Reservations #8 and #9
Report from Ron Hutchcraft
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.
The hardness of Cranford was evident when Andy* (Tuscarora) got up to share his Hope Story and all the basketball players who had come for the tournament just walked out and never came back. But Cara (Navajo) - doing only her second Gospel wrap-up ever - refused to retreat. Undaunted, she boldly shared Jesus with those who were left.
As you can imagine, there were some deflated warriors at Cranford later that night. But by the next night - our final outreach at Cranford - these relentless warriors bounced back to fight again. The night began with only four young people there. The warriors kept praying. Ultimately, there were more there than on any previous night last year or this year.
And unlike last year's cold response at invitation time, this year some came. Others from the Ironstone religion were led to Jesus in personal conversations. The Summer of Hope being in Cranford ended with more coming to Jesus than we've ever seen on that reservation!
Meanwhile, Team USA was working hard on the Minooska reservation. It's a reservation where over a billion dollars worth of deadly drugs came into this country last year. It doesn't all just pass through. A wide variety of drugs are rampant across this rez. And lives are being destroyed.
It seems that everywhere On Eagles' Wings has been, the people remember them - even years later. Tanya (Crow) talked with a young woman who still knew the name of the warrior who had talked with her about Jesus last year. She didn't want Jesus then. But for most of the past year, she has wanted Jesus in her life. Tanya had the joy of helping her "cross over from death to life" (John 5:24).
God really used Jamie's (Crow) Hope Story to open up hearts at the event. He told a painful story of his dad beating him with a board, then putting him in a trash bag - telling Jamie that's what he was worth. Jamie's descent into alcohol and drugs was simply the acting out of what his dad said about him.
Then, in a truly miraculous way, Jesus captured his heart. Jamie told the crowd at the event, "Jesus showed me I wasn't trash like my father said. I felt loved...I felt peace." After a powerful Gospel wrap-up that night, Travis (Creek/Cherokee) gave the call for those who wanted to give their life to Jesus to come to center court.
The first one forward was a young man in black who had come to play in our tournament. He's one of the dealers who's been dealing drugs and death to the Minooskas. Others followed. Still others prayed with a warrior to make Jesus their Savior.
This is a reservation that desperately needs an ongoing youth movement to be launched on the momentum of two On Eagles' Wings' harvests. Our meeting with the leaders who invited us gave us great reason to believe that's going to happen! They already had follow-up events scheduled, beginning in just a few days.
And then there's Brian, a young man was an OEW warrior seven years ago. These are his people. Sadly, he was spiritually ambushed by the enemy soon after his return home. That began a downward spiral that culminated in jail time. When I saw him show up at our OEW event, I thanked the Lord for answering my prayer.
That night Brian was vividly reminded of his life when he was following Jesus. That time was when he saw the difference his life could make. Then the long detour. But his detour ended our last night at Minooska. He prayed a long and emotional prayer of repentance. In it he said, "Lord, I know You've destined me to be Your man to lead my people to Jesus." If Brian lives what he prayed, he may be an important part of the hope his broken people need.
And now, after battles and victories on nine reservations, the young warriors of On Eagles' Wings will come together again for one last battle. The one we expect will be the toughest of all. We are heading for Eagle Rock.
* Names changed for privacy.