this is how things should be done.
our spanish director, lucas leys, has been trying to figure out how to stretch our ability to encourage and resource youth workers all over central and south america. our conventions in guatemala and argentina have gone a long ways to helping this, and the spanish version of the CORE (our one-day training event, called “generacion lideres” in spanish) has been presented in every spanish-speaking country on earth, many multiple times.
but now lucas has started something very cool — giving away our name to grassroots youth ministry organizations. he identifies organizations in various countries that share the same vision we have, and we get to know them over a number of years. then, with a few expectations each way, those organizations change their names to ‘especialidades juveniles’ (ys, in spanish), which is a great advantage to them as the ‘ej’ name has gained some good footing in latin america. they remain seperate organizations, but get to use our name, as well as some of our content (like a couple years of spanish CORE content).
we have our own office in buenos aires, argentina — so that one doesn’t officially fit this model, but one could say there is an EJ Argentina. the first of this model was paraguay (especialidades juveniles paraguay), followed by especialidades juveniles costa rica. and a couple weeks ago, especialidades juveniles chile was officially launched. i’m pumped about this one for a few reasons.
aaron arnold has been a missionary from the u.s. for a number of years, living in santiago, chile. aaron’s passion has been the same as ours — raising up, training and encouraging youth workers. and aaron has a wonderful combination of vision and humility in his leadership – two traits that are rarely found in tandem. so, when he was considering converting his existing youth ministry organization (formerly called la red juvenile, chile) to ej, chile, there was a big hurdle: lucas has a rule that these ‘country partnerships’ cannot be lead by an american missionary — they have to be lead by a national from that country. so aaron stepped aside as the leader of the organization and moved into a consulting role, appointing two wonderful chilean guys as national director and training director. here’s a picture from the launch party a few weeks ago, with (left to right) miguel foundez (the national training director), horacio gonzales (an engineer who’s making a mid-life career change to be the national director), lucas leys (our ys spanish director), and aaron arnold.
i love seeing how aaron has raised up leadership and passed the baton. he’s staying for a couple more years to serve the new leadership, then expects to move back to the states. this just gives me the chills, it’s so cool.
ej chile already has its own national youth workers event (that really is their event, not ours), and several regional events. they provide a handful of networks, and a bunch of other great stuff.
for fun, here are links to…
our spanish site (especialidades juveniles)
the new ej chile page
the ej paraguay page
the ej argentina page (with pics of our three awesome staff members, and the office in buenos aires)
and the ej costa rica page (and their own website)
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