Viva la Iglesia!

How can an immigrant community empower its young people to flourish, as they navigate two cultural identities and create a third? In this episode, meet the Rev. Eliseo Morales of Esperanza Viva Iglesia Cristiana in Norwalk, California, and listen to Research Fellow Seth Vopat, as they explore and reimagine the possibilities for youth ministry for third culture kids.

If we want to keep the dignity of a person, it's not just giving them handouts, it's empowering them to do something good for themselves and for the community. So that's where we're kind of leaning towards— empowering youth to see and to understand this new world that their parents have brought them in. And then to have those young people influence more young people. -Rev. Eliseo Morales

Part One—Movement
(0:00-4:19)
Host Megan DeWald sets the stage for understanding the context in which Esperanza Viva Iglesia Cristiana in Norwalk, California is developing a new form of youth ministry through the Institute for Youth Ministry's Log College Project.

Part Two—Love, Translated
(4:20-17:56)
Carmelle Beaugelin discusses how the predominantly white contexts that have the biggest platforms for influencing the practice of youth ministry often neglect to consider the realities of communities of Color. The Rev. Eliseo Morales, the Log College Project Design Fellow for Esperanza Viva, explains the complex role that children of immigrants play in their families and why the peer connection is so vital.

Part Three—Origin Stories
(17:57-34:05)
Eliseo shares the story of the founding of Esperanza Viva and how the church has always been flexible and responsive to the real-time opportunities and needs of its people and community. In doing so, the Design Team was able to pivot their ministry idea in the face of the pandemic by attending to the emerging challenges.

Part Four—Context Rules
(34:06-40:36)
Seth Vopat, a Research Fellow for the Log College Project, admires Eliseo as a leader who can graciously hold the various identities and dynamics in his church in tension. Megan and Carmelle ponder how Eliseo's lived experience as a third culture kid has helped him develop these skills.

Conclusion & Credits
(40:37-41:45)
Next week, we feature stories from Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Burke, Virginia, and you’ll learn about how the pandemic created a space for mentorship and moneymaking for young people.

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Audio editing  and production by Nii Addo Abrahams (Follow @_nickyflash_)
Music available at Epidemic Sound (https://www.epidemicsound.com/)
The IYM thanks Maiia Avelino, Eliseo Morales, Christine Toto, & Seth Vopat.