ORLANDO, USA — Meeting in Orlando for this year’s Operation Heal Our Patriots Reunion, more than 400 military couples were inspired, challenged, and encouraged by powerful speakers and workshop leaders who pointed to Christ for healing and restoration.
The annual event reunites alumni who have been to Samaritan Lodge Alaska for a week of Biblically based marriage enrichment training. Operation Heal Our Patriots focuses on veterans wounded in combat after 9/11 and their spouses.
Franklin Graham – Samaritan’s Purse President and CEO:
We do a reunion every year with Operation Heal Our Patriots. We try to follow up with every couple that God brings to us in Alaska, and we have seen lives transformed, marriages saved, and that’s what it’s all about.
Edward and Kristy Graham – Samaritan’s Purse:
When you go to Alaska, you become family. So it’s gathering, getting back together with people that understand what you’ve been through, that have been through it with you, and that are helping to disciple you in Christ.
Ben Hebert – Conference Attendee:
It’s amazing to be able to reconnect with the people that we went to Alaska with, or the people that I got to go to Team Patriot deployment in Texas.
Heidi Hebert – Conference Attendee:
Not just that, but so many people that you run into that he served with and hasn’t seen in years.
John Pryor – Samaritan’s Purse:
This reunion is about coming together as Operation Heal Our Patriots family, learning more, marriage enrichment classes, spending time with their chaplain, spending time with their key leader, learning more about Team Patriot; but it’s really coming together as family, reuniting, and celebrating what God’s doing.
Ken Bevel – Pastor, Sherwood Baptist Church:
This is a great opportunity to be a part of Operation Heal Our Patriots, to be with the service members and their families, and watch them go through a path of healing is one of the most incredible things I could ever witness.
Darryl Strawberry – Baseball Legend:
When you put on a uniform, there’s a lot of pressure. Just being an athlete, putting on the uniform, hitting the ball, is totally different compared to the things that they’ve had to experience; and then they come back home, and where’s the support?
But the trials of combat and deployments, being separated for years at a time, that’s hard.
So Jesus is our anchor. He’s what allows us to do hard things. So that’s what we hope to encourage, because I don’t know how people do life without the Lord, but especially marriage.
God takes every broken piece of us and He uses it for His good.
Mike Pompeo – Former Secretary of State & Director of the CIA:
He continues to fight the battle for us. Know that, no matter where you are in your life this evening, no matter what struggles are before you, that His grace is with you.
Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin – U.S. Army (Retired):
We need to stand boldly. You need to find your legs. Men, you need to find every ounce of testosterone you have, and stand boldly, and say, “You’re not taking my faith.”
Chris and Crissy Sharon – Conference Attendees:
We get to focus on each other and spend time together without work, without life, and so that’s been really refreshing for us.
We want to teach these couples to surrender– surrender their past, their sins, everything they thought their marriage was about– and put it at the foot of the Cross, and give it over to Him.
If Jesus was not at the center of our relationship, we wouldn’t be married right now. That’s God’s redemption story. Talk about turning ashes into something so beautiful. That’s God’s testimony in our life right there.
Brokenness is real. You can’t hide it. We can medicate it, we can do whatever we want, but it will never go away until we allow Jesus to become Lord over our life.
If the Lord allowed it, He’s using it; if He’s using it, you need it; and if you need it, you can be grateful for it.
Thank you for your service to America. I am humbled to be amongst you this evening. May the good Lord continue to bless each and every one of you. Thank you so much.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Global News Alliance, Military Couples Come Together for Operation Heal Our Patriots Reunion
- Samaritan’s Purse, Official Website