Salvation, Marriage Renewal Are Answered Prayers in Alaska

August 21, 2017 • United States

Army Sergeant David Eves and his wife Betsy are closer to God and to each other after a week at Samaritan Lodge Alaska.

Bless the Marriage of a Military Couple

When Betsy Eves was married, she didn’t wear a stunning white dress or carry a bouquet of beautiful flowers. She didn’t walk down the aisle surrounded by friends and family.

Betsy never had a wedding ceremony because she was married by proxy. Her fiancé, Army Sergeant David Eves, had deployed to Iraq and Betsy lived in Washington.

They didn’t want to wait 16 months for his return to be husband and wife. So, they filed the paperwork, made the arrangements, and after a few months Betsy got a call from her lawyer informing her she was married to David.

Betsy didn’t have the wedding of her dreams and she said her marriage hasn’t been a fairy tale, either. When the couple arrived last month at Samaritan Lodge Alaska for a week of Biblically based marriage enrichment through Operation Heal Our Patriots they were disheartened, beaten up by war’s aftermath and years of struggling to move beyond.

They’d almost given up hope of ever experiencing joy in their marriage.

Newlyweds in Trouble

When David deployed to Iraq 10 years ago, he and Betsy had been engaged less than one month.

Army Sergeant David Eves r

Army Sergeant David Eves receives a hero’s welcome.

Betsy loved David very much but feared their uncertain future. “I was a mess that first deployment,” she said.

“I remember watching his unit pull away in the buses and thinking, ‘There goes my future.’ My heart broke into a million pieces.”

The couple eventually got married by proxy and endured a long-distance marriage for that deployment and two more. David’s life was forever changed during his second Iraq deployment.

“A couple IEDs hit the truck I was riding in. Pressure from the bombs contributed to a traumatic brain injury,” David explained.

“My heart broke into a million pieces.”-Betsy Eves

David also witnessed tremendous tragedy that day. “The vehicle in front of mine was hit by an IED. I had a couple of buddies die—they were intimate losses,” he said.

Life After War

David returned from war a different man to Betsy than she’d once known.

“David was sleeping and drinking,” she said. “He was depressed and upset. I knew things were changing—I just didn’t know why.”

David and Betsy Eves

David and Betsy learned tools to help strengthen their marriage while in Alaska.

The couple didn’t learn until long after the incident in Iraq that David had sustained a traumatic brain injury. David was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as sorrow and anxiety from the battle zone held him in a firm grip.

“I had a lot of guilt I just pushed down,” he explained. “Everything caught up to me. I spent time in a mental ward for suicidal ideas.”

Betsy desperately wanted to help her husband but had no idea how. She was nearly overcome with her own sense of hopelessness.

“I had so much anxiety and frustration built up in me that I couldn’t keep it inside anymore,” she shared. “It was so much harder dealing with what happens after the war than anything I had to deal with during deployment. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

New Life in Christ

During their week in Alaska, Betsy and David confronted the challenges in their marriage and learned from our chaplains tools to help strengthen their marriage. They bonded during activities such as fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

David is baptized in the chilly waters of Lake Clark.

David is baptized in the chilly waters of Lake Clark.

“This week allowed us to reconnect with each other and make memories—catching fish, laughing, having fun,” David said. “Nothing else mattered but those moments.”

The couple also heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For a long time, Betsy had hoped that David would come to faith in Jesus.

But after everything he’d been through, Betsy doubted he would ever open his heart to God.

Betsy was overjoyed when David, on the second night of the week, prayed to receive Jesus. He was among six people baptized in Lake Clark. Betsy also rededicated her life to God.

“For the first time in years I have hope for our marriage.”-Betsy Eves

The Eves joined six other military couples in rededicating their marriage to God during a ceremony on the beach at Samaritan Lodge. For Betsy, the occasion was also special because she finally had the wedding ceremony experience she never had 10 years ago.

Betsy and David rededicate their marriage to God.

The Eves rededicate their marriage to God.

Betsy wore a white dress and flowers in her hair. Betsy and David asked another couple to stand with them—a matron of honor and best man—as they recited their vows in the presence of new friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.

The couple is excited about building their marriage on the foundation of Jesus Christ and teaching their children about God.

“We went from having nothing in common to having everything in common because of God,” Betsy said. “For the first time in years I have hope for our marriage.”

Bless the Marriage of a Military Couple Operation Heal Our Patriots helps military couples build a strong spiritual foundation during a week of Biblically based workshops, relationship-building wilderness activities, and individual care by our retired military chaplains. We offer all this free of charge to these American heroes as a token of our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Your gift will help us cover the costs—including transportation, lodging, activities, and long-term Family Care—so that we can help them find hope in the Lord.

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