Justin Smith – Elder
Justin Smith was raised in Southeast Asia, the son of missionary parents. Although he always believed in God, he came to faith in Christ after attending a bible study while in the 7th grade. He had a subsequent encounter (or baptism) with the Holy Spirit while riding the city bus home from college in 1982. He has since been involved in various leadership roles in the local church including small group leader, director of small groups, Sunday school teacher, and worship committee.
Justin and his family moved to Arizona in 2006. Justin graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (B.A. International Relations), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A. Counseling Psychology), and Wheaton College (Psy.D. Clinical Psychology). He currently teaches counseling and pastoral care at Phoenix Seminary. Justin and his wife, Mary, have two children. They enjoy their golden retriever, playing games, swimming, biking, exotic food (satay, durian, chaptis), and living the mini-van life. Mary teaches 7th and 8th grade math and science at Leading Edge Academy.
Some things you might not know are that Mary first saw Justin while he was in a church drama production (no comment); their first conversation was about Christians in education (of course); and Justin proposed over Dilly Bars (everything goes better with ice cream).
Rick Howard – Elder
Rick grew up on the family farm in a small rural community in Northern Kentucky. He was saved at 8 years of age in the Southern Baptist Church where his father was a deacon. At the age of 34 he rededicated his life and surrendered his whole heart to the Lord.
Prior to moving to Arizona, Rick and Carla had served in church plants in Columbia, Missouri and in Blacksburg, Virginia the preceding 8 years. Rick and Carla have been married 18 years and together with their children, Nathan, Samuel, and Livia, have been part of the Two Rivers Church family for 8 years.
Rick was a deacon at Two Rivers Church prior to his appointment as an elder. Rick helps on the worship team for corporate worship, leads worship in small group settings, participates in prayer ministry with individuals and enjoys helping out with construction projects at the church. Carla maintains a busy schedule as a homemaker and has a passion for inner healing ministry.
Rick is a partner at Arizona Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Gilbert, Arizona where he specializes in equine surgery. Rick received his DVM from Auburn University (1989), and his PhD (1997) from Colorado State University where his veterinary surgery specialty training was also completed.
Kelly Frieze – Elder
Kelly is married to Lindy Frieze who also serves in the administrative office at Two Rivers Church. He is the store manager at IKEA Tempe and previously held store management positions at Sam’s Club, Mars Music and Target. Lindy is also a licensed realtor in Arizona and has helped many families buy and sell homes throughout the Valley. Kelly and Lindy have three children – Caleb, Courtney, and Camryn. All of the Frieze’s have served in worship ministry here at Two Rivers and in various locations including Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan and Colorado.
The Frieze’s were part of the “original six” which were the families that moved to Phoenix to plant the next FCA church which turned out to be Two Rivers Church in Gilbert. Kelly has a BS in Administrative Management from Missouri State University and has served as Deacon, Elder and Leader in numerous church boards throughout the US.
Mark Lease – Elder
Mark was born and raised in Wisconsin, living and growing up in smaller communities around the Madison area. While a student at the University of Wisconsin he began searching for meaning to life that went beyond the noble things of an education and family. In 1982 he turned his attention to answering the questions, “Is there a God and if there is what is the truth about God?” Desiring nothing but the truth Mark made a commitment to turn from his sin and to Jesus Christ, believing that if Jesus was real He would come into Mark’s life and he would know it. On a Saturday night in July of 1982 he had a life changing encounter with Jesus.
Accepting a job transfer Mark moved his family to Arizona in 2009 where he is employed as an electrical engineer. He is married to Anne, his wife of 28 years. Their son Gabe attends Arizona State University. Together Mark, Anne and Gabe have served in several churches in the Midwest before becoming members of Two Rivers Church in 2009.