Josiah’s Story- Called to Youth Leadership

Stories of Hope

Josiah Cedeño is a Philadelphia native and graduate of the 2021-2022 cohort of the Esperanza Youth Leadership Institute (EYLI), which prepares urban youth workers for effective ministry through a year-long training. He works for 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.

The format and structure of the program allowed him to reflect on how best to use his specific gifts to strengthen his ministry work through Young Life, and elsewhere.

“I remember feeling challenged in the best way,” he stated. You see, Josiah aims to use photography to showcase that God lives in the city. “EYLI has enabled… me to go a little deeper and be more constructive in my theology….”, connecting the dots from daily work to calling in a bigger way. He realized 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.”

EYLI positioned Josiah to explore ministry through a new lens, where his passion for social change and his city are at the heart of his theology. Josiah is now considering full-time ministry. EYLI has provided him with affirmation and guidance through the first steps of that process.

Through his relationship with Esperanza, Josiah has had new opportunities to put his gifts to use. He served as the photographer for the God in the City 30-Day Devotional Book, an EYLI resource for youth and young adults, released in April 2022.