By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
NEW SHARON —
This is face-to-face compassion.
The Rev. Terry Pollard, of the New Sharon United Methodist Church,recently returned from a mission trip to Nicaragua, a country which is the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere. While there from April 2 to 9, Pollard was joined by others from New Sharon including Mark Howe, Ann Stout, as well as a former parishioner of Pollard’s, Bob Hantsbargar from Shaylor, in northwest Iowa.
After departing by plane from Des Moines, Pollard and the others would eventually land in the capital city of Managua, Nicaragua.
Once on the ground, the start of many different efforts began.
“It was a multi-faceted trip,” Pollard explained. “We did some medical work and electrical work and then I did some preaching/teaching at a drug and alcohol rehab treatment center.”
While in Nicaragua, Pollard and those joining him directed some of their efforts in Esteli, which is home to around 120,000 residents. This city, which is about 90 miles north east of the capital city, would be the mission trip’s home base.
At the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, known as The Camp of God, a variety of things would be accomplished by Pollard and his fellow missionaries. Pollard explained that here is where a lot of the medical, electrical work took place as well as some of his preaching and teaching work.
The missionaries would also visit Maquiliza, Nicaragua, working in a water training project with another missionary program known as Safe Water International Ministries, or SWIM.
Pollard explained that this part of the mission trip included educating people on how to get safe water used for cooking and eating in three major Nicaraguan communities.
“There’s over 1,000 of those water projects in Nicaragua now as a result of SWIM,” noted Pollard. “So, they have a pretty effective outreach there.”
The Nicaraguan mission trip also included a bit of manual labor. Pollard said they were able to work on a new church building, which will be the only church of its kind in a community of 1,000 or so people called Piedra Largo. This community is the “truest picture of Nicaragua,” according to Pollard.
Getting to these smaller communities wasn’t always easy, said Pollard. They commuted via a 4x4 truck on “less than desirable roads,” he said.
The group would also venture to the remote mountain community of El Rodeo, Nicaragua while on the mission.
“That was probably the toughest trip that we made because the roads are basically only accessible by horse or foot,” said Pollard. “If you have a truck like we have, you can do it. If you don’t, you only go in on horse or foot.”
Pollard had the opportunity to go door-to-door delivering food to those in need. Much of the food was packaged by volunteers in New Sharon and had been shipped to Nicaragua before local missionaries arrived, explained Pollard. This effort was done through the Kids Against Hunger project, which is based in Minnesota.
Being able to help people face-to-face is important to Pollard.
“That was really a highlight because it came full circle,” said Pollard, adding that the food packaging was community effort in New Sharon. “When you can put a face to it, it heightens the experience of just knowing that you’ve made a difference.”
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.