PHOTO BY KYLE KURLICK
Britney Christie (left), Lacey Pease and Kristina Tubinis are the three founding members of the Be Free Revolution, which helps the poor in Africa sell their crafts online.
The three founders of the Be Free Revolution are not strangers to missionary work, having made trips to Africa, Mexico and Central America.
But when they started their nonprofit organization last summer in Memphis, it wasn't just to share their Christian beliefs with the people of Kenya and Uganda.
Britney Lee Christie, 27, Lacey Pease, 28, and Kristina Morella Tubinis, 26, want to empower the poorest women and children in Kenya and Uganda through Be Free Revolution.
They'll sell the craft products made in Africa and use the profits to provide counseling for victims of rape and violence, local mentors for children and to help support a savings and loan program.
The necklaces or Papers of Peace, the Revolution Watches and Ropes of Hope bracelets are now available on their website at BeFreeRevolution.org.
"We want to teach them how to teach others how to make these crafts," Tubinis said. "It's not just us selling the necklaces and giving them the money."
The women are now on a 10-day trip to Africa to establish the relationships necessary to keep the project moving.
It is Tubinis' first trip to Africa, but Christie and Pease have done mission work there before.
"Their circumstances are just different. Government is different," Christie said. "Instead of complaining, they deal with it and they go on with their lives and they try to make the best of it. There is a strong work ethic over there. And they're strong in their faith."
"People have asked, are y'all scared to go?," Pease said. "No. We're so excited because they just embrace us and love us, no questions asked, nothing. Just open hearts. It's overwhelming. You just see Jesus everywhere."
The women have turned to mentor J.D. Ballinger for guidance in establishing the mission work and their business plan.
Ballinger is co-founder of Help the Least of These, a nonprofit organization that connects people in Africa who are in need with people in the United States looking for ways to help.
"Their idea is pretty fresh, taking the arts of Africa to try to use that as a fundraising tool to support the people of Africa," Ballinger said. "That was a really good idea. Fundraising is definitely the hardest part of what we do. Having a funding mechanism like that would go a long way in getting the ministry done over there."
While none of the women attend church together or even share denominations, they do share a goal.
"It's a calling," Pease said. "And I think each of us heard it loud and clear."