Strengthening Military Marriages

Our 10th summer season of Operation Heal Our Patriots began Memorial Day weekend as we welcomed the first planeloads of wounded veterans and their spouses to Samaritan Lodge Alaska. Please pray that these couples will experience renewed hope for their marriages and that many participants will find freedom in Christ.

Operation Heal Our Patriots 2021 is underway at Samaritan Lodge Alaska! We are eager to welcome 10 U.S. military couples each week for 16 weeks to experience a time of relationship building, spiritual refreshment, and physical renewal. This year we will also devote two weeks for ministering to law enforcement couples.

1/5 Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham greets the first planeloads of couples Memorial Day weekend.
Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham greets the first planeloads of couples Memorial Day weekend.
2/5 People of all ages gathered to celebrate the arrival of wounded veterans and their spouses.
People of all ages gathered to celebrate the arrival of wounded veterans and their spouses.
3/5 It was truly a hero’s welcome at Samaritan Lodge Alaska in Lake Clark National Park.
It was truly a hero’s welcome at Samaritan Lodge Alaska in Lake Clark National Park.
4/5 Couples participate in chaplain-led marriage enrichment classes at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.
Couples participate in chaplain-led marriage enrichment classes at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.
5/5 Army Staff Sergeant Eddie Jackson and his wife Krystle enjoyed an afternoon at Proenneke's Cabin in Lake Clark National Park.
Army Staff Sergeant Eddie Jackson and his wife Krystle enjoyed an afternoon at Proenneke's Cabin in Lake Clark National Park.

“Week after week, I see men and women learn about God’s love for them. These heroes have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation, and I am grateful to God that they are experiencing true freedom through the power of the Gospel,” said Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham about this project.

These heroes have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation, and I am grateful to God that they are experiencing true freedom through the power of the Gospel.”
- Franklin Graham

Samaritan’s Purse started Operation Heal Our Patriots in 2012 to strengthen the marriages of military personnel wounded in combat or combat-related activities after 9/11. Couples are flown to our wilderness lodge in Alaska where they participate in marriage classes, enjoy daily devotions from God’s Word, and are offered Christ-focused counseling with veteran military chaplains. They also have opportunities for physical refreshment by participating together in activities such as kayaking, hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Over the years, we have welcomed more than 1,200 military couples to our Alaska camp. We praise God that 504 individuals have made commitments to follow Jesus Christ, more than 630 have been baptized, and nearly 600 couples have publicly rededicated their marriages to the Lord during their time in Alaska.

"Walking A New Path"

The experience in Alaska is an opportunity for couples to challenge themselves and to do things together that they never thought possible.

Army Staff Sergeant Jeremy Breece and his wife, Roxann

Just a few years ago, Army Staff Sergeant Jeremy Breece would never have attempted the four-mile round trip hike to beautiful Tanalian Falls. He was in a wheelchair after having both legs amputated above the knee due to an IED blast in Afghanistan.

Although new technology eventually provided Jeremy with more effective prosthetics, he’d never walked as far as he did on the hike in Alaska.

“Being able to see him push his limits—that was so rewarding,” said Jeremy’s wife, Roxann. “This whole week is nothing we expected. It’s been beyond what we imagined.”

Ongoing Connection and Discipleship

The experience in Alaska is just the beginning of our ministry to military couples. Samaritan’s Purse chaplains follow up with them over the long term through our Family Care program. Our staff connects couples with local churches, engages families through regular personal contact (phone calls, emails, social media, visits), offers discipleship opportunities, and meets with them at regional gatherings.

Operation Heal Our Patriots reunions and training events also benefit couples by providing more Christian teaching and tools to fortify their marriage. Many of the participants have also developed deep relationships with one another and support each other directly in a variety of ways.

Additionally, our new Team Patriot program gives our military couples the opportunity to deploy with each other to communities hard-hit by natural disasters. We also launched our Key Leader program, which equips military couples to serve as mentors to other Operation Heal Our Patriots couples.

Please pray that military marriages will be restored this summer and that many will grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for strength and wisdom for our staff as they minister to couples in Alaska and beyond during 2021.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

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