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.

Matrix Blessing The Work In Grecia, Costa Rica

For Iglesia Biblica Uncion con Gloria, located in Cataluna Tacares, Grecia Costa Rica, it has been not only a blessing but a miracle to be able to work with Matrix Ministry, because thru their economic support we have been able to continue building the church and we really appreciate it.
The economic situation in Costa Rica is very hard.

We pray that all the people that are making this possible will continue providing their support to sow in the Kingdom of the Lord, and that God will continue blessing them every day.

Thank you,

Pastor Oscar

A Word From Pastor Oldemar

Blessings to all that the Lord allows read this letter.

It is a great pleasure for me to talk about Matrix Ministries, its directors, and all its partners, donors and advocates.Here in Atenas they have worked hard and have helped many people with the projects they have developed.

1. The Casa de la Cultura
It is a wonderful building that houses an area for laptops in which we give internet access to the poor students of Atenas, where they can also print their homework. They have a place for games as well, so they have a healthy choice of recreation. This building was built with the help of Matrix and its short-term teams . The ministry also helped provide the furniture for the building. Also, Ray and Cate worked on this project with their own hands, which was inspiring for all.

2. The Pastor’s Office 
Extraordinary, beautiful, useful. It is a place for prayer, counseling, and hard work in the study of the Bible.

3. The Multipurpose Room for Community
It is a place for social, cultural and educational activities. We offer various courses, and offer it to the community for birthdays, weddings, dinners, meetings , school classes , etc.

These projects have been built with the invaluable help of Matrix Ministries. God blessed us through this ministry to meet the needs of children, adolescents, adults and seniors.And spiritually , the directors and the teams have been have been a blessing and testimony of their devotion and passion for the less fortunate .

If you support this ministry, you are supporting God’s work in Costa Rica and other places that need help.

Pastor Oldemar Artavia Rodriguez, Iglesia Biblica



First Mission Trip Thoughts

My 1st mission trip……. Thank you so much Ray and Cate for taking me with you. I will be back to Hogar de Vida for sure. I had expectations, some were met and some were exceeded. I also must thank Tim and Dena for their hospitality, friendship, and ministry. I’ve not been able to think of much else since I got home yesterday. Still processing the changes in me. A experience of a lifetime and I thank God that He laid on my heart the desire to go. I will also have to go and get some more LOVE from the beautiful children at Hogar de Vida!!!!!!

~ Vicki Waldron

A Day of Extremes

Yesterday was our excursion day here in Costa Rica and we went to La Fortuna to see Arenal Volcano and hot springs.  The volcano was shrouded in clouds in the morning but by afternoon they moved out and we were able to see it the peak. The hot springs were relaxing and it was wonderful to take in yet another view of God’s marvelous creation.



After a wonderful day we made the 3 hour drive back to Atenas and I found myself thinking that our day was one of extremes. We spent the day surrounded by the beauty of nature and enjoyed the relaxation. But when I returned back to Hogar de Vida I unlocked our little cabin and couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather spend my night!


Missions: Big and Small

This is our 6th mission team to go to Costa Rica in just under 2 years. On many of our trips we’ve had large teams and significant work projects planned at both Hogar de Vida Children’s Home and Iglesia Biblica in Atenas.  On this trip there are just 2 of us, but we felt that God had work for us to do and we should go whether the team was large or not. As I prepared for this trip a passage of scripture kept coming back to me over and over again.

One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you……I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.”  ~ Romans 1: 10-12

Between the two of us, the amount of work we accomplish will probably seem small: cleaning the offices, raking leaves, and being an extra set of hands in the homes with the children. As we entertained 7 toddlers yesterday, Rebecca hung out the laundry and worked around the house and I imagined what a relief that must be to someone who cares for 10 children day after day and gets up every three hours at night with two newborns in the house. What a privilege it is to be able to lend a hand, a smile and words of encouragement to the women here who sacrifice so much.

At the same time I realize how much I look forward to my trips here, because I know my spirit will be renewed in a way that doesn’t happen easily at home. Several things happen:

1. The slower pace and the quiet provide an environment for thinking and prayer like no other.

2. Being on a mission trip is always wake up call and gives fresh fire to my commitment and responsibility to serving others. Getting out of my routine and the comforts of home is a great reminder of how abundantly I’ve been blessed and the responsibility that goes with that.

So while we have been sent to help others, I always go home feeling that I have been the one who was blessed the most.


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!

New Partners In Grecia, Costa Rica

On our August trip to Costa Rica we were introduced to a pastor at a growing and vibrant church in Grecia. Pastor Oscar shared his testimony, which in a nutshell was nothing short of miracle after miracle in his life! After battling cancer for 5 years he was completely healed and felt led to start a church. They met in homes until they grew too large to continue and found a building to rent. Now growing beyond this space and needing to find a permanent property, they prayed about where they would go. The lease on their building would run out at the end of the year, so they knew they needed to have a plan soon.

One Sunday earlier this year, Pastor Oscar felt the Lord telling him that they would be delivered from this situation and be directed to the place where God intended the church to be. The church prayed and felt that God would soon have answers. That same week a man approached Pastor Oscar and told him of a property for sale close by and that he kept thinking that a church would be there someday. The property turned out to be just what they were looking for except for one big challenge – the asking price was $90,000. In the states that’s quite a bit of money for a small church, but imagine that in a little coffee farming town where people live on $400-$600 a month or less! Again the church prayed that if that’s where God wanted them to be, He’d make a way. Time for the next miracle! A pastor from the association of churches, AIBC, paid a visit to Pastor Oscar and they shared what was going on in their respective churches. A week later, this pastor contacted Pastor Oscar and told him that his church was going to give them the money to purchase the land! It’s impossible not to be excited about what’s happening in this church when you hear the vision and passion that Pastor Oscar has for the Lord and for his community. We felt clearly that God was showing us an opportunity to join in what He’s doing in a mighty way in Grecia and look forward to partnering with Pastor Oscar.