In 2006, the evangelical Mariners megachurch in Orange County began to incorporate the teachings of Mavuno, an evangelical church in Nairobi, in its mission. Kenyan evangelicals have become leaders in Mariners, and Mariners members have travelled to Mavuno to learn from members there firsthand. This reversal of the standard missionary dynamic—where American Christians bring their style of religious practice to places such as Kenya—has had a profound impact on this suburban California religious community. In the last decade, Mariners has become more involved in its wider community–hosting a farmers market on the church grounds, donating to local charities, hosting intrafaith discussions, encouraging its members to take a more hands–on approach to charity, and becoming involved in political issues such as immigration reform.
The author spends a day with Linda Sanchez, an undocumented student at UC Berkeley. The article follows Linda as she works at two jobs, finds time to study, and discusses how she came to the United States as a child, and her aspirations for the future.
The work of artist and former East L.A. gang member Fabian Debora highlights the religiosity of Los Angeles' myriad immigrant communities. Debora paints within the Chicano tradition but, like many young contemporary Chicano artists, looks beyond the movement's historic focus on political activism and Chicano identity. Debora draws inspiration from his immigrant-rich Boyle Heights neighborhood, where religious institutions such as Debora's Delores Mission Catholic parish form part of an immense citywide immigrant religious infrastructure. Debora's work suggests that L.A.'s current role as America's immigration capital has spiritual as well as cultural and political ramifications.