2012 Confirmed Nominees
Melinda Matzdorff - Lay Leader
Board of Directors Nominee
Melinda Matzdorff is an entrepreneur, business owner, wife, mother to five and currently serves on both the New Height Christian Fellowship Board of Administration and also on The River Conference Board.
Her gifts are leadership and strategic planning, She is passionate about her family, justice and social issues and has been engaged in missions work and service in Mexico.
Alex Alexander - Elder
Board of Directors Nominee
Alex can best be described as a creative leader with a pastor's heart. His ultimate desire is to see people come into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Alex currently serves as the Pastor of Teaching and Administration at The Church at Lake Travis in Austin, TX. He accepted a call to ministry at age 16 and has served the local church both professionally and as a lay-person every day since. While studying and preparing for ministry at Hardin-Simmons University, Alex met his wife Wendy and they were married in August, 1991. They have two children, Caitlin (18) and Parker (16). In addition to serving The Church at Lake Travis, Alex also serves the community as a school board trustee with the Lake Travis Independent School District.
Jose Segura - Lay Leader
Jose Segura is 28 years of age, serving the Lord in San Antonio, Texas. Jose was raised in the Free Methodist Church and began serving the Lord at the age of 15. He is now working with the youth as well as the bilingual Hispanic church and several other Hispanic churches in Texas. Alex is very excited about what God is doing in San Antonio and with The River Conference, looking forward to serving with men and women who love and serve God.
Tommy Broyles - Lay Leader
Tommy has been married for 22 years and has 4 children (2 biological and 2 adopted). His passion is serving and learning more about God, walking through life with family and close friends, and playing with his Australian Shepherd named Asia. Tommy hopes to bring more love, justice, encouragement, and passion to the TRC team. He and his family attend Austin New Church (ANC) and live to be on mission everyday.
Abby Leman - Lay Leader
Abby grew up a missionary kid, with her parents translating the Bible and holding numerous roles in administration, with Wycliffe Bible Translators. She attended Whitworth College, where she pursued a Vocal Performance Major, but with 3 credits short, changed it to a minor as she felt God was calling her to finish her degree in Religion instead. After marriage and college, she pursued her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Gonzaga University. She worked for a time at Lutheran Social Services and The Hutton Settlement Children’s Home as a counselor, house parent, and girls Case Manager. Her family currently makes their home in Spokane, Washington, where her husband serves as the Senior Pastor of First Free Methodist Church. She has loved doing music ministry, children’s ministry, counseling, teaching voice lessons, homeschooling and raising her two boys for the last 13 years.
James Leman - Elder
Finance Committee Nominee
James grew up a missionary kid on an Indian Reservation in eastern Montana. This childhood helped shape his worldview and his desire to see people come to a life-changing knowledge of Jesus. He felt called into full-time pastoral ministry as a freshman in college, but it took another 8 years for him to end up in a church setting.
Now at Spokane First FMC, he is excited about pushing and challenging people to order their entire lives around Jesus Christ. His heartbeat is connecting those who currently know and passionately worship Christ, and those who are willing to live in authentic community, with those who have not yet had their lives transformed by Jesus.
James is also passionate about his family. He's been married to Abby since 1999. They are blessed with two sons, Sam and JJ.
James loves being in God's creation - backpacking, bicycling, rafting, camping, triathlons, and the list could go on. But what he really enjoys is a good round of disc golf in just about any weather. He believes the disc golf course is the best place for an official "meeting!"
Jarrod Artim came to know the Lord in 2005 changing his life forever. A once deviant young man he immediately changed his ways and focused in on what it meant to be a Christ follower. Almost immediately after his conversion and beginning transformation he found himself serving in small Free Methodist Church in Englewood CO. Within a year the church closed and Jarrod and his soon to be wife headed to Lakewood CO to serve at Light and Life Community Church. Jarrod recently resigned as the youth pastor at Light and Life to pursue a church planting oppurtunity with The Stone under the leadership of Mark Groutas. Jarrod also acts as the director of student ministries for The River Conference.
Jarrod has been married for almost five years to wife Bonnie who also partners with him in ministry. The two met at the small church in Englewood where Bonnie lead worship. They have one son they adopted a year ago who is of Ethiopian descent. Tanner is preparing for first grade and his first team sport, t-ball. Jarrod does not know what the future holds for his call to ministry but he knows that it will be an amazing adventure.
Gary Is 65 years old, enjoys studying and teaching the Word of God, Physics & Math; Fly Fishing; traveling 4-Wheel Drive Trails; Training Horses; and helping others. Gary helps facilitate a number of Bible studies for the community and is passionate about helping others know Jesus Christ.
David Straw was born in Dallas, Texas, son of James Runnels & Vicki Straw; he was the middle child of seven kids. He currently resides in Mesquite, Texas with his wife Darcy Straw, aka: Sister Beautiful and their 5 children. He attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma where he played football for the Rangers; however, due to a life changing accident he was forced to end his football career that became a spiritual turning point causing him to make the most important decision in his walk with Christ. Later he received an Associates Degree of Applied Science in Criminal Justice at Remington College in Texas and is currently continuing his education at Dallas Baptist University. He also served 14 years in the United States Marine Corps.
He devoted his life to Christ and was a servant to Inspiring Body of Christ under the leadership of Pastor R. Rush for 17 yrs; he then was impressed by the Holy Spirit to lead youth to Christ and began having bible study in his home for youth, which later led him to serve at Tha Myx Dallas Church for 1 year under the leadership of Pastor Fred Lynch. He currently serves at Living Water Ministries, in Mesquite, Texas under the leadership of Pastor Lee and Tracey Bruner in the Youth Dept, as the Leader/Activity Coordinator. He also participates in Drama, Prison Ministry & other Outreach Ministries.
He has a gift of spreading laughter & humor and a passion for Youth Ministry & teaching God's word. His dream is to establish an Outreach Youth Center, to educate, empower, & enhance youth of all walks of life. His primary goal is to develop each youth by teaching God’s spoken word so that they may speak it, walk in it, live by it and in return be a channel that will change and redefine themselves, their families and ultimately their communities so that they become true disciples of Christ.
My name is Ryan Williams, and I love to climb. Most every weekend you can find me deep in the mountains on some crazy adventure that is slightly over my head. For some reason I like to suffer and be miserable on my time off. I think it is because of the stories I get to tell after, and how I love life so much. You never know what you will find around the next corner unless you go look. Christ is so amazing, and has so much to show what life has to offer, so I follow with my adventure pack ready to go to the most beautiful and remote places on earth. It is here that I find Christ most in my life, and where He teaches me so much. Although I am working on finding Him in ALL things.
I grew up in Evergreen/Conifer Colorado, until I graduated High School and moved up to Summit County to attend college. I have an older sister named Heather, My mother Cathy, and father Jim. I really could not have been born into a better or loving family than the one I have now. Often times my friends tell me I had the quintessential childhood growing up, and I tend to agree. They have helped support me in my calling to serve Christ and become a pastor/minister.
I started going to church again after about a 12 year search of meaning, and was the quiet guy in the back seeing if it is really what I felt called to. I help in the church with the technical side of things, give announcements, lead little adventures after church, and offer ministry to anyone who needs it. I have noticed that my passion for outside adventures is drawing more and more people to seek outdoors, and it is here that I can walk alongside them with Christ. However, it is really hard to sum up all I want to share in a little bio. Really, I just love Christ and want to share that passion with the world, so they see how fully loved they are.
Adrian "Age" Sandoval
Adrian 'AGE' Sandoval grew up in Denver Colorado. After moving 21 times in the city of Denver, he ended up with his family in Commerce City as a teen. While on a path of destruction at the age of 21 he turned his life around and started a Gospel Hip Hop ministry. Traveling the world with Preachas in tha Hood he met his wife Sateba who is from Southern California. Married now for 13 years, they live together raising their 16 year old daughter Adrianna. They planted a church in the west side of Denver Colorado in November of 2008 called Tha MYX. With a healthy growing congregation, they are located in the city's poorest community sharing the love of God. With thousands of lives affected by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, AGE continues to reach out in various ways of ministry from speaking engagements, gang trainings, gospel rap and pastoring a flock at Tha MYX.
My name is Brenda Sanchez and I am the Pastor at Open Door FMC in Grand Prairie, TX. I became pastor at this church when our Senior Pastor went to be with the Lord 5 years ago. The Lord has had a calling on my life since I was 12 years old. At that time I accepted Christ as my personal Savior at a FMC in Midland, Texas. Under the mentorship of Pastor Julio Castillo, I grew to love the Lord and surrendered to JESUS completely. Pastor Castillo is my Spiritual Father and has been there to teach me the Word of God and I have learned by his example how to live for Christ. My brother Jesse Valles, who is now the pastor at the Midland church has also been a big influence on my life and has taught me to be humble before the Lord. I was raised in the FMC by a single mom, who taught me to be strong, independent and totally reliant on the Lord. She taught me courage, respect and humility. She taught me how to love the Lord with my heart, mind, soul and strength.
Along with my husband Daniel Sanchez who is the Associate Pastor at our church in Grand Prairie, we aspire to be obedient to the calling that God has on our lives. We teach the Word of God with conviction and love. I know the Lord has placed me here for such a time as this. It has not been an easy task, but if God is with us, I know we can be victorious over all the hurdles that come our way. And believe me, we have had many hurdles. Once in my prayer time, I came before the Lord and asked HIM,” why me?” And the LORD said, “why not you!!!” The LORD told me that if I would just focus on HIM, no matter what, nothing would be impossible…I have 2 grown daughters, Jennifer and Stephanie. Jennifer went to be with the Lord in 2003, my heart was crushed, but I know that God would never give me more than I can handle. In this trying time in our lives, the Lord placed an umbrella of protection on our family. I commended her spirit back to the Lord and thanked HIM for allowing us to have her for 20 years. for she was truly an inspiration to us. Stephanie is now 28 and has struggled with the loss of her sister. But the Lord has given us the opportunity to draw close to HIM through the Valley. The LORD’S promise came true, He never left us, nor did HE forsake us. God taught us to forgive the 19 yr old woman who took my daughter’s life. Stephanie has grown to be an amazing young woman who loves the Lord.
My passion is for the souls that the Lord places in my path. One person at a time. I want to make my ministry personal for all who come into the house of the Lord. I want a child as well as an elder to feel comfortable when they come into HIS house or when I spend time talking and ministering to them. I desire to do God’s will and continue to ask for a Pastor heart. I want to see people through Jesus eyes. And I want the Lord to continue to give me a passion for the Word, prayer and fasting.
I spent the first part of my life in farming environment roles in the Pacific Northwest. I transitioned into the military and moved all over the county until I retired. I transitioned once again into a ministry role when God called me to full-time ministry. I have come full circle back to the Pacific Northwest.
I am blessed to have an outstanding, God-fearing, wife who has always been an encouragement to me. We have five boys and two granddaughters all of them live in the same city we do. We will be adding a daughter to our family later this summer and are very excited about it.
My wife, Lisa, and I share a passion for young adults and seniors. Lisa has been a cosmetologist for about 30 years and that is also her ministry. She runs a salon in a senior living facility. The facility also has a dedicated church which is my primary ministry for about 40 people. We are also privileged to work with many of the staff and family members of residents (young adults) as well. Our mid-week Bible studies are a fun and healthy mix of denominations and age groups.
We attend Opportunity Christian Fellowship as our “base camp.” My pastoral/chaplaincy role is an extension of the church into the community. I serve as a preacher at the afternoon church, teacher at the Bible studies, and chaplain at a sports facility. I love every minute of it.