Testimonials

We came to Emmaus Encounter at the start of our first sabbatical after 14 years in full-time missions. Both of us walked away with a deeper understanding of the last season of ministry, family, and life in general ... and of ourselves! This week has helped us close out the last season well, and because of that we are entering the next with so much more confidence and hope! MB - Missionary

A deeper understanding of the last season

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

In nearly 15 years of ministry within the local church, I have never experienced the kind of undivided, undistracted, patient, present, loving and God-centered care and ministry that Janet and Andy provided. They received me tenderly and safely and led me to the Lord at every point. God was faithful to meet with me, minister to me, give me His perspective on my story and bring profound restoration and healing. I walked into debrief tired, overextended, worn out and wounded from a long season of constant change, and unsure of whether or not to continue in vocational ministry. I left with measures of gratitude, healing and strength that I didn't even know to hope for. I cannot recommend this experience enough.

ALH - Pastor

Deep pain and wounds that went unattended…
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.

– AW, Montana

Following the model of Jesus…
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!

– BA, California

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…
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.

– CF, Oregon

I came to the debrief out of touch with myself and if I were honest, out of touch with God. This guided reflection experience reminded me of who I am in Christ and who my Father in heaven is. I was struggling a lot in my role and had used every tool in my tool-belt to try and ease my circumstances but was unsuccessful. Turns out what I needed was two wise helpers to walk with me and show me Christ.

Church Staff

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

Desperate, Dry and Thirsty...
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.

Anon

I needed the time set apart…
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.

– ET, Missionary

Eyeopening! Soothing to the soul! Life changing! That is how we would describe debriefing. Going through the debriefing process as a couple helped bring clarity to the areas of our marriage that we had become stuck and unable to get past. It helped us process all the changes that life brings and invite the Lord into those places so that we could move forward together. It also gave us tools for the future, because life is full of change! Thank you Andy and Janet!

Eye Opening!

Debrief at Emmaus Encounter was more than we expected! We received more than we thought possible and came away with tools and hope for our future. I only wish we had done it sooner!

More than we expected!

Below is a link to a blog I wrote about my experience with Emmaus Encounter. I'm an open book.
If anyone ever reached out to me, I would be honored to share my experience and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Emmaus Encounter!
https://steph-k-young.weebly.com/blog/the-mountains-were-calling

I wouldn't hesitate

As I sit here thinking about my time at Emmaus Encounter (EE), I’m reminded of Paul’s story in Acts where, after having been blinded on the road to Damascus, meets Ananias who restores Paul’s sight and “immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again… (NIV Acts 9:18). I think about this Gospel because a lifetime of pain, hurt, disappointment, shame and guilt had shrouded and distorted my view of the world and my place in it. It’s hard to describe how those terrible companions were so familiar and natural to me that they felt like part of my DNA—just a part of who I was like my eye color—even while they burdened my heart and nervous system by their unGodly weight and oppression. I don’t have a shred of doubt that the evil one was only too happy to let me believe the lies he had conditioned me to believe. Living life with those lies hounding you is bad enough, but carrying those lies into the mission field can have cataclysmic consequences, which is why my sending organization stressed the importance of pre-briefing at EE.
So, I came to EE as part of pre-field training before heading to SE Asia, having no real expectations or really any clue as to why I was there. Once I learned about EE, I was receptive to it, but it sure wasn’t a panacea or quick fix for me. To be honest, it was hard; it was painful, and it was emotionally draining. But I can also be honest in saying that during those incredible one-on-one sessions with Janet and Andy I had epiphanies that rocked my world and motivated me yield to the pain and press on, praying and leaning into Christ Jesus. You know, it’s one thing to be told that you’re a child of God and loved unconditionally; it’s quite another to have the proof of it laid on your heart, which is what happened there for me in that beautiful Montana mountainside. By the end of the week I felt that I had caught a glimpse of God’s Kingdom—the view our merciful, gracious, loving creator God wants us to have—rather than a life lived full of regret and shame.
I know the work isn’t over and never will be until Jesus returns or I’m called home. I’m blessed through this EE ministry to have been given The Way of seeing and experiencing my life through the lens of Jesus Christ. BL - Missionary

Importance of Pre-Briefing at Emmaus Encounter

It gives hope…
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

– JH, Montana

Veteran trail guides…
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!

– JS, Turkey

We come out of 8 years of church planting. We faced accusations of financial misuse of funds and saw two fellow pastors on staff at our church have major moral failure a couple of years a part. There were other painful experiences including major health issues with two of our children. Through the council of our trustees and leadership team and much prayer, we closed our church. All of these experiences were painful and hard to process. We sought counseling at one point and were told that as a pastor I should know what to do and how to handle my pain. This added to my already high sense of failure, shame, and hopelessness. God used Andrew and Janet to bring clarity, a black and white simplicity, and an ability over a 5 day process to both process and take steps in dealing with areas that were previously unknown or unclear. This was an incredibly painful, healthy, and spiritually enriching process. I would highly recommend anyone who has gone through a painful stretch of time in their lives to go, embrace, and walk through the steps in order to allow God to provide the same healing that I am on the road to experiencing.

An incredibly painful, healthy and spiritually enriching process.

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

I didn't think I needed debriefing; I came as a prerequisite to some further training in debriefing. Debriefing was exactly what I needed! I found some skeletons moldering in my soul's closet that I didn't even know were there. The process and facilitators helped me expose them to God's sunlight so they could be disposed of properly, leaving me free to move forward into the future God has planned for me.

Leaving me free

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…
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.

– Mike, San Francisco

I am grateful for the healing…
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.

– Missionary

I came to the debrief out of touch with myself and if I were honest, out of touch with God. This guided reflection experience reminded me of who I am in Christ and who my Father in heaven is. I was struggling a lot in my role and had used every tool in my tool belt to try and ease my circumstances but was unsuccessful. Turns out what I needed was two wise helpers to walk with me and show me Christ.

Out of touch

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

Andy and Janet took us through an amazing process! We are so grateful for what they do. We were in ministry for 14 + years and transitioning out to move into the business world. It was a hard transition, all in the middle of the finalization of adopting our youngest daughter. We were able to process 12 years of ministry and constant change in our family dynamics. God brought so much light to different situations and He was able to bring healing to areas we didn't even know we still needed to be healed from. We are so grateful for the tools we received to be able to keep on debriefing ourselves and to stay healthy and connected to one another. They also gave us tools to help our kiddos process transition and change.
The accommodations are amazing as well! The peaceful atmosphere gives you an amazing opportunity to meet with God.
We are so grateful for our time, we've already recommended it to many of my friends!

Peaceful atmosphere

Having such an intentional and focused time of reflection was so profoundly helpful toward my continuing walk with God. Slowing down to more deeply process the challenges I've been facing and the questions I have been asking gave Jesus a place to meet me. And being in his presence brought so much life and freedom to me this week! I highly recommend this experience to anyone seeking to grow closer to God.

Being in His presence

After being on the field in Central America for 17 years, we sensed the Lord leading us back to the USA. This was difficult and painful, as we had a thriving ministry and a loving, supportive community there. A missionary friend suggested that we do a debriefing with the Kerrs. We’d never done anything like that before, but I knew I would need help to process the loss and grief I was experiencing. The Kerrs listened to us intentionally and helped us to understand how we could grieve our losses; some that we didn’t even know we had until we worked through the material together. We are now using the tools we learned to minister to ourselves and others. I am very thankful to the Kerrs for this ministry and to the Lord for allowing us this precious time apart to debrief in such a healthy way.

We'd never done anything like this before!

I was just empty...
Doing this debriefing as been so refreshing and has had such an impact on me. Being in a place in life were I was just empty due to personal life hurt and pain and from serving in ministry overseas. I was able to see what were the source of that emptiness, Andy and Janet walked alongside me to help me see many things that I could not see unless I stop and take time to think and process. I received a lot of great tools to process life for future need. The fruits of this week of debriefing are great, seeing like there is light at the end of the tunnel through all the activities and homework they gave me. As a missionary oversea it is definitely worth the time and money.

JP - Missionary

Eager to continue our journey…
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.

– RS, Turkey

It’s amazing the baggage…
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.

– S, Montana

In one of the hardest transition season of my wife and i’s life together, Emmaus encounter helped us process and keep in mind the power of cross. The whole week is a clear pathway towards healing and redemption.

The power of the cross

God used this time with Emmaus to bring us some deep healing - of our own private hurts and also in our marriage. We left the field not knowing if we would return. After our time at Emmaus, we did return, but much more importantly, we are in a healthier place spiritually, emotionally, and as a couple.
Missionary - CR

We returned...

We were hurt, be we are not broken. We are restored. Justice belongs to the Lord, and we are free to move on and to serve the Lord with healthy hearts.
We are so very thankful to Andy and Janet.

We are restored

This was a great experience for my wife and I... thought we are in different spots on the trajectory towards self-awareness and processing things, this process allowed us both the opportunity to engage with the Lord and with each other as we unpacked this past season of life. We were able to identify things, allow the Lord to affirm some things, and also allow the Lord to have things that we didn't need to keep holding onto. We are really grateful to Andrew and Janet for their direction and compassion throughout the process. This week is something that we will continue to revisit for years to come. Thanks! Pastor L

This week is something we will continue to revisit for years to come.

Andy and Janet did an outstanding job leading my wife and me through a time of gaining a deeper understanding of our past experiences and bringing our losses, disappointments, and grief where they belongs—the cross.

Where they belong...

“My husband and I have been full time missionaries for 7 years, living that time both here and in Asian countries. We were also lay ministers before our missionary years. Our debrief effectively helped us process all of these seasons.

We arrived for our week of debrief discouraged, tired, hurt and ready to quick ministry. We left at the end of the week full of hope, fresh perspective, healed areas in our marriage and tools to continue to live with healthy hearts. The atmosphere and solitude allowed us to process things that we had not gotten full healing over in 12-15 years.

Andy and Janet are so gifted and wise and helped us walk through and find healing in these difficult areas. I love that they let us know up front that aren’t “counselors”. They just help facilitate Jesus. They give you the tools you and Him do the work. And wow, did it work!! Our only real question when leaving was, “why didn’t we do this sooner?”.

Why didn't we do this sooner?