Testimonial: Josiah Cedeño

Josiah Cedeño is a Philadelphia native and graduate of the 2021-2022 cohort of the Esperanza Youth Leadership Institute (EYLI). He currently works for an inspiring organization called Young Life Philadelphia, and is passionate about using photography, music production, and other creative avenues to reach young people throughout the city in unique ways.

Josiah thoroughly enjoyed engaging in EYLI’s year-long training for urban youth workers. The format and structure of the program, which included many questions, allowed him to reflect about how best to use his specific gifts in ministry.

“I remember feeling challenged in the best way,” he stated. The workshops and discussions reminded him of how Christ lived and desires for us to live. Growing up, he has a very specific view of how to approach ministry. EYLI allowed him to explore different effective approaches to ministry. One of his most important takeaways was that he does not need to live in a glamorous neighborhood to serve God; rather, he sees his vocation within the city, helping help others see God in their context.

Josiah aims to use photography to showcase that God lives in the city. He served as the photographer for the God in the City 30-Day Devotional Book, released in April 2022. This resource was produced by the Esperanza Youth Leadership Institute and crafted for youth and young adult audience.

Aside from strengthening his ministry work through Young Life Philadelphia, Josiah notes that EYLI sparked a theological reality check for him. “EYLI has enabled and encouraged me to go a little deeper and be more constructive in my theology over time.” Josiah realizes that his vocation is based in Philadelphia and that through his gifts in the arts, his calling is to connect to young people and to connect to his city. “This is where God has me.”

Josiah has recently considered full time ministry. EYLI has allowed him to feel affirmed and supported in his decision and guide him through the beginning of that process. This has positioned him in a way to embrace ministry through a new lens where he can engage in social change, embrace his city, and take pride in his transformed approach to ministry.