We can’t wait to hit the ground running in Kenya!! Our team of 15 is stacked with team members who have been preparing for months to serve on this mission! Our team will be serving within 3 communities in and around Nairobi, Kenya. We will be teaching lessons to the children as well as implementing an art intensive program for the first time! The youth will be able to apply for this art intensive in areas of painting, ink, photography and writing related facets. Our team will teach the selected students the creative elements alongside counseling them on life lessons in hopes they will be able to express themselves while learning valuable skill sets.
We appreciate all the prayers and support you have offered this team and BFR! We will be updating our social media outlets as we serve across the globe.
Britney Christie, co-founder
I am beyond excited about this trip! God has done so much in BFR and the lives of the men, women and children that we work with over the past few years. I am especially excited because my energy is still pumping from Uganda a couple of weeks ago! So many amazing things happened and God showed up in unexpected and incredible ways and I know this team will be no different. This team is stacked with talented and passionate people. The new BFR Art Intensive Program is going to rock some of these kids lives forever and I cannot wait to see it in action. Wooohoo! Here we go!
Lacey Stluka, co-founder
I am from Memphis, TN and Co-Founder of Be Free Rev. The Lord’s calling for me was simple, “Go..” I have not looked back since. I ask myself all the time why God thought us worthy of such a huge calling in life but I thank Him everyday for believing in us and instilling the courage to stop at nothing to achieve it.
I am very blessed to be able to lead teams to Kenya and to have such an incredible team that is bursting with extraordinary gifts. Kenya is such a special place to BFR and we consider those we serve our family as well. I am excited for the team to meet all the kids and leaders that are an intricate part of BFR and watch them touch and change each others hearts. My favorite part of mission work is watching God burst out of team members as they act as His hands and feet and see how their hearts and faith shift. It is something so powerful and peaceful at the same time. I am excited to journey with great friends, a gifted team, Kenyan friends, and newcomers on this adventure to Kenya!
Craig Gyergyo, team leader
I was born and bred in Pittsburgh, PA but now proudly call Memphis, TN my home. When I’m not on the homestead doing life with my lovely wife Lisa and three beautiful daughters, I can be found diving headfirst into my passion which is ministry. I’ve been a teacher, a youth leader, and a kid’s pastor during the past eighteen years, and I am currently very excited to be a part of the team at Highpoint Church where I serve as the Connect Pastor. Missions has been another passion of mine for several years. In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to make friends and be a part of God’s work in Belize (shout out to Bermudian Landing) and Mexico. Now, I am eager to travel to Africa and be a part of the fantastic work that BFR is doing in Kenya. I’m fully expecting to learn a ton on this trip and to have my world rocked!
Lauren Wantz, team leader
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor from Memphis, TN. I recently got married to my wonderful husband, Jonathan, last year. I currently work at Youth Villages as a Clinical Consultant. I have always had a desire to help others, and love the work that I do with troubled youth and their families. While challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding. I finally answered a calling last year and joined Be Free on a mission trip to Uganda! The experience was life-changing, and I have been anticipating returning to Africa since then! I was thrilled when Be Free asked me to serve as a leader on this trip to Kenya! We have an amazing team with awesome talents, and I am so excited to see what God has planned for everyone on this trip.
Kaitlyn Stoddard, bfr intern
I am a high school cross country coach, art student, and aspiring art therapist. I was born and raised in Memphis, TN, but after graduating high school, my love to travel coupled with a career in modeling took me a number of different places around the world before returning home to go back to school. About a year ago, I stumbled upon the opportunity for the Creative Internship position with Be Free and applied for it that very same day. Though it was a spontaneous move, it was no coincidence, because doors of opportunity have been flying open ever since. Now more than ever, I am aware of my calling to live and share a creative lifestyle with those I meet. I have discovered a passion for working with teenagers through my job as a coach, and my biggest hope is that it will translate to the kids in Kenya. When I’m not coaching, or working on an art project, I spend my time riding my horse. My biggest goals in life have always been to see the world, understand it’s people, and somehow make a difference. I truly believe that this trip is the first step in a lifelong journey, and I cannot wait to see how our lives and those lives that we encounter are changed. All you need is love!
Polly Blackwell, bfr intern
My main goal in life is to serve the Lord no matter where I am or what I am doing. In order to live a happy life, I know I must be doing something for the greater good of God and his kingdom. Throughout my past nineteen years, I’ve discovered that I have a passion for art as well as a big heart forspreading love to God’s people through missions. I hope one day to own a little shop that helps raise awareness and funds for international mission work. In the meantime, I’m studying Interior Design and Retail at the University of Tennessee, creating art on the side and finding opportunities to share God’s love in any way I can. Having traveled (and fallen in love with the Lord and his people) for missions to Bahamas and Belize, I’m praying for as much growth as possible in my upcoming trip to Kenya. My goal is to travel for His glory every year for the rest of my life. Through my internship at BFR and volunteer work as a youth leader for Hope Church this summer, I have gained a lot of knowledge on how to push myself in my faith for good. I plan to spend the rest of my life walking with Christ, constantly learning more about who I am as a person, believer and artist.
My name is Megan Fitzgerald, I am 28 years old, and I am from Memphis, TN. I have a Psychology degree and philosophy minor from Christian Brother’s University and my BSN from Union University. I currently work as an intensive care nurse in pediatrics and absolutely love it. I chose to be an intensive care nurse so I could make a difference in the world and chose children because caring for and protecting the innocent feels like my calling. This will be my first mission trip and I am so exited to take my knowledge and experience to Kenya and give back in new ways! I feel so blessed to be a part of such a great team and amazing cause.
I’m from Memphis, where I have (somewhat) recently reconnected with my southern roots and fallen in love with the city’s diversity and sense of community again since moving away for college at Missouri State University. I graduated two years with a degree in Fashion Merchandising/Marketing and have been working at Justine Magazine, where I am now an Associate Editor ever since then. I met Britney and Lacey and learned about BFR when I got the opportunity to interview them for a story in Justine and told them shortly after that I was determined to go on a trip with them- and here I am! BFR’s mission and my own personal mission go hand in hand and I can’t wait to be on the field with everyone!
Being raised on a mission field in which my family instilled in me a servant’s heart as we lived and served at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home has been a tremendous life blessing. After recently experiencing God’s faithfulness and provision in calling me to make several life-altering decisions, I knew what it felt like when the Holy Spirit was, in fact, leading me to go somewhere that wasn’t necessarily my will. I got this same overwhelming sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence when I was led to read Isaiah 43:19 exactly one month ago (June 9th). After prayerfully seeking His guidance in granting me wisdom to discern whatever He was trying to tell me through this specific verse, I immediately felt Him prompt my heart to go on a mission trip—specifically to Africa. I had been specifically praying that BFR would not only have room on their July team, but that they would also have a need for the gift in which God has blessed me. Since being the leader of the English department of my former school, leading various teacher trainings, and teaching 7th grade English for the past six years, I never would have dreamed that God would call me to utilize this passion to spread His love and Word at the same time. While I am the complete opposite of spontaneous and usually fearful of the unknown, God has given me peace in knowing that He is going before me, holding my hand every step of the way. I am clinging to His promise that He will continue to open doors that no man can shut so that I may know that He has, in fact, summoned me by name (Isaiah 45:1-2). I am eagerly waiting in Holy anticipation as God continues to fulfill His promise: “I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).
I am from Fort Lauderdale, FL and moved to Memphis, TN last year to live out my passion as an elementary school teacher. From a young age, I have always wanted to be a part of a mission trip. I’ve loved serving in the various communities that I have been a part of and am very excited to take the step outside of Memphis. After hearing about Be Free Revolution from a friend I felt a calling to serve on this mission to Kenya. I am so blessed to be given this opportunity and can’t wait to experience what the Lord has in store for me.
I am originally from Decatur, AL. I attended The University of Alabama and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. ROLL TIDE! After graduating college I taught 1st grade for a year and then decided to move to Birmingham, AL. Upon moving to Birmingham I worked in the marketing field for 3 years. In June of 2013 I joined Teach For America and transferred to Memphis, TN. I now teach Kindergarten at a charter school in Frayser. I have always had a passion for helping young kids receive a meaningful and quality education. I am excited to see what God has in store for the beautiful individuals we will be working with as well as myself. I know this trip will be a life changing experience and I can’t wait!