Annual Warrior Leadership Summit is "Life-Changing" for Hundreds of Native Young People
Hundreds of Native young people, representing dozens of different tribes, came from all over North America to attend the annual On Eagles' Wings Warrior Leadership Summit, the Native youth discipleship conference hosted by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries.
This five-day conference event featured powerful worship, amazing stories of hope (testimonies), and solid biblical discipleship teaching, all designed to help Native young people grow in their relationship with God.
Watch this powerful Video Recap from Warrior Leadership Summit 2023.
Many of the veteran leaders commented about the excitement and enthusiasm of this year's conference. Ron Hutchcraft, founder of On Eagles' Wings, says, "God has prepared hearts. Someone has been praying, which is why there are such prepared hearts. That is how God answers prayer."
The theme for this year's conference was "Mission 210," simply based on this powerful verse found in Ephesians 2:10: For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.
Ron Hutchcraft explains: "This theme is so core for Native young people -- only God can tell you who you are and what your value is. We're talking about battered lives, and horrible experiences, in terms of what we call 'lie-dentities.' These are lies about yourself that you believe from the liar from hell, that cause you to make those kinds of destructive choices."
Every speaker drew on this theme, helping young people make wise choices with their lives, based on this biblical worldview. Ron prays "Native young people can own this idea that 'they are God's masterpiece,' and many of them did. This has been transformative. They never have to go back to the junk again."
The second night of the conference featured the Gospel message. Ron explains:
"It was my privilege to do what I love - present the gospel very simply. I shared, 'God loves you.' It can't get any more basic than that, and explaining how God's love is demonstrated by the sacrifice He made on the cross."
After Ron shared the Gospel, he provided an invitation for those who wanted to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Many Native young people came up to the stage, right to the big cross, and kneeled before it. Ron says, "The outpouring of emotion was powerful. Through tears and emotion, many Native young people surrendered to Jesus."
One group that had a particularly large response to the Gospel was from a small island First Nations reserve in Canada. They've been stuck in Canada for the last three years. Ron says, "This is among the most depressing and suicidal places to grow up in all of North America, and they were finally able to return this year."
This group loaded boats, to go to a truck, to a school bus, to a charter bus that brought them to Warrior Leadership Summit. Ron says, "That's how badly they wanted to be here. And there were so many from this community who chose Christ."
The missionary who has faithfully served in this community for so many years, was deeply moved by this amazing response to the Gospel.
So many have stories of changed lives. One leader brought Native youth from one of the poorest reservations in the country. Several of his students came to Christ, including a young gang member. This young man said, "I never knew about God until tonight." Now he knows God.
The counseling room was full of On Eagles' Wings "Hope Team" veterans, who faithfully took time with each person who came forward, having honest and personal conversations, helping each person solidify their new commitment to Christ.
One girl who came forward said, "I've been suicidal. I wanted to come to WLS last year, but I wasn't old enough." This year she did make it, and she gave her heart to Jesus!
The recent graduates of the On Eagles' Wings Leadership Center took on strategic roles throughout the conference. They were at the forefront of so much of what took place - they were involved in teaching, the counseling room, sharing their hope story, leading in behind-the-scenes logistics, and much more.
Another highlight of the week was the baptism service. Many young people chose to publicly declare they have chosen to follow Christ. With hundreds of observers cheering them on at the lakefront, this was an important and bold step for these warriors, as they declared their new beginning in Christ.
All week long, Native communicators shared powerfully from the main stage of Warrior Leadership Summit. These are young men and women who have grown in their skills and abilities to boldly communicate biblical truth. God used each of these communicators powerfully, helping hundreds of Native young people better grow and understand how to live and lead for Jesus.
The "Ladies' Honor Tea" is an event that began ten years ago by Ron's wife, Karen Hutchcraft. This special event was designed to honor women in leadership in Native America, and to thank them for their sacrifice and efforts to bring hope to indigenous people.
After Karen went to heaven, the tea has been shepherded by her daughter, Lisa Hutchcraft Whitmer. This year marked the 10th anniversary celebration of the Ladies' Honor Tea. Lisa explains, "These women are a light for Jesus, sharing the hope that He has given them. These women are constantly challenged in their ministry work in Native America. We celebrated them with some fun tea foods and tea, and had a wonderful anniversary celebration 'remembering the wonders God has done!'" (Psalm 105:5)
Ron Hutchcraft concludes with appreciation for all those who pray and give to make this ministry possible:
"I just want to say this is such a partnership. You, these warriors, us. It really is a triangle, which is the strongest geometric shape. In that triangle, you have the young warriors of On Eagles' Wings, and then you have Hutchcraft Ministries over here, which is supported and prayed for by you, as are the warriors. Then we have you, the partners. The partners, the warriors, and this ministry together, have been chosen by God to help awaken the sleeping giant of Native America. There is a sense of expectancy and anticipation.
This year's On Eagles' Wings team members automatically become candidates to become students at the leadership center. You have helped us complete a circle, 30-year circle, from a team going out to Warrior Leadership Summit, where we're reporting to you from now, and then a leadership center to help prepare them for the rest of their lives. Thank you.
If you could have been in the counseling room for two minutes, you'd have said, 'It's worth it all. What else can we do?' I feel that way, and I feel a little guilty because we get to touch it, we get to see it directly. I just wanted to bring a little of it to you. Heaven rejoices after this week, and I think you can, too, because all of us are partners with heaven on this. Thank you."
LAST CHANCE TO GIVE to Warrior Leadership Summit 2023. Help us finish the goal of having Scholarships complete for all Warriors who have attended this life-changing conference. Thank you!