Every On Eagles’ Wings team faces significant challenges during Summer of Hope because, as local Native believers explain, the Native communities they visit are often held captive in spiritual darkness. Addiction, violence, and depression hang like heavy clouds over some areas when the teams arrive on-site.
Then, through prayers and unashamed proclamations of how Jesus changes lives, the Holy Spirit starts to break through.
Brad Hutchcraft with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, the parent ministry of On Eagles’ Wings, says they are already covering Summer of Hope in prayer.
“Every summer is hard, so it’s kind of hard to quantify as far as the spiritual toughness. But I will say, we will have some unique challenges this summer that will make this a summer where prayer is really needed.”
The On Eagles’ Wings teams only go where they are invited. This year, they are taking the Gospel to a different region from where they were last year.
“The place we will start this summer, there is over 80 percent unemployment and 68 percent live below the poverty level. The average life expectancy is 49-years-old.”
Hutchcraft explains, “This is a place where there was an anti-crime surge that was focused on a few different reservations a few years ago. They sent in federal law enforcement resources and all of this to help with some extreme situations…. In spite of massive federal help, the crime rate actually went up by seven percent during that surge.
“It’s just because of the situations they face and some of the hopelessness that seems to be so prevalent. But then when hope breaks through, it is such an encouragement to us and to the local Body of Christ.”
After the On Eagles’ Wings team leaves, local partners in the community follow-up with those who choose to begin a relationship with Jesus or simply want to know more. They hear amazing stories throughout the year of how God continues to work in Native communities because of Summer of Hope.
As Native young men and women prepare to attend Warrior Leadership Summit and start Summer of Hope, they need the Church’s support.
“The reality in the ministry model we have is that the Native young people are the ones reaching other Native young people…. What they need are people to come alongside them and help send them.”
Hutchcraft says, “We have ways for people to sponsor a warrior to be at the Warrior Leadership Summit. We have ways for people to help send a team member to be part of On Eagles’ Wings. They can find out a lot more information about that at hopefornativeamerica.com. It’s a great place for them to hear from our team members and the warriors specifically.”
Your prayers and support don’t just change the lives of those who accept Jesus — they also change the lives of our Native Christian brothers and sisters who are part of the ministry.
“We asked some of our team members after last year, ‘What’s one way that Summer of Hope has changed you?’ They’re telling us things like, ‘It ignited the desire and enthusiasm to reach my own people.’ Someone said, ‘It showed me qualities I didn’t even think I had. I’ve grown into leadership and manhood.’… One other that just really speaks to my heart is, ‘OEW has strengthened me and taught me to forgive.’”
Hutchcraft says, “Those are just some of the things that people are helping make happen, even though they can’t be out on the front lines with the warriors. They can help send these team members to make a difference and to have this life change.”
To stay up-to-date on Warrior Leadership Summit and Summer of Hope, follow On Eagles’ Wings on Facebook here!
Header photo courtesy of On Eagles’ Wings.