Lives, Marriages Changed During Operation Heal Our Patriots 2017

September 11, 2017 • United States
Army Sergeant First Class Jeff McKenzie, and his wife Matty, received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior last week. They were both baptized on Friday in Lake Clark.
Army Sergeant First Class Jeff McKenzie and his wife Matty received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior last week. They were both baptized on Friday in Lake Clark.

At the end of week 15, lives and marriages are changed and old wounds begin to heal through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The sixth summer season of Operation Heal Our Patriots at Samaritan Lodge Alaska came to a close for U.S. military personnel on Friday, Sept. 8—just days before the 16th anniversary of 9/11.

Matty McKenzie and her husband, Army Sergeant First Class Jeff McKenzie, both received Jesus Christ as Lord last week and were baptized in Lake Clark. “It changed our lives forever,” Jeff said.

Matty McKenzie and her husband, Army Sergeant First Class Jeff McKenzie, both received Jesus Christ as Lord last week and were baptized in Lake Clark. “It changed our lives forever,” Jeff said.

Over the past 15 weeks, starting on May 28, nearly 150 combat-wounded military veterans and their spouses went through Bible-based marriage enrichment training surrounded by the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. Next week Canadian service members will arrive at Samaritan Lodge for Week 16, marking the official close of the 2017 season of Operation Heal Our Patriots.

God was at work in many ways, and we praise Him that 68 individuals made decisions for Christ, 94 people were baptized in Lake Clark, and 91 couples rededicated their marriages to God.

Chaplain Jim Fisher said he was encouraged by the number of participants who began a relationship with Christ during their time at Samaritan Lodge and by so many marriages that were brought back from the edge of divorce. Another highlight was seeing a number of hurting Christian couples transformed by the experience as they grew in their understanding of the Gospel.

“We had many Christian couples come this season looking for something to recalibrate their marriages,” Fisher said. “A couple may have Christ, but they also experience a lot of pain and struggles, and they’re able to come up here and sort of have their marriage ‘reset.'”

Since Operation Heal Our Patriots started in 2012, more than 830 military couples have participated. Over 335 individuals have received Jesus Christ as Lord, 422 participants have been baptized, and 397 couples have renewed their marriage commitments to God and each other.

Army Sergeant First Class Jeff McKenzie and his wife Matty received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior on Thursday, Sept. 7, and were both baptized on Friday morning in Lake Clark.

“I wanted to get back to God and so last night in the class during the prayer, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and life,” Jeff said. “This is the first [event] that we’ve been to that was designed specifically for couples to attend. This week was overwhelming. After receiving Jesus last night we went back to our cabin and talked about what we had done and what it meant. It’s beyond words. It’s changed our lives forever.”

Healing Old Wounds

The veterans who become part of the Operation Heal Our Patriots family all share one thing in common: they suffered combat-related injuries after September 11, 2001. Most were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan, sometimes both.

Nine couples rededicated their marriages to God during Week 15 of the 2017 Operation Heal Our Patriots Summer Season at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

Nine couples rededicated their marriages to God during Week 15 of the 2017 Operation Heal Our Patriots Summer Season at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

Sixteen years have now passed since the al-Qaeda attack on the U.S. killed nearly 3,000 people. Yet many service members are still afflicted by wounds—physical, emotional, spiritual—that have not healed.

“For a lot of these guys the war is pretty far behind them now. For some it took place more than a decade ago,” Fisher said. “But they still carry the emotional and the spiritual scars of combat. What has been most amazing about this is that it has taken some of these couples 16 years of searching to find a community where they can open up and share their story and not be judged. Operation Heal Our Patriots offers them that community.”

Please continue to pray for these couples as they return to daily life, that God would protect their hearts, minds, marriages, and families from the enemy’s attacks. Be in prayer as the 2018 Reunion approaches and that God would guide the selection of military couples for the 2018 summer season at Samaritan Lodge.

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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