Hope for Haiti
was established on January 23, 1995 by Jon and Diane Seitz, as well as Tim Whorl, with the intention of “Promot(ing) giving to provide relief for needy Haitians.” Incorporated on January 25, 1993 as a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Hope for Haiti was originally founded in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania but in 2015, most of the administrative and logistical services moved to Montrose, Colorado.
The idea for Hope for Haiti started In 1990 when Jon and Diane planned a trip to Haiti with their daughter. Just before their departure, their daughter came down with the Chicken Pox. An opportunity came. Their daughter stayed home, which opened an empty seat beside them on the flight. The passenger who filled that seat happened to be a native to Haiti and a Pastor. He expressed concern about the Seitz making their connection since this was their first trip to the country. This opportune meeting would forever change the Seitz's lives, and many others as well, but the journey started when the Seitz's swapped contact information with their fellow passenger on that plane. That Pastor's name was Marcel Destine.
In 1991, Jon Seitz headed back to Haiti and then, in 1992, Tim went with Jon, which started discussion about setting up a ministry with Marcel. There was also conversation about the possibility of child sponsorship for helping ensure Haitian children would be able to attend school. After arriving back in the states, the Seitz's and Tim Whorl had the paperwork drawn up and filed to incorporate Hope for Haiti as a Domestic Nonprofit Corporation. They continued making trips to Haiti as well and, after seeing the needs from year to year at Bois Neuf Church and School, Marcel invited them to a nearby community called Charrette.
Charrette sits above St. Marc, in what might be called foothills, with a partial view of the bay below. This opened another door and the tent pegs were about to be expanded on the ministry. Hope for Haiti's focus had been primarily with Bois Neuf and now it seemed God's leading to reach out beyond there. In 1998, the Haitian community mocked the people of the church by saying “where is your God?” That statement changed when God opened the opportunity for the Charrette church to meet inside a building instead of under a tree. That opportunity was fulfilled in 1999 when a youth group from Pennsylvania brought encouragement and materials, and worked right alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ building what is now the Church and School at Charrette.
This was the beginning of a new season for Hope for Haiti and it became challenged to continue reaching beyond what had been imagined in its early days. Working alongside Marcel with his passion for God and helping others, the members of Hope for Haiti have found this to be a labor of love. The ministry “Evangelical Living Water Ministry of Haiti”, or EMEVI, has now expanded to include 13 churches and 8 schools with over 1,700 students.
Today Hope for Haiti continues with the mission to promote giving to provide relief for needy Haitians. Many have come alongside and, through their generosity, lives are being touched and changed. Teams continue to go, providing encouragement and hands to help. Buildings are being built, jobs are being created, medical clinics are being hosted, and, of course, children are being sponsored and educated.
And all this started because of an empty seat on a plane. You never know when that divine appointment may come or where it might lead. The appointment the Seitz's were given is still a work that's in process.
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