Out of the Darkness, Into the Light
"Lord, please make this the Warrior Leadership Summit where You blow the lid off!"
That’s how God led us to pray beginning months ago. He answered that prayer big-time.
- More than 1 out of 4 Native young people there gave their hearts to Christ.
- Hundreds of them responded to a call to identify the dark stronghold in their life...write it on a card...and bring it to the foot of the cross up front to rip it up forever
- Twice as many chose to be baptized as ever before - in an emotional, highly significant declaration that they were going home new.
- One praise leader described the uncommonly powerful praise and worship of the warriors this way: "It was breaking chains."
- The messages were - one after another - some of the most powerful I've ever heard at a WLS. Rooted in the theme "Out of the Shadows," they confronted so many of the issues keeping Native young people enslaved and in darkness. Addiction... abuse...unforgiveness...the explosion of so much sexual sin - especially among so many wounded young women...depression and suicide...family cycles of pain and despair.
You prayed them there. If you gave, you helped them be there. And you prayed down the power and glory of God.
Leaders went to extraordinary lengths, fighting to get young people there from their reservations. Like Bill, who, two days before leaving for WLS, was seriously burned in a grill fire. But with second-degree burns over much of the lower half of his body, he drove his van-load of young people hundreds of miles. Our nurse said his burns would have put him in the burn unit in her hospital back home. But he could not let those young people miss their encounter with Jesus. Many of those young men and women surrendered to Jesus this week!
Some of the young warriors who came to Jesus at WLS described what it was like to be delivered from the darkness...
- "I've blocked Him out for so long. Now I’m ready for that love."
- "I need this, man. I'm scared of what I’m capable of without Jesus."
- "I'm free!"
The largest group at WLS may have come from the darkest place represented there. Their community is accessible only by boat or plane. It's a place where children as young as six years old regularly use inhalants as emotional pain relievers...where everyone knows someone who’s ended their own life...where the graves of those young people who shouldn't have died so young are often right in your front yard. Always right in front of you.
Kyle's from there. All too often, we've tried to bring him back from the brink of suicide. After years of being away, he came to WLS this year. When he saw my wife, he ran to her, embraced her and simply said, "I’m still alive." In the last hours of our last night, he prayed with me, literally crying out to the Lord to deliver him from the deep degradation and darkness of his life. After that agonizing hour of spiritual warfare, the darkness had lost. The Light had won.
And that was the story of Warrior Leadership Summit 2014. For so many young people who have lived in a paralyzing darkness, Light has come "and the darkness could not overcome it" (John 1:5).
Years ago, I wrote two words next to Matthew 4:16 in my Bible. Native America. That verse says, "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And on those living in the shadow of death, a light has dawned."
We just saw what that dawning looks like.
And now 54 young On Eagles' Wings warriors, representing 33 tribes, are headed for reservations in a five-state area. Carrying the Light where the darkness has taken too many lives.
They will go out on eagles' wings. Carried by your prayer.
WLS is made possible by friends like you. Your gift of any amount will go towards making this conference possible to reach and disciple Native young people for Jesus Christ. Thank you!