This summer at Samaritan Lodge Alaska, military couples are finding healing and renewal as they experience the power of the Gospel and build their faith together. According to Samaritan’s Purse, couples have renewed their vows, been baptized together, and participated in relationship-building activities that have helped them grow stronger with one another and with God. Called ‘Operation Heal Our Patriots,’ the program, which is headed by Samaritan’s Purse, “gives wounded veterans and their spouses the opportunity for spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment” through biblically-based seminars and outdoor activities in the Alaskan wilderness.
Military couples who have shared their stories with Samaritan’s Purse noted the difference this program has made for them both in their marriages and personally. Former Army Sergeant Mike Morales explained that the “harrowing experiences” he had when deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan put weight on his marriage to his wife, Former Army Private First Class Carolina Morales. Mike shared, “I believed in a higher power because I would have never made it out of those situations, but I never really opened my heart big enough to accept Him in and ask for forgiveness…But now I’ve given my heart to Jesus Christ. All that guilt, unforgiveness, self-doubt, and the burden of coming home when my brothers didn’t make it—that’s what I let go of this week. I am going home a new man.”
Last week, former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen joined Franklin and Jane Graham to show support to our servicemen and women at Samaritan Lodge Alaska. Pence explained that the experience was an “incredible joy” as they received the opportunity to thank our nation’s heroes while “encouraging them to grow in their faith” and strengthen their marriages. Franklin Graham shared that having the Pence’s visit was encouraging to the military couples who enjoyed speaking with and seeing them.
‘Operation Heal Our Patriots’ does not end with each couple’s week-long experience at Samaritan Lodge Alaska, but continues well-beyond. The program also has a strong Family Care program which follows up with each couple helping them stay connected to local churches, and receive care, spiritual counseling, and discipleship. The program also offers leadership, service, and fellowship opportunities. Keeping their experience prevalent, meaningful, and well-remembered, ‘Operation Heal Our Patriots’ also hosts an annual reunion for all couples who have been to Alaska.
With healing comes a newfound hope in life that can only be received through the blessing of growing one’s faith. Offering a strong foundation for military couples, Samaritan’s Purse is helping them strengthen their marriages and their relationship with God as the burdens they carry on their shoulders are gently lifted.