USA (MNN) — It’s hard to climb out of a rut of destructive activity without a support system. It’s impossible without hope.
Ron Hutchcraft Ministries reaches out to a certain group of people every summer. These people are spread out to many different locations and have rich histories separate from each other. But right now, these people are facing a dark reality shrouded in hopelessness.
At one location, suicide rates prompted a senate investigation. Another place has 2/3 of the population living in poverty. Still another location has a 70% unemployment rate. Another area has 50% of infants test positive for alcohol and drugs when they’re born. Another has a suicide rate 13 times that of the United State’s national average.
Who are these people? They are Native Americans living on reservations.
Each year, Ron Hutchcraft Ministries mobilizes On Eagles’ Wings team members to reach their community with the Gospel. It’s part of their Summer of Hope. Summer of Hope 2014 saw encouraging results.
Brad Hutchcraft of RHM says, “It was a summer to remember for sure.”
This year, RHM had around 55 OEW members participating. Over 7,000 miles, 11 Native communities, nine reservations, and five states were reached in July and early August. 12 reservation rescue events took place.
Hutchcraft says, “I think the best part of the Summer of Hope for me every year is seeing how God uses these Native American young people to reach other Native young people. We’re talking about young people who are not trained preachers, and they haven’t been through all this Bible training.”
The participants are anywhere from 16 to 25 years old. They may be young, but they have a courage surpassing that of many adults.
“To see these young people go out night after night and lay it all out there, to run the events, to talk to these young people one on one, to talk to their families, and to fearlessly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their peers is just amazing,” Hutchcraft says.
He explains that it is important for it to be Native teens doing this work. For a long time, Native Americans have been told that Jesus Christ is a white man’s God. To have someone who can relate to their history, their culture, and to know the patterns of abuse all while expressing that Jesus is not a “white man’s God” is much more effective than having people from the outside try to do this.
In July, RHM was struggling to raise enough funds for their Summer of Hope. Now, not only has God provided for those costs, but He has made it possible for RHM to give scholarships to 25 or more of the OEW team members to go to Bible school this fall.
They are looking to God to provide for their winter break retreat. This is a time for members of the previous Summer of Hope to come back together and celebrate what God has done and dig deep into Scripture as they move forward.
And this year, the OEW team has much to celebrate, and much to pray for.
Hutchcraft says, “These young people that have given their hearts to the Lord. We got to see an amazing 788 Native Americans begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and they’re going back to these hard situations. They’re going back to the homes where there are drugs and alcohol, where there are people who are depressed and considering suicide.”
Here’s where you come in. Your prayers are an important aspect of the ministry to these people.
Pray that these communities will find hope in Jesus, and that those following Him will be able to experience Christ in their daily life.
“Pray for those young people as they go back home and as they live in those situations,” Hutchcraft says.
Pray for the team members who are going to Bible school that they would learn new skills to study God’s Word.
And pray for the youngest members of OEW as they send in various prayer requests about their families.