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

The following article was recently published by a media source in the Oxford, Mississippi area, and has been repurposed for The 410 Bridge blog. Read more about how God is bridging together local churches, organizations and university students–including the Ole Miss football team–with the community of Camp Marie, Haiti.


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.

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.”

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.

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.”

This 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.”


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

Together, FNC, the Orchard Church and the Ole Miss Football team will come together at some point on the upcoming March 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 will provide business training by walking alongside Camp Marie members who currently attend Business Startup Training, a community program offered through partnership with The 410 Bridge. The course gives entrepreneurs 30 days of training and equips students to launch new businesses with the techniques learned from the program.

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.”

Together, the Ole Miss football team, the Orchard and FNC will get to share cross-cultural experiences and show one another hospitality.

The 410 Bridge Leadership Council of Camp Marie, Haiti
The 410 Bridge Leadership Council 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, Camp Marie’s economy relies 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.

Article Source/Author: HottyToddy.com/Emily Newton 


At The 410 Bridge, we are excited to see growth and transformation in this community happening at such a rapid pace over the last few years. This is due much in part to our friends in Oxford joining forces to walk alongside community leaders in Camp Marie. The community has been engaged from the beginning with a strong desire to see their surroundings change for the better.

In 2014, teams from Oxford helped the community with a road project so that roads could be widened to bring in larger vehicles carrying supplies for a water project, and vehicles for U.S. teams to visit. That led to the 2015 completion of bringing safe water to Camp Marie for the first time ever. With this level of empowerment to the community, leaders are now ready to begin a larger water irrigation project that will lay the groundwork for a future in farming large lots of land.

In all of this, the community development projects and teams provide a rich opportunity to build relationships while bridging cultures, and ultimately coming to know the love of Christ while administering God’s grace to one another. We are thankful.

If you are interested in learning more or helping fund the work we are doing in Camp Marie through the local church, visit our Camp Marie community page by clicking here: Camp Marie Profile.

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