On Eagles' Wings mid-winter Native discipleship conference.
December 27, 2017 to January 2, 2018
Hard places. Relentless rescuers. Battlefield breakthroughs. Countless God-sightings. "Never the same" warriors.
That's just a fraction of what we saw God do in answer to your prayers this summer! Together, we can praise our invincible Jesus for a victorious summer - on reservations, and in the hearts of the warriors. Here's a summary of the amazing work of God through His warriors - and some heart reflections and holy moments behind the story.
We knew it would be hard. We were here last year, but we had to come back. Too many of us have left a piece of our heart here. It is our fourth visit here in the past ten years.
Believers in this area have explained to us that Eagle Rock* is the epicenter of the Ironstone* religion that has dominated reservations in this region for centuries. It is the only place we've been where older brothers and parents have covered the ears of their siblings or children when a warrior has mentioned Jesus.
One reservation is a major drug corridor to an entire region of the country. The other reservation is in Canada, followers of the Ironstone* religion. It is one of the most closed to the Gospel - where last year the "never happens" happened. No one moved when the public invitation was extended.
So, this year once again, the On Eagles' Wings army divided to reach more people on the same nights. Team U.S. has returned to the Minooska reservation to follow up on last year's outreach. Team Canada once again delivered hope to the Cranford Reservation.
We went to the Black River Reservation last year on a wing and a prayer. It's in what I believe to be the most Gospel-starved part of this country - a tragedy exponentialized when you're talking about the Native people of that area.
We didn't have our usual partners to work with. When Nick (Jicarilla Apache), our On Eagles' Wings Coordinator, came on a pre-visit to our 2016 reservations, he just dropped by the Black River tribal offices, knowing no one. They approved a team visit and a venue for us to use.
The Murray Creek Reservation is beautiful. Living here as a Native young person isn't. It's remote. Bleak at times.
So, the young people here are throwing away their lives one day at a time, drinking and drugging and deciding that's all life is.
Then the big OEW busful of hope starts moving across the rez, dropping off the blue-t-shirt-wearing warriors to meet as many of them as possible. They're back to nurture a work God began here a year ago.
We left a piece of our heart here last summer. "A dark cloud of impending death" - that's how the locals described their reservation when On Eagles' Wings arrived last year. Drug overdoses were at an epidemic level - slowly killing a generation of Manolo Indians.
What saddened our hearts even more was that this was among some of the earliest Native Americans to ever hear about Jesus. Long before many other tribes did. But today they are throwing out their history of faith in a passionate attempt to recover their pre-Christian culture. And viewing the Gospel more as an enemy than a friend.
A deeply wounded people. An embattled team of God's warriors. A promise in the sky.
Those are "headlines" from On Eagles' Wings challenging rescue mission to the Tomasa people. A people who have been on our hearts for a long time - but where the door has opened only this year.
Roaring River is a reservation with some of the most tragic history in all of Native America. Their story of death and injustice is all too familiar. But it's the tragedy of today that is destroying a generation of this storied people.
Every person I've asked here about the young people has answered with the same ominous word. "Drugs."
June 1, all tribal members got a "per capita" check. By the end of June, 86 Roaring River young people had overdosed on heroin. Fifteen died.