Second Chances: A Migrant Story

In 2013, Juan began the journey to the United States, spurred by extreme poverty and lack of opportunities in El Salvador. He left his wife, Ingrid, and their two children behind.

After several days of walking and taking a public bus in El Salvador and Guatemala, Juan made it to Mexico. There, he attempted to get on “La Bestia” (The Beast) – a network of Mexican freight trains used by migrants to travel from the southern region of Mexico north towards the U.S. border.

During his attempt to climb aboard, his legs were trapped by the wheels of the train, causing him to lose both his legs. The seriousness of the injury caused Juan to be in an incredible amount of pain. He almost died.

With the aid of a friend, Juan arrived at a local hospital, where he spent several weeks before returning to El Salvador.

A block from Juan’s home is Our Redeemer, a congregation of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church (ILS). The pastor, Francisco Aguilar, heard about Juan’s story. Pastor Aguilar is one of many pastors who were trained through ILS’s migrant program, La Pastoral del Migrante. Read the full story »