SAN ANTONIO — After immersing himself in the stories of migrants in a U.S.-bound caravan making its way through Mexico, a San Antonio pastor is now hoping those stories shed light on the dangers migrants are fleeing from.
Associate Pastor Gavin Rogers, from Travis Park United Methodist Church, traveled from Mexico City to Guadalajara with the caravan for five days. His goal: to understand the driving factor on their mission to get to the U.S.
He said he expected to hear painful stories of migrants escaping a dangerous city, but was caught off guard by the sheer amount of migrants who opened up about the daily danger they experienced in their homeland. Rogers says he met people of all walks of life, some who were raped as teens and others whose family members have been murdered or kidnaped.
Rogers documented his journey alongside migrants as they walked and cramped into trucks, some with young children, to get to the next shelter.
PHOTOS: Local pastor embeds with border-bound migrant caravan
He shared the stories of migrants via Skype with KENS 5 News. Many we spoke with say they made the painful decision to leave their family behind to seek a better life. Rogers says the meaning of a "better life" to migrants goes beyond the average interpretation.
“They are thinking, ‘I want a life free from threats from gang members and corrupt police and kidnappings and constant payments to a corrupt system,’” Rogers said.
Brayan Muricio said he had been on the road for about a month and teared up as he talked about his family in Honduras. His voice shook during the interview as he described the fear of getting closer to the border, asking for compassion from President Donald Trump.
Muricio said he wanted Trump to know that they are not criminals; they simply want to work and live a life where they don’t get harassed by gang members daily and where they can also seek a better education.
Rogers hopes the stories will spark sympathy and help people understand why migrants are fleeing their country.
“If you could experience and get to know the people who are walking this caravan, it would completely change your hearts and most likely your mind,” Rogers said.