By Ron Hutchcraft
Tricia had decided to die.
Living in constant fear of her violent father, believing his constant yelling that she was worthless. Eventually bleeding out her pain through cutting wasn't enough.
So another beautiful Indian girl was planning her suicide. Someone invited her to an On Eagles' Wings® event in a nearby reservation village. There she heard a Hope Story – shared by an abused young woman who came to Jesus the night she had the gun to her head.
And Tricia gave her heart to Jesus that night – just before she was going to end her life.
Fast forward three years. To a reservation thousands of miles from Tricia's home. Where she was sharing her story as part of this summer's On Eagles' Wings outreach.
A holy hush fell across the crowd as she poured out her heart. Later she told me, "As I looked into the eyes of those girls, I felt like I was looking at me three years ago. Without Jesus."
Some of those girls left with Jesus in their hearts that night.
I watched it happen on ten reservations this summer. Broken messengers – like Tricia – going to their broken people. With the message of a Savior who was broken so we can be healed.
And Jesus comes down on a reservation basketball court and brings lost Native young people into His love. Their hearts opened by powerful Hope Stories of the On Eagles' Wings warriors.
The amazing On Eagles' Wings journey of this summer is a story of:
• Like Roaring River. Where, in June alone, there had been more than 80 drug overdoses – and 15 overdose deaths. One tribal leader described this as their "generation at the crossroads." About 1 out of 3 Roaring River young people at the OEW™ events came to the Cross! Already, at follow-up events led by our local partners, another 18 have come to Christ! Life has come to what has been a dying place!
• In our return to the Manolo Reservation, again many publicly chose Jesus right where the drug deals happen. Last year, all we heard about there was the epidemic of drug overdose deaths. Since OEW brought the Hope of Jesus there last year, there has been one drug death!
• The young woman who almost didn't come – because she couldn't stand to return to the park where she had been sexually assaulted. But she did – to see the OEW team. This time in that park, she met her Savior.
• The homeless drug dealer, living in his car. He came to our event to sell drugs.
He left with Jesus in his heart.
• The young woman who poured out – for the first time ever - to an OEW warrior the lifetime of sexual abuse and of rape by her brothers. It was the Hope Stories that made her feel safe – and ultimately led her to Jesus.
• Pushing past their fears and their Native shyness to boldly tell Native young people about their Jesus.
• Claiming lives for Christ in fervent prayer huddles and prayer-walks on our event venues. Pre-winning the battles!
• The tears. Oh, the tears. Including our biggest, toughest guys. Weeping over the lost ones.
The way they pray...their rescue courage...their broken hearts – we have so much to learn from these precious warriors!
We have lived the answers to your prayers. We have reaped the harvest of your gifts that sent these warriors. And together, we have seen in their lives and stories what hope for Native America looks like!
At one reservation this summer, I saw the light. It was a revolving light atop a tower, much like a lighthouse. Except there was no lake or ocean nearby. When I asked a local about it, they said, "We're surrounded here by dense woods. Many people get lost in those woods. But you can see this light for 50 miles! So, if you follow the light, you can find your way home!"
And there, on the basketball court across the street, I saw God's light for Native America. Guiding the lost safely Home.
This summer alone was another amazing chapter in 25 years of reservation rescue:
• 48 "Walking Miracle" Warriors, representing 25 tribes
• Traveled over 5,000 miles
• To bring Christ's hope to TEN hope-starved reservations
• Giving out countless Bibles and Christian books
• Leading 27 Reservation Rescue events in 29 days!
They battled for lives on reservations where there's no Gospel…and on some of the most gospel-resistant reservations in all of Native America –
And God used them to lead 420 Native young people to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!