USA (MNN) — In many ways, starting a ministry is like raising a child. You pour your heart and soul into it and celebrate the milestones.
On Eagles’ Wings, a division of Ministries Ron Hutchcraft, turns 30 this summer. Founder Ron Hutchcraft says awareness grew from a speaking tour.
“I have in front of me my ‘Journal of Jesus’, and this (entry) is from March 25, 1992: ‘Karen and I are going to Arizona today. We are leaving for the reservation‘” Hutchcraft said.
“For me, it was a week of talks on the Navajo reservation. That’s all I knew. God had other plans; He’s the God of surprises.
That week, Hutchcraft discovered a new calling. “Not only did I learn a lot, but God gave me an unforeseen broken heart,” he says. See a detailed timeline here.
“Native Americans – who were the first mission field in America – after 400 years of missionary work, only four percent knew of Christ.”
A few months after speaking in Arizona, Hutchcraft and his team launched the first annual Summer of Hope campaign. “That summer, we took some young Native people to share Christ with other young Native people. It had never been done before,” says Hutchcraft.
“Little did we know this would be the first of 100 reservations we’ve been to with Native American crews.”
The future looks bright
Over time, the ministry grew, along with the number of believers. Native American Christians quickly took the lead and On Eagles’ Wings launched the first annual leadership conference exclusively for young Native Americans.
“Then, 30 years later to the day, on March 25, 2022, the management of the first structure of the On Eagles’ Wings Leadership Center was completed,” says Hutchcraft.
“I could never have imagined how great and extensive the will of God would be.”
The center’s “gap year” program emphasizes holistic discipleship. “Not just classes and teaching, but a whole life experience with other young Indigenous men and women who also want to pursue their love for Jesus and their passion for their people. Anything of spiritual significance to happen in Native America and among the First Nations peoples of Canada depends on Indigenous leadership,” says Hutchcraft.
“This is the key: [empowering] Young Indigenous men and women must go out and be agents of hope for their people.
Find your place in history here.
“The Trail of Tears of the Cherokee people, a branch literally crossed this land in 1838. Where there once was a trail of tears, now there will be a trail of hope,” Hutchcraft said.
“There will be more leaders so more teams come out to more bookings; a youth ministry on reserves that do not have one. There will be more native pastors, workers and nurses who love Christ and represent him by caring for people’s physical needs.
Header image courtesy of On Eagles’ Wings.