Michael Pollard

MICHAEL POLLARD - the true story
by Roger Carswell

MICHAEL POLLARD was murdered by Hungarian thugs on August 5th, 1997. He and his wife, Jo were travelling through Eastern Europe to distribute food, clothing, medical supplies, toys and Christian books to poor families. They had been doing this type of work in their holidays for nearly 30 years. Resting in their caravanette in a lay-by about 150 miles from Budapest, Hungary, two men approached them. Claiming to be police they fined Michael and Jo for "illegal parking".
Some time later, the two men returned with an accomplice and battered Michael with an iron club. Within minutes he died. One of the men returned again and attacked Jo who was left with serious injuries. Some hours later, the three men aged between 18 and 22 were arrested and have given written confessions.
"I don't feel any malice towards the murderers ... I just hope they realise that what they have done is wrong ... and I pray that in time they will be born again, and so become Christians too." Jo Pollard
HOLIDAY

Whilst on holiday in Llandudno in 1966, Michael had met a group of Christians from different churches, running activities for children on the beach. Fascinated, he watched the United Beach Missions, wearing their uniform of red shirts or skirts, and became impressed by their cheerfulness and sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He talked with one of the group who explained the good news of Jesus Christ to him. Later, Michael volunteered to help at a forthcoming Billy Graham Crusade, but realised beforehand that he himself had not been truly converted. There and then he asked Christ to forgive him for all his wrong doing, and to become Lord and Saviour of his life. It was an encounter which was to change his life.

Michael married Jo, a New Zealander who was working as a teacher in Leeds. In 1968 they went on holiday to Czechoslovakia. Whilst there, the Russians invaded, and the sight of tanks in the capital city, Prague, was to change them forever. They were to meet Christians in Communist Eastern Europe who were poverty stricken. They had a deep sense that Christ had done so much for them - He had even gone to death on the cross paying for their wrong doing - that they wanted to do something for these poor people.

For nearly thirty years Michael and Jo, sometimes with their children, Rebecca, Tamar and Andrew, visited various parts of Eastern Europe. Friends from the locality, and churches, gave generously so the Pollards always had plenty to distribute. There had been amazing answers to prayer, so that time and again Michael and Jo found God helping them in remarkable ways. Their travels were never uneventful, but there was always evidence that God was working with them.

SCHOOL TEACHER

Michael was a keen Rugby League fan. He loved to go to Headingley and support his team on a Saturday afternoon (refusing to attend Sunday sport, for that was God's day). The results, like the details of each day were recorded in detail in his diary which he faithfully kept. On taking early retirement from Ladderbanks Middle School, Shipley, in 1995, he began voluntarily taking school assemblies in about 70 schools in the locality. For 27 years he ran a youth group from his home, and was involved in many different types of Christian and charitable work. He was one of the leaders of Emmanuel Evangelical Church, Baildon. If you were in his area, he may well have given you a Christian leaflet to read, or you may have heard him speak at the open air services on Shipley Glen or in Town Street.

Michael Pollard was well-known and well-loved by many hundreds of people. So, what made him tick? Like all of us, he had his failings. He agreed with what the Bible says, namely that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." But, he had asked Jesus Christ to forgive him - to be his Lord and Saviour. Michael believed, as do all real Christians, that Jesus had paid the punishment for all sin as He hung and bled on the cross, and that three days later Jesus had risen from the dead.

Only sin can keep a person out of heaven, but Jesus has paid for sin. Michael had asked for forgiveness, so, the moment when he was murdered, in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, was the moment he went to be with Christ for ever in heaven.

No one knows why God allowed Michael to be taken from us in such a brutal way. God had kept the Pollards safe through all the Communist years of Eastern European travel, but in capitalist Hungary, Michael's life was taken. What if you or I had suddenly been killed? Would we be certain that we would have gone to heaven? A few weeks before his death he wrote that Christ had given him, "Assurance that my sins are forgiven, and peace, for I know where I am going when I die." Each of us needs to turn from all that is wrong and trust Christ to forgive us. He will come to live in our lives to guide and help us.

If you would like to know more about trusting Christ as your Lord and Saviour, fill in the details below and post to me. There is nothing more important than knowing the assurance and peace with God which Michael wrote about.