Matt has led Coldwater Canada since the days when our ministry was a single week-long summer wilderness trip. Today, Matt’s role entails a wide variety of ministry essentials -- from long term planning and vision casting, to summer programming and working directly with our students. His heart to see young people develop a mature faith in Christ and step into a life of leadership fuels his work at every level.
Before Coldwater Canada, God began forming a vision in Matt’s heart to see a movement of young people raised up as Christ-like leaders, and sent into their communities equipped and empowered to impact others like Jesus did. During his time as a student, and later as a youth pastor, in Iowa, Matt got involved with Coldwater Foundation (USA). He saw the drastic growth and maturity that resulted from Coldwater's programs, and recognized the need for this in Canada. God has provided an incredible team of support for Matt's vision at every stage of the journey, including before he and his wife Michelle returned from Iowa to start the ministry. We’re thankful for Matt’s leadership, and his humble love for the body of Christ!
When he’s not focused on Coldwater, you can find Matt spending time with his family, hunting, adventure racing and reading.
Matt’s Favourite Scripture:
Jeremiah 17:6-8 - “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
Michelle’s support for Coldwater Canada has been strong and steady from the beginning: she has stood beside her husband, Director Matt Gray, in every season and stage of Coldwater’s development! Today, she manages most of Coldwater’s administrative functions and email communications, and acts as a constant source of prayer and support for the ministry.
Originally from Madison, South Dakota, Michelle has a strong appreciation for the wilderness and the transformation that can take place there with God. She’s watched countless groups return from their wilderness experience, drastically impacted. As a mom to Eloise, Silas, Roslyn and Kinslie, Michelle’s instincts for compassion and spiritual need are sharp. Her presence and involvement at Coldwater helps create the welcoming atmosphere we’re known for!
When she’s not keeping us all organized, Michelle can often be found enjoying the outdoors with her kids, organizing, and eating ice cream.
Michelle’s Favourite Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Originally from London, ON, Michelle’s always had a strong dedication to the wilderness (first as a tree planter for several summers), and a commitment to youth (she holds a degree in social work, and has always been passionate for community development). She’s been instructing with Coldwater since 2015, where her combination of gifts, experiences, and passions have truly blessed our students and everyone involved here. She also currently helps plan and lead our camp life, discipleship, and trip programs!
Michelle has always loved being outdoors-- from childhood camping, counselling at a Bible camp as a teen, to tree planting. But for her, the wilderness is a place to seek out the higher purposes God has given us. She came to Coldwater with a heart for meaningful wilderness experiences, and we’re so thankful for that. Michelle’s intentionality and desire to see others encounter God has helped many young people move past personal barriers and become more of who God has created them to be.
When she’s not leading wilderness adventures, she’s having some of her own! Michelle loves skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and swimming -- oh, and crocheting!
Michelle’s Favourite Scripture:
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message) - “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Dan’s first experience with Coldwater Canada came in the summer of 2017, serving on a missions team during our BEDROCK program. He recalls how influential this experience was for him; learning how God wired him to serve and seeing how Coldwater Canada was impacting the lives of youth and young adults to lead and serve in their communities. Since then, Dan has joined our Advisory Team and we are blessed by his passion for this ministry and his wisdom coming from years of experience with human resources.
Dan enjoys going on long roadtrips with his wife Jen, and exploring the great outdoors whether that be camping, fishing, biking or hiking.
Dan’s Favourite Scriptures:
Romans 8:38-39 - "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Ephesians 3:20 - "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."
Leadership Team Member
Donna first experienced the impact of Coldwater Canada’s ministry through the experiences of her kids. While she has not been on a wilderness experience with Coldwater quite yet, she is hopeful to one day have the opportunity to do so! She is now a member of the Advisory Team and her experience with youth through her work as a teacher make her an incredible asset to this ministry.
When not serving with Coldwater, Donna can be found outside: running, biking or gardening (weather permitting, of course!).
Donna’s Favourite Scripture:
Isaiah 40:31 - "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Leadership Team Member
Sandy first experienced Coldwater through the testimonies of her kids, who have all been involved in the ministry. She’s now an Advisory Team member, and takes a leading role on many important projects and events. Sandy’s gifts for organization and team leadership have a special tone of compassion and integrity that contribute a great deal to our Coldwater community!
Sandy has a deep understanding of Christian youth development as a dedicated mom of four. And as someone who connects closely with God in the outdoors, she advocates for the less complicated, slowed down time in the wilderness with the Lord. We’re so thankful for this at Coldwater -- because of Sandy’s consistent, genuine efforts, many volunteers, staff, and young people have been rejuvenated and empowered to step further into God’s great invitation.
When she’s not pouring herself out for the ministry, Sandy can be found in her garden, hiking, reading, and spending precious time with friends and family-- including her husband, Marcel.
Sandy’s Favourite Scripture:
Isaiah 41:10 - “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Leadership Team Member
Peter has been supporting Coldwater Canada since the beginning, standing behind the vision and growth of our ministry in every capacity imaginable! He’s a member of our Advisory Team and acts as a main link between Coldwater Canada and the Leadership Team at Cedar Creek Community Church. He’s also a great example of servant-based leadership, unafraid to get his hands dirty at every level to support the ministry and fill any need.
Peter’s dedication to Coldwater Canada couldn’t be more natural-- he practically grew up in his grandmother’s canoe starting when he was only weeks old, and has spent his life exploring and deepening his appreciation of the outdoors (including a lifelong career in geology!).
When he’s not helping Coldwater, Pete can be found mentoring young men in their walk with God, spending time at the cottage with his wife Carolyn, and taking on building, boating, fishing, and “fixing up” projects.
Pete’s Favourite Scripture:
Joshua 24:15 - “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Leadership Team Member
Jess has a heart for missions and serving, and her first experience with Coldwater Canada was volunteering as the Camp Nurse during a week of our BEDROCK overnight camp. She loved experiencing camp and the culture of Coldwater and she quickly realized she wanted to continue being a part of it. Her family was able to be with her during those weeks at camp and her kids loved experiencing “camp” at an arms reach while mom was busy volunteering. They participated in some of the camper activities, ate meals in the dining hall and enjoyed the teaching and worship times. As much as they were there to serve as a family, they left feeling equally as blessed by the authentic and meaningful experiences they had and the relationships they built as they were welcomed into the Coldwater culture and team. Jess has been a Coldwater Advisory Team member for a few years now and although she has not yet had the opportunity to go on a Coldwater wilderness trip, she hopes to do so soon.
Outside of her involvement with Coldwater, Jess is also actively involved at Cedar Creek Community Church and keeps busy in her roles as a mom of 3 amazing kids and as a Dental nurse. She enjoys all things health, wellness and fashion-related, including weightlifting, and being active outdoors with her family. Other favourite pastimes include cooking, reading, gardening, getting into a riveting TV series, and travelling with her husband Matt!
Jess’s favourite scripture:
Psalm 18:32 - “It is God who arms me with strength, and keeps my way secure."