A Long-Term Commitment

St. Mark’s sent its first youth trip to Honduras in 1989. For the past thirty years, this relationship has evolved and grown and is now a deeply rooted expression of our mission as a parish “to engage boldly in the struggles of life and care for others with love, justice, and compassion.”

Originally, under the inspired leadership of parishioners Collie and Betsy Agle, our focus arose from a companion relationship with churches along the north coast of Honduras. St. Mark’s teens built desks and benches for several public schools and performed programs of storytelling and drama for the local children. Since then, St. Mark’s parishioners have gone to Honduras roughly every other year. Most have been teen trips but there have also been adult trips and mixed teen and adult trips. Projects have included constructing classrooms, planting trees, building homes after Hurricane Mitch, building a cemetery wall, repairing and repainting San Marcos Church, and building pews for the church. In addition, every trip includes opportunities for more people-to-people connections in the non-project moments: art projects and reading in the schools, skits to dramatize the importance of dental care, and field days and time hanging out at the beach or in the town center with local children.

In 2007 St. Mark’s created the Trinidad Conservation Project (TCP), an effort to support an exceptional Honduran agronomist – Roy Lara – in his work with families to protect fragile mountain forests. In 2008 TCP became part of a U.S. non-governmental organization, Sustainable Harvest International, and expanded to include training families in sustainable agriculture as well as reforestation. St. Mark’s and other churches now support Roy and his work in five villages, as they work to improve nutrition, protect community forest and water resources, and find ways to improve their income.

In 2010 an adult group traveled to Honduras in February, and in June a group of adults and young people carried on this work. To provide financial support to our partner organization and to assist with scholarships, we periodically hold a Wake Up the Earth fundraiser in the spring, featuring great food, a legendary auction, and the talents of our young people.

Today, St Mark’s continues its support of the farmers and their families who are part of the Trinidad Conservation Project and to Roy Lara. Currently, adult and youth trips are not planned due to the deteriorating personal security situation in Honduras.