North America (MNN) — This summer, 47 Native American young people from 28 tribes spanning from Alaska to Peru are on a mission.
They are with the On Eagles’ Wings team – a branch of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries – and they are traveling to 12 Native communities across North America to share Jesus.
We caught up with Ron Hutchcraft to get an update, and he says they are seeing God move in amazing ways.
“It’s an amazing group of young people who have all lived the brokenness of growing up on a reservation and their stories, though they have lived thousands of miles apart, are tragically so similar and they are congruent with what we’re finding on reservation after reservation.”
Even though Native Americans were the first mission field in North America, today only four percent of Native Americans know Jesus as their Savior. Native communities are often plagued by violence, drug and alcohol abuse, broken families, and suicides compounded by the pain of abuse their people have suffered.
“I will tell you, it’s pretty hard to deny a living Christ because these young men and women can only be explained by a Savior like Jesus. There is no other way to explain the rescue that has taken place in their lives.”
The young men and women with On Eagles’ Wings are going out to tell fellow Native people that hope has a name — and His name is Jesus.
Their plan is to visit 12 Native communities across North America with the Good News of the Gospel. So far, the team has gone to seven communities.
“These young men and women have already led hundreds of young Native people to Christ — many of them taking a public stand in environments where you just don’t choose Jesus — and they are.”
The Prince of Peace in a Violent Park
At one point this summer, the On Eagles’ Wings team split to cover more ground. Part of the team went to an urban Native area. This community is notorious for drug-use, shootings, and violence.
The epicenter of the violence and dealings is a park in the heart of the city. And that’s where the Native men and women with On Eagles’ Wings took the Gospel.
Just across the street from this park lies a housing parking lot. The On Eagles’ Wings team gathered there to hold sporting events, play music, and get to know young people in the community. The whole time, they prayed fervently for protection and wisdom.
Not long after they arrived, Hutchcraft says they could sense the Holy Spirit’s presence. “What we were told, first of all, was that there was a supernatural peace that settled over the park and the housing area that people would say [they] never see…. The park was empty, and with our events right in that parking lot, we had all kinds of basketball things going on and a large crowd there and the local people stood there just amazed.
“There was a supernatural peace that was just great evidence of the presence of Christ. There were some difficult conversations because you get very hard in the city. It’s a survival skill to show no feelings and admit no feelings. Yet, all around this housing area parking lot, here are these young warriors, some of them pretty intimidated when we started…but still, with supernatural courage…they went out and began to have personal conversations with these young men and women.”
The fun activities continued throughout the week, and eventually On Eagles’ Wings team members began to publicly share their hope stories and how Jesus made the difference in their lives in front of the young people gathered.
“All of a sudden in this usually chaotic area, when those hope stories began, it was like a supernatural silence fell across the crowd,” says Hutchcraft.
A public invitation was extended for the local Native young people to accept Christ. In an urban Native community like this when vulnerability is considered a weakness, there is tremendous pressure to not accept Christ.
However, there is no denying that the people were starved for hope. “They came from every corner of that parking lot and it was led by the big basketball players, which are the most influential guys in the community. They were the first ones out to choose Jesus publicly. It was overwhelming.”
Hutchcraft shares, “The local leaders who have invested their lives in this community, the local Christians just melted down in tears and said, ‘This is a dream come true.’ One of them said, ‘You can’t imagine what it’s like to have every day another drug overdose, another shooting, another death, another tragedy, and then On Eagles’ Wings came with the hope of Jesus and brought His peace with them.’”
Meanwhile, the other half of the team was at another reservation, small and remote. This reservation has had 75 drug overdoses since 2016 and 15 drug overdose deaths.
“Again, there, one by one by one, they led many young people there to Christ. So it was twin victories! In just a couple of nights on two reservations simultaneously where the need, the brokenness, the danger even is greater than most of us will ever face, God is an awesome God and He shows how awesome He is by the changed lives of these walking miracles that I call the warriors.”
From Dealing Drugs to Receiving Grace
One of the most powerful stories with the team comes from the second Native community they visited this summer. A team member with the On Eagles’ Wings team shared his story and the Gospel. He then asked the crowd to join him in prayer if anyone wanted to begin a relationship with Jesus.
Afterward, the young man gave an invitation for anyone who prayed with him to come forward. He hadn’t even finished speaking before people started coming.
“The first one out, we see this late-20-something young man step out and he just stands there facing all the people. He didn’t care who knew that he was choosing Jesus…. We didn’t know who he was till later.”
Hutchcraft says they learned from one of the local Christian leaders that the first young man to step forward is Casey* — the local drug dealer.
“So here he is looking at his customers probably, saying, ‘I’m choosing Jesus tonight.’ He came up to the local leader of the team that invited us…and after he had been counseled, he came up and he just bear-hugged the local Christian leader and said tearfully, ‘This is amazing.’ Yeah, it is. It’s amazing grace is what it’s called.”
The Work Isn’t Over
We will tell you more about what is next for the On Eagles’ Wings team tomorrow. They still have five more Native communities to travel to and share the Good News.
For now, please pray for wisdom and strength as these young Native men and women continue their Gospel ministry.
If you would like to give in support of the On Eagles’ Wings team, click here!