Meet our TeamGet to know our Staff and Board of Directors
Meet our Team
Shelly Owens, Chief Executive Officer
Shelly came on staff in early 2016 as Communications and Development Director and is now serving as Chief Executive Officer. Shelly has a passion for overseas missions, adoption, and cross-cultural ministry.
She has over 15 years of non-profit fundraising and development experience, having previously served as both a Regional Director and National Director for the March of Dimes. In 2010, Shelly and her husband, Dan, founded SixtyFeet, an international juvenile justice ministry, with the mission of bringing hope and restoration to the imprisoned children of Africa, in Jesus’ name.
Shelly has organized and led countless short-term missions trips and has also served as a long-term missionary while living in Kampala, Uganda for a period of 18 months with her husband and children. She is grateful for the unique opportunity she and her family have had to experience missions work from both sides of the ocean, both as senders and goers.
Serving as the CEO for Go Be Love is truly a dream come true for Shelly. The role is a perfect way for her to combine her passion for missions, her love of mission teams, and her fundraising and other ministry leadership experience into one focused effort.
Shelly and Dan live in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with their 5 children, three biological and two adopted. When she’s not working for Go Be Love or driving kids around, Shelly enjoys trail running, hiking, and other activities that keep her outside, active, and close to the ground.
Autumn Kerr, Executive Director
Autumn Kerr came to Go Be Love in November 2009 and has served in many roles since – administration, trip coordination, management and became Executive Director in May of 2012.
Before coming on staff at Go Be Love, Autumn worked in the advertising agency world for 11 years. Her background is design and writing but her passion is to live out James 1:27. This passion came alive on a trip to the Philippines in 2007 where she went on a group tour with Compassion International to meet her sponsored child. This trip was truly life changing and Autumn returned home with a heart on fire for missions and doing more to help children around the world. She currently sponsors 3 children through Compassion and has been on mission trips to the Philippines, India, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, China, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Ecuador, the Bahamas, and Haiti.
Serving on staff at Go Be Love is a huge answer to prayer and is truly fulfilling the desires of Autumn’s heart. She considers it a joy and privilege to be able to join hands with missionaries and ministries to help children around the world.
Autumn currently lives in Sarasota, FL with her son Mihretu whom she adopted from Ethiopia in 2012. You can read about her adoption and parenting journey on her adoption blog here.
Casi Young, Missions Specialist
Starting from an early age, Casi has had a heart for orphans and the underprivileged. This passion only intensified after participating in several mission trips over her college spring breaks to Dominican Republic and Mexico where she had the opportunity to visit some orphanages. Casi graduated from Judson University with a Bachelors degree in Mathematics, but felt drawn towards making a positive impact on youth and began her nine year career with Big Brothers Big Sisters. During this time, she was very involved in her church as youth group leader and then as the Outreach Director. With the goal of helping her church to become more externally-focused, she planned and lead mission trips to New Orleans and Honduras. Her relationship with Go Be Love began with the trip to Honduras which she helped facilitate as a Go Be Love team leader.
Casi lived in the Chicago area for most of her life and relocated to Nashville in 2011. In 2010, she felt God was preparing her for a transition in her life; she prayed seeking earnestly after God’s will and where He was leading her. In March of 2011, she pursued an opening with Go Be Love and felt complete peace about making the transition. Working for Go Be Love is a perfect fit for her passion to bring hope to the orphans also incorporated with her love for travel. She is so excited to work with the staff at Go Be Love, the mission teams, and the ministries and children that Go Be Love partners with. She is expectant for what God has in store for her and the lives she can influence by being a part of Go Be Love.
Casi lives in the Nashville area with her husband, Chad, and their daughter Emma Sue.
Frank Pass, Missions Specialist
Frank Pass served in student ministry for almost 20 years. It was during his time with students that he developed a love for missions. Frank has led trips to Peru, Colombia, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Haiti and China. Frank’s life verse and blueprint for missions can be found in Romans 10:13-15.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!”
Frank and his wife Robin live in Prattville, AL where they raise 3 daughters, Anne Louise, Katy and Ella Grace and a son Gabriel. Ella Grace was adopted from China in 2005 and it was this experience that helped to develop his passion for orphan ministry. Frank is active in his church, which is the same church where he and Robin met and married. He volunteers in the children’s and youth ministries when he is not traveling around the world.
Frank came on staff at Go Be Love (then called Visiting Orphans) in Jan 2011 and is thrilled to be working with and leading teams for Go Be Love. He says that when we send teams to visit these precious children we are showing them the love that God shows us. We remind them that there is hope and that they are loved and valued. It is like shining a light in the darkness.
Rachel Brunswick, Missions Specialist
Rachel’s heart for missions began from an early age, but it was several years after college where she experienced it firsthand with a Go Be Love trip to Uganda in 2014. She has been on many trips with Go Be Love, and has developed a passion to love and serve the people that God has put in front of her – both overseas and in the US.
Rachel graduated from Liberty University and has worked in business administration for several years. She felt that God was calling her into ministry full-time, and joined the staff with Go Be Love in 2017. She enjoys using her passion for missions as well as her gift for administration to serve in the daily operations of Go Be Love International. She also enjoys leading trips overseas to Uganda and Haiti. She has a heart for missionary care, and loves working behind-the-scenes to help others succeed. Rachel is excited to see the Lord continue to work as we seek to Go Be Love around the world.
Rachel lives in Colorado with her husband, Ben, where they enjoy all things outdoors.
Board of Directors
Paul Rutter, Board President
Paul grew up near Columbus, Ohio, where he was blessed to have parents who loved the Lord and worked hard to raise Paul to do the same. He left Ohio to attend Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, during which time he had the privilege of spending a semester abroad at Jerusalem University College in Jerusalem, Israel. After graduating from Taylor in 1998 with a business degree, Paul traveled out to study and work at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he met his future wife, Lauren, a Wisconsin native.
After marrying in 2000, Paul and Lauren moved to Virginia, and Paul attended the University of Virginia School of Law, including a semester abroad at the University of Nottingham in Nottingham, England. After finishing law school, they moved back to central Ohio so that Paul could practice in municipal bond law. He assists school districts and other local governments with financing and refinancing capital projects.
Since returning to Ohio, Paul and Lauren have been blessed with three boys, and they also felt the Lord burdening their hearts for orphans and other children in distress. It was a desire to serve these children that led them to join their first Go Be Love International (then called Visiting Orphans) trip to Costa Rica in 2013. They had an incredible time ministering to children on that trip, and they promptly signed up to lead a team to Costa Rica in 2014. They also became licensed foster parents in 2014, and they have enjoyed pouring themselves into the children that they have been blessed to care for since then.
Paul joined the Board of Directors in April of 2016 and served for a season as our Treasurer. Most recently, he stepped into the role as President of the Board of Directors.
Juliana Crawford, Board Vice President
Juliana graduated from Baylor University in 2002 and moved to Dallas to begin working in public relations for a variety of clients including American Airlines, Nestlé and Dr Pepper/Seven Up. After a few years in the agency world, she took on a role at the national office of the American Heart Association. Recently celebrating her ninth anniversary with the organization, she is thankful for a career that allows her to develop programs and services to support heart disease and stroke patients and the families who care for them.
Juliana and her husband, Judson, discovered Go Be Love when they were searching for an opportunity to celebrate their 5-year wedding anniversary with a mission trip. After some extensive Googling they found the Go Be Love International (then Visiting Orphans) website and signed up for a trip to Ethiopia and Uganda in July 2010. Since then the mission of Go Be Love has also become their own and they are excited to continue to support the organization through additional trips, introducing friends and family to the mission and serving on the Board together.
Juliana and Judson have been married nearly nine years and still live in Dallas, TX. Juliana loves to be outdoors, running and working out with friends. She also loves to do the dishes as long as Judson is cooking and cheering on her Baylor Bears (especially when they play Judson’s Red Raiders).
Juliana joined the Go Be Love International (then Visiting Orphans) board in 2013 and has served as Vice President since January of 2016.
Chelsea Swaim, Board Secretary
Chelsea Swaim grew up in Southern California and founded a small personal training business there that she ran until leaving in 2014. She married her husband Austen that May, and they set off for Germany two weeks later with big dreams and open hearts. They haven’t stopped traveling since and both pursued growth professionally and personally through their experiences abroad.
While in Germany Chelsea went back to school and is now finishing up her BS in marketing with a minor in information systems management. Also while in Germany, Chelsea began working with a small nonprofit and realized that she wanted to make nonprofit work a bigger part of her path going forward. She had long felt a call to search a little deeper for opportunities to serve in the mission field, and began praying for more guidance. Those prayers were answered with an opportunity to serve with a Go Be Love team that would be going to Ethiopia and Uganda summer of 2015. Since returning from this trip Chelsea began to search for ways to support Go Be Love International’s mission in an ongoing capacity and was thrilled to join the board in June of 2016. Chelsea has served as the Board Secretary since September 2016.
Chelsea and Austen recently moved back to the States and are enjoying settling into their first home in North Carolina, although summer humidity is a new concept for both of these California natives! When Chelsea isn’t working or studying she enjoys taking on DIY home improvement projects, cooking up a storm for family and friends, and staying active and fit.
Donnie Manis, Board Treasurer
Donnie grew up and still lives in Montgomery, Alabama, where a strong network of family and friends helped form the foundation of his faith and commitment to love others in Jesus’ name.
He spent 35 years as a volunteer leader with YoungLife, sharing the good news with teenagers through his life and through the message.
His family had a huge role in his commitment to reach out to the children in Africa, as he made his first trip at the urging of his 18-year-old niece in 2010. As he, his niece, and 28 other Go Be Love International (then Visiting Orphans) team members loved the children in Ethiopia, he knew he would never be the same.
Since then, Donnie has carried the children of Addis Ababa in his heart daily. He is excited about God’s call to go back each year and love them, share Jesus with them, and be an encouragement to those who are called to minister there year round. It is his prayer that God would use him not only to make a difference in the lives of children on the other side of the world, but also to encourage his fellow American believers to find ways to reach out to the children of the world.
Donnie joined the Board of Directors in September of 2015 and stepped into the Treasurer role in January 2018.
Josh Phillips, Board Member
Josh Phillips began his work in Church Ministry in 1998. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University in 2001, he and his wife, Bridget, moved to Fort Worth, TX where he enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was during their time in seminary that their two daughters, Olivia and Bailey, were born. Upon completing his degree in Christian Education, the Phillips family moved back to the Middle Tennessee area where he worked in Youth Ministry in two different churches.
Currently, Josh serves as the Pastor of Community Life Church in Clarksville, TN; a young church plant with a desire to equip each believer to live on mission for the glory of God. Over the past several years God has opened his eyes to the great ministry of Go Be Love. Through the encouragement of a church member who had served on various teams with Go Be Love International (then Visiting Orphans), Josh and his family decided to participate in a trip to Rwanda and Ethiopia in 2014. The experience for their family was a game-changer as they knew God was calling them to do all they could to equip and encourage other believers and families to obediently follow God’s command in James 1:27 to “visit widows and orphans in their distress.”
Josh came on the Board of Directors in the Fall of 2015 and hopes to help Go Be Love International build strategic partnerships with the local church so that each believer and each family might have the opportunity to “Go Be Love” by participating in short term missions.
Angie Hendren, Board Member
After reading books about about China’s one child policy, the war in Sudan, the genocide in Rwanda, and the AIDS crisis in Africa Angie Hendren kept wanting to read more. However, reading wasn’t doing it for her. She knew there was more to it. In the fall of 2010, her pastor did a sermon series entitled “Deeper”. Her small group discussed each week’s lesson in depth and Angie read every single verse she was challenged to read. At the end of the series, three words were written in her journal over and over again; Africa. Orphans. Go. Never had Angie dreamed of traveling to Africa, but suddenly that’s all she wanted to do. She read even more books about Africa, specifically books about people caring for widows and orphans, and signed up for her first Go Be Love trip. Angie landed in Ethiopia on Mother’s Day of 2011 – a day that now marks the anniversary of her meeting her now teenage son.
Angie is a licensed professional counselor by profession, and feels strongly that when people talk about the tough stuff, change happens and we see and experience Jesus like never before. She feels strongly that we can’t ignore what hurts us or other people – even people on the other side of the world whom we’ve never met And, she believes with her whole heart that when God says to DO something, we better do it! Angie feels that every Christian can and should do more for vulnerable children, and she wants to be part of what God is doing in and through the lives of those willing to reach out and love “the least of these.”
Angie Hendren joined the Go Be Love board of directors in early 2016 after leading teams for us several years in a row.
She’s been married for almost 20 years and has five children from four different ethnic backgrounds and three different countries.
David Forbess, Board Member
David Forbess joined the Go Be Love Board of Directors in 2015. David comes to us with a background in Financial Planning. He lives in Lubbock, Texas with his wife and two sons and has a heart for giving back. In his free time, David enjoys golf and spending time outdoors.
Gorden Fleming, Board Member
Gorden, a native Mississippian, graduated from The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in 1999. After serving with Cru for two years at Auburn University, Gorden moved to Charlotte, NC, to obtain his Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary. It was in Charlotte where Gorden met Kelly Kallam, and they married in 2003. Upon graduation, Gorden served as a pastor in two different churches before God moved him into the business sector, where he worked for 8 years.
In late 2012, Gorden reluctantly went on his first mission trip ever – to Uganda. And everything changed. Since then, he has led six teams to Uganda, and one of his favorite things to do is to invite people to “come and see” (John 1:46). It was through these trips that God began to call Gorden back into full-time ministry, and in 2015 the Flemings moved to Raleigh, NC, to pastor Midtown Community Church. Gorden joined the Go Be Love International Board in January of 2017.
Gorden and Kelly have four kids: Ware (2005), Caroline Gray (2007), Hunt (2011) and Bess (2013). When he rarely has free-time he enjoys exercising and anything Ole Miss.