Girien Ricardo Salazar (pronounced “Gideon”) was born on January 31, 1985 in Houston, Texas to Ricardo and Yvonne Salazar where he lived until the age of 3. The youngest of 4 siblings, Girien grew up on the southeast side of San Antonio, TX where he graduated from East Central High School in 2003. Girien graduated as a member of the National Honor Society, and instead of being involved in school organizations and sports, a large part of his development is owed to his participation with his church and a ministry group called Impact Now, which he was a part of from the age of 14 until graduation. It was here, under the direct mentorship of Mike Fernandez, that Girien would gain confidence and leadership and find his purpose and calling of being a community leader and pastor.
Upon completion of high school, Girien attended Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas. He was the first in his family to graduate from college and he earned a Bachelors of Science in Church Ministry, graduating Cum Laude, in 2007. Others began to notice his leadership abilities and desire to serve, and as a result, Girien served his school as Freshman Class Treasurer, Vice-president for Classes, Co-captain of the soccer team, and as a ministry leader for numerous school-sponsored ministries and mission trips. Girien was invited on numerous occasions to represent his university for recruiting events and even spoke in chapel events to audiences of over 2,000 individuals with peers and professors in attendance.
Recognized for his leadership gifts and playing ability, Girien was offered a scholarship to continue playing soccer for the SAGU Lions and so enrolled in the Harrison School of Graduate Studies located at the university to continue his pursuit of higher education.
Girien always knew that he would eventually serve and work among the Latino community. In 2008, he moved to Mexico as a missionary for 10 months as an English teacher for a private Christian middle-school all the while learning Spanish and building life-long bonds with the community.
Upon his return from Mexico, Girien started up a young-adults group at his church on the south side of San Antonio, which he led for 6 months. In pursuit of another opportunity to serve and grow, on June 2, 2010, at the age of 25, Girien enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve. Upon entering Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, his leadership gifts were quickly noticed and he was named Recruit Chief Petty Officer, leader of his division of 84 men, and Review Commander, front-and-center at the recruit graduating ceremonies.
In August of 2011, Girien volunteered for a deployment to Eastern Europe, and was mobilized for Back Sea Rotation Force 2012. There he earned a green belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, a Fleet Marine Force Warfare Device, and was promoted to Petty Officer 2nd Class.
While enlisted, in 2013, Girien finished the work he had begun and earned a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
In 2014 and 2015, Girien Salazar was deployed to Djibiouti, Africa where, aside from his primary duties as a Religious Program Specialist, he volunteered over 200 hours of community service in base-wide projects, U.S. Embassy sponsored community relations programs, and was elected as the president of a junior-enlisted organization. Even here, a greater desire to serve and mobilize community efforts was still taking shape in Girien’s life.
Girien was named Junior Sailor of the Year by Marine Forces Reserve in 2014 and earned the title of Junior Sailor of the Month for September and March in Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti Africa. He was awarded 3 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a Volunteer Service Medal, and continues to serve in the USNR today.
Girien recently completed his first academic year as Associate Professor of Theology at Latin American Bible Institute and instructor at Impact Now Ministries. He currently resides in San Antonio, Texas where he is a member of VFW post 837, board member of the Latin American Heritage Society, Community Liasion at Grace Tabernacle Church, and is a city official with the SA Parks and Recreation Board. Girien Salazar is in his first year of pursuing a PhD in Leadership Studies at Dallas Baptist University.