From Death to Life in Alaska

June 19, 2017 • United States
God changed lives and marriages at Samaritan Lodge Alaska as 12 individuals received Christ, 12 were baptized, and 7 couples recommitted their marriages to Christ.
God changed lives and marriages at Samaritan Lodge Alaska as 12 individuals received Christ, 12 were baptized, and 7 couples recommitted their marriages to Christ.

Military couples experienced healing as God transformed hearts at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

During Week Three of Operation Heal Our Patriots we praised God for the harvest as 12 individuals received salvation in Jesus Christ, 12 individuals were baptized, seven couples rededicated their marriage, and six individuals recommitted their lives to the Lord.

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Air Force Technical Sergeant John Collins and his wife Tennille recommitted their marriage to God.

Air Force Technical Sergeant John Collins and his wife Tennille recommitted their marriage to God.

God once again used experiences in Alaska and the witness of our Samaritan Lodge staff to bring marriages and individuals from death to life.

“I’ll tell you,” said Air Force Technical Sergeant John Collins. “Before coming here I wanted a divorce and now I don’t, because I don’t think God would have let us come here and lined all this stuff up if he didn’t want us to be together.”

John’s wife Tennille was visibly emotional Wednesday morning after a marriage class at Samaritan Lodge. Painful memories of past hurts emerged. But through conversations with chaplains during the day, John and Tennille realized they were continually sabotaging their relationship.

Dr. James Dobson joined Franklin Graham in celebrating healed hearts and marriages at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

Dr. James Dobson joined Franklin Graham in celebrating healed hearts and marriages at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

“What really resonated with the both of us is how we carry an arsenal with us. We’ve been doing that for eight years now. We’ve been keeping score. We really never worked on any of our issues,” John said on Thursday. “I guess probably the big thing that happened yesterday was that both Tennille and I rededicated our lives to God. And we’re going to renew our vows tomorrow and look forward to a brighter future.

“The last six months I’ve been feeling a lot of what I refer to as tugs on my heart. I think that’s God saying, ‘Hey, John boy. You need to stop messing around. It’s time to come home.’ Yesterday morning was rough. There were a lot of emotions. A lot of different things came out but we honestly are in a better place for it. We know it’s going to be a long road. We know it’s going to be a lot of work. But we feel a weight somewhat was lifted off of us both.”

Renewed and Refreshed

Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, joined by Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson, celebrated these decisions at Samaritan Lodge.

“I am fighting back tears just being here and seeing with my own eyes what’s taking place here,” said Dr. Dobson. “The Lord is in this place. He is hovering here. I do believe that.”

Dr. James Dobson prays for military couples baptized at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

Dr. James Dobson prays for military couples baptized at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

And Franklin Graham reminded veterans of the commitment Samaritan’s Purse makes to the military couples who join Operation Heal Our Patriots.

“You’re part of our family now, and that’s very important to us,” Graham said. “We’re going to follow you and check in on you from time to time. And I hope to see all of you at our annual reunion next year in Texas.”

God’s power to change lives and marriages was evident among the military couples last week as tearful celebrations of marriage rededications and baptisms filled the beach of Lake Clark.

Finding Family and Faith

Emilia Lopez had always dreamed of having sisters, but she’d grown up in a large New York City family surrounded by brothers. Last week though she found nine sisters in the other military wives attending Operation Heal Our Patriots.

“I grew up with brothers. And in the military I never felt part of a community,” Emilia said. “But here I feel like I’m among kindred spirits. They’ve gone through everything I’ve gone through. There are so many other couples going through the same thing with the military community and to have sisters that are going through the same thing, it’s just nice.”

Emilia and her husband Air Force Staff Sergeant Jonathan Lopez were among those who placed their faith in Jesus Christ last week.

“It is beautiful. I told Chaplain Dan [Stephens] this morning that this place has really opened us up and opened our hearts,” Jonathan recalled. “Even though it’s only been a few days we feel the difference. We feel the difference in our marriage and even in our thought processes.

“There’s something about being in the woods here and with these people that God was able to speak to us and we were able to listen.

Emilia Lopez put it this way just before she and John rededicated their marriage to God and were baptized in Lake Clark.

“I grew up in the Catholic Church so the other night when we met with Chaplain Dan, and I accepted the Lord into my life again, I cried because I felt like he was always there but I felt like He listened for the first time in a long time,” Emilia said. “And I couldn’t even get the words out without crying because I felt like He entered my life like it was a reunion with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time.”

Air Force Staff Sergeant Jonathan Lopez and wife Emilia are on a new journey with Christ and with their marriage.

Air Force Staff Sergeant Jonathan Lopez and wife Emilia are on a new journey with Christ and with their marriage.

SUPPORT
Operation Heal Our Patriots helps military couples build a strong spiritual foundation during a week of Biblically based workshops, relationship-building wilderness activities, and individual care by our retired military chaplains. We offer all this free of charge to these American heroes as a token of our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Your gift will help us cover the costs—including transportation, lodging, activities, and long-term aftercare—so that we can help them find hope in the Lord.
Bless the Marriage of a Military Couple Operation Heal Our Patriots helps military couples build a strong spiritual foundation during a week of Biblically based workshops, relationship-building wilderness activities, and individual care by our retired military chaplains. We offer all this free of charge to these American heroes as a token of our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Your gift will help us cover the costs—including transportation, lodging, activities, and long-term aftercare—so that we can help them find hope in the Lord.

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