By Paige Haven


Mission Mississippi President Neddie Winters with Paige Haven’s children. Left to right are Conner, Ashton and Kailyn.

Sharing the ‘mission’ with my kids

     I was asked to share a Mission Mississippi Moment. Being involved in the organization since 2007 means a lot of memorable times and conversations. was introduced to Mission Mississippi while in college by one of my professors, Dr. Joe Martin. And then, none other than Dr. Dolphus Weary (then president of Mission Mississippi) gave the commencement address at my 2005 graduation. I did not know then how much the organization he represented would be such a huge part of my life.


     I began to volunteer at Mission Mississippi and soon became the volunteer coordinator (as a volunteer myself). I met two best friends, Jokeda and Betty. They became regular volunteers and we eventually got to know each other, which led to great friendships. Even though we all live in different places now, we still keep in touch.


Paige Haven (left) with her friends Jokeda Nelson (center) and Betty Thomas.

     I learned a lot from these friendships—one of the first close friendships that I had with someone my age of another race. Although we differed in skin color, our core values and beliefs were so similar that we couldn’t help but become friends.


     A lot of moments revolve around my children. As a mom, it means so much to me that my Mission Mississippi friends love my family and take time to get to know to my children. And while we are on the topic of my kids, I have to share some funny moments.


     All my kids love Neddie Winters, the president of Mission Mississippi. When my eldest was younger she thought every tall black man was Neddie. My son Ashton put on a bow tie one day and ran up to me so excited and proud and declared, “Look at me, I’m Mr. Neddie.”


     A few years ago, Mission Mississippi began a Focused Time of Prayer encouraging people once a month to take time to pray specifically regarding racial division and strife. This was in response to several racially driven incidents involving police forces.


Governor Phil Bryant with the author’s children.

Mission Mississippi organized prayer times for several local police and sheriff’s departments. I dragged my children to downtown Jackson at 7:30 a.m. to pray for the Jackson Police Department. Governor Bryant had contacted the organization and was planning to attend the prayer time. He spoke and then several people led in prayer. It was a beautiful moment to see so many come together to pray. And of course, we had to get a pic with the governor and post it all over social media!


     That same year, I got the kids up early again to attend a Mission Mississippi Prayer Breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion — this time we got a pic with First Lady Deborah Bryant. Almost six years ago, I brought Ashton, then just 4 weeks old, to a 20th-anniversary planning meeting. One of Mission Mississippi’s board members, Lee Bush, took care of him and even fed him for me so I could conduct the meeting.


First Lady Deborah Bryant with the author’s children.


     I love that my children are not only able to participate in prayer gatherings, but they are seeing the best side of Mississippi when they are at these events. It’s wonderful Christian people that are gathering together across racial lines and showing the world that it is Jesus that brings unity.


     The relationships that have been formed through my involvement with Mission Mississippi are priceless. I have been encouraged to see things from another person’s perspective. I have been stretched to be better and do more. As the Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”


     Thank you Mission Mississippi for connecting me with people who “sharpen” me.





Paige Haven is the event coordinator for Mission Mississippi and owner of Compliments of You Event Planning. She is wife to Rick and mom to Kailyn, Ashton, Conner and Lawson