|Watch this Powerful New Video featuring recent graduates of the On Eagles’ Wings Leadership Center, sharing about the impact of Warrior Leadership Summit in their lives.|
ON EAGLES' WINGS FRONT-LINES REPORT
Our First Reservation
God didn't wait long to pour out His power on this summer's just-launched On Eagles' Wings team.
He was ready and waiting for us on our first reservation.
We could tell there's something special about this team, even during Boot Camp before we left Warrior Leadership. I saw it in those holy moments after they had taken an hour to write their "Hope Story" - stories that would first break your heart with their past, then thrill your heart with the walking miracles they have become.
They raised their stories heavenward, praying simultaneously aloud, asking God to use their story to change the stories of many Native young people on our seven reservations this summer.
Those prayers - and yours - began to be answered two nights in. On the Elkton Reservation. Brett (Apache) told of the "war zone" his home was with a "drunk mother, a cheating dad and a brother who tried to kill me." His mom's announcement of her Stage 4 cancer was all he could bear. He would take his own life. He threw open a window and literally yelled out his pain to God.
God answered. Mom's cancer was healed. And Brett began a relationship with Jesus, and as he said to the crowd that night: "I am not alone." Now he's pouring his life into his reservation's young people.
You could tell God was moving. Total attention.
Missy's brand new this year. She went forward to make a life-changing decision at WLS. She's from one of the toughest reservations in this region of the country. We'll be there later this month. On only her second night in the battle, she talked with a girl who was shaken by Missy's story of hope - because, as the girl said, "It's so hard down there!" Minutes later, Missy's Savior became that girl's Savior.
By our second night, the strength of this team was evidenced by a telling vital sign - every warrior was engaged personally with a local young person.
Travis (Cherokee) has done a lot of Gospel wrap-up messages. But, like everything else this summer, this message was above and beyond anything he had done before.
When we looked at the response cards, one out of three Elkton attenders gave their hearts to Jesus on only our second night out!
But God saved His greatest work for our last night at Elkton.
Erica's Hope Story broke it open. Though she professed to be scared, her transparency and winsomeness took charge of that court. She told of an angry home where she learned to show no emotions. But the buried hurt drove her to the temporary sedation of drugs and alcohol and self-harm. And ultimately to planning her suicide.
Her last stop was to be the trip she was invited to go on. Where "I heard the love of Jesus." "I was hearing about an endless love, a Father who sees all the wrongs you have done and still chooses to love you. I wanted that relationship - and so did He!" And she told the listening young people on that basketball court, "You can have that relationship, that love - you just have to turn around and He'll come running."
And they did. And He did.
The influential guys who had come just for the basketball must have figured out when a Hope Story was coming. As soon as we paused the games, they literally ran together somewhere behind the vehicles. Including right before the Gospel wrap-up. The prayer team in our vehicle cried out to the Lord to somehow bring them back.
And, inexplicably, they did! Then came the invitation to come to center court if you wanted to begin your relationship that night. First, silence. Then a couple coming. A couple of our guys began to move to the basketball players - then suddenly they were coming! Announcing to their peers that they were choosing Jesus!
They were not alone. Many came! And that night, heaven came down on a dusty reservation basketball court!
Our inviter/hosts launched a reservation youth ministry on Elkton from the fruit of our last visit here. It had drifted some because of the passing or moving of many leaders.
It was reborn that night. Their leader told the team: "It takes a lot of courage to do what you're doing. Words can't explain how much we feel. How thankful we are, knowing that you guys went to WLS, got the team ready, and left family behind to come. God commissioned each and every one of you."
Yes, He did. And then He surrounded them with prayer warriors and senders like you. And He said, "I have heard the cries from Native America. And I am coming down!"
The first reservation this year is home to the first Native American young people I ever met. Nearly 20 years before God would birth the On Eagles' Wings vision in my heart.
They were at a camp I spoke at in the Rockies - ten Elkton Reservation young people. The only teenagers of color at the camp. Little eye contact. Very quiet. Listening at the meetings. By the end of the week, we could at least exchange "hi's." I was moved that one of them did a drawing to give me as a gift from their group.
The next year they were back. And willing to let me interview them for a magazine column I did. What they told me lodged in my heart.
It took until 2014 for On Eagles' Wings to get to the Elkton Reservation. What a special moment for me.
And now - this summer - we're back.
* Names and locations changed for privacy.
Native Hope Team Needs Your Support
Help Send an On Eagles' Wings Hope Team Leader to Share Jesus on Reservations this Summer
Will you help send a Native Hope Team Leader to share Jesus with their people?
Your gift will help empower one of these young warriors to be there. And each warrior will mean someone else will have a chance at Jesus.
Your gift will help cover all the expenses to fully equip a young warrior for a Summer of Hope - transportation, lodging, food, Bibles, and ministry materials.
Thank you so much for your generous partnership!