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Haiti Mission: Oxford Community and Ole Miss Football To Team Up

In 2014, the Ole Miss football team traveled to Camp Marie, Haiti, for the first time on a mission trip.
In 2014, the Ole Miss football team traveled to Camp Marie, Haiti, for the first time on a mission trip.

For the third year in a row, Ole Miss coaches and football players will participate in a special mission trip to Camp Marie, Haiti during Spring Break (March 12 through 20). But this year will be bigger and better. Their good works will be multiplied by the addition of church groups, a group from FNC and other Oxonians. Additionally, HottyToddy.com has just learned that Ole Missions, a student-led mission group is sending 50 students to Haiti (look for future story).

According to Lance Reed, owner of Chick-fil-A on Jackson Avenue, the idea of going to Haiti for missions started three years ago when he, Coach Freeze and football Chaplin, John Powell, got together for a discussion.

“Myself, John Powell and Coach Freeze sat down three years ago and had a talk,” Reed said, “and it has grown into what it [the mission trip] is today.”

Coach Freeze and members of the Ole Miss football team help a community in need on a mission trip in Haiti.
Coach Freeze and members of the Ole Miss football team help a community in need on a mission trip in Haiti.

The trip was made possible through an organization called the 410 Bridge, a group devoted to community development across the world and a partner with Life Shape International, another missions- devoted organization created by John and Trudy Cathy, founders of Chick-fil-A.

In 2014, Coach Freeze took 17 members of the football team on the mission trip. In 2015, Freeze took another 12 members of the team back to Haiti, including quarterback Chad Kelly.

“I think every individual is different,” Freeze said last year. “Everybody sees it from a different angle and a different perspective, and what moves someone may not move the other and vice versa. But I think it’s very clear that each person that went probably gets slapped in the face of reality that we have it really good and we are very, very blessed and fortunate.”

The Group Expands

Haiti 3This year, what has been estimated at about 50 Oxonians (members of FNC, the Orchard Church and others) will join Freeze and his players to improve water irrigation and education in Camp Marie.

“It’s a city wide thing that is starting,” said Pat Ward, pastor at the Orchard. “That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to be a part of it [410 Bridge mission trip]. We wanted to see churches and non-religious organizations get together.”

According to Robyn Horton, 410 Bridge mobilizes and unites the body of Christ to serve the world. Founded in 2006, the organization partners with various communities who need help in development.

First, a local leadership council is formed in the community. Next, the council identifies assets and gifts in their community, but also identifies the community’s spiritual and physical needs. A plan of action is formed, and the community partners with 410 Bridge to help the community reach its needs and goals.

“The 410 Bridge enables the self-developing capabilities of the people we serve by mobilizing and unifying the body of Christ through holistic, redemptive, community-centered partnerships,” the 410 Bridge mission stated.

The Mission

Haiti 7The 410 Bridge organization has five key areas of focus for development which are water, education, economics, health and discipleship. Camp Marie, Haiti, where the Oxford teams will be traveling, needs development in better water, education and discipleship.

Together, FNC, the Orchard Church and the Ole Miss Football team will come together at some point on the mission trip to help Camp Marie with its irrigation system. Throughout the week, the teams will break off and focus on more specific needs in the community such as education and business training.

Joel Amidon, one of the 15 mission members of the Orchard church and assistant professor in the department of teacher education at Ole Miss, will provide education training on the mission trip.

“My area is math education, and I know how to teach,” Amidon said. “I’ll be teaching teachers how to figure out where kids are to move them on to the next stage.”

According to Amidon, education materials are being translated into French Creole, Camp Marie’s language, and will be given to teachers in the community.

“My passion is teaching and working with teachers, specifically math teachers,” Amidon said. “I can use my talent that God’s given me to teach in Haiti.”

FNC logoFNC will provide business training through a program by 410 Bridge to the locals in Camp Marie. Mike Mitchell, the chief strategy officer for FNC, said he was approached about taking a group of 15 people from FNC to Haiti and knew it would be a good fit.


“FNC’s culture is about service. Family and staff will improve through this type of mission project,” Mitchell said. “The idea of being able to do it along with The University of Mississippi and other churches and organizations in Oxford made it attractive to go in a multi-year commitment through this project.”

Through the 410 Bridge, Camp Marie already has a business start-up course in the community. The course gives entrepreneurs 30 days of training and equips students to launch new businesses with the techniques learned from the program.

Together, the Ole Miss football team, the Orchard and FNC will show the people of Camp Marie, Haiti, what Oxford and Mississippi hospitality are like.

Camp Marie, Haiti

Residents of Camp Marie, Haiti.
Residents of Camp Marie, Haiti.

Camp Marie, Haiti, is a town of 7,000 people located 90 minutes north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The town has eight churches and seven primary schools.

Haiti grosses an average $8.4 billion on tea, coffee, fish, petroleum, cement and agriculture. With a tropical climate, the Camp Marie’s economics rely mostly on locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Religiously, 80 percent of the population is Christian, but Voodoo practices still have a presence in Camp Marie. However, the 410 Bridge believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and salvation can only be found through Jesus and spreads the Gospel throughout Haiti.

“We seek to radically improve the pace and depth of growth in the spiritual and physical health of communities in the developing world by transforming the way that the body of Christ engages in healthy global missions,” 410 Bridge’s vision statement said.

For more information on the 410 Bridge and Camp Marie, Haiti, visit 410bridge.org. Visit ignite.olemiss.edu to help the Ole Miss Rebels raise money to go Camp Marie, Haiti.

Emily Newton is a staff writer for hottytoddy.com and the editor of Experience Oxford magazine. She can be reached at emily.newton@hottytoddy.com.

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