Meet the June Team Headed to Uganda!

May 23, 2013

After all the planning, fundraising and meeting we are ready to embark on our journey across the globe to serve at Tororo, Uganda. The team has formed into an awesome combination or leaders, bfr crew members, returnees and new faces. We cannot wait to see what is in store on the mission field. While on mission, we will be working with an organization called Smile Africa, that is dedicated to housing, feeding and caring for street kids. Smile also empowers widows and women, who come from an abusive past, and teaches them skill sets to survive and start over while helping to counsel their wounds. We will be working alongside Smile implementing our Be Well Program and educating the kids about their bodies, hygiene and how to respect themselves and each other. We will be offering counseling where needed and our help with various projects Smile has going on and praying for the Lord to lead us where He needs us. Let's meet the team! Mary Monaghan, team leader I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Married the love of my life, Brooks Monaghan, 3 month ago! God placed a unique opportunity in my life to join with bfr and travel across the globe yet again. For a girl who has never moved away from home, I am taking a leap of faith and leading a team alongside Nick Wirwa to Uganda, Africa.  My passion is helping, supporting, and connecting with others, which lead me into my career of teaching. My heart is overwhelmed with joy to have the opportunity to share my love with those that don’t know love otherwise. On this journey I hope to grow as a leader, and help share with this team an unforgettable experience. The day cannot come soon enough to be back in Africa!   Nick Wirwa, team leader I have lived in St Francisville, LA for almost two and half years now.  I am a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and love adventure and the outdoors. God has given me a passion for travel and for people. The two work perfectly together to serve others in other countries through missions. My beautiful wife, Mary Helen, will be serving along side of me in Uganda. Africa has always been on our hearts. Through her business True Boutique, we have connected with Be Free Revolution. We are so excited about the trip and being able to broaden our minds of greater things in this world as well as getting the opportunity to share Christ’s LOVE!   Kelsey Pope, Peace to the Ground- Africa Liaison
I was born & raised in Memphis, TN & currently living in the rural town of Columbia, KY. I have a degree in Christian Ministries with a minor in Psychology & I'll complete my master's degree in Counseling & Human Development in May.  I'll begin my career as a counselor at Alliance Counseling Associates when I return from Africa.
After my first trip to Uganda with BFR in March, my life was forever changed! I knew that it was merely my introduction to Africa & God's calling for me to return was undeniably strong. He is doing some amazing work through BFR & the organizations they partner with in Africa. I am beyond blessed for the opportunity to help out & be a small hand in this huge picture!  I'm anxiously awaiting my return to Africa & I couldn't be more excited that my beloved husband is joining me on this journey!     Weston Pope, Peace to the Ground- Africa Liaison
I am 25, and born in Louisville, KY but raised in Southern Indiana. I currently reside in Columbia, KY with my wife, Kelsey and two dogs- Kona and Yeti. I am a graduate student at Lindsey Wilson College (studying Counseling & Human Development) and a professional BMX racer.
I have always been compelled to help and serve in any way I can, but I have a special call on helping to facilitate the growth of boys into becoming better men. I knew I had to go on a BFR trip soon because I saw the change in my wife's eyes from her recent trip to Uganda. I am not sure what will come of this trip, but I feel it is the start of something new. I also love lame jokes and good coffee.     Molly Sanford, Partnership Coordinator
I was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA.  After some great years, I graduated from the University of West Georgia, packed up my Honda and drove the 7 hours to Memphis, TN to start a job I hadn't really seen, and move in with a roommate I hadn't really met.  Shortly thereafter, I married my college sweetheart and we settled down in a quant house with our two dogs!
Six years later, I felt a stirring again, I just left my job in January without a solid plan, but with a desire to truly give back and do "more."  God has really started to open doors all around me that I never would have seen while in the corporate world and I can just feel my path being laid out in front of me!  I am ecstatic to join the Uganda team in June.  I love very deeply, and my heart just melts thinking of the children that will be impacting my life, and I theirs. God has blessed me with the time to take this journey, the passion to help and serve others, and a supportive husband to tolerate my "not so subtle transitions!"  I cannot wait to see what is in store!
        Mary Helen Wirwa, BFR Southeast Sales Representative I was born as raised in TN, but now reside in St Francisville, LA.  I’m married to the love of my life and my very best friend, Nick. I am a teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, turned owner of True Boutique. Through my business, I was introduced to BFR and fell in love with Britney, Lacey, and their heart for missions. I was honored and humbled to (in addition to being a shop owner) serve as Southeast Representative for Be Free Revolution…. and let’s add mission junkie to my list! I have always felt called to serve God through mission work and Africa has always been on my heart.  Nick and I have traveled to both Kenya and Uganda with BFR and don’t see this trip as our last! I can’t wait to go back to Uganda and work with the leaders and children at SMILE. The children there touched my heart like nothing ever had before. God revealed a deep desire and passion that He had been preparing me for … SMILE is an organization where God is really moving and I feel blessed to be a small part of God’s big plan!    
Robyn Smart I'm originally from Indianapolis, IN, but I had the wonderful fortune to play soccer at the University of Memphis, where I met some of my best lifelong friends. Back at home, I now work as a Retail Commercial Real Estate Broker; work that I find challenging, but at times doesn't seem to produce many tangible benefits to society. I am confident that this mission will provide an opportunity for me to become involved with the world in a social-minded way. BFR is offering me the platform to make personal connections with people who live very differently than I do, and I am looking forward to seeing how we can change each other. I am approaching this service opportunity with an open mind, and I could not be more excited to share this experience with old and new friends from the BFR team.   Joshua Roy I am from a small town outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  I am married to my college sweetheart, Ginger and God has bless us with a handsome son, Parker. I am a Wildlife Biologist for a local consulting firm. From a very young age I have been called to serve others by being the hands and feet of Christ. My wife and I spend a majority of our time doing life with other believers through leading our church's cooking ministry,  bible study, being a apart of a prison ministry team and recently serving on the youth worship team.  When this opportunity with BRR opened up, I felt God saying that I am in a season of stretching and growing.  I am so excited to see God move and Work!       Laura Smith I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. After high school, I was no longer content in Memphis and knew I needed a change. I packed my bags and headed out west. I planted my feet in the beautiful and majestic Grand Teton National Park, where I met my selfless and supportive husband. After a couple years of riding in the snow, traversing through mountains and rafting down rivers, we decided it was time to head back home. Home is now Athens, GA where I work as a veterinary technician and attend school. I have always had a passion for children and helping others. When the chance arose to serve on the mission field in Uganda, I thought, could there be a better place for me to do these things?  A firm believer in not making drastic decisions, my husband and I prayed about it. With the final conclusion being, duh, God wants you to go to Africa.My heart has been overwhelmed with the love and support I have received from my family, friends, coworkers and clients. I cannot wait to see what God has in store!       Alonda Wright I am a wildlife biologist currently attending graduate school at Louisiana State University. I grew up on an island on the east coast of Florida, where my love for the outdoors and passion for travel began. Everywhere I travel I seem to make a connection with people and their culture which overtime has made me realize that was my calling for Christ. Some people are amazing singers, others powerful evangelists, even healers, me well I'm just the girl in a backpack behind a camera lens passionate about connecting with people and sharing their stories. I believe in empowering women across the world to reach their full potential a d to dream BIG! I have an undying love for anything outdoors and I am most happy in a foreign country with my backpack on or in my kayak. Service has always been a part of my life on any trip or adventure I've ever taken and if this is what path God wants me on then I'll keep hiking it!! Blessed beyond belief to be a part of Be Free!!   Katie Hougas I was raised in a medical military family and have lived in 10 cities globally through the last 27 years. After teaching high school in Memphis with Teach For America I was so excited to join the trip to Kenya with my church.  I now live and work in Minneapolis, MN. I'm so blessed to return to Africa and serve Christ, love on kiddos, and be apart of shining Christ's light in our world.