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Jesus came along side two disciples on the morning of his resurrection. He asked them what they were discussing. They shared their stories and Jesus listened and gave perspective. They in turn invited him in and experienced a change of heart. We as debriefers want to come along side as Jesus did – to listen, ask questions, and give biblical perspective. Hopefully this will help people get new perspective, a change of heart, and renewed passion.


Debriefing is a time set aside for you to purposefully share your story and intentionally process a certain timeframe of your past (of your choosing). Oftentimes debriefees have gone through a lot of transition and/or grief, and have experienced injustice at varying levels. Our goal is that by the end of the week these people will receive some perspective on their circumstances, hear very personally from God, find healing and freedom, extend forgiveness, and be able to move forward feeling strengthened.

If you are wondering whether debriefing would be helpful for you personally, continue reading for a few details of what to expect, the structure of the week, who we debrief, and why we believe it is beneficial. You can also check out some testimonials of people who’ve gone through Lakeside Debriefing Ministry and hear about their experience.  If interested in being debriefed, please fill out an application online. When it is complete, we will be in touch with you as soon as we can.


If you desire to grow in your understanding of God, yourself and others, If you desire to process experiences that have shaped your life up to this point, If you desire to set aside time in your busy life to see how the full work of the cross can bring healing, understanding and personal revelation,
… then debriefing is for you.



You can expect as a debriefee (whether you are single or a couple):

  • To share your journey with two debriefers listening to you, who desire to be neutral and impartial.
  • To process your journey with the debriefers and through your own personal time of reflection.
  • To have a debriefing structure that will be specific and sensitive to your own emotional, physical and spiritual needs.
  • To have a greater understanding of how you relate to yourself, others and God.
  • To have trained debriefers with experience and skills in debriefing, spiritual direction and pastoral care.
  • To have everything you share remain confidential.
  • Debriefing is not counseling. This is more a time to process with God and be listened to by two debriefers.


  • You will arrive on Sunday evening and leave after lunch on Friday.
  • Time is spent each morning with your two debriefers.
  • The afternoons and evenings are unstructured, however, much of this time will be spent on personal “out of session work” assigned at the end of each morning’s debriefing session.
  • There will be time to rest and enjoy “Big Sky Country”.


  • It helps an individual to make sense of things that have happened in their life.
  • It provides a neutral space to verbalize feelings and thoughts.
  • By allowing the debriefee to verbalize emotions, it can help to prevent deeper emotional issues from developing.
  • It brings closure and/or celebration to things in the past.
  • It affirms the individual and what they have been going through by being listened to.
  • It gives direction and more positive movement into the future.
  • It allows God to bring healing into areas of pain, loss and disappointment.
  • To have a set aside time to be with God and get his perspective on the past experiences.


  • Do you find yourself weary in your calling?
  • Has it become harder to get up in the morning to face the challenges of the day?
  • Are your relationships around you fragile, unreconciled?
  • Are you wondering why you are doing what you are doing?
  • Have you been “stuffing” things because you are just too busy to deal with them?
  • Do you have a future? Is it clear?
  • Do you feel alone?
  • Have you, or are you experiencing guilt, loss, injustice, and/or disorientation?

There are many of us who are trying to live healthy godly lives in missions, business and the pastorate who struggle with these and other issues. We are taught to “suck it up and get on with the work”, yet sometimes we just can’t. God understands.  He understood that the disciples were hurting, that they had lost hope and were discouraged, disorientated and grieving a great loss as they walked on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). Jesus walked towards them. He asked them questions and allowed them to answer without interrupting. He valued their story and taught them that He was still very much with them. He was actually physically walking with them. He was the first debriefer. Debriefing your journey is important to your emotional and spiritual health. Burying things alive (stuffing pain and loss) only promises one thing… that it will resurface at another time. We need to give our pain and loss to Jesus so that we can be free to live the abundant life He has planned for each one of us.


  • Missionaries (at home and abroad)
  • Pastors
  • People in transition between jobs, mission assignments, or organizations.
  • People who have had relational/organizational challenges.
  • People who are questioning the next step and are seeking help in processing their thoughts.

** When returning from overseas it is best practice to have a physical check-up with your doctor. Likewise, you could consider that a personal debrief is also important for an emotional and spiritual check-up. This is especially true when undergoing major cross cultural changes and transitions


“In the business of life and ministry we tend to neglect making a habit of creating space to hear God. Debriefing not only allowed that space during a time when I desperately needed to hear from God but it gave me questions and methods to continue to put into practice for the rest of my life. I got so much clarity and relief and felt so well cared for thorough out the process! Do it! — Ministry Worker in the Inner City

“Debriefing gave me a new way to see my life. Before, I saw transition, trauma, and mistakes as a tangled mess of experiences and emotions. But, as I revisited those confusing moments through the week the facilitators and the Spirit of God spoke words of clarity over those things. I was able to see, for the first time, how faithfully God has weaved himself through my life. That week will always be memorable and I would (and DO) recommend this program to everyone I know!” – Bethany, MT

“Debriefing with the team was so helpful in many ways. This past season of my life was a whirlwind, and for not just one person but a team of people full of wisdom to come behind you and help you unravel it and say “well done” is nothing but encouraging.” — YWAM Missionary Member after leading a team on outreach

“This time helps me to actually realize all that God has been doing. In a way it puts handles on the life lessons I’ve been living through, so that I can really walk away with solid truth and application.” — YWAM Missionary Member after leading a team on outreach

“You guys really helped bring in an outside perspective to my experience which helped me process a lot more effectively. It was also great just to hear the encouragement and eternal perspective or our outreaches.” — YWAM Missionary Member after leading a team on outreach

“I greatly respect and appreciate the people in charge of debriefing. From the very beginning I felt loved and safe sharing with them. I truly trust their wisdom. When I shared I felt heard and like they truly understood what I was talking about and how I was feeling. I feel like I have the tools to continue processing my outreach.” — YWAM Missionary Member after leading a team on outreach

“My time of debriefing helped bring a calm and fresh perspective to a crazy season of life. It was extremely helpful to get to process through what had happened in such a safe environment.” — YWAM Missionary Member after leading a team on outreach

“These few days of debriefing are truly a blessing! By allowing us to process what we have gone through and also reflect on what God has been teaching us, I feel refreshed and receive closure to a season that was me constantly pouring out. This team cares for us and I feel truly valued by them all. I honestly feel that without this time [of debriefing], I couldn’t live in this constant state of transition like I do. It really is to the benefit of my spiritual health and, therefore, the health of those I am able to disciple.” – K.H.


A Brief History of Debriefing in Lakeside, Montana:

Debriefing began in YWAM Montana in 2009 as a service to missionaries in YWAM and other organizations, pastors, and a variety of lay people who were looking for a place of safety and confidentiality to process their life experiences.  In April of 2015, Andy and Janet Kerr, founders of Emmaus Encounter Debriefing were commissioned out from YWAM Lakeside to pursue developing Emmaus Encounter, Inc. (EE, Inc.), a ministry of debriefing and spiritual formation.   YWAM Lakeside Debriefing Ministry (YLDM) continues to serve at the YWAM Lakeside, Montana location and is led by Anna Cleghorn.  YLDM and EE, Inc. still work together as associate organizations, collaborating in personal debriefings, training and outreach to Target Nations.  For more information about Emmaus Encounter, Inc., visit their website:


Debriefing Staff

Anna Cleghorn

Anna is originally from Hawaii. She attended Seattle Pacific University in Washington State during which God called her into missions. He asked her to finish a degree in Education & Art in 1983 and teach elementary school in California for a few years after graduating. In September of 1986 she did a Discipleship Training School with YWAM Kona, HI. She has continued in YWAM since that time. Anna has continued to be a learner with in YWAM and taken quite a few courses. (School of Evangelism School, School of Biblical Studies, School of Worship, Biblical Teaching and Preaching school, Titus Project and Leadership Development Course) She has also been leading & staffing in a variety of different schools, overseas locations & ministries with in YWAM. Anna has been apart of the debriefing ministry of Emmaus Encounter since the beginning of 2010. This past year she was asked to lead the YWAM Lakeside Debriefing Ministry. She has a heart for people to find healing and helping them to have space to hear His voice. She finds that every person’s story is unique and a privilege to hear. She is very grateful that God has allowed her to be a part of this amazing ministry. She continues to look forward to seeing more of God’s transforming work in the future!

Tammy Weaver

Tammy has been on staff with YWAM Montana since 2004. She worked with School of Biblical Studies (SBS) for the first 4-1/2 years with a focus on hospitality and pastoral care. After staffing SBS, she began leading the hospitality department and has been doing that for the last 5 plus years. She has a heart to bless and mentor staff. For the past 3 years she has been working with the Member Care department, as well, taking care of YWAM Montana staff as they go on outreach and also doing special things for YWAM Montana’s overseas partners. In 2009, she took the debriefing seminar offered to YWAM Montana staff and had it on her heart to help in the area of debriefing but just needed to wait for God’s timing. She starting interning with Emmaus Encounter in February 2013. She has a heart to see others understand, in a deeper way, who God is and understand their identity in Christ. She loves to cook, a good cup of coffee, good conversation, hiking in God’s creation and a good book.

Lori Rietema

Fall 2018 DTS leader. Lori is originally from Minnesota, and was part of YWAM as a youngster. She did her DTS in Honolulu, HI in 1998 and joined DTS staff in Lakeside, MT in 1999. In 2005 she moved to St. Croix, U.S.V.I, as the DTS Director and helped re-pioneer a small YWAM base, also serving as part of the Resource Team for the IDTSC in the Caribbean for 4 years. Recognizing the great need for staff development worldwide, Lori has staffed four DTS Equip’s in Montana, and was part of pioneering the DTS Equip in St. Croix in 2009. In 2009 Lori returned on staff in Montana, where she continues to be part of the DTS Department part-time. Upon Lori’s return from the Caribbean in 2009 she was personally debriefed after having gone through a series of difficult/traumatic events. She later attended the debriefing training and began working with our Debriefing Ministry in the fall of 2012. Lori has a heart to see staff succeed in their calling to disciple others. She is passionate about staff development, staff care, and helping people discover and become who God made them to be.

Jeanette Brewster

Jeanette was born and raised in Idaho. She has served in the ministry and Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for 20 years. She did her Discipleship Training School (DTS) in 1990 with YWAM Lakeside and later came on staff in 1991 as DTS staff and has served in a variety of different capacities from hospitality to the registrar’s office including serving on the base council while her husband was the base director from 2002 to 2010. She and her family have had the opportunity of traveling to many countries in addition to living in Thailand for almost a year. During this time she has continued her education doing the School of Biblical Studies, the Directed Reading Course, Titus Project, New Testament Theology and Apostle Paul's Theology Courses as well as debriefing courses. She, Ron and their two children, Meraiah and Sebastian reside in Chula Vista, CA.

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(406) - 844 - 2221
YWAM Montana | Lakeside
501 Blacktail Rd.
Lakeside MT, 59922
United States
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