The story behind The Haiti Collective is one that only God could have written!
The Haiti Collective began in January 2012 as a result of local churches partnering together to train leaders and care for orphans though local churches in Haiti. Since that time, THC has continued to grow and develop new initiatives that are consistent with our mission and core values.
Our work in Haiti is accomplished through strategic partnership with Société Chriétienne d’Haiti (SCH) under the leadership of Pastor Odanis Joseph. Pastor Joseph came to the United States in March 2010 shortly after the devastating earthquake that took the lives of over 200,000 Haitians, including his own father, 34 of his church members, and 13 orphans alone in the church in Port-au-Prince.
Uncertain about his future and whether his ministry in Haiti could continue, Pastor Joseph accepted the invitation of a relative to stay in Southwest Florida in order to get away and pray about what God would have him do. During that time, Pastor Joseph connected with Grace Baptist Church (Cape Coral, FL) who later learned his story and became deeply interested in seeing how they could help.
Later that year (September 2010), Pastor Tim Brister from Grace traveled with Pastor Joseph to Haiti to see the need and report on how Grace could help. During that short trip, they visited 13 churches across the country, met with dozens of pastors, and encountered over a thousand orphans and vulnerable children – all under Pastor Joseph’s care. Upon his return, it was evident that God was at work in uniting Grace Baptist Church with Pastor Joseph and his indigenous network of churches in Haiti.
Within four months, Grace redirected a significant amount of their resources to provide food security for 1,500 orphans and vulnerable children and complete the construction project of the church building that had collapsed in Desarmes, taking the life of Pastor Joseph’s father. They also hosted the first National Bible Conference with 65 church leaders learning about the nature and centrality of the gospel.
As the work began, it became abundantly clear that the need in Haiti far exceeded the reach of any one church, so under the leadership of Tim Brister, other like-minded churches were invited to join us in the work. In June 2011, Christ Fellowship Church (Bowling Green, KY) embarked on a vision trip to Haiti and became the second church to partner with Pastor Joseph and SCH. With the first year of working nearly completion and the prospect of adding more churches to the work in Haiti, Tim Brister formed The Haiti Collective in January 2012 as a way of organizing the efforts in the United States through local churches to partner with Haitian churches under the leadership of Pastor Joseph.
Since 2012, The Haiti Collective has grown from two churches to ten churches in 2014. With the expansion of the collective and new initiatives taking place, Grace could no longer effectively serve as the administrative umbrella for THC, and a new nonprofit organization called Gospel Systems was formed to allow us to continue to grow and expand the work in Haiti and into other regions for years to come.
Soli deo gloria!