By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Northborough resident and member of Trinity Church Kathie Nichols was one of 10 members of a mission team that travelled to Nicaragua for 10 days in February. A Ministry of Sharing (AMOS): Health and Hope, based in the capital of Managua, hosted the group.
AMOS responds to the needs of impoverished communities and helps to develop best practices to ensure basic health care for all by working alongside these communities in areas of health, education and development.
Nichols was the only member of Trinity Church who participated in this trip, along with members from First Baptist Church and Gateway Presbyterian Church, both in Beverly, and First United Baptist Church in Lowell.
She will be sharing her trip experience during worship Sunday, April 30, at 10 a.m. at Trinity Church, 23 Main St., Northborough and all are welcome to attend. A few members of her team will also be present.
Nichols has participated in eight other mission trips within the United States, mostly for Habitat for Humanity, but this was her first international experience.
She said that she felt terrified going out of the country for the first time with nine people she didn’t even know.
She connected to others in the group quickly after her first planning meeting, which she said is rare for her.
“I felt the calling from God to go,” said Nichols. “I felt a push from God and the need to do this no matter how scary it seemed.”
Her decision to go was made last summer. Fundraising $1,600 was the easy part for Nichols as she had the full support of the generous members of Trinity Church.
Upon arrival to Managua, the team was led by six AMOS staff members. They boarded a truck and travelled six hours to the mountains to Apantillo, a rural and isolated village in the district of Matagalpa.
While there, Nichols and her team members helped to install water filters for 40 homes under the direction of AMOS staff. The program has grown as families have seen the health benefits to clean water.
Getting to the homes proved difficult as the truck could only take the team so far.
“We had to walk many miles as the homes were not accessible by roads,” said Nichols. “We had to walk through rivers and under barbed wire to get to the homes.”
She said they were welcomed with song and dance and people were very appreciative of the team being there. One man told her he was so grateful to them.
Nichols has seen poverty here in the United States but nothing like what she saw in Apantillo.
“It was a whole new experience seeing poverty at that level,” she said. “They have nothing. They have dirt floors and no bathrooms.”
While some are lucky to have a well on their property, most have to walk a distance in order to access water.
In addition to installing the water filters, the team also held a vacation Bible school in the afternoons and interacted with the children, and held a health clinic to screen young kids for anemia.
Nichols would like to return to Nicaragua and hopes to have more members of Trinity Church join her.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” said Nichols. “I came back with more faith than I went down with. God knows what he’s doing!”