Columnist Linda Waters, right, was a table facilitator for a 2019 Mission Mississippi Summit.


     For over 20 years, I called Meridian home. The thought of leaving friends, extended family, my church, and the community where I was deeply rooted was bittersweet. I accepted a new role with my employer as a specialist in our public affairs department. This new position required me to expand my reach and build new relationships on a broader scale. 


     Accomplishing this goal meant leaving the city I had grown to love and called home. As I got closer to the move date, I had mixed emotions regarding the change. My family and I were active members of our church and the local community. However, just like exercise, with growth comes a little discomfort that leads to rewards.


     In 2013, my family and I relocated from Meridian to Jackson, and the feeling of anxiety was quickly replaced with joy. The joy of having the opportunity to cultivate new relationships and form connections meant we would widen our pool of friendships beyond Meridian.  


     Shortly after settling into the community, I started attending functions in and around the Jackson metro area. One of the first events I attended was a prayer breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion. This would be the first of several Mission Mississippi events I would attend. I was honored to represent my company and pleasantly surprised to witness such a distinguished group of leaders in one room. There were state and local leaders, men and women of different races and backgrounds coming together for a common goal. Praying for racial reconciliation was the priority of the day. 


     That day is when I gained an understanding of the value Mission Mississippi brings to the community and state. When connecting with individuals, I often utilize the lessons I learned through my participation in Mission Mississippi events, including the willingness to have open conversations about how we can work together to transform our communities.


     The Bible speaks of the power of prayer. Christians who believe in the power of prayer devote time to prayer. The Holy Spirit takes care of the rest. Matthew 18:19-20 states, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” 


     The goal of Mission Mississippi was truly apparent on that day at the Governor’s Mansion. Prayers for our city, state and country filled the room as deeper connections founded on biblical principles were formed. Philippians 4:6 tells us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”


     The priority of Mission Mississippi is to improve and reconcile relationships on biblical principles. Living out those principles through love for our brothers and sisters in Christ is a must. John 15:17 says, “These things I command, that you love one another.”


     Over the years, I have attended events and participated in virtual meetings hosted by Mission Mississippi. With each opportunity, I have had the pleasure of meeting individuals from different races and backgrounds who desire to improve relationships and make deeper connections for the good of the state.  


     To that end, and in my opinion, Mission Mississippi is great for Mississippi. 

Linda Waters is a manager of public affairs with Atmos Energy. She is married to Roger Waters, mother to Nick and Allison, and grandmother to three beautiful grandchildren: Joyia, Karter and Liam. Linda and Roger are members of Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson.