– Are you or your spouse a service member from a U.S. military branch who has been injured or wounded in active duty after September 11, 2001? Apply to participate in Operation Heal Our Patriots.
– Discover more about how Operation Heal Our Patriots is working to strengthen the relationships and faith of our wounded veterans here.
– Be encouraged by the latest updates from Alaska.
In honor of the Fourth of July, Kristy Graham is taking you on the ground to hear from wounded veterans and their spouses that recently participated in Operation Heal Our Patriots, commonly referred to in the ministry as “OHOP.” Each summer, Samaritan’s Purse offers this marriage retreat to give couples the opportunity for spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment. This Alaskan mountaintop experience allows these men and women to truly be refreshed through God’s word and like-minded community, but the real work happens when they return back home.
The podcast opens with Kristy’s conversation with Greg Duvall, the educational and discipleship manager for Operation Heal Our Patriots. He explains the transformations he has witnessed through the beautiful Alaskan retreat. With no distractions, couples can focus on one another and receive tools to bolster their marriage. However, couples often get hit with life’s demands once they come home from Alaska. The Samaritan’s Purse aftercare program was designed to be the bridge between the lessons learned at the retreat and the reality of hardships in daily life.
“A big priority on our end is to remind them that the same God that worked in their lives, hearts, and marriages in Alaska is the same God who’s going to carry them through all the struggles and issues they’re walking through today. It’s the same power that brought healing to their marriage in Alaska that’s going to continue that healing work in their marriage back at home.” —Greg Duvall
Greg breaks down the purpose and planning for the aftercare program. OHOP hosts multiple regional gatherings each year—allowing alumni and their families to continue growing with their community. In mid-May, Kristy connected with two of those OHOP couples over the phone. Both couples attended the retreat in 2018, and experienced God’s transforming power in their marriages. First, Kristy introduces you to John and Christina Ricketts.
John was injured in 2010 serving in Afghanistan as a scout. After his vehicle was hit with 300 pounds of homemade bombs, John left the service with two crushed feet and a major brain injury. Shortly after both legs were amputated below the knee, he met Christina. It wasn’t until after they got married that they realized they couldn’t handle their circumstances alone. When they attended Operation Heal Our Patriots, they were given the tools they needed for their marriage.
“Operation Heal Our Patriots chaplains have been on our 911 speed dial a few times. These people are for our marriage. They’re for our growth, our faith, and our healing. I’m so thankful for them.” —Christina Ricketts
Kristy also spoke with Rich and Ruthe Reid, who have been married over 25 years. When Rich left his military career of 17 years, he had a traumatic brain injury, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and was filled with rage. Their marriage was on the breaking point when they decided to apply for Operation Heal Our Patriots. They both agree the week in Alaska truly changed the trajectory of their relationship. Now, their marriage is stronger than it’s ever been before, and they’re serving in their local church while getting plugged-in to the surrounding community.
“I love Samaritan’s Purse because in every ministry they do, they want people to get plugged into the local church. Whether it’s Operation Christmas Child, U.S. Disaster Relief, or Operation Heal Our Patriots, we want to equip and stick with you. But, there is nothing like your local church.” —Kristy Graham
The episode wraps with specific prayer requests for the Operation Heal Our Patriots program and alumni. Please continue to pray for the marriage of these men and women that sacrificed for our freedom.