I love this picture because I believe it captures the absolute essence of who Eli is. Prior to leaving on our mission trip to Nicaragua, I was warned that this would happen, but I really didn’t get it.

I spent several days with two pastors who were father and son. The son was David (in Spanish speaking countries it is pronounced with a short “a” and the “i” is pronounced as a long “e” sound (Dah veed)) and the father is Eli (again the “E” is a short “e” and the “i” is pronounced as a long “e” so it’s pronounced “Ehlee”)).

I’ll write another perspective piece on David later, but Eli was clearly the kind of person that makes me question my Christianity.

From my perspective, Eli is three things. First, he is a single threaded guy with a laser focus. Second, he is a guy with a clear picture of how some people are going to heaven and the rest are lost forever. Third, he’s the perfect picture of what the Bible is talking about when it says “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

Single Threaded: My impression of Pastor Eli is that one and only one thing matters to him. That thing is serving the Lord. He was the key component in our outreach to the Cabecar tribe and to the Nicaraguan pastors/churches. He raised a son and taught him that there is nothing more important than service to God and as a result his son also became a hard working Pastor. He is a leader in the bible church organization of Costa Rica and he is busy bringing the plan of salvation to Cuba. He is focused on one and only one thing. Always focused.

Clear Picture: This is probably the most interesting part of his personality. Before we left on the trips that included Eli we were warned that we would lose Eli from time to time and when that happened you had to back track. I was told we would find him preaching the plan of salvation to someone somewhere and there was no way to predict when or where it would happen. This was not the first time it happened in the short time I spent with Eli and David but it was the only time I caught a picture. In this particular situation we had walked through a motorcycle repair shop. We got to the other side of the business where parts were sold, and walked out the door to get back into our van when someone noticed Eli was gone. We back tracked and this is what we found.

For me, the amazing thing wasn’t that he was willing to share the plan of salvation as much as he did it so well that he shut this business down. The picture isn’t staged. It is obvious that the mechanics are totally engaged. It is obvious that Eli is intense and focused. The smiles and direction of stares make it obvious that his lesson is valuable.

Eli has a clear picture of where these motorcycle mechanics will end up if they don’t understand God’s plan of salvation and he is clear on the priority of what he is doing against the importance of our schedule.

Well Done: In the first paragraph I told you that I was warned, but I really didn’t get it. Now I do. Jesus is the perfect example of what we should strive for and how we should behave, but I think God gives us other examples too. Jesus is the perfect priceless painting, but a copy that is well done can provide an example that, although not perfect, can keep us aware of what our Lord and Savior is looking for.

As I said, there are times when you meet someone who makes you question your Christianity. For me as a copy of Jesus, the copy is a bit too fuzzy. Eli is one of those “well done” examples and if I can manage to surround myself with God’s good and faithful servants (like this one) I can’t help but grow in the right direction.

Speaking Where the Fingerprints Are

New Picture

Two years ago I partnered with Matrix Ministries on a secret mission to make it possible for kids from a Christian Children’s Home in Oklahoma to take a trip to Costa Rica. I worked on this effort because I thought it would be cool for these kids from the hills of Oklahoma to leave the country. Matrix Ministries engaged the effort to organize the trip and teach this group of High School students that serving the Lord is, at times, hard work and that this particular kind of hard work is rewarding.

For the last couple of years, watching these kids after they came back from the mission trip, I have seen the fingerprints that the trip has left on them. Many of them went off to Bible college, others went into the military or are out working jobs. All of them speak of what they saw and learned during the trip and I’ve always felt that the efforts Matrix Ministries and I expended to make this happen were miniscule compared to the blessings that God caused using our little bit of effort.

During June of this year, as a participant on another Matrix Ministries trip to Costa Rica I had an opportunity to speak at the church that these kids helped to build. As I toured the facility I saw a second set of fingerprints that, although it never should have, blindsided me.

I heard stories like the one about “the crazy pick-axe kid” who worked so hard swinging a pick-axe in the hot son that the church leaders still talk about him. I heard about how the kids worked as a team to get hard labor done. I talked with people who were amazed that these high school children never complained even though the environment was much more harsh than the one they left to come there. I saw the places where they made an impact on those living in Costa Rica. The fingerprints were clear and the fingerprints were permanent.

The part that blindsided me was the part where God multiplied the fingerprints. They were on both ends of the trip and more! On those going, on those hosting, and on those receiving the fruits of the efforts. I focused on the part touching the High School kids and completely missed the fingerprints left on missionaries from The Brook, on leaders from Matrix Ministries, on leaders from the High School sponsors and as my eyes were suddenly opened to all these blessings I found fingerprints were left all over me.

Central America Trip Summary


As you already know, Matrix Ministries takes trips to places like Haiti and Central America to lead mission trips that help folks from the United States engage with orphanages and churches that could use a little help.

Sometimes we take trips to places like these for other reasons. One of these “other” trips happened last month. Ray, Dave Egan (a Matrix board member) and Jim Crawford (who does Matrix communications) traveled to Central America in June to have business meetings and fellowship with some of our existing partners, to visit and review past Matrix efforts, and to explore some opportunities to build new partnerships and continue serving God in the future.

We stayed with Steve and Angela Lucas of The Brook Ministries in Atenas Costa Rica. Steve did most of the driving for us and helped us learn about a number of new opportunities to serve.

We visited some old friends including Pastor Oscar his son Eric one of the Bible churches in Grecia, Pastor Oldemar at the Bible church in Atenas, Tim and Dena Stromstad at the Hogar de Vida Children’s Home, Pastor Eli and Pastor David Elias (father and son), and Pastor Elias and his wife Pastora Adita at the Bible Church in Siquirres, Costa Rica. We were in country two Sundays and Matrix members spoke at the two separate church services. One in Grecia and another in Frailes.

Visions of the work in Costa Rica that were created using pictures and print were converted to living, emotional and vivid “been there seen that” memories as David and Jim visited the places were past Matrix teams have helped to do God’s work in this tiny Central American country.

The best part of the trip, however, was a focus on the future. We visited multiple new locations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua where people could use some help doing Gods’ work. From a new Orphanage in Grecia, Costa Rica, to multiple Nicaragua churches. From remote villages in the jungle where an indigenous tribe called the Cabecar are just learning of Jesus’ love, to established churches in Frailes and Grecia. As a result of our visits, we will be reaching out to God for direction on where he would like to place future Matrix resources and gifts.

This is an overview and summary but this isn’t all! Please keep coming back and watching for more detail about what God is doing in Central America and how he will allow us to participate.

News from Grecia, Costa Rica

Here we go with the building again, in these photos you can see seismic plates, reinforcement for concrete columns, the iron columns that will bear the weight of the roof.  You can also see materials for the iron roof trusses.
We are a group of four people working.  The work is intense and heavy because we had to break the foundations we had previously done to do the seismic plates.  It is summer now and the Sun is very strong, and we must stay hydrated.  We hope to have everything ready for when Matrix Ministries comes with some missionaries who will be helping us with this project.


Pastor Oscar
Iglesia Bíblica Unción Con Gloria

The Grecia Project Begins

Yesterday Pastor Oscar came by the house to pick up the first payment for materials for the Grecia project. It has begun! Over the next few months, with generous help from Matrix Ministries and the donors of The Brook Ministries, Iglesia Biblica Uncion con Gloria will get a roof. Praise God!

I have met a handful of people in my life of whom I would say they had truly great faith. Oscar is one of those. Healed of terminal cancer, he gave his life to the service of the Lord, and has persevered despite many obstacles.

His church in Grecia is in a very poor part, well outside the main town. The people are mostly farmers, and very poor. The building they have been in for many years now is limiting to their ministry. By God’s grace, a church in San Jose donated a new piece of land a few blocks away–and it is beautiful. But even with the land, the church could not afford to build a new building. But by faith they began.

And now it is our honor to put a roof on what will be their new sanctuary. And I can tell you the excite is palpable. Pastor Oscar’s vision is great, and from what I’ve seen in him, I expect the Lord will do even greater things still through his ministry.

Please pray for the work, God’s continued provision, and for the mission teams coming down over the next few months.

Steve Lucas
The Brook Ministries