In this episode of On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse, host Kristy Graham speaks with John Pryor, program director of Operation Heal Our Patriots, to talk about the 2022 season and what comes next for these couples after Alaska.
Operation Heal Our Patriots gives wounded veterans and their spouses the opportunity for spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment. Each summer, Samaritan’s Purse sends military couples to Samaritan Lodge Alaska for a week-long program where they are able to focus on their marriages through Biblically based seminars while enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.
This summer, Samaritan’s Purse welcomed 164 veteran couples to Operation Heal Our Patriots—commonly referred to as “OHOP.” The summer season ended with 96 individuals surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ, and dozens of marriages restored.
John shared about why this week is so impactful for couples.
“Cell signal is sparse there, internet is slow and it gives them time to slow down, enjoy the beauty but also to learn about God and to allow God to be part of their marriage. But the most important part is strengthening their lives together.” —John Pryor
Next, we hear from Melissa, a podcast correspondent, as she speaks with staff and military couples. Kent, one of the outdoor guides, describes how marriage classes and time in Alaska impacts the entire family.
Military couple Ryan and Jessica share about an intense season of darkness. After witnessing atrocities of war, Ryan returned home a broken man. He felt alone after the death of his friend, and he struggled with drugs and even attempted suicide. Jessica shared about how redemptive time at Operation Heal Our Patriots has been for their marriage.
“To be here and to be around the stories that we’ve heard and the wisdom are incredible because we have been seeking help in every direction.” —Jessica
Kristy reflects on the pain of war — its physical, mental, and spiritual impact. She hears from John about what happens during the week in Alaska and how life-changing it is for many of the couples.
Later, Melissa joins couples for an excursion to Tanalian Falls where they explain how meaningful it is to rest in the beauty of Alaska.
Participant Roland shares his testimony of salvation, and the emotional experience of meeting Jesus on his birthday during time at Operation Heal Our Patriots.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” —Psalm 147:3
Finally, Kristy closes by explaining about how chaplains throughout the country continue to care for couples long after their week in Alaska ends. Staff members host a national reunion event and regional marriage retreats to support couples as they build on the marriage principles they learned at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.
Please continue to partner with us in prayer for military couples fighting for their marriages. If you’re interested in applying for the 2023 season, visit our website for more information.