McRae Family Update (04/21/23)


We are fast approaching the end of our last semester with 2022/23’s School of Biblical Studies students, and like every year that has come before, this one has proven to be a unique gift. I’ve been deeply blessed by the humility, hearts, and commitment of this year’s student body.

We have also seen tremendous growth and transformation through our other programs, such as the Biblical Narrative Series and our Foundations Course. People are hungry to know God’s Word!

Community as God’s Gift

One of the ways God has been teaching us this past year has been through this avenue of shared life and community. We have been fortunate enough to experience this consistently over the past 5-6 years as a part of the Emmaus Team, but recently it has taken on a new significance. Community is one way in which we are able to experience a greater measure of God’s movement in our lives. When Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray, it is within the context of community “Our Father…give us…forgive us…lead us…deliver us…” (Matt. 6:9-13). When Paul relates the gifts of God’s Spirit at work in our lives (“fruit of the Spirit,” Gal. 5:22-23), it manifests through relational interraction: “love, peace, patience, kindness, etc…” (things we cannot experience on our own, apart from others!). Likewise, 2 Corinthians relates how God has chosen the vehicle of his church to further express his loving care: when we comfort one another, we experience the very comfort of Christ (1:3-6), and in God’s design for reconciling the world to himself, he makes his appeal through us (5:14-21). In other instances, Jesus commands us to remember him through the shared breaking of bread and fellowship (Luke 22:14-20), it is also the way he opened the eyes of his disciples (Luke 24:30-32). Never before have we experienced these truths as deeply as we have this year.

There are many more ways God impacted my heart through the notion of community and the church: The shared ability for building one another up (Eph. 4:1-16), the unity of purpose (Eph. 2:19-22) The ability to practice Christlikeness (Php. 2:1-15), etc…. and they have all led to a much deeper appreciation for ways God has designed us to experience a greater measure of Himself through each other. One way I’ve been challenged to apply this personally has been through more engagement with my church community. God has used this to bless our family in tremendous ways! One specific area of application was stepping out of my comfort zone to partake in a couple of church panels on “Hearing God’s Voice” and the Bible, and what a gift these moments were!

What’s New?

A while ago, we launched a GoFundMe campaign in order to help me learn Biblical Hebrew through Kairos Classroom. This is a year long program, of which I am just over 1/4 of the way through. It has been both incredibly encouraging and challenging! We’re so grateful for everyone who gave in order for me to have this opportunity and I’m excited to keep going and continue learning. It was a powerful and somewhat emotional moment for me a few weeks ago when I was able to read my first verse in Hebrew (Genesis 1:1), a passage from a book that has transformed my relationship with the Bible. Thank you everyone for the gift of doing this! And if you’re interested in learning Biblical Greek or Hebrew in a helpful and pressure-free environment, check out Kairos Classroom for yourself!

How You Can Partner With Us:

  • Your continued prayers for our family and ministry are the lifeblood of all we do. As we’re wrapping up this school year and gearing up for the next, we need prayers for our team at Emmaus and our future students. (Side note: We really mean this! This year, our appreciation for, and commitment to, prayer has been on a journey of renewal. If you feel your own prayer life in need of a boost, check out these sermons, they were absolute game-changers for us.
  • Our family is always searching for people who are passionate about Bible training…or people who maybe just kind of like us…and are open to joining our financial support team. Our current financial goal is to increase our monthly support by $800 before September 2023. Would you take a moment to prayerfully consider joining our mission or increasing your current giving amount? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions. Here’s the link where you can Donate.

Thank you so much for all your love and continued support!

– The McRae Family

Obligatory Family Photos

McRae Family Update – 11/8/22

One of the best parts of working for Emmaus Bible Ministries is the feeling of an ongoing learning experience. It seems that a lot of life’s most important lessons are learned the hard way, but working within a community of disciple-making-Bible-nerds has certainly had its perks in this particular arena of life. As Bible teachers, we really love the continuing opportunity to journey through the Scriptures every year, honing our skills and understanding, but the true gift of this job has been the spiritual formation that has come through a team of like-minded individuals seeking Jesus together. We have found that one of the greatest catalysts of individual growth is community.

Ephesians 4:15-16, “…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

This is also one of the primary reasons that “community life” is a core value of Emmaus Bible Ministries.

Recent Happenings

Currently, our School of Biblical Studies students are getting ready to head into their final Old Testament Unit for the year. I absolutely love teaching through the Old Testament, but it’s always the most challenging to prepare for.

One thing Emmaus has done for me and many of our students is open a door into understanding the Old Testament. It had historically always been a challenge for me to see the Old Testament as anything but a random collection of books that I couldn’t relate to, but our program has continually shown me the breathtaking beauty of the Old Testament as a grand story connecting the Bible from beginning to end.

Another great gift of working for Emmaus is watching students become teachers. This is the testimony one of our students from last year gave about her time in our School of Biblical Studies:

For me Emmaus sparked a love for God’s Word that I never had before. Before my student year, I didn’t believe I could understand the Bible, I didn’t believe I would ever be able to read it in its entirety, and I didn’t believe it related to me very much. However, studying at Emmaus gave me the confidence to engage and apply God’s Word, not only in the classroom community, but in the silence of my own home.”
– Sarah Phaneuf

Sarah just got done teaching the book of Micah in our School of Biblical Studies!

We also had another student last year give this testimony about our Foundations Course:

Patrick is currently teaching the book of Exodus in that same Foundations Course!

What’s Next?

For a long time, Seminary has been on my heart for the future (and still is) but we just haven’t felt the Lord lead our family in that direction quite yet. But we do believe that he has opened up a new opportunity for furthering my education while also preparing me for seminary, and it’s an opportunity you can partner in! Starting in January, I’ll be attending Kairos Classroom as I begin my journey toward learning the ancient langauges of the Bible. This particular course will allow me to maintain my current work schedule while also taking the next two years to learn both Greek and Hebrew.

Kairos Classroom is an online language learning ministry that focuses on bringing seminary level instruction into a more accessible and practical space. With Kairos, I will be engaging in live instruction with a small online classroom. Kairos specializes in creating tailored learning experiences while emphasizing practical engagement with languages, helping students learn how to both read and study these ancient languages on their own. Kairos also works with seminaries to help transfer my learning experience into class credits.

If you would like to help me take this specific next step in furthering my education and enhancing our ministry roles here with Emmaus, you can donate to our GoFundMe account here!

Thank you all for your continued love and support!

– The McRae Family

McRae Family Update – 8/22/22

As our last school year came to a close in May, we hit the ground running with all kinds of ministry projects, travel plans, and changes for our family personally. To kick things off, we began our summer with two intensive staff planning weeks in order to finalizeall of our 22-23 ministry programs. During this time, we also were able to expand our current office and classroom spaces, increase our library of resources, and we added three new “support staff” to our team. These three “support staff” are graduates of our School of Biblical Studies who felt led to continue supporting the ministry through various roles of administration, media, and hospitality. We’re so grateful for them!

Right after our staff planning weeks, Samantha and I embarked on some extensive travels to Alaska, Virginia, and Pennsylvania in order to see family and friends while also working to increase our support base. Admittedly, this was a long and stressful learning experience for us in terms of traveling with small children, but despite that, we had an absolute blast and were blessed beyond all expectations by those we saw and visited with! We also had a couple ministry opportunities along the way.

Praise Reports:

Throughout this time, Samantha and I also experienced a number of miracles. To oversimplify our situation, Samantha and I left for our planned summer travels after just finding out that we would need to raise an additional $600 in monthly support to conitnue our full time role with Emmaus. We also had just learned that our apartment complex was going to raise our rent by an additional $500 a month, and if we wanted to find another place to live, we’d have to do so while we were traveling out of state, and we would have less than a month when we got back to make a move. On top of all this, I (Jacob) had been riding my bike to work because we only had one car, so if we moved, this could complicate our available modes of transportation.

There’s a lot that could be said in explaining all of this, but to once again oversimplify God’s work on our behalf: 1. We were able to increase our monthly support by $600 a month while traveling 2. A friend was able to help us find an even better housing option than we previously had, and for $400 less than what we would have been paying for our increased rent price 3. A family we know just recently offered us a free car (which we definitely ended up needing, since it takes me over an hour to bike to work from our new location). Praise God!

A New Year

We kicked off our new ministry year in August with our School of Biblical Studies. This is the largest student body we’ve had for this program since Samantha and I joined Emmaus in 2017! This group has been a joy to lead thus far and we’re all very excited to see what God has in store for the rest of the year. I had the privelage of once again kicking off this year’s journey by teaching through the book of Genesis.

We’ll also be kicking off one of our regular evening programs, the Biblical Narrative Series on August 29th, which students can attend both virtually or in person.

We’re so thankful for all of the ways we’ve been blessed by our friend and family communities these past couple of months and for the incredible start to our new school year, it’s been a huge encouragement!

Prayer Requests

  • Samantha’s recent visit to the dentist revealed that some past work she had done years ago was not done to appropriate dental standards and is now going to cost us an unexpected $1700 to fix. Yikes!
  • Benaiah just recently started his first schooling experience, how the time flies! We’d appreciate prayers for it to continue being a positive experience for him.
  • While we were able to hit the necessary minimum support goal for us to continue our role with Emmaus, the financial challenge is still before us. We’re shooting to increase our support by another $1,000 a month to help us continue saving up to purchase a home rather than rent. As a secondary goal, I (Jacob) would also like to attend seminary using the scholarship opportunities afforded me by my time as a student with Emmaus. We’re not sure about the timing of this goal, but we’d like to make it happen in the near future.

Want to help support our family and Ministry?

  1. Set up a recurring or one-time payment for us through our ministry’s giving page:
  2. Checks can be made out to “Emmaus Bible Ministries” with a note for Jacob and Samantha McRae and sent to:

    Emmaus Bible Ministries
    P.O. Box 620473
    Oviedo FL, 32762

Thank you!

– The McRae Family

McRae Family Update 5/30/22

What’s New?

Hello from the McRaes! We greet you from the end of our school year, where we saw 7 students graduate from our 10 month School of Biblical Studies. It cannot be overstated what a joy and blessing this last year has been with this group of students, and we could not be more proud of their hard work and progress! Meet the class of ’21-22!

Emmaus currently runs four programs
at varying levels of Bible engagement

Our School of Biblical Studies is just one of four programs that we run to help people engage their Bibles in a meaningful way, regardless of what stage of life they may be in. And these students are just seven of many more individuals who have encountered and been transformed by the Bible in an impactful way through God’s work here at Emmaus. Thank you for your support and donations that have helped to make this happen!

And for those who may not have yet seen, we are trying to make shorter and more regular updates through our new Facebook page:

Head on over and give it a Like to stay updated!

What’s Next?

Right now, our staff are in the midst of some intense planning weeks as we look to next year’s school. With some students already accepted and others still in the application process, we’re very excited for what God will do next!

Our family will also be traveling from the start of June through mid-July to visit Alaska, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, where we will see family and speak to some of our support base. For those of you who fall in that category, we’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

How You Can Pray

The start of this summer is proving to be quite challenging! Not long after securing tickets for our summer travels, we learned that our current apartment’s rent will be increased by $500 (and this is following the $250 that it already increased last year). Because of this, we’ve been forced to try searching for new housing as we prepare to leave for our extensive summer travels. To make matters more difficult, since our current lease ends mid-August, we will only have about a month when we get back to secure our new housing and complete the moving process. We really need your prayers!

Part of our intention for these summer travels is to substantially increase our monthly income. Our work here with Emmaus is only possible through the generous donations of friends, family, and church communities. We’ll be speaking with churches and individuals throughout our travels in the hopes of growing this base of support. If one of our travel destinations brings us close to you and we haven’t already reached out, we’d love the chance to meet with you and tell you about our passion for this ministry!

  • If you’re already a monthly supporter, would you consider increasing your giving?
  • If you’re not a current financial supporter, would you consider signing up to give towards our mission, to help others know God through His Word?

How You Can Give

  • Online – You can make one-time or recurring donations to us through our Ministry’s website under “Staff Support” :
  • Cash or Check – Checks can be made out to “Emmaus Bible Ministries” with “McRae Staff Support” in the note line, and sent to:

Emmaus Bible Ministries
P.O. Box 620473
Oviedo, FL 32762-0473

*Your donations are tax deductible

Thank you so much for your love and support. You may not see it like we get to, but your prayers and financial giving have helped change the lives of so many individuals. Because of you, life-long Jesus followers and Bible Students are being made here through Emmaus.

– The McRae Family

Our Family

McRae Family Update (09/21/21)

The last couple of years for Emmaus have brought a number of changes. Aside from everything that COVID meant for our daily operations and moving into a new office space, we’ve also been continuing to work on and refine both old and new Bible training programs. We now offer a total of 4 different programs at varying levels of engagment. Here’s an overview what what we do at Emmaus.

Our Programs

Our School of Biblical Studies offers the deepest level of engagment, where students spend 20 hours a week, for 10 months, to walk through the whole Bible using the inductive study method. During this time, students attend lectures twice a week, and dive deep into the historical background of each book. They even write their own inductively-informed commentary on certain portions of the text.

Our Biblical Narrative Series is designed to equip students with an overview of every book of the Bible over the course of 14 weekly lectures. This class is designed for both experienced Bible readers and newcomers and seeks to equip students with a big picture view of the Bible, while also exploring important themes and key historical background info for every book.

Our Foundations Course is for those who have gone through our Biblical Narrative Series and desire to continue going deeper in the Biblical story, but may not have the time required to attend our school. In this course, students are provided with an in-depth study of selected foundational books that are key to emphasizing themes and concepts that carry through all of Scripture.

Finally, our Discovery program is made up of introductory seminars. Some of the introductory seminars include topics such as: a Bible Overview, Inductive Bible Study Workshop, or specific book studies. Each seminar is done over the course of about 4 hours.

It’s been incredibly exciting to see the growth and refinement of all of these programs and we feel so blessed by seeing God’s movement in them.

School of Biblical Studies

This is proving to be one of the most difficult teaching years I’ve experienced so far with Emmaus. For our first semester in the School of Biblical Studies, I’ve been tasked with teaching Genesis, Judges, Isaiah, and Daniel. I’ve taught both Genesis and Daniel before, and while I still find them very difficult to prepare for, I love them both deeply. Judges and Isaiah are new to my teaching library and have really been stretching me, but the beautiful thing about this job is that there are always great returns on the time spent preparing for every new book.

And our students this year have been absolutely amazing, each one displaying a passion for engaging with the Bible and community.

And if you’d like a 30 second glimpse into my work week at Emmaus, here you go!

Family Life

While adjusting to having a new baby comes with inherent difficulties, Eleanor has been an absolute joy to us, and Benaiah seems to be warming up to her as well. Both of our kids are doing great and the greatest challenge simply remains learning how to be parents, but it’s been a lot of fun!

How you can partner with us

Our need is consistent in this ministry. If you would like to join in our mission of helping others experience God through his Word, here are a few ways:

  1. Financial Support – Would you consider joining our team at $100 a month or some other amount that’s significant to you? If you would like to give a one-time donation, set up a recurring plan, or increase your giving amount, you can do so on our ministry website here:
    And if you’re reading our blog for the first time or have never considered giving, we’d love the opportunity to talk with you personally about our ministry, why we love it, and to ask for your support, you can find our contact info through our website menu above.
  2. Become a “Key Holder” – If you’re unable to help financially, there’s another great way that you can help us! Are you able to refer us to 2-3 specific individuals who are passionate about supporting ministry? We’d love to meet with them and share our own passion for what we do.
  3. Support our Teaching – Although we are a community of teachers, we remain a community of learners who are constantly looking to grow in our knowledge of the Bible. As such, we’re always looking to expand our library of resources. If you’re unable to commit to monthly support, would you be willing to support our growth by buying a resource off of our wish list?

Thank you for all of your love and support!

The McRae Family