Ed and Maritza Khouri are co-founders of Equipping Hearts. Ed and Maritza bring together nearly 50 years of combined experience in ministry, addiction and trauma recovery. Their approach is unique, because they share an extensive background of professional training and counseling experience as well as significant ministry training and service.
Their classes combine recent advances in neuroscience with exercises to help participants grow in their relationship with Jesus to create a unique, fresh and innovative approach to addiction and trauma recovery.
They are passionate about helping people overcome the devastation of addiction, trauma and abuse, and have taught classes for those who serve the community of hurting men and women around the world from over 70 nations.
Ed is pastoral counselor who has been working with hurting people since 1980.
He has a B.A. in Behavioral and Social Sciences, and began his Master’s Program at the University of Florida. He was ordained in 1988 and is the director of Equipping Hearts.
Ed has worked extensively as a counselor, trainer and writer. He has worked with substance abusers and their families in diverse settings, including outpatient counseling, jails, transitional housing for homeless addicts, and in all phases of residential treatment. He also provided daily supervision for all therapeutic services and staff in a 96-bed state licensed substance abuse treatment program. He co-founded and co-directed the Transformation Center. As a trainer, he leads workshops in churches and ministries to help equip workers to serve hurting men and women in their community. He has helped develop curriculum used in Christ-centered and state-licensed treatment programs.
Ed and Dr. E. James Wilder are the co-creators of the new Connexus Program. Connexus combines recent advances in neuroscience and brain research with a solid Christ-centered approach to issues such as addictions, trauma, abuse or painful relationships that is designed for use in churches, rehab programs and other ministries. Ed is the author of the “Restarting Workbook and Facilitator’s Guide” and is featured in the Restarting video. He and Dr. Wilder are the co-authors of Belonging. Ed is also the co-author of the new book, “Joy Starts Here: the transformation zone.”
Maritza and Ed work extensively with other ministries as instructors at a variety or international training schools, and specialize in teaching students new, effective and innovative approaches to addiction and trauma recovery. Both Ed and Maritza are members of the Secretariat of International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition, which serves workers and ministries in over 70 nations. Ed and Maritza have taught addition and trauma recovery at with Youth With A Mission’s Addictive Behavior Counseling Schools in Ukraine, Switzerland, Uganda and Korea as well as at the International Substance Abuse and Addiction Center for Studies in Egypt.
Co-founder, Vice President
Maritza began serving the addicted community through the Overcomers Ministry under the supervision of Robby Goss in 1989.
She has been counseling full-time since 1996. She attended the University of South Florida for undergraduate studies, holds a Masters Degree in Counseling from Cornerstone University, and completed her addiction studies at NET Institute. Maritza is credentialed as a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) in Florida, and is certified as an addictions professional internationally through the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium. She was ordained to ministry in 2000.
Maritza has extensive experience providing outpatient therapy for women who suffered from the devastation of addiction, sexual abuse, trauma, and painful family relationships. Her passion is seeing the lives of women and their families restored from the devastation caused by substance and sexual abuse. In private practice, Maritza received frequent client referrals from local pastors, and also helped start and lead a support group for men and women in her church. Maritza closed her private practice in 2004 to begin serving the international community through the ministry of Equipping Hearts.
Maritza’s service to women in recovery took on a new form when she became a Life and Recovery Coach in 2004 and founded Recovery Seminars, LLC. As a Life and Recovery Coach, Maritza now serves as a mentor to women who have completed intensive therapy, and are moving forward into the next stage of their life and recovery. In addition to Life and Recovery Coaching services, Recovery Seminars also provides training and curriculum development services to the addicted community – and the ministries and professional organizations that assist them.
Through her work with Equipping Hearts and as the director of Recovery Seminars, Maritza has become an international trainer – as well as a Life and Recovery Coach – who equips, encourages and networks men and women around the world to more effectively serve the needs hurting people in their own communities.
Deni Huttula is the daughter of Ed Khouri and has been working with Equipping Hearts "behind the scenes" since 2010. She has a BA in Pscyhology and is a Certified LIfe and Recovery Coach. Deni enjoys working on the website, social media posts, and assisting Ed and Maritza with all sorts of administrative tasks.
Deni grew up with an understanding of addictions and recovery that has uniquely given her an empathetic, understanding viewpoint that many don't achieve without having been through the "battle" themselves. Her compassionate heart and creative mind are at play in her role with Equipping Hearts whether she's answering emails or creating social media graphics.
She also has her own coaching business called The Open Bench, and has written a book rooted in the same philosphies of joy and returning to joy that Ed and Maritza often teach. Her book, The Bridges of Chara is an allegory that was birthed from Ed's teaching in Restarting on joy and negative emotions.