‘I Gave My Life to the Lord’

July 25, 2017 • United States
Marine Lance Corporal Devin Kyle and his wife Joanna were among the 10 military couples who participated in Week Six of Operation Heal Our Patriots. During their time in Alaska, Devin and Joanna both prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Marine Lance Corporal Devin Kyle and his wife Joanna were among 10 military couples who participated in the July Fourth week of Operation Heal Our Patriots. During their time in Alaska, Devin and Joanna both prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Joanna and Marine Lance Corporal Devin Kyle experienced salvation in Jesus Christ during Week Six of Operation Heal Our Patriots.

When Joanna Kyle married a man in the military she expected life would be hard. Long deployments and time away from each other – raising a family while her husband served overseas.

She didn’t expect life post-military would be even harder.

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Her husband, Marine Lance Corporal Devin Kyle, was shot during a deployment in Afghanistan. When Devin returned home, the young couple had to figure out how to work through his physical, mental, and emotional scars.

The Kyles bonded during activities such as hiking on beautiful trails.

In Alaska, the Kyles bonded during activities such as hiking on beautiful trails.

No one had prepared Joanna and Devin for how to walk this new road together—a path of injury, hurt, and pain that they didn’t see coming.

Joanna and Devin were one of 10 military couples who traveled to Alaska over July Fourth week to participate in Operation Heal Our Patriots, the Samaritan’s Purse project designed to strengthen military marriages.

Military couples—each with at least one spouse wounded in combat after 9/11—come to Samaritan Lodge Alaska for a week of Biblically based marriage classes, daily devotions, and confidential spiritual counseling with our retired military chaplains.

Although Joanna knew their marriage wasn’t in a terrible place, she also knew they weren’t where they wanted to be. The Kyles arrived in Alaska hoping that the week would help pave the way for a stronger marriage and bring them closer together.

An Unpredictable Path

At age 23, Devin looked forward to a long career as a Marine. But one night, in one moment, everything changed.

Joanna and Marine Lance Corporal Devin Kyle

Staff praying over the couples before they head home.

“I stepped out of a building and got shot in my right thigh. The bullet went through and blew a hole in my leg about the size of a baseball glove,” Devin explained.

Devin returned to the U.S., and for a while his home was a hospital room. Joanna and their daughter moved into a hotel in order to be closer to the hospital.

Joanna struggled to care for both her daughter, who wasn’t even 1-year-old, and her husband.

“I learned a lot. [The military] doesn’t give you a crash course on how to deal with this,” she said.

Joanna married Devin when she was 20 years old, about two years after meeting him at a restaurant.

“I was his waitress. I gave him my number as he was walking out. He didn’t even call for three days,” she said, laughing at the memory.

Joanna and Devin wrote letters while Devin was in boot camp. While he was home on boot camp leave, before deploying to Afghanistan, they got married in a small ceremony at the local courthouse.

The Missing Piece

Neither Joanna nor Devin were raised in a religious household, yet religion was something Joanna thought needed to be in her life.

Joanna was baptized in the  cold waters of Lake Clark.

Joanna was baptized in the cold waters of Lake Clark.

“I’ve always wanted to go to church, and to get my daughter into church, but Devin didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to push it,” she said.

During their time in Alaska, the Kyles heard the Gospel and God moved in their hearts.

“I gave my life to the Lord,” Joanna said. “I’m really glad I did.”

To Joanna’s surprise and great delight, her husband also opened his heart to Jesus.

“Giving my life to the Lord—it felt right. I don’t even know how to describe it. I felt refreshed,” Devin said.

The Kyles were among six people baptized in Lake Clark during their week of Operation Heal Our Patriots.

Joanna and Devin are excited about growing in their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. They plan to build their family on the foundation of the Gospel.

Fishing is a popular activity among our military couples.

Fishing is a popular activity among our military couples.

The couple also shared that the marriage enrichment classes provided valuable tools to help strengthen their marriage and help them more effectively communicate with each other.

“You almost think they have a camera in your house and were watching you, because I felt like [the chaplains] were speaking right to us,” Joanna said.

Devin had his doubts about participating in Operation Heal our Patriots. He’d had doubts all his life about church and God—but in one week God transformed his heart.

“If there’s anyone who has hesitations about coming here, get rid of them,” he said. “This has been incredible.”

Devin and Joanna were among six people who were baptized in Lake Clark during Week Six of Operation Heal Our Patriots. Please continue to pray that many husbands and wives will come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Please continue to pray that many husbands and wives will come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior while in Alaska.

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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