North America (MNN) — For five centuries, Christians have been reaching out to Native Americans in an effort to explain the Gospel. Few have responded in faith.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries insists that the biggest reason for 500 years without a real breakthrough is that, traditionally, white Christians have taken the Gospel to Native Americans, causing many to think of Christ as the "white man's God."
In an attempt to change this mindset, for nearly two decades, Ron Hutchcraft Ministries On Eagles' Wings has been reaching Native young people with the Gospel through the testimony and evangelistic efforts of other Native young people who follow Christ. The number of lives changed since this began has put the centuries of ministry before these decades to shame.
But this summer has left all other attempts flittering in its wake.
On Eagles' Wings took 60 young Native American "warriors" to 10 Indian reservations this summer to preach the Gospel. The results were astounding enough to mark history, and perhaps even change the future of the Native American people.
"It is not a real common thing for Native Americans to come to Christ, and it is largely almost unheard of on many reservations to have a young person come to Christ," explains Ron Hutchcraft. "So when we talk about over 700 Native American young people giving their hearts to Christ, we're probably talking about something of historic proportion."
To be exact, 720 Native American young people indicated that they were beginning a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in response to only a few short weeks of ministry over the summer. Many professed their new faith publically in front of neighbors, family, fellow gang members, and community leaders.
More than just the numbers ,however, it seems that a real attitude shift could be taking place among Native Christians and on the reservations which were visited by On Eagles' Wings warriors this summer. After hearing the message the students brought to the community, one tribal leader grabbed the microphone, stood up, and said, "Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I want to announce to you that a new way of life is beginning on this reservation."
This could indeed be the kick-off to a generational change. Native American reservations have the highest suicide rates of any other community in the U.S. or Canada. Alcohol, drug abuse and sexual abuse rates dwarf those of most other regions, as well. Yet, as Native young people listened to their peers talk about their lives of abuse, drugs and more, they were able to identify in a life-changing way. Hearts of gang members and even reservation elders were transformed.
"Leaders are being born, pastors are being born, evangelists are being born. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new day dawning. Perhaps we can begin to reverse a 500-year tragedy and begin to have Native American bringing the Good News of Jesus to Native American, and bringing in the harvest that has never come in all of these centuries," marvels Hutchcraft.
The generation of warriors this year is living proof that a change is taking place. Their unprecedented fervor for the spread of the Gospel, their heartache over the loss of those who refused to belief, and their persistence to share the Gospel Message marks an generational attitude shift that could be exactly what the population needs to move forward in Christ. Hutchcraft believes that that passion exhibited will only grow.
To ensure that the lives saved remain on track with the Lord, Hutchcraft says, "We have follow-up partners on these reservations who are so excited about the plan we have to continue events like we put on–we've given them the blueprint–to maintain the momentum and turn this moment of victory into a movement of victory."
Throughout the years of ministry, one consistent factor to reaching more and more Native youth with the Gospel has been prayer. Pray now for all of those who made a commitment to the Lord this summer, and for those who had seeds planted in their hearts. Pray that those seeds will grow and yield the fruit of repentance.
Pray also for the young warriors who brought this Good News to over 35 different tribes. "These 60 young men and women are a short-list of people like them: they're powerful, but they are targets of the enemy like few people I've ever known," notes Hutchcraft. "As soon as they get home–and it happens every summer, they are bombarded [by the enemy]."
Pray that these new believers will be a part of a historic new beginning and that they would remain strong in the face of the enemy of their souls.
There are numerous ways you can get involved with this ministry, including providing funding for On Eagles' Wings warriors to go to Christian schools in order to become even better Christian leaders. Learn more about that here, or listen to the full interview with Ron Hutchcraft for even more details.