Military Couple Moves Past the Past

June 26, 2017 • United States
Army Staff Sergeant Adam and his wife Ellenie Palmer recommitted their marriage to God at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.
Army Staff Sergeant Adam and his wife Ellenie Palmer recommitted their marriage to God at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

A soldier and his wife find strength in Christ to deploy into the next chapter of their lives.

Bless the Marriage of a Military Couple
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In July 2009, during his third tour in Iraq, Army Staff Sergeant Adam Palmer’s vehicle was hit by a copper projectile shaped like a massive bullet. The improvised explosive device knocked his door off and spewed shrapnel. It also crushed limbs and severed his femoral artery. But God saved him that day.

Army Staff Sergeant Adam Palmer and his wife Ellenie attended Week Three of Operation Heal Our Patriots at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

“I lost a lot of blood, and I basically went into shock. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do anything,” Adam recalls. “That’s when I figured I was dying. So I prayed to God: ‘I believe You are who You say You are, and You have the power to forgive my sins. From here on out whether I live or die I’m Yours.'”

Just as he finished this prayer, the gunner, who happened to be a former intravenous drug user, grabbed the IV from the medic who’d failed several times to find a vein. The gunner found one immediately and saved his life.

Adam would be able to see his wife Ellenie and three-month-old daughter again. He felt God had given him the peace of a new life in Christ. Even after surgeries and a continual, painful, recovery, Adam still says that “the day I got blown up was the best day of my life.”

Alive But Struggling

Army Staff Sergeant Adam Palmer greets his wife Ellenie after her baptism at Samaritan Lodge.

Army Staff Sergeant Adam Palmer greets his wife Ellenie after her baptism at Samaritan Lodge.

Adam and Ellenie Palmer attended Week Three of Operation Heal Our Patriots this year. In addition to their physical injuries, many of the combat-wounded veterans who attend our marriage enrichment week at Samaritan Lodge Alaska are haunted by what they’ve done or seen in the line of military duty. Adam is among them.

He clearly remembers the day he fired on a vehicle he’d mistakenly identified as a threat pointed at him and his fellow soldiers. Though an investigation discovered no fault in his actions, his conscience had reached a different verdict.

“I thought ‘How can I ever be forgiven for this? Looks like I’m condemned from here on out.’ That’s when I started down a really dark road,” Adam said.

Post-traumatic stress disorder plunged him into despair. He suffered from sleepless nights and anxiety-ridden days. Resentment and silence turned his home into a battlefield.

Dramatic Change in Alaska

Samaritan Lodge chaplains baptize Army Staff Sergeant Adam Palmer in Lake Clark.

When Adam and Ellenie arrived in Alaska, their marriage was frayed. “There’s just been a growing disconnect between us,” Adam said. “We just don’t communicate very well, and our marriage has been tumultuous.”

God had big changes in store for them at Samaritan Lodge. Ellenie decided to trust Jesus as her Lord and Savior, which put them on the same page spiritually. Adam rededicated his life to Christ. They recommitted their marriage to God and were baptized in Lake Clark.

“It was amazing,” Ellenie said. “I’m just so thankful.”

Also, Adam finally decided to let go of what had plagued his conscience for years. He wrote about the fateful day he mistakenly shot Iraqi motorists he thought were attacking his patrol. He took the note, nailed it to a log, and burned it in the lodge’s firepit.

“Being [in Alaska] gave us a fresh start,” Adam said. “It gave us a backpack full of tools. Everything that’s happened is in the past. We burned it in the fire. I’ve done a lot of damage to our marriage, but now we have a fresh start. Now we are ready to deploy into the next chapter of our lives.”

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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