is about these warriors who are making the hard choices day-in and day-out to stand firm for Jesus.
“I have to tell you that they’re standing firm for Jesus in some of the hardest places to do that — just really facing lots of family pressures and pressure from friends and everything, but unlike [what] most people would have ever seen.”
In Native communities, Jesus is often viewed as the “white man’s God”. Because of this narrative, they don’t want anything to do with Jesus and ridicule those who follow Him.
Hutchcraft says, “What’s encouraging me is to see that these young leaders, we know that they come from a lot of brokenness — whether it’s broken homes or having come through addiction or drug abuse. One of our team members who is an amazing young leader, she almost took her own life. And another one of our leaders has a similar story…. God has protected them through the years and brought them to make a decision for Jesus, but then not to leave it there — to get more training, to get discipleship.”
Warrior Leadership Summit is a turning point for many Native young people who are drowning in hopelessness.
“There are some who have come [to Warrior Leadership Summit] who have told us they came either planning to take their life right before or right after…. God has changed their lives and brought them through that and then…we get to pour into them year-round. But also, our ministry partners who bring them to Warrior Leadership Summit then get to disciple them year-round as well. So the stories just keep going and going.”
Hutchcraft has been involved in outreach to Native Americans since he graduated high school. His father, Ron Hutchcraft, was involved in cross-cultural youth ministry and became passionate about reaching Native young people for Christ. Brad Hutchcraft felt personally called to join Native American ministry after he went on a missions trip and led a Native kid to the Lord.
“This kid came up to me and said, ‘I know you have some events coming up later in the week. If I come to them, will you tell me more about Jesus?’
“It was the simplest question and forever (and very gratefully) altered the course of my life.”
If you would like to learn more about On Eagles’ Wings and Warrior Leadership Summit, click here to visit their website!
You can also sponsor a warrior who would like to attend Warrior Leadership Summit! Sponsorship is often the only way many Native young men and women can afford to go.
Finally, please be a prayer warrior for the team as Warrior Leadership Summit approaches. Ask God to strengthen On Eagles’ Wings leaders as they prepare to share His hope and love. Pray for the hearts of Native young people to be softened and opened to meet Jesus that week.
“The stories really are becoming greater, deeper, [and] more endless as far as the numbers we’re hearing,” says Hutchcraft. “And I think that is because God is on the move in Native America.”
Header photo courtesy of On Eagles’ Wings.