Listen Again: Operation Heal Our Patriots (2019)

This episode originally aired in 2019 after Kristy Graham returned from Operation Heal Our Patriots in Alaska. This week-long marriage retreat brings spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment to military veterans and their spouses. As we celebrate our freedom as Americans, we want to introduce you to military veterans and their spouses who have selflessly served our country.


Learn more about Operation Heal Our Patriots

Operation Heal Our Patriots

Meet Sean and Brandy Karpf, a couple whose marriage was saved this summer

God Answers Prayers to Save a Military Couple’s Marriage

Follow us on Instagram for behind-the-scenes content.


Operation Heal Our Patriots is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse that is especially close to Kristy Graham’s heart. Her husband, Edward, served 16 years in the U.S. Army so she knows military life firsthand. In this episode, Kristy takes listeners back to one of her favorite episodes, which was recorded while she was at Samaritan Lodge Alaska in 2019.

At Operation Heal Our Patriots, couples have the opportunity to get away from the normal pressures of life, reconnect, explore the Alaskan wilderness, and participate in Biblically-based marriage enrichment classes. This ministry of Samaritan’s Purse was developed to strengthen marriages.

Samaritan’s Purse gives thanks to God that through this program we have welcomed more than 1,400 military couples to Alaska since 2012, and hundreds of participants have accepted Christ as their Savior while in Alaska. In the first four weeks of the 2022 season, 25 individuals made decisions to follow Jesus, 21 were baptized in Lake Clark, and 23 couples chose to rededicate their marriages to God and each other.

Kristy Graham shares the life-changing story of Tony and Amy Payne, one of the many couples impacted by Operation Heal Our Patriots. The Paynes met in a tattoo shop. Shortly after they got married, Tony felt led to join the military. Tony was critically injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) during one of his deployments. When he returned home, his marriage hit an all-time low. Out of desperation, Tony turned to God’s Word and accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. Tony followed faithfully after Jesus and prayed regularly for Amy to experience God’s love in the same way. It wasn’t until they came to Alaska that Amy understood what it meant to follow Jesus. Tony’s prayers were answered when Amy committed her life to God. At the end of the week at Samaritan Lodge Alaska, she was baptized in the icy waters of Lake Clark.

Another couple whose marriage was restored was JP and Crystal Lane. JP joined the army when he was 22 and was deployed to Afghanistan. In 2011, he was wounded by an IED. He sustained 26 injuries and went through 28 surgeries. JP and Crystal knew that it was a miracle from God that he survived. They spent their time and energy sharing JP’s testimony with others, but at the end of the day they had little left for one another.

“I enjoy one hundred percent inspiring people with the testimony that God has given us and what I’ve been through,” JP said. “But we would be so drained so much that when we were home we didn’t care about inspiring each other and it was breaking us apart.”

It wasn’t until JP and Crystal came to Alaska that they truly refocused their marriage on one another and centered their lives around Christ. Operation Heal Our Patriots gave them space for restoration.

Kristy then had an insightful conversation about the role of the caregiver with Lieutenant General VanAntwerp, a loyal volunteer with Operation Heal Our Patriots since 2012. He emphasized the importance of family and the healing that happens when couples communicate openly. He encourages couples to draw the line in the sand, promising to commit to their marriages.

Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, explained to Kristy that the program started when he recognized the need for marriage enrichment for military couples.

“When we first started, I wasn’t prepared for the results we would see spiritually,” Graham said. “Every week people get saved. Every week people are baptized. Every week couples renew their marriages.”
As the 2022 season continues, we pray that many more lives will be changed for eternity.

Serving the Displaced: World Refugee Day 2022

The term “refugee” carries with it certain protections under international law, but what does this mean for Christians? Kristy Graham sits down with team members who have both academic and first-hand field experience to learn more about the effects of displacement, the importance of remembering the individual, and how Christians are called to help.


Go inside a refugee camp in Iraq.

– Learn more about ways Samaritan’s Purse is helping refugees around the world.

Follow us on Instagram for behind-the-scenes content.

Show Notes

On June 20, 2022, the international community will recognize World Refugee Day, but as Christians, we should consider the needs of displaced people year-round. Christ calls us to love and care for refugees, which Kristy Graham shares more about in this episode.

First, Kristy sits down with Eric Huxley, the country director in Colombia, to learn more about the technical definition of the word “refugee.” Eric studied displacement at the academic level. He breaks down what it means to be a refugee, but he also shares his first-hand experience working with Venezuelan migrants in Colombia.

“When you enter into a relationship with beneficiaries, when you sit on the floor in the dirt with them, and you just begin to ask them, ‘Why are you leaving?’ ‘What do you miss?’ ‘What was your last night like before you left your home?’ Then you begin to experience the human side of the crisis, and that’s where you really begin to pull out the spiritual needs that every single refugee has.” — Eric Huxley

Next, Kristy talks to Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations. Ken remembers the first time Samaritan’s Purse ever worked with displaced people, and he shares how integral this has been to the work of the ministry over the years. Ken reminds listeners of the parable of the Good Samaritan. In Luke 10, the religious people walked around the man in need.

“I never want to be the person that walks around the person. I think we’re called to be there—called to go to the people in the ditches of life. We’re not called to go where we have permissions, we’re called to go where there are needs.” — Ken Isaacs

One of the places of significant need right now is Europe where millions of Ukrainian refugees have fled. Samaritan’s Purse is partnering with more than 50 churches there to help them welcome and care for refugees in Jesus’ Name. Daniel Zeidan is overseeing these partnerships. While he was in Poland, Kristy called him for an update on the work in the region. Daniel shared how moving it is to see families and churches in Poland open their doors to help refugees in their time of need.

Throughout the episode, listeners will also hear firsthand from a displaced person in Ukraine, an Afghan refugee now living in the United States, and a Syrian refugee in Iraq. As you meet these individuals and learn more about what it means to be a refugee, you’ll learn how to strategically pray for those who are displaced and consider ways to get involved.

Meet the Staff: Luther Harrison

Samaritan's Purse Lodge Alaska

Luther Harrison, vice president of North American Ministries, remembers the first year of disaster relief with Samaritan’s Purse when just 50 volunteers deployed. Now, thousands serve across the country each year. Kristy and Luther reflect on God’s faithfulness over the years.


Volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse

Follow us on Instagram for behind-the-scenes content.

Read how volunteers are helping families after the devastating wildfire in New Mexico.

Show Notes

After years in law enforcement, Luther Harrison, now serving as the vice president of North American Ministries, felt God calling him to the ministry. He started out as an associate at Samaritan’s Purse—taking inventory, clearing snow, and mowing the grass. Kristy Graham asks Luther about his history with the ministry and how he has witnessed our work grow over the years.

Luther was on the ground for our first U.S. Disaster Relief response more than 20 years ago, and now he leads the team that responds across the country when disasters strike. He remembers when just 50 volunteers deployed in one year and contrasts this to the thousands who now serve each year.

Now, North American Ministries maintains a fleet of Disaster Relief Units based in North Carolina, Texas, and California. God has entrusted these resources to Samaritan’s Purse, and in everything we do, we want people to know that we are responding in Jesus’ Name.

Luther shares that the church should be the first responder, which is why Samaritan’s Purse always partners with a local church. He challenges the Church to get outside, serve those in need, and be the hands and feet of Christ.

After more than two decades in disaster relief, Luther says,“It never gets old, getting to see people get help.”

Ephesians 6 is a chapter in the Bible that continues to encourage Luther in his work.

“…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak,” — Ephesians 6:18–20 (ESV)

Kristy closes the episode with specific ways that listeners can pray for the work of North American Ministries. First, pray for our volunteers that faithfully serve. Pray also for the staff and families who deploy at a moment’s notice in response to crises across the country. Finally, pray that Samaritan’s Purse will be good stewards of every gift that is entrusted to us.

Memorial Day: Reflection and Pride

Samaritan's Purse Lodge Alaska

Kristy Graham interviews Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin to reflect on the importance of the sacrifice and honor of the men and women who paid the ultimate price in service to our country.


Listen to the 2021 Memorial Day episode to reflect and remember the names of service members who died defending our freedom.

Listen to Kristy’s conversation with Lisa Hallett, whose husband was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.

– Honor the fallen this year by participating in Wear Blue Run to Remember.

– Download a special Memorial Day Scripture card.

– Learn more about Operation Heal Our Patriots.

Show Notes

In honor of Memorial Day, Kristy Graham sits down with Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin to honor and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States. Having spent 36 years in the army, Lt. Gen. Boykin knows this loss personally, and he shares what Memorial Day means to him. Boykin currently serves as Family Research Council’s Executive Vice President. He is also a ministry partner who has been a part of Operation Heal Our Patriots since the beginning.

Memorial Day is a day to reflect on sacrifice. Lt. Gen. Boykin challenges listeners to reflect and honor those who gave their lives defending our freedom.

Continue reading “Memorial Day: Reflection and Pride”

5 Minutes in 4 Places: Colombia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Ukraine

The headlines are changing every hour. Across the globe, people are experiencing hopelessness, but Samaritan’s Purse is working to provide help in Jesus’ Name. Come alongside Kristy Graham as she hears updates from four corners of the world where our teams are helping after the migrant crisis in Colombia, humanitarian crisis in Yemen, devastation in Ethiopia and conflict in Ukraine.


Samaritan’s Purse website

Meeting Ukrainians’ Critical Needs in Jesus’ Name

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website

Show Notes

“It’s messy work, it’s challenging work, but it’s worth it. I want folks to be aware of the crises happening around the world.” —Samaritan’s Purse Country Director Eric Huxley

Kristy Graham is taking you around the world in today’s episode to share how Samaritan’s Purse is working in Colombia, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Ukraine. She first hears from Eric Huxley, the Samaritan’s Purse country director for Colombia.

Continue reading “5 Minutes in 4 Places: Colombia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Ukraine”

Hope in Heartache: Easter

As we prepare to celebrate Easter, we know that Jesus is our ultimate hope. Hear stories of God’s faithfulness in the midst of heartache from a local pastor serving in tornado-weary Kentucky, a Ukrainian chaplain whose friends were killed in the conflict, and a pharmacist that God is using in Ukraine to share the Gospel.


Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website

Franklin Graham to Preach an Easter Message in Ukraine

Samaritan’s Purse Response to Crisis in Ukraine

Hope After Mayfield Tornadoes

On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse Podcast Instagram

Show Notes

Samaritan’s Purse is working around the world in places of insurmountable heartache—walking alongside the local church and believers to serve people in need. Despite the hardships, they are seeing the light of Christ in the midst of the pain and suffering.

Continue reading “Hope in Heartache: Easter”

For Such a Time as This: Ukraine

Samaritan’s Purse teams—prepared and mobilized by God—are continuing to bring physical and spiritual help in Ukraine. Hear updates and stories directly from staff, patients, and leadership that are on the ground in the midst of the conflict.


Apply now to serve on the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

Give now to the Samaritan’s Purse response to provide help for the growing needs in Ukraine and surrounding countries.

Listen to our recent episode to hear the sounds and testimonies of what it’s like on the ground in Ukraine.

Steps to Peace with God

Show Notes

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” —Esther 4:14

Samaritan’s Purse is continuing to provide medical care, food, and critical relief supplies to those affected by the Ukraine crisis. In today’s episode, Kristy Graham brings you on the ground to witness how our teams were knit together by God for such a time as this. Throughout the episode, you’ll get to hear testimonies of God’s faithfulness across our teams and the patients we’re meeting each day.

Continue reading “For Such a Time as This: Ukraine”

You Welcomed Me: An Afghan Family’s Story of Hope

In August 2021, thousands of Afghan families fled their home in a state of emergency—leaving with only the clothes on their backs. Now, Samaritan’s Purse is helping them begin their lives anew as they resettle in the United States. Today, you’ll hear the powerful story of one family’s journey from Afghanistan to America.


Samaritan’s Purse Afghan Resettlement Program

Samaritan’s Purse website

Asha’s Refuge website


Steps to Peace with God

Show Notes

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35

When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, tens of thousands of innocent people escaped for their lives—including the Mussa* family. Stranded at the Kabul airport for days, this mother and her eight children clung to the hope of a better life in America.

Continue reading “You Welcomed Me: An Afghan Family’s Story of Hope”

Our First 72 Hours in Ukraine

Samaritan’s Purse is in Ukraine to help meet the needs of fleeing victims of the ongoing crisis. Hear the sounds and stories of what it’s like on the ground in Ukraine, how our team is responding, and ways local churches are acting as the body of Christ.


Apply now to serve on the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

Give now to the Samaritan’s Purse response to provide help for the growing needs in Ukraine and surrounding countries.

Listen to our last episode to hear behind-the-scenes updates as the ministry prepared to respond to the Ukraine crisis.

Steps to Peace with God

Show Notes

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.” —Colossians 1:9

Samaritan’s Purse is responding to needs on the ground in Ukraine and surrounding countries as the conflict persists. Our podcast correspondent, Melissa, joins our Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to witness how our teams are working to meet physical and spiritual needs.

Continue reading “Our First 72 Hours in Ukraine”