Shoulder to Shoulder

Volunteers needed!  Shoulder to Shoulder Pittsburgh: Medical and Church outreach to the people of San Jose del Negrito, Honduras

Mark Meyer, MD: 412-492-9968 or


God’s Amazing Grace in San Jose del Negrito, Honduras! 

What a privilege it was to work “shoulder to shoulder” with the people of San Jose del Negrito during the week of June 14-21. Our plane flew low over the city of San Pedro Sula for a smooth landing just above far reaching banana and pineapple plantations. The lush landscape made an immediate impression that became even more vivid as our caravan bounced along red clay roads, climbing from sea level to our final destination on the mountain at 2,000 feet. We were greeted with smiles and a delicious meal of the best friend chicken south of anywhere! Tortillas, rice, beans, local fruit, spicy relishes, and delicious coffee were part of almost every meal, served with a smile by our gracious kitchen ladies who prepared much of the food over a wood fueled griddle. Our days started early with breakfast and a short walk to the construction site, soon to be transformed into a community center, playground and green-space. Although everything around us was vivid green, the idea of planting and taking care of a green space or park is a new concept for this community and may now be integrated into daily life and the school curriculum. We demolished an old cement block building, moved soil, tamped soil, refurbished old boards, nails, and pipes, cut sod, planted sod, scraped & painted, planted & watered—all shoulder to shoulder with our Honduran friends in Christ. We came slathered in sun screen, loaded up with water bottles, in work boots and gloves. Our Honduran friends worked in flip flops & shorts, with bare hands and broad smiles. It was hard, satisfying work. At the week’s end, the playground was completed and dedicated in a well planned community service honoring all who played a role, with sincere praise given to God. Our afternoons were filled with equally big smiles but on smaller people! Many children arrived early to our vacation bible school program, eager to begin each day. Our numbers increased with 37 children on the first day, 62 children on day 2, and 135 children on the final day. Excitement was in the air as we taught the kids Jesus Loves Me in Spanish as well as The Chicken Dance! What a refreshing eye-opener it was to see children truly excited over a few crayons and a piece of paper or a small lump of play dough. The kids learned about God’s creation, His desire to form our lives like a potter forms clay, and how we are one family in Christ. Toward the week’s end, we partnered with town leaders to host an evangelical worship service where 100 new testaments were distributed along with some really good popcorn! God provided for our team in countless ways, but just to name a few: safe travel, good health, group harmony and teamwork, diverse skills among our members, fun, laughter, and better than average weather. God’s jungle creation is magnificent, and we were even treated to a sighting of colorful Toucans in the wild one early morning, spotted first by John Kolodziej. Those are no small blessings, and we deeply appreciated the prayers and support of our Elfinwild family. 

Last but not least . . . muchas gracias a Dios! 




Shoulder to Shoulder (STS) Pittsburgh was formed to partner with San Jose del Negrito, Honduras. The village was devastated, like much of Honduras, by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. STS started to work with the townsfolk in that region in 1999. There was over 60% malnutrition, poor access to medications and medical treat-ment in the village and nearby higher mountains. STS has aimed to decrease malnutrition, provide essential medicines, and have trained medical providers to care for people.

Over the course of nearly 10 years, with the assistance of many churches and individuals in the Pittsburgh region, Shoulder to Shoulder now is able to provide a feeding program through a Hon-duran Mennonite group known as the MAMA project. We feed about 300-400 kids a day. There is now a great, locally built medi-cal clinic staffed by a full-time Honduran medical doctor and nurse that see patients in the clinic daily. We are in the process of expanding well-child care and well-adult care in the region. There are water filter and chimney projects that are a great help to public health by improving homes.

All this work has been made possible by the hard work and part-nership with the Health Committee of San Jose del Negrito. The health committee each year yearns for the encouragement and faith building that occurs during Church "Brigades" to the village. THIS YEAR YOU COULD MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!!!!

Church groups have travelled each summer and helped with bring-ing supplies to the local churches, helping construction projects on the STS buildings and in the community, and worked with the children in the community with bible school, music, and drama programs. There have been teaching programs in the village school, and art programs to beautify the community and the pub-lic buildings. Church groups often help the local churches by sup-plying bibles and teaching materials that are far too expensive for locals to purchase. There is a town library that was envisioned by a local Pittsburgh church and is now used 5-6 days a week!








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