North America (MNN) — It’s easy for Native American Christians to feel alone. After all, only four percent of Native people know Jesus. That’s why the On Eagles’ Wings annual winter retreat is so special.
Several Native young men and women gathered at the On Eagles’ Wings winter retreat from December 28 to January 2 for worship and fellowship. Brad Hutchcraft with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, the parent ministry of On Eagles’ Wings says, “For them to come together and be able to be strengthened together…at this retreat, it’s huge because it sets them on a course for the rest of the year.”
Everyone there was previously with the On Eagles’ Wings summer missions team where they traveled to Native communities and shared the Gospel. Hutchcraft estimates about 80 percent of the summer team returned for the winter retreat.
“After spending the whole summer basically just going, going, going — loading the bus and doing these events and all the team meetings and everything — they just get to come together and be together. It’s kind of a mini family reunion.”
These Native warriors have amazing hope stories of how Jesus changed their lives. Hutchcraft says it was a blessing to look around the room at the winter retreat and see evidence of God’s goodness.
“In that room…was a warrior that had come out of multiple suicide attempts and is now in Bible school and a leader for his people. He just posted recently that 2019 was probably the greatest year of joy for him and just a healthy life that he is living now,” Hutchcraft says.
“We look around and there’s a young man who honestly used to hope for the death of his abusive father and had suicidal thoughts himself. But now he spends his days working in full-time Native youth ministry sharing how forgiveness can be found in and through Jesus.
“One of the young ladies who came, she headed from here directly to Moody Bible Institute where she is starting her first semester there. That is a huge change in plans in just the last few months for her, but she is so excited to be able to be there because they represent hope for their people.”
One of the retreat’s highlights is ringing in the New Year. Hutchcraft says at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, “We are on our knees, we’re in worship, [and] we’re taking communion together. What a beautiful way to kick off the New Year with these warriors — reminding them of who Jesus is and who they are in Him and setting the tone for what we pray will be an amazing year ahead for them.”
By now, the young men and women are on to their next endeavors, whether that’s back in their home communities, back on college campuses, or somewhere else entirely. As our Native Christian brothers and sisters go into the year, please pray for and with them — that they would be bold witnesses for Jesus and that the Lord would stir a spiritual revival in Native communities.
Header photo courtesy of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries.