Photographer Michael Leschisin is using his camera to serve a greater purpose with Vapor Ministries, an organization that builds soccer centers in third-world environments as a mechanism to alleviate poverty, empower local people, and teach the gospel.
In the ten years that he's volunteered with the organization, Leschisin has taken several mission trips with Vapor, lending his skills as a photographer by capturing images of the soccer centers and surrounding communities. His photography is then used for promotional material, helping the organization gain support and bring awareness to their mission.
To date, Vapor Ministries has built five sustainable soccer centers, three in Africa and two in Haiti, with hopes of breaking ground on a third Haitian center in 2020. People of all ages flock to these centers, excited for the opportunity to play soccer on a grass field, use a real soccer ball, and have a soccer coach. The leagues are open to anyone and are free of charge.
But Vapor's mission goes beyond the soccer field. With each center, they drill a commercial-grade water well and build a water tower. While this allows the center to irrigate their soccer fields, it also provides the local people with 24/7 access to clean water. A tremendous impact in countries where few people previously had such access.
The centers are also responsible for creating thousands of indigenous jobs. Not only do they hire locals to build the soccer fields, buildings, and roads, but they also look for people with leadership skills to employ at all levels throughout the center. Additionally, each center is also surrounded by several micro-businesses, such as banana farms, egg-laying operations, and lemon orchards.
In Ouanaminthe, a town in northeastern Haiti, the soccer center was built in what was considered to be one of the worst areas. Now people are moving to the area, new homes are being built, and people have begun to call the area “Vapor City”. Vapor's soccer centers are successfully turning struggling locations into flourishing communities with respectable economies and lower crime rates.
Leschisin finds his work with Vapor Ministries to be both eye-opening and rewarding. He plans to continue helping the organization grow and serve, sharing that "Vapor is an amazing organization. I will be shooting for them for as long as I can hold a camera."
To learn more about the incredible work that Vapor Ministry is doing and to see more of Leschisin's photography, visit www.vaporministry.org.
Michael Leschisin is a partner and seasoned photographer at Image Studios. He has over 30 years of experience working as a photojournalist and location photographer for corporate marketing groups and advertising firms. His talent behind the camera has served hundreds of clients over the years, including Oshkosh Defense, Miller Electric, Pierce Manufacturing, and Ariens.