Sister Mary Ellen Sawyer-Goodwin, Founder
“We must heal, we must feed, we must educate, and we must teach people ways to help themselves to a better life before they can hear the message of salvation.”
Sister Mary E. Sawyer-Goodwin,
Founder of Friends for Missions, Inc.
(April 22, 1930 – October 28, 1997)
Serving the People of Haiti for Over 50 Years: Feed a Child, Educate a Child, Change a Life
Serving Communities in Haiti through Nationwide Donations
Over 50 Years of Experience in the Religious and Social Services Sector
A Christ-Centered Nonprofit Organization Since 1968
Dr. Dorothy W. Exume, a Church of God in Christ missionary, inspired us to organize our mission. She committed most of her life to the ministry in Haiti and helped pave the way for future missionaries. Since our organization’s establishment in 1968, we have been devoted to supporting Haitians’ educational, nutritional, medical, and spiritual needs.
If you want to be involved in our life-changing welfare programs, please contact us. Will you help us elevate the lives of Haitian children?
“Friends for Missions, Inc. …With an Ever-Extended hand to “the Least of These…”
Sister Mary (picture above), as she was fondly referred to, had a true heart for missions. Anyone who knew her knew about Friends for Missions and her work in Haiti. Her lifelong commitment to the people of Haiti started in 1968 when she and her husband, Dr. Bennie E. Goodwin, were asked to go to Haiti to check out a school run by her mother-in-law, Mrs. Odessa Goodwin. As a result of that trip, she came back burdened with the need to do something about the plight of the people there. She asked the Lord, “What can I do to help the people in Haiti?” He simply told her to write an appeal letter to her “friends”, and that is how Friends for Missions, Inc. began. Not knowing exactly what direction to take she consulted with two of the most notable pioneers of our time, Church of God in Christ missionaries, Dr. Dorothy Exume and Mrs. Mary E. Gullick, who were more than willing to give her the benefit of their experiences. She was then able to team up with the then, Church of God in Christ Jurisdictional Bishop to Haiti, the late Bishop Lopez Dautruche and his wife Mrs. Lise. Together with the help of God and the support of like minded individuals, they were able to feed well over 200,00 children, in the 45 years that they were in charge. Bishop and Mrs. Dautruche have gone on to be with the Lord but their children, principally, Jocelyn, is now working hand in hand with Sister Ellen to continue the legacy left to us by feeding and educating “the least of these”. In addition to being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, it seems that Haiti is always susceptible to Mother Nature. With the hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides and torrential rains, the need is seemingly never ending. That is why we are there and that is why we need your help. Thank You!
Bishop Bennie and Mother Odessa Goodwin
M. Ellen Goodwin Freeling, Executive Director
Sister Mary passed away in 1997. Five years later, daughter, Ellen Goodwin, Freeling, felt called by the Lord to take up the mantle of Friends for Missions Inc. Sister Ellen spent many years working with her mother, and she became well-versed in the organization’s inner workings. Today, and for the last 20 years, she has served as its Executive Director.
Sister Ellen has been happily married to Kevin Freeling for the past 19 years. She is the mother of two adult sons, Christian and Lynel, both of which sponsor Haitian children. Christian also serves as Sister Ellen’s “right-hand man.” With his help, we are starting to move toward the social media space. We have already been featured on several podcasts. Thanks, Chris! She is also the proud grandmother of Amari Christian.
Sister Ellen is a graduate of Clayton State University with a BAS in Administrative Management.
Prior to the pandemic, she would go to Haiti every year or so, and she hopes to take a group in February of 2024. In spite of the pandemic, God has been faithful and we have been able to meet our commitments there. We have not ceased to be able to continue to send funds quarterly in support of the Trinity Baptist Centre De Nutrition and the Children’s Scholarship Aid program. God really is good!!