Alaska Becomes Turning Point for Army Couple

July 28, 2014 • United States
Alaska Becomes Turning Point for Army Couple

Operation Heal Our Patriots finishes Week Eight of 15 weeks

The Operation Heal Our Patriots summer season passed its halfway point last week, marked again by celebrations of marriage and faith.

During Week Eight, retired Army Staff Sergeant Ken Bartoszek and his wife, Jen, from Westland, Michigan, each trusted Christ as Lord and Savior, were baptized, and renewed their marriage vows. Ken Bartoszek served in Afghanistan in 2011 and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He also continues to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a deadly rocket attack on his military base during that deployment.

Operation Heal Our Patriots, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, serves wounded military personnel and their spouses by offering marriage enrichment, physical refreshment, and the encouragement that comes only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each week for 15 weeks (June through September), 10 couples are invited to Port Alsworth, Alaska, for a weeklong experience where they enjoy a variety of activities designed to bring them closer to God and each other.

For many couples, such as the Bartoszeks, time spent with each other in Alaska through Operation Heal Our Patriots marks a major turning point in their marriage and in their spiritual lives. As husbands and wives fish, kayak, hike, and watch wildlife together, they make lifelong memories, cementing bonds that have been strained by war’s toll.

As they attend biblically based marriage classes each day, they discover perspective-changing insights on their relationships and find tools that can help them when they return home. The Gospel is presented, offering forgiveness, healing, and grace in Jesus Christ; some receive that offer through repentance and faith.

During the past eight weeks, there have been 34 commitments to Christ and 24 baptisms at Samaritan Lodge. A total of 36 couples have renewed their vows to God and each other.

The following photographs capture just a few of the Bartoszek’s turning-point moments.

Alaska Becomes Turning Point for Army Couple

Ken and Jen were one of four couples to rededicate their marriage to God and each other last week.

Alaska Becomes Turning Point for Army Couple

Jen Bartoszek has a strong fear of water. During her baptism she had to pause and calm down before being immersed. Chaplain Jim Fisher, who, along with Pastor Pat Fleming, baptized Jen, said, “She settled her soul and with resolve obeyed one of Jesus’s commands.”

Alaska Becomes Turning Point for Army Couple

Ken’s military career ended in the fall of 2013 with medical retirement, but his faith journey with Jesus Christ began last week and will continue for eternity.