What began as a soccer academy for kids has grown into a mission to empower an entire community in the island nation of Haiti thanks to the efforts of a couple in North Dakota.
“I grew up in Haiti and in Haiti, there’s a lack of opportunity,” said Ricardo Pierre-Louis/Founder of Lespwa Lavi.
But Ricardo and Nika Pierre-Louis are changing that.
The Bismarck couple founded Lespwa Lavi… it means “Hope for Life”. But before they began bringing hope to Haiti, Ricardo was a boy growing up in Haiti himself. He was a soccer player, which gave him opportunities for scholarships and travel.
“So with that same path, I felt it was very very important to give back and help kids in Haiti. I wanted to provide school tuition for kids in Haiti,” said Pierre-Louis.
After starting the school tuition program, he partnered with a man named Duvelsaint. Together they created a soccer academy… and in 2016, plans were made to create Lespwa Lavi Academy, a bilingual school that will prepare students for university-level education.
And their horizons grew when the community of Verrettes saw another need.
“We had no real intention of starting a church or anything and I think in 2017 the people in Haiti said we have to start a church,” said Nika Pierre-Louis.
Built first from sticks, stones, and mud, the church has grown in membership, from 50 to 250. And now, Ricardo and Nika’s church in Bismarck is getting in on the growth.
“We knew immediately that it matched with our heart because it was not only reaching the orphan, it was not only reaching the poor, it was looking to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Bryce Meyer/Executive Pastor of Campus Ministries at Evangel.
Evangel’s support helped provide a full-time pastor for the Haitian church, along with an opportunity to build a larger, permanent church building. Ricardo and Nika say they’d like to see a “sister city” partnership between Bismarck and Verettes.
“The main goal…the main idea of Lespwa Lavi is to have a sustainable project,” said Ricardo.
It’s a big dream — and it’s coming to life in Haiti.
For more information on Lespwa Lavi go here.
Video Credit: J.Morgan Legreid