Emmaus Encounter debrief has helped me not only process my my years overseas but it also gave me valuable tools I can take with me for the rest of my life. As a missionary serving in China for 9 years and getting ready to move to the Middle East, I now feel at peace and empowered to transition to my new field. It is amazing how much we stuff things without properly processing them. This debrief gave me the opportunity to process conflict and loss, find closure, and to hear the Lord in areas of my life I had felt he was silent. The debrief process is filled with valuable tools that I can continue to use as I serve God in new places.AG - China
Deep pain and wounds that went unattended…– AW, Montana
I found myself in a place with far more questions than I had answers. Before me stood the aching reality of years of deep pain + wounds that went unattended to. My past had caught up to me and was reminding me of what I had tried to forget. I came to debriefing with the baggage of my past scattered all around me, unable + unsure of how to bring order to the chaos. Yet I was lovingly received and tenderly listened to, constantly being pointed to the reality that Jesus heals and brings new life.
Following the model of Jesus…– BA, California
Andrew and Janet are truly following the model of Jesus in their approach to this unique ministry. They listened patiently with interest, spoke truth where appropriate, and walked beside me as I discovered more of what God had for me to learn in the trials I was facing. The fellowship was refreshing and I left with not only increased knowledge but also with great encouragement!
Andy and Janet have the gift of making people feel welcome and safe enough to dig into the deep recesses of their hearts in order to foster serious introspection and ultimately growth. I thoroughly enjoyed my sessions with them and appreciated the structured approach to out of session work. I recommend this debrief to anyone seeking to encounter God amidst the pain we all experience as a result of a fallen world.BM - Guana
Soaked in disappointment…– CF, Oregon
After multiple painful experiences in mission’s I had found myself soaked in disappointment, pain, and the desire to hold it all within myself. I approached debriefing with this pain and received listening ears, and people who gently, and patiently pushed me towards the truth and kindness of God. Debriefing provides a special environment to not only process situations and experiences in your life, but to approach God in the midst of it all. I would highly recommend debriefing, as well as all of the people involved. This time was refreshing, peaceful, and freeing in so many ways. Even years later I see the fruit of choosing to process and approach my pain through debriefing.
Having a gorgeous setting to get a way from our normal routines was a gift. Coming out of a high stress season, in the middle of lots of transition and complicated relationships, having 1 week with no responsibilities but processing with my wife was very helpful. The tools that Emmaus Encounter uses were very helpful - giving a framework for us to process the last several years, pointing to Jesus to meet us in the midst of this process, we are very grateful for this time.Coming out of a high stress season
I am not sure I have adequate words to describe the debriefing process. What I know is that I came desperate, dry, & thirsty, at the point of burnout, and Jesus met me there. Janet and Andy provided me with a safe place to share my story--no judgment, no rush, just love, a well placed question or insight, and time and space to unpack what I had stuffed for years overseas. Janet and Andy became Jesus' hands and feet as they walked with me through losses, grief, and sorrows, ultimately leading me to the cross where Jesus took it all. I came away with renewed hope, a more whole heart and an understanding of my Abba Father that I have never had in 30 plus years of walking with Him.Desperate, Dry and Thirsty
I needed the time set apart…– ET, Missionary
For me this seemed so natural and encouraging as I walked through the process with Jesus and the Kerrs. I needed the time set apart to heal and seek the Lord. The concrete actions at the end of the debriefing provide a visual reminder of things learned. Nailing to the cross the things I needed to give to Jesus is powerful. Summing up the week’s lessons in actions helped to make me process the week and take the next steps of healing.
Below is a link to a blog I wrote about my experience with Emmaus Encounter. I'm an open book.I wouldn't hesitate
If anyone ever reached out to me, I would be honored to share my experience and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Emmaus Encounter!
It gives hope…– JH, Montana
A friend asked what Emmaus Encounter was like. I answered, “It’s like Salvation…” Only Jesus can do the one time work of redeeming our souls, but Emmaus was a gift to redeem a period of my life and the surrounding relationships in a way I thought was impossible – the same way that Salvation erases the guilt or shame of the past and re-presents your story redeemed and reusable for His glory. With Christ as our guide, the journey nails the past definitively to the Cross and it’s freedom to walk again in wholeness. It is a very, very hard process, but worth the potential result. It gives hope for taking a step forward, even running, into the next day. “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13-13
Veteran trail guides…– JS, Turkey
I tend towards being introverted. So, the prospect of spending five days with strangers and talking for hours about myself, my experiences and feelings was a little daunting. However, Andy and Janet quickly dispelled any anxieties with their welcoming, easy going personalities. They did not push me to go faster or farther than what was comfortable. Rather, like veteran trail guides, they journeyed with me encouraging me to go where God was leading. It was a successful journey, praise the Lord!
I recommend this debrief to anyone and everyone. It was well worth the investment. Andy and Janet poured their energy and love into me every single day. It was evident that they are doing this ministry to strengthen fellow Christians and not for the paycheck! I benefited from the intimate conversations and probing questions. I never expected a mere four days to liberate me on such deeply spiritual, emotional, and mental levels. Andy and Janet have a gift.KI - Africa
Debriefing was great! It was so nice to have time set a side for my husband and I to review at length our time in missions. This time allowed us to see patterns and identify hurtful times that we had tried to forget and move on from. This time also encouraged us to give our hurts to Jesus and leave them on the cross. Thank you for a wonderful, healing week that left us with renewed vision for moving forward.LL - Montana
I’ve been serving with Youth With A Mission full time for over 20 years. Twelve of these years have been in Taiwan. It was encouraged by our leadership team and friends around us that we go through a “debrief” as we’ve been in ministry for awhile and have gone through different seasons of transition. My husband and I had the opportunity last year to do our debrief with Emmaus Encounter. We didn’t really know what to expect from our time, but just praying that it would be fruitful. I think the biggest blessing was having the week set apart from our daily routine and responsibilities and having time to process different events and seasons in the past, fears, concerns,etc. It was like a “facilitated” retreat with the Lord and by the end of the week, we truly felt strengthened and refreshed as we had been with Jesus. This week was so valuable for us. We not only highly recommend it to friends, leaders and those who’ve served in ministry for awhile, but also plan on making this a part of our spiritual health and setting aside time every several years to go through it again.– Long Term Missionary to Taiwan
Quite simply, the debriefing rescued us. It was like an intervention. To have our pain not only validated but resolved allowed us to move on. The debriefing brought us once again to the foot of the cross to have our debts forgiven as we forgave our debtors. Andy and Janet are compassionate listeners the solution they offer is not empty sympathies but a true and living Savior who redeems everything. They opened the door for the Holy Spirit and then let Him do His work.– Medical Missionaries to Uganda
Expectations I had placed…– Mike, San Francisco
The debriefers of Emmaus Encounter helped guide me to realize that much of the frustration and pain in my life was birthed from expectations that I had placed on my leaders, my community, the homeless, and my God. I will continue to walk out my calling to the poor and marginalized, carrying with me these valuable lessons. I would personally recommend this debrief to anyone in missions and I hope to return again sometime in the future.
I am grateful for the healing…– Missionary
I have been trained in debriefing missionaries but having never experienced a debrief myself, I thought it would be helpful to spend time being debriefed by Andy and Janet at Emmaus Encounter. I did not go to the debrief with anything in particular in mind that was heavy on my heart but I figured that the Lord would use the Kerr’s to bring out whatever He wanted to show me. I was very surprised about what the Lord showed me. I realized through my debrief that I had felt hurt and rejection by one of our pastors and the enemy used this to develop in me a fear and dread when I would have contact with this pastor. Because of the bitterness that was building in me, the enemy was stealing from me, anything good I could learn from this pastor. As I dwelt on the pain and injustice I felt, I failed to see where God had always been present with me and had used others in our church body to manifest Himself to me over the years. Through my time at Emmaus Encounter, the Lord revealed these truths to me and showed me where I had been giving Satan a foothold by believing his lies. I was able to take the hurts, pain, losses and injustices to the cross and forgive my pastor. But it doesn’t end here. When I returned from my debrief, our pastor invited my husband and I out to eat. I did not feel the usual fear as I anticipated our meeting. As we shared with him about what God had been doing in our lives, he became very excited and supportive and I was able to receive the words of encouragement that he had for us without a knee-jerk reaction of distrust. I am grateful for this healing that took place in my life during my time at Emmaus Encounter and I am looking forward to seeing how God will use this in my ministry as I debrief other missionaries.
Last year my wife and I experienced a very difficult life change involving the end of a 19 year chapter of Pastoral ministry. We had so many emotions and unanswered questions. Being guided through this process enabled us to understand what we felt and gave us a context to put them in. It was what we needed! I would without hesitation endorse and recommend this valuable ministry.– Pastor Don, Montana
We found ourselves in a place of brokenness that we had never faced before. We were desperate for help and are grateful we found support through Emmaus Encounter. The Kerrs were fantastic and walked along side us through an extremely difficult season of our lives. Our debriefing gave us the time and space we needed to work through the pain and frustration we were experiencing and connect with God on a deeper level, which in turn allowed us to begin the healing process. We were equipped to continue the journey towards wholeness and the tools we obtained are invaluable. We will be forever grateful for the gift of our Emmaus Encounter.– Pastor, Michigan
It was more effective than other professional counseling programs that we had been through because it addressed the needs of ministry leaders. Debriefing was great for our marriage it allowed us to take time to listen to each other and really hear what our spouse was going through. The demands of ministry have taken a toll on me and my family and debriefing helped me see the places that I had gotten off track and been hurt. Debriefing helped me heal and understand some of my personal issues and frustrations.– Pastor Tim, Washington
Eager to continue our journey…– RS, Turkey
We arrived broken, hurt, and confused by our years in ministry. Our time of debriefing helped us sort through those years and understand why we were feeling this way. We left encouraged and refreshed, as well as eager to continue our journey with Christ wherever that may lead us. We are very thankful for how the Lord used you two and this ministry in our lives.
It’s amazing the baggage…– S, Montana
For me Emmaus Encounter was an opportunity to take a week of reflection, listening and sharing in a hope that God would set me free from things that I honestly thought would never change. I had resolved myself to a place of hopeless acceptance. That place was leaving me lifeless and depressed. It’s amazing the baggage and woundedness we can carry as believers in ourselves and our relationships. Through the process that Andy and Janet walked us through I was able to face my deepest fear of vulnerability and come out on the other side healed by God, renewed in my marriage and full of joy and hope. It really felt like being a new person. My favorite part of the week was having so much time and space to hear and feel what God had to say about my hurt and disappointment. He truly set me free! I would recommend this to anyone who feels stuck and hopeless it is an amazing ministry.