Operation Heal Our Patriots: An Overview

July 27, 2017 • Canada
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Learn about Operation Heal Our Patriots®, our program that offers wounded veterans and their spouses the opportunity for spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment.

The next Operation Heal Our Patriots season will be from September 10 – 15, 2017
We have now filled all openings for this year and thus can no longer accept applications for 2017.

What is Operation Heal Our Patriots?

Operation Heal Our Patriots, a ministry project of Samaritan’s Purse, focuses on bringing spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment to wounded and injured U.S. and Canadian military service members and their spouses. To thank these brave men and women for their service and sacrifice, we offer programs uniquely developed to strengthen the marriage relationship and build hope for the future through the transforming power of God’s Word. This program is open to military service personnel who have served since 9/11/2001.

“I’m looking forward to this new journey with God in our lives.”
— Rob Young, Retired Warrant Officer of the Canadian Army

According to the National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, over 2,000 Canadian service members have been wounded or injured as a result of combat actions during Canada’s 12-year mission to Afghanistan. For these patriots, the road to recovery is long. Military couples in particular encounter intense challenges along the way. Operation Heal Our Patriots is here to help.

About Samaritan Lodge Alaska

Samaritan Lodge Alaska is a retreat center for military couples, situated peacefully within the great wilderness of America’s last frontier. It is here, among mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and wildlife that we minister to the needs of our own victims of war. Military service members and their spouses have the opportunity to stay for one week, including travel time.

Each day, our on-site staff chaplain leads devotions and our Marriage Resiliency Workshop. This week-long course offers couples time away from daily pressures and distractions to study the primary dynamics that have the greatest impact on a marriage. The workshop concludes with a worship service, which affirms and celebrates couples’ relationship with God and one another, amid the marvels of His creation.

Master Corporal Chris Harding and his wife Lisa of Morinville, Alberta, participated in Operation Heal Our Patriots in September 2015. Their week at Samaritan Lodge in Alaska culminated in a step of faith, which included baptism. Read Chris and Lisa’s story here.

OHOP-Cabin

Cozy cabins named after Alaskan wildlife provide a relaxing space for couples to unwind.

Samaritan Lodge Alaska sits on five acres of pristine lakefront property on the protected shores of Hardenburg Bay, in the southwestern portion of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. One of the deepest lakes in Alaska, Lake Clark spans 42 miles, surrounded by the glories of the Alaskan wild.

Location and activities

The wilderness retreat center has more than 25 buildings, including cabins, a fitness facility, and a full-service community dining hall and lunch cafe. Meals are prepared each day by our on-site chef. Wide porches overlooking Lake Clark invite relaxation, while evening fires provide a welcoming venue for conversation and laughter. Each day, our staff chaplain leads devotions and marriage enrichment courses.

OHOP cabin

The cabins are connected to the other buildings at the facility by boardwalks, making them handicap accessible.

Couples stay in their own personal cabin, with amenities that include a queen-size bed, full bath with provided toiletries, hot and cold running water, heat, and daily housekeeping service. All cabins and main buildings are within short walking distance of each other, and interconnected boardwalks ensure that all lodge facilities are fully accessible.

Guests enjoy a wide range of activities such as fishing, kayaking, hiking, bear watching, and boating. Our specialized 34-foot boat is outfitted with a folding bow that transitions into a ramp to the shore, providing easy access. Specific activities are tailored for each group of visitors. The wilderness retreat center is open from June through mid September. Guests will stay for one week, including travel time.

“Our week in Alaska really opened up our eyes to see God is still there. It was us that backed up, not Him.”
— Army Sergeant Ken and Jessica Lind

Travel to Port Alsworth, Alaska

All travel to and from Samaritan Lodge Alaska is planned, provided, and paid for by Samaritan’s Purse.

Commercial flights will be booked for Sundays from the most convenient airport to Anchorage. Here guests will transfer to a private plane for travel on to Port Alsworth. Lodge staff greets guests at the airport, drives them the short distance to the wilderness retreat center, and drops them off at the front door of their personal cabin.

Army-Staff-Sergeant-Doug-Cox

Army Staff Sergeant Doug Cox was wounded in Afghanistan in December 2010 when a mortar landed on his right side. He’s been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and suffers from related cognitive and balance issues. His wife, Amiee, has prayed for him for years to receive Christ. After listening to a chaplain-led morning devotion on Psalm 23, Doug decided to receive Jesus as his Lord, Savior, and Good Shepherd.

“I was lost in the icy darkness of sin, but I’ve been raised into the warmth and light of Jesus Christ’s love.”
Sergeant Doug Cox, after being baptized in the frigid waters of Lake Clark

Sample Schedule

Curious about what a typical day is like for the military couples of Operation Heal Our Patriots wilderness and marriage retreat? Below is a sample schedule of what your day may be like for you and your spouse during your stay at the Samaritan Lodge.

0700—Breakfast
0745—Devotions
0830—Wilderness Skills Workshop (Fly Fishing, Kayaking, etc.)
0930—Fishing/Bear Watching/Waterfalls Hike or Camp Activity
1200—Lunch
1300—Fishing/Bear Watching/Waterfall Hike/Camp Activity
1600—Return to the Lodge
1800—Dinner
1930—Marriage Resiliency Seminar
2100—Fire Pit or Free Time
2300—Lights Out

Aftercare

What military couples learn and experience through Operation Heal Our Patriots gives them a solid biblical foundation upon which to build a Christ-centered marriage. Helping them live it out at home is what leads to their long-term healing. That is why our ministry includes aftercare services that include:

  • Area military chaplain referrals
  • Local church follow-up
  • Additional resources for spiritual growth

 

The next Operation Heal Our Patriots season will be from September 5 – 10, 2017
 

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Northern Iraq
Operation Heal our Patriots CanadaOperation 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.

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