States (MNN) — Hundreds of lives have been changed at Ron Hutchcraft
Ministries' largest-ever Warrior Leadership Summit.
five days, 622 Native youth from 70 different tribes learned how to live the
Warrior Way by making sacrifices and doing the hard things no one else is
willing to do. They studied warriors of
the Bible like Joshua, David, Noah, Esther and Peter, and Mary Magdalene.
attendees placed representations of the pain in their lives and the lies of the
devil on the "Wall of Hurt." To
represent the fact that Jesus Christ defeated all of that, the Wall was carried
onto the stage and hidden behind the cross.
have the highest rates of unemployment in the United States – as much as 70
percent or more in some places. More
than half of all Native youth are under the age of 25. The average Native American lives only 44
years, which is 30 years less than other Americans. Two major causes of those tragic numbers are
suicide and violence.
year's attendees included delegations from as far away as Alaska, and from the
world's largest Indian tribe in South America.
The largest delegation came from a state that contains the most
difficult-to-reach reservations in the country.
"The resistance to Christ is so
strong that older brothers would come and cover the ears of their little
brothers and say, ‘They said Jesus. You can't listen,'" Ron Hutchcraft
explained. "There is that much of a
hatred for Jesus among those people. God
sent On Eagles' Wings to those very hard hearts, and the only pastor on one of
those major reservations said, ‘You've been able to reach more of my people in
three days than I've been able to reach in 30 years.'"
the course of the conference, at least one out of every six youth made a
decision for Christ. Most of these
responded to an invitation from Hutchcraft at the end of the second day.
"It was my privilege to present
the warrior of all warriors as I took them to the greatest battlefield of all
time," Hutchcraft said. "The only One
who can win this battle is the warrior that God sent from heaven…We heard
here through drama, video, and the preached word, ‘You can break the chain in
your generation-the addiction, the anger, the hurt, the violence. You can start
a whole new line that will affect generations to come, because of what happened
on the Battlefield of Golgotha.'"
Beside the large sessions called "Warrior Councils,"
conference attendees also discussed issues related to Native American and First
Nations people in "Battle Councils," had access to trained counselors, and enjoyed
basketball, softball, volleyball, and floor hockey as well as late night
the month of July, 43 young people will travel to eight different reservations
with On Eagles' Wings teams to share the Gospel through sports, music, food,
and testimony. Another team will make a
special trip to South America, to minister to the world's largest Indian
tribe. Many of the youth surrendered
their lives to Christ at previous Warrior Leadership Summits.
has had a difficult year, but it has also seen God provide to make this
ministry possible. Donations to match a
$100,000 matching gift came in shortly before the start of the conference,
covering 75 percent of the funds needed for WLS and On Eagles' Wings. Not only that, just a few weeks before WLS, a
brain tumor took the life of Ricky (Cherokee), one of RHM's best and brightest
was difficult to replace, and others were stretched to the limit trying to
cover the gap he had left. In addition, filling
the On Eagles' Wings teams for the Summer of Hope was a struggle. When WLS began at the end of June, the teams
had just over half the people needed for the ministry.
the conference, God provided people for the ministry. A tribute to Ricky highlighted his passion
for Native ministry and the Summer of Hope.
"His dying prayer that God would
use his homegoing to raise up many others to take his place seemed to be
answered at Warrior Leadership Summit. A young man who grew to be a leader for
Christ as he served with On Eagles' Wings was speaking to his generation, even
after his death," Hutchcraft said. As a
result, "during the five days at the Summit, God nearly doubled the number of
warriors for this summer's On Eagles' Wings team – with no compromise in the
quality of those who were accepted."
Pray for those who gave their
lives to Jesus at WLS, and pray for those who will share His Gospel throughout
this month. You can also send a note of
encouragement to the On Eagles' Wings teams.