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.



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.

Shock and Awe!

I was shocked.  I do fence quotes all the time.  Most of the people who contact us are very interested in the fact that FFO uses volunteers to build fences which allows us to donate 80% of our profits to help orphans and 3rd world churches.  For most, that’s why they contact us.  Because of this, I am often very encouraged by my conversation with perspective clients.  But I recently sold a fence to a client an a follow-up conversation ‘shocked’ me.  Her and her husband had already committed to have FFO build their 8 foot tall board-on-board fence with all the basic ‘nice’ fence stuff and with a driveway gate.  After she had already told me they were going with us, she asked how much to add a cap and to ‘box in’ the posts?  These are usually considered significant add-on niceties.  I provided the new quote.  The next day she replied, “..go ahead and put that we do want to box the posts and the 2×8 cap – might as well spend as much as we can to increase your profits!  It is for the kids so I don’t want to cheap out!”.  Her clear perspective shocked me, and I told her so.  She then replied, “God has blessed us – and keeping it to ourselves is just wrong.” I was now shocked, and on the floor.  Never before has a client expressed so clearly that they GOT IT! They live in the Matrix, AND they understand why.  I LOVE it!

P.S.  I don’t want to “dis” our many other great hearted FFO clients.  I know many of our clients have the same perspective because we’ve discussed it.  I had just never had someone put it so clearly in ‘words’ and in action by letting us build their fence.

How God could multiple His blessings to us for His glory and the benefit of others if only we all had that same perspective about everything in our lives.  I wish I could do that myself.  It’s just hard when you live in the weeds of the world.  And in our area, the world’s weeds abound.


Delight in the Journey

What a delight it is to be here in Costa Rica and see all that God is doing. Last summer we brought two teams to Atenas to help with a construction project at Iglesia Biblica. The children’s building was in terrible repair. Funds were raised by Matrix and The Brook and two teams were assembled to come and assist with the project last summer. It’s so exciting to return and see the building finished and hear about how God continues to expand their ministry at Iglesia Biblica in Atenas.

For those of you who contributed with funding, prayers or time on a team here in Costa Rica please know that you have made an eternal impact in this church and in many lives! Here are some photos.

If you’ve never experienced a short-term mission trip you’re missing out! Contact us for opportunities to join us in Costa Rica this summer as the work here continues.


Psalm 47:4-6
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 



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