CASA HOGAR – GARY NICKERSON
Our Casa Hogar ministry has been a significant partner in supporting 100 orphaned, abused, neglected, disabled, and marginalized children and young adults in the City of Chihuahua Mexico, and has done so for over 15 years.
Our journey began in 2006 when we were invited to Chihuahua to visit the orphanage and to help paint the interior of the gathering room at Casa Hogar Palabra de Vida A.C. We found 20 children living in a rundown facility that was designed for 12 children. Four of the boys were housed in a storage room. The children did not smile and were suspicious of these strangers. The orphanage was in the middle of a very poor community with dirt streets. God laid it on our hearts to help so we asked what they needed, and Pastor Gardea told us, “We need more room” and laid out his plan for what his dream was. We listened, and were overwhelmed. We told him we could help, but what he needed was beyond our ability to provide and his response was, “That’s OK, if you can just help us get started we have faith that others will join us.” So we began.
In early 2008 we started planning a short term trip team and in July a team of 10, two families and 2 young adults, drove into Mexico, excited to share God’s love with the children of Chihuahua. Such trips have continued since then, sometimes twice a year, until COVID prevented us from going. On these trips we have built many relationships with the children and staff of Casa Hogar. We’ve had lots of fun and changed the lives of both the children of Casa Hogar as well as our own. In 2010 we saw the construction of a new, larger, Casa Hogar facility and creation of a new program at the old facility. El Porvenir del Estudiante A.C. was created so the older boys could remain at what had become their home and focus on getting an education to transition them into society.
Griselda is one of the lives changed by the creation of El Porvenir. She came to Casa Hogar in 2007 from a small village in the mountains near Chihuahua and focused on getting an education. After graduating High School she was able to attend the University of Chihuahua on a scholarship. In 2016 Griselda completed her education and exam requirements and received a certification in Intervention Education. She felt called to remain at Casa Hogar to help the children she had seen there with mental and physical disabilities, and began a new program to minister specifically to those children. She soon gathered 12 children into her new program and is now the Director of Cuidar Corizon A.C. a part of the family of 4 organizations that now make up the Casa Hogar ministry. Griselda has shown an amazing ability to love and care for these children that have been cast aside due to their disabilities. We are in awe of how God has worked through her to impact the lives of these that many would agree are certainly “the least of these”. She is currently working on her Master’s degree to learn new ways to help these children.
Education has been a large part of the efforts of Casa Hogar and we are excited that several other of the children are attending the University and we are proud of Gumercindo “Gumer”, Eliserio “Elly”, and Angel that have all successfully navigated the challenges of growing up disadvantaged and obtained degrees from the University. All of these graduates are now giving back to Casa Hogar by assisting in the work and administration of the organizations.
The mission continues today. Even though Chihuahua was hit very hard by COVID We have seen the addition of a new ministry El Camino Hacia Adelante A.C. that serves disadvantage children on the south side of Chihuahua.