Juana and Erron are the starters and leaders of a novel church in the Vermont/Washington area. Titled Youth on Fire, their ministry focuses on empowering young people through Christ.
Raised in the Exposition and Slauson areas, Juana and Erron’s spiritual quest began in high school when they began attending a local “Simple Church.” Evolving in reaction to the bureaucracy and trappings of large organized religions, Simple Church is a contemporary evangelical movement concentrating on pure faith and one’s relationship to Christ and each other. But Juana and Erron were troubled by seeing teenagers fall away from church after high school and so decided to develop their own Youth on Fire church as a congregation kids could connect with. Conducted in a residence on 20th street, the Youth on Fire weekly services are lively and sincere, like the congregants. The meeting opens with worshipers sharing how they used prayer to overcome such challenges as school exams or tensions with parents. The non-judgmental atmosphere brings out the youths’ brutal honesty, for instance, one member confesses he still has sleazy thoughts from his old way of life, but explains his old friends see such a positive change in him, he has become their go-to man for divine intervention. Erron tenderly follows up with members to let them know they won’t lose support in dealing with problems. “We’re a body, -- a family,” he assures the teens.
Juana and Erron plan to multiply their church, soon opening up a second congregation. Adult mentor Bryan Cullison describes Juana and Erron’s unique influence: “The highschoolers see these two, really their peers, only two years removed from high school, as being courageous and intentional and stepping out in faith to help lead this simple church out of the home. This encourages them to step up and do the same. Young people are understanding that they can do both small and great things through God.”
When not gospel leading, Erron studies political science at L.A. Trade Tech and Juana is studying psychology and business at Mount Saint Mary’s.