SAMARITAN LODGE, ALASKA – Through Operation Heal Our Patriots, Marine Gunnery Sergeant David Mercado learned that God could heal their marriage and give them real hope.
David Mercado, Gunnery Sergeant, USMC, Ret.:
I did one deployment in Afghanistan. We used to do a lot of security details. You name it, they stuck us on it.
The difficult part was being there for so long. You’re always turned on. You’re there seven days a week. And when you come back, it’s quiet. And you’re just so not used to any of that regular day-to-day stuff. It was a tough transition coming back, and I never really readjusted back to who I was before I left.
It was rough. He was not the same. And he hasn’t been the same.
In 2018, in Panama City, Hurricane Michael hit and there was a lot of destruction. And Samaritan’s Purse helped us clear a lot of the debris and trees in my yard.
So when we heard that Operation Heal Our Patriots (OHOP) was through Samaritan’s Purse, we’re like, “Oh, we know them.”
We had friends who did it. And they said, you know, “It’s life changing. You guys should go.” And I was like, “Yeah, OK, we’ll sign up.” Hopefully, it does change our lives. You know?
I think it came at a good time too.
It really did.
Shawna Duvall, Samaritan’s Purse:
The wounds that you experience on the battlefield are absolutely brought into the home. What we find is that these battles are actually now the hardest ones they’re going to have to face– battles for their family and battles for their marriage. You always go in with your battle buddies and that’s what we want to be with Operation Heal Our Patriots, to surround you and stand by your side in the battle on the homefront.
Luis Anda, Samaritan’s Purse:
They want to be a good husband. They want to be a good father. They want to continue to give back to the community. But they’re trying to figure out themselves and why am I so broke inside?
We have classes where we’re walking through a curriculum to help them take these biblical truths and put them into a marital context. And we want to give them time to have communication that’s intentional. We want them to dig deep and begin to connect again with one another. You can lose that connection over time, especially when you’re walking through injury, and you can forget that you’re best friends. And Alaska, for many of them, is just a moment to reconnect, and then it kind of lights that spark again, and then that’s something they can carry with them as they go back home.
I’m hopeful that when we get back home we can implement those things that we’ve learned and make some changes.
This week meant a lot. I think it gave us both time to reconnect, unwind. There’s hope and joy and relief that I don’t have to do it all by myself.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Operation Heal Our Patriots gives wounded veterans and their spouses the opportunity for spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment. Couples participate in Biblically based seminars that help strengthen their relationships with God and others and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation with outdoor activities at our Alaskan wilderness lodge. We continue to support these men and women after their initial stay, keeping their spiritual needs and marriages a priority.
CONTACT: Melissa Nystrom, [email protected]
Source: Global News Alliance, Military Couple Finds Faith, Hope in Marriage