A Portrait of Humility: Matt Dodd

Posted by on Jul 9, 2017

Matt Dodd, Zach Cann, Jeremy Lehman PNG

Matt Dodd…

Just hearing his name makes me think of a Christ following, joyful, happy, energetic, spontaneous, mildly crazy individual.  Maybe it’s because of that time we finished hiking out from a survey and he randomly ran into the ocean to play in the waves.  Maybe it was the time he went back to Madang on a ship to get more supplies after I had thrown up around 20 times.  Maybe it was his smile when we all endured the crazy flights to PNG.  Regardless, there are plenty of memories that solidify those traits into the name Matt Dodd.

I have known Matt for around 7 years.  When Lorie and I started attending Grace Bible Church, Matt and Cameron were one of the couples that was kind enough to make us feel at home.  At that time Matt was working as a programmer for General Dynamics.  He is a smart dude, but would never let you know it!  Their kids were similar ages to ours which made conversations that much more comfortable.  We continued to see them Sunday mornings but life was very busy during that season and we were in different small groups.

The Dodds had already been planning and preparing to go to Papua New Guinea for many years.  After the Dodds and Canns presented at GBC on a mission’s Sunday, we were compelled to go with them and get them allocated in a tribe.  That decision put us on a path of relationship growth that has only grown deeper through shared experiences in PNG.  We had meals and meetings with them on a regular basis in preparation to go.  We purchased supplies for house building, we prepared items for shipping and we eventually got on a jet plane to PNG together!

After getting orientated in PNG, housebuilding became the focus of our time together.  Believe me after performed land surveys, taking dingy rides, bus trips to the highlands, airplane and helicopter rides, climbing aboard ships, taking supplies to Biliau, hiking for 10+ hours at a time, and building two houses in the middle of the jungle’s of PNG you get to know someone.  If you really want to know what someone is made of, wait until the rug of convenience is pulled out from under their feet.

In all such circumstances I learned the following about Matt.  He is brother in Christ just like me.  He struggles with temptation, fights sin, reads God’s Word daily, pursues sanctification, boasts in his Savior, wears humility like a robe, has a smile on his face, loves people, diligently labors and works, loves his wife and kids, continually thinks of ways to serve his wife, and upholds his family as a critical part of ministry.  Matt and I both have had sweet times together, sinned and reconciled with one another and done some adventurous things together.

Matt Dodd in PNG

In everything I have observed about Matt, I can say that I have only been challenged to be a more godly man.  Matt told me before we came to PNG that I should always pursue being a “qualified man” even if we didn’t make it to PNG.  That statement has stuck with me, even though he said it over 5 years ago!  Matt makes me want to grow in sanctification, put sin to death, esteem my family as an integral part of ministry, and think of ways to love my wife more than I do now.

He has a love for Jesus.  That love drives him to endure hardship to share the Gospel with everyone he can.  That God given desire sent him to PNG to the nDo people.  It helped him care for his family through the transition of living in a foreign land.  It pushed him past the fear of building two houses.  It carried him through learning Tok Pisin and learning the nDo language; and now, it is driving him to continue sharing that good news through a new season of cancer.

I only makes sense that Matt would be enduring the painful road of terminal lung cancer with joy.  There is nothing “convenient” about cancer, yet he has been and continues to endure it with godly resolve; praising his Savior, Jesus Christ.  Even now, as doctors are giving him under 4 weeks to live, he is trusting in God’s good plan for him.  I thought of death does not bring images of fear, no.  It only brings thoughts of greater joy; knowing that pain will be abolished in but a moment, and the glories of Christ will be his forever.

Although Matt did not lead me to Christ, I can confidently say that obedience to Hebrews 13:7 makes me think of my brother Matt Dodd!

Hebrews 13:7 “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.”

We are praying for Matt, Cameron, Susana, Benaiah, Onesimus and Mary.  Praying for joy and a heart of trust in our good God.

Follow the Dodds through the link below:

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Heb 13:7.


  1. Wonderful post Jeremy! Thanks so much for writing and sharing this, it is very encouraging to hear about your friendship with Matt and all that you learned together and through him on the field (and before). Praying for your family, too, through this time.

  2. Oh to have a testimony like this!! I pray that many lives will be changed through the trials this sweet family is going through!