A military couple commits their relationship to Jesus Christ during their time at Operation Heal Our Patriots
Though he was shot in the left arm by Taliban fighters, the injuries that most trouble Captain Matt Stuhler, USMC, are the ones no one can see: the devastating combination of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.GiveAfter returning from his second deployment to Afghanistan, he unsuccessfully tried for months to vanquish painful flashbacks and wrestle down other symptoms of his injuries. He discovered he couldn’t do it on his own. Finally, in March, with the support of his wife of 18 months, Kristina, he began receiving treatment for his life-altering wounds.
He also sought to reconnect with God. Matt accepted Jesus as savior and was baptized at 19, but had neglected his relationship with Christ for years. Hoping to find spiritual healing, the couple recently began attending a large evangelical church near their Fairfax, Virginia, home.When they arrived at the Operation Heal Our Patriots retreat in Alaska last week, the Stuhlers were grateful for the fresh start and hopeful for the long road of recovery ahead. During counseling with Chaplain Dan Stephens, though, Kristina realized that she did not have a personal, saving faith in Jesus Christ.
After reviewing the Romans Road—verses in the Book of Romans that explain our sin and the salvation God offers in Jesus Christ—she accepted God’s gift. Matt also recommitted his life to Christ, giving the couple a common vision and foundation for their lives together.
The next day they shared their good news with staff gathered for morning devotions.
“I know I have Jesus in my life,” Kristina said. “Thank you for being that conduit to bring Him to me.”“Before this retreat I feel like we were doing a lot of work and trying to control a lot of things,” Matt said later. “We want God to shape our future rather than ourselves.”
Kristina followed up: “Instead of sweating the small things, I want to focus on Christ and our relationship with Him.”
On Friday morning, Samaritan’s Purse staff and others from the town of Port Alsworth gathered on the shores of Lake Clark to watch Kristina follow the Lord in baptism.Stories similar to Matt and Kristina’s have been repeated each of the past nine weeks through Operation Heal Our Patriots, the ministry of Samaritan’s Purse to military personnel wounded or injured after 9/11 and their spouses. Every week the community has celebrated at least one baptism, 35 total. In addition, 13 couples have rededicated their marriages before God.
“I’ve seen struggling veterans recapture their vision for life and for their marriage,” said Chaplain Jim Fisher. “I’ve seen God restore hope to the hopeless.”