STORYI pray that my story of heartache to hope will inspire people
I pray that my story of heartache to hope will inspire people across the country to turn to answers in the midst of their suffering. When I began this journey of really seeking answers in the midst of complete devastation, I had no idea how the Lord was going to use my first husband’s Naval mishap and death to completely change my life. I didn’t speak to God eloquently or possess any kind of special gifts. I simply asked Him some hard questions and waited for His answer. God is faithful to walk with us through difficult circumstances, and He will provide for us and heal us and take something unbelievably awful and turn it into something truly good.
Kris Rystrom Emmert impacts audiences with her powerful message of enduring unspeakable tragedy and discovering unshakeable hope. With a contagious zest for life, Kris weaves her story of loss into a life-changing encounter that inspires others to experience their own healing and uncover their God-given destiny.
With a Bachelors in Communications from Wake Forest University and a Masters in Communication from Regent University, Kris is a highly skilled public speaker, combining her extensive education, real-life media experience, talents as a Senior Leader in Premier Designs, Inc, years of being a professor at various higher education institutions, and her multiple motivational presentations before thousands of people.
As a pastor’s wife, mom to four children, and grandmother, Kris is ultimately a down-to-earth woman who loves her family and lives life to the fullest in East Tennessee.
OPERATION PROVIDE PROMISE 1992 - 1996
The humanitarian relief operation ran during the Yugoslav Wars, from 2 July 1992, to 9 January 1996, which made it the longest running humanitarian airlift in history.
Lt. Cmdr. Jon A. Rystrom and Lieutenants Patrick J. Ardaiz, William R. Dyer, Robert H. Forwalder, and John A. Messier of VAW-124 crashed in Bear Ace 603, also designated AJ 603, an E-2C Hawkeye , while returning from a three and a half hour flight to the ship in the Ionian Sea, 65 miles east of Crotone, Italy, at 0054 on 26 March 1993. The sea was calm, but aircraft contended with solid cloud cover and areas of fog. Winds blew from the south at 14 knots and visibility dropped to about five miles.
Bear Ace 603 launched at 2115 and operated with a second Hawkeye above the Adriatic coast of Bosnia-Herzegovina, monitoring air drops of supplies to refugees and maintaining data links between the ship and allied commands, before both early warning aircraft returned to the carrier. The Landing Signal Officer (LSO) waved-off the E-2C because of a fouled deck as the plane approached from aft, and the Hawkeye then passed over the flight deck and flew a mile ahead of the carrier before hitting the water. All five men on board died.
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I remember the moment when Kris handed me the pieces of wreckage she had from Jon’s plane…Small, white ragged pieces of honeycomb metal, one with rivet holes ripped open from the plane’s violent impact with the Ionian Sea. I cried as I held them, their weight far exceeding their few grams of mass. I shouldn’t be holding these, two pieces from the fractured fuselage of an E-2C Hawkeye that once housed $60,000,000 of technology and the souls of five airmen…
Julie Voudrie, author
As my wife and I came to know Kris in the wake of the disaster, we saw a woman with two young daughters slugging through the slough of despond which tragedy brings. Yet drowning in the grief she grasped for answers to her questions, began to take increasingly significant steps in her faith, deepened in her dependence upon her God, and started the long and often lonely journey toward healing.
Dr. Bob Reccord, author and founder of Total Life Impact Ministries
I could see stripes going by my dining room windows. Naval stripes. Stripes on dress blues. My first reaction was, “What are Naval officers doing coming to my house on a Friday morning while Jon is at sea?” In an instant, time stopped. I was out of my body as my mind was racing. I could see the Naval officers through the glass inserts in our front doors. There were so many of them. Jon had told me about this day. He had frequently joked with me about the scenario if I ever saw a group of Naval officers wearing dress blues approaching my door, they were coming to tell me that he was gone. I knew. They didn’t have to say a word.
Kris Rystrom Emmert, author