Philip Peters, Restore Haiti’s founder, was a teenager in 1997 when he met Gerald Lafleur during a mission trip to Jamaica. At that time Lafleur, a native of Jacmel Haiti, was a college student studying to become a pastor. The two quickly developed a friendship, and Philip promised to stay in touch with Lafleur.
In 2004 Philip took a team of 12 people to visit Lafleur, who had since married and was a pastor of a local church on the island of Antigua. During this trip Pastor Lafleur shared his vision of helping his homeland of Haiti. That following December, Philip assembled a team of six people to go to Haiti to visit Restoration Ministries, a church Lafleur had founded in a suburb of Jacmel. They fell in love with the community and assembled another team five months later to revisit their new friends. Philip says that “after seeing the need, I knew that the little that I had and the resources that I had were something I could use, and a long term commitment was birthed.” With the support of his Bible study teacher, Darren Tyler, Philip continued to recruit support to help bring donated clothing and shoes to this community.
In 2007, on Philip’s third trip to Haiti, Theresa Swain was a member of the team. She caught the vision and utilized her administrative skill-set to begin to organize an official child sponsorship program. Since then, over 650 students have been sponsored, a kitchen has been built to facilitate the feeding program, several homes have been built for families in need, a community well was installed, a clinic was opened to care for basic medical needs, and teams continue to visit the Restoration Ministries family.
In January 2010, Philip turned his 30th birthday party into a fundraiser, which provided the funds to incorporate Hope Restored, dba Restore Haiti as an official 501c3 organization.