The dream of coming to the United States is a door that will not open for a large majority of migrants. Full of ambitions and hopes, they leave their countries in search of the American dream. Unfortunately, time passes and goals are not fulfilled for many of the inhabitants in the countries of Central America. They are left only with the stories of success that abound on the other side of the border.
But for Rudy Alberto Galicia, it was not a dream; more than anything, he says, it was a call to serve with the purpose of evangelizing. He believes God handed to him the keys to the border.
“My story starts when I get to the border, very pretty, very beautiful, God bless our border. I felt God’s call so that I could continue my trip,” he told me.
“In those years, it was not as risky to walk from one side to the other. Lately, the border has become corrupted, and it is very dangerous. Drug gangs, which deal in human trafficking, and all those who disappear into the hands of criminals, have made the border crossing towards the U.S. a very dangerous challenge. I knew that here I could continue my work to clean hearts. When God opens doors, no one can close them to you, and when God closes doors no one can open them. I think that God opened doors for me, so I could cross freely. I could see the border patrol, but I had the doors open. I started thinking of being on the other side of the border before coming to the United States; land here, land there, there is no border because God taught me: ‘Mine is the Earth and its fullness. Mine is the Earth and its fullness.’”
Rudy was born in El Salvador, in a region called Ahuachapán. He came from a very humble family, and at age 3 he contracted polio in both legs. Since childhood his mother encouraged him to use his mind and body as much as possible. Due to the economic constraints of the family, his development was not the most suitable. In many countries, a polio infection is the most common source of physical disability in children. It is caused by a virus that attacks parts of the spinal cord, damaging the nerves that control movement.
“But my illness has not prevented me from exercising evangelization. My two legs were affected, but not my hands, or mind, which is ready to praise and sanctify the name of the Lord. I think that physical disability is not an obstacle to a human being; in some way or another you’re going to survive adversity because it depends on you. It does not depend on others.”
Rudy left El Salvador at 12, following that call to serve God. Lacking a wheelchair, many times he made his way by crawling. He traveled through Central America alone by bus and ended up in Chiapas, Mexico. There, he met a lady who was selling tacos, and she gave him his first wheelchair, which he used to travel and preach. For many years, he toured the states of Mexico, bringing the word of God to the poor.
“I come from a family with Christian values, and I have always felt the call from our Lord to help others,” he said. “I crossed to this great country by a blessing of God, and also with the help of men. Men can provide a smile, a plate of food, and a roof over your head. They can help you to get on your wheelchair. We need one another. …
“This work that I carry out now, will lead me to achieve a crown, the crown of eternal life. To achieve an incorruptible crown, we call it, because I cannot be disenchanted with so many tribulations since I know that something bigger is waiting for me. My mission, which is evangelization, continues and must continue daily. Don’t forget to lend a hand to those in need—today for them tomorrow for you and never say no. How nice that everything we do, everything in this life has an outcome whether good or bad. It is best to sow the good than the bad.”