Greenfields Still Exist!


As a board member of Matrix Ministries we meet to discuss tactical decisions based on the ministry as it works here in the United States.  While this is vital and important to help Ray and the ministry grow and adapt, it’s not the only important aspect of the ministry.  What is of equal priority for Matrix Ministries is unlocking the power that we all have – that is our daily blessing living here in the United States as a vehicle to support God’s words and guidance across the world.

This picture from our recent visit to Costa Rica speaks so powerfully to me.  As a Christian for many years, yet one who came to know the Lord as an adult, I still have much to see and learn.  When we visited this site, I found a remarkable situation that very quickly showed me how Matrix Ministries can be an impact for God.  In this picture, we are laying hands on and praying over a native Cabecar Indian, Hugo, who is called to the Lord and to support the local Cabecar community as a Christian Pastor.  He is donating the land next to his house for a new church to be built.  It amazed me to be standing there praying over a new ministry and a greenfield church.  This is in a native area where the surrounding remote population have lived generations and centuries with witchcraft, idol worship, polygamy and incest – with many of these people not knowing the love of God.  It was a wonderful blessing to be where God wants us to be – to help a believer there be a light in the darkness.  To know that we can leverage our bounty here in the United States with our donations of our time and finances as a small part of our lives and turn that into a meaningful empowerment of God’s desire.

Our actions and commitments here, matter there, and there, and there.  We are all the hands of God and He calls us to action.

Dave Egan

The Soccer Ball (part 3)


Webster’s dictionary defines “Matrix” like this:

Something (such as a situation or set of conditions) in which something else develops or forms.

We live on a lake in northeast Texas. The house next door is a vacation home and our next door neighbor lives and works in Dallas. Besides coming out for a weekend now and then, he loans his house out to family and friends from time to time.

Shortly after I got back from the Matrix Ministries mission trip to Central America our neighbor’s college roommate ” Mike” came over.   Mike told us he was going to be staying next door for a few days. As we stood in the yard and talked, Mike learned where I had been. Mike asked me if I could tell his children about the trip because as they entered their teen years he wanted them to learn about how God wanted them to serve others.

During the visit when I talked about the trip, the kids saw the soccer ball picture among the other pictures I had taken. As a result of that picture, the children brought us a half dozen soccer balls with scripture on them. Two of the balls have the plan of salvation in English (ball on left).   The rest have the same text in Spanish (ball on right). They asked me if I could help them get these balls distributed in Central America where someone might play with the ball then read the message and learn about God’s love and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us all.

Matrix – Something (such as a situation or set of conditions) in which something else develops or forms.

Trust me when I tell you that when Matrix Ministries was planning a mission trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, our scope didn’t include reaching the children of my next door neighbor’s buddy from when he went to college in Eugene, Oregon decades ago. This was something else developing or forming.

We didn’t have a plan to include a talk on the responsibilities of Christians to serve and not just take up space on a bench at church. Our plan never included taking a picture of a soccer ball, having strong emotions about the contrast in the use of soccer balls in Plano, Texas and Costa Rica, or even anything related to soccer balls in any way. Again, this was something else developing. This was part of God’s matrix.

The scope included Matthew 28:19, but not like this. Not even close. I never considered sending the salvation message on a soccer ball as a result of a photo of a dilapidated ball laying in the dirt at a remote site on a Cabecar reservation in the jungles of Costa Rica. I couldn’t have gotten there on my own, not even close. We didn’t discuss or even think about including five children from Plano, Texas in this effort that will likely change lives in a way that lasts forever.

And now I find myself pondering what God is planning to do with this ministry that David, Joshua, Makayla, Makenna and Emmakate are involved in.

As soon as I get these balls into the hands of the folks who we’re working with in Central America, I’ll be done, but I’m confident that God won’t be. What is the next something that will be developing or forming in God’s matrix? How many kids like the one pictured in the last post will be changed forever?

If you aren’t actively involved in the work of God’s matrix, you are missing SO much!

The Soccer Ball (part 2)


After driving to the Cabecar village and taking the picture of a soccer ball, we walked up a steep hill to their church and met with the church leaders. The meeting was what you would expect. We talked about church attendance, current struggles and needs, outreach efforts, etc. We prayed together and the meeting ended.

On our way up the hill to the meeting I noticed this little guy following us. He was kind of shy but he kept his eye on us and didn’t seen to mind when I took his picture.

In the first post about the soccer ball I mentioned the contrast between the field in this Cabecar village in contrast with the fields (and equipment) in Plano Texas. The determination and skill of the players is likely much the same, but the conditions as the game is played are vastly different.

My grandson learns and plays soccer in an air-conditioned, in-door facility with new equipment, all the latest safety features, and well paid instructors. The kids from the schools where my children used to attend play ball in stadiums that cost tens of millions of dollars to build and have acres of parking for the fancy new cars that bring folks to the game.

The Cabecar play outside in extreme heat and humidity. The equipment isn’t new, the field doesn’t have massive bleachers for the parents and friends that attend, there are no parking lots (which works well because the participants and their families have no cars).

The thing that has no contrast is the rules. The rules of the game are the same in both places. The rules don’t change with the field conditions. Everyone has to follow the same rules regardless of the conditions.

This contrast opens my eyes to a similar situation in the church. The rules around salvation are recorded in the Bible. The rules are fixed and we all have to follow the same rules.   As it is with soccer, though, the church situation has a vast contrast.

In the states, this or that denomination competes with some other denominations. There are churches in every community and the un-churched have plenty of outreach, plenty of activities, plenty of choices. Those who are part of a church have comfortable places to sit when they meet and there is always food and drinks nearby. The biggest threats seem to be whether the preacher will wrap things up prior to the football game kickoff.

The Bible church in Costa Rica has a situation that is nothing like that. The competition is not with some other denomination that teaches the same basic Christian principles. The competition is open worship of stone idols, the competition is witchcraft, often the competition is the fact that there are no Christian churches in the village.

Unfortunately, the contrast in condition doesn’t change the rules and when I looked at this picture I realized the stakes of the game are life and death. Even worse, the stakes are ETERNAL life and death. If our prayers, support funds, training, mission trips, and church building efforts come up short, souls like the one currently residing in this little guy will be lost for all eternity.

Suddenly the prayers for safe passage as a four wheel drive heads up a mountain road were trivial and silly. I’ve always known we can’t change the rules of the salvation game. Now I get that we aren’t putting enough effort and resources into changing the conditions under which the game is played.

The Soccer Ball (part 1)


It took us hours to get there. The trip required us to rent a four wheel drive vehicle with a short wheel base and plenty of power for the steep climbs and running water crossings. The road that crawled up and down these steep mountains consisted of dirt, loose rocks, and stretches of mud.   One minute you would be racing up a narrow portion hoping you had enough traction and power to make the top, then the next moment you would be sliding through a hairpin turn that required experienced judgment for the delicate balance between keeping enough speed and momentum to make it up the next climb against how much slide the speed caused toward the edge of the turn where there was a 700 foot drop with no guard rail.

It was obvious our driver had made the drive many times so he knew what he was doing but still I prayed for the hand of God to intervene where the world I had come from would have provided a warning sign and a guard rail.

Hey, it was a mission trip so I was supposed to get so far out of my comfort zone that I felt the need to pray, right?  At the time it was happening I was pretty sure this would be the most intense prayer of the day.  As it turns out, I was wrong.

We finally reached the little village where the Cabecars lived.  The Cabecars, one of the indigenous tribes of Costa Rica, were here before Christopher Columbus arrived.   I gathered my photo equipment, stepped out of the truck and as the group walked away from me I noticed a lone dilapidated soccer ball lying beside the patch of dirt where we had parked.

At the time the ball was little more than a passing bit of visual white noise, but I quickly snapped a photo then turned around and hurried to catch the others.  When I snapped the picture I didn’t notice the dirty sock, bits of trash, dying vegetation, or soggy mud hole that stood as companions to this beat up soccer ball.  It hadn’t yet occurred to me that this ball represented countless hours of joy for the villagers of the jungle community we were about to enter.   I didn’t yet ponder the contrast between the brand new balls laying on pristine fields of perfectly manicured turf in Plano Texas, and the soccer ball’s resting place in this remote part of the world.

I did not realize the life and death situation that I was stepping into had already unfolded as I snapped the picture of this soccer ball.  I didn’t get that my earlier prayers for safety as we journeyed toward the village were bush league compared to the prayer that would be necessary to deal with what was about to happen in this remote jungle of Central America.  I had no idea about what was coming in the story I will share with you tomorrow when I publish part two.

July Mission Team in Costa Rica

On July 18 we led a missions team to Atenas, Costa Rica to serve at Iglesia Biblica and Hogar de Vida Children’s Home. Part of the team worked with Iglesia Biblica to demolish and start rebuilding their children’s building. They were so productive that they got ahead of schedule and were able to spend a day helping to build a playground at Residencia de Vida, a home for at risk adolescents. Meanwhile, the other half of our team did several painting project at Hogar de Vida and helped the Tia’s (house mom’s) with the children in the homes. The blessing went both ways as we loved on the kids!

It was a great week as we strengthened relationships with our Costa Rican partners and experienced God working through and in our lives to further His kingdom.

Here are some highlights.

Click to see video!

If  you are interested in future mission trip opportunities in Costa Rica,

please contact Cate Rader via email or call 214-213-4463.

Off To Haiti

Our Haiti Team left this morning from Florida.

While in Haiti we will be working with Pastor Jean Giles Julio of Eglise Evangelique Bethesda De Madeline Church. Among his many existing ministries, he has a vision to start an orphanage.  We will see what God reveals to us concerning our role in his ministry and vision.

Our base camp will be with Wilber Marsalis of Living Hope Haiti Christian Mission (LHHCM).  Wilber’s ministry is to connect short-term mission teams to ministries in the area looking for long-term partners.  A perfect fit for who we are.  Our prayer is that God is leading us to an area in Haiti where Matrix Ministries can come along side existing Haitian ministries to further His kingdom in Haiti with long-term partnerships.

Two elders (and the wife of one of them) from Grace Community Church (GCC) in KY will be accompanying us.  They are also interested in a long-term partnership with a local church in Haiti.

God led both MM and GCC on a very interesting path that has us arriving in Haiti with Pastor Julio and LHHCM.  Please pray that we will see His will for us in His work in northern Haiti as we seek to join Him in what He is already doing. Keep us in your prayers this week!