Sixth reservation responds to Gospel message

By August 7, 2009

North America (MNN) — Processions
of religious leaders dressed as spirits greeted the On Eagles' Wings team as it
arrived at the sixth reservation in its summer tour. Some members of the team from Ron Hutchcraft Ministries wept as they
remembered the impact of traditional religion on their own lives and

"I saw the people in the middle
of all this, and it was like I saw my father, my brothers, my family – and what
used to be me," said one of the team members. On
most Native reservations, followers of traditional religions practice their
beliefs more privately. On the "Andaro"
reservation (all names and locations
changed for safety and privacy),
however, the religion is in your

The team also learned that the
fifth person in six weeks — an 18-year-old man — had committed suicide early
that morning.  Clearly, the OEW team had
entered a community that needed the Gospel, even though there had been a church on the reservation for
the past 130 years. 

Resistance to the Gospel was not
as stiff as expected. On the first
night, 160 youth participated in the event on the basketball court in the
church compound. The team was surprised to find them open and
receptive. The group listened in
absolute silence as "Lance" shared a testimony about the impact of suicide on
his family and the hope he found in Christ. 

"The Gospel has been presented
here many times and in many ways over the years," said the pastor who has been
serving on the reservation for 20 years. "But every time, there is some major
distraction. Not tonight. Something was different tonight. In twenty years, I
have never seen this kind of peace here, this kind of total attention to what
was being said about Jesus." He believes
the youth were responsive because the message came through their peers – other
Native youth. 

The OEW team shared testimonies and
ministered to the youth for three nights. On the third night, three of the most prominent religious leaders in the
community watched from a far corner.  When
"Greg" presented the Gospel message and called for the people to publicly make
a decision for Christ by walking to the center of the court, no one moved for a
long minute. Finally, a young mother
walked to the center with her baby, and one-third of the audience

Christians who have ministered in
the community for years rejoiced over the response and celebrated the salvation of people
who no one had ever thought would receive the Gospel. "There may have never been a night like this
in all the 130 years this mission has been here!" one said. 

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