HARRISON, AR – Ron Hutchcraft Ministries (RHM) bears a strong similarity to that of Gospel for Asia (GFA) and many other faith-based NGOs in the 21st century. The ministry is a peer-to-peer outreach in which Indian people share the Gospel with other Indian people.
By and large, both minister to the poorest of the poor and those who have, in one way or another, given up hope because of their circumstances. The major difference is that GFA enables nationals on the Indian subcontinent and in South Asia while RHM works on the reservations of American Indians.
When Ron graduated from Moody Bible College in 1965 his burden was for teenagers. Years of working with Youth for Christ prepared him for a special ministry that reaches across cultural borders in the Americas that are often defined by the borders of Indian reservations.
Bloomberg reported in April 2018 that unemployment in the 27 U.S. counties where the majority of the population are Native Americans was in the double digits – as high as 21 percent – despite a national jobless rate of 4.1 percent. A native of the Oglala Lakota tribe noted told Bloomberg that “You don’t have businesses investing into tribal communities, so you have these extensive layers of generational poverty that exist here.”
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) concurred that “Despite their efforts, living conditions on reservations aren’t ideal and are often compared to that of a third-world country. Housing is overcrowded and often below standards, and many people on the reservations are stuck in a cycle of poverty. Infant mortality rates are significantly higher.”
Alcohol and drug abuse are pervasive on reservations, even among teens and pre-teens. One young man who has come to Christ as a result of the On Eagles’ Wings ministry of RHM explained that he began using drugs at age seven.
The RHM website describes On Eagles’ Wings as “a movement of Native American young people bringing Hope to their communities through Jesus Christ. This Hope, a relationship with Jesus Christ, is the only Hope that lasts.”
Teams of American Indian Christian teens train for OEW ministries an RHM’s annual Warrior Leadership Summit where they are equipped to share the hope that can be found only in Jesus Christ with other native American young people and disciple them to “grow in faith and make a difference for Jesus Christ.”
During one event this summer in one particularly bad venue, the team set up on the parking lot of a crime-ridden housing project. In fact, most of the drug dealing in the area happened right there on that parking lot.
Residents reported an uncommon peace settling on the area once the On Eagles’ Wings team arrived. Despite their presence, both the drug purveyors and purchasers showed up as usual.
As the OEW teens shared their testimonies and the love of Christ, a crowd gathered around and listened. When an invitation to trust Christ was given, to the amazement of everyone, those who responded first were the community’s most dangerous and influential teens. The Lord broke the chains of sin that had bound them as they publicly acknowledged their need to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
A local Christian summed up the impact of the OEW ministry best. “You can’t imagine what it’s like to have every day another drug overdose, another shooting, another death, another tragedy, and then On Eagles’ Wings came with the hope of Jesus and brought His peace with them.”
- Mission Network News, Through Native ministry, young man goes from dealing drugs to receiving grace
- Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, On Eagles’ Wings
- Bloomberg, Where U.S. Unemployment Is Still Sky-High: Indian Reservations
- History Channel, Indian Reservations