He survived the first duel and endured on Redemption Island for 29 days, longer than any castaway on the show.
"My strong relationship with the Lord is a strength and guidance you can't find anywhere else," expressed the 25-year old former Miss Alabama contestant.
The two were shown praying in preparation for their duel against each other. Matt used that Bible to encourage himself and the other cast mates sent to the island.
Most notably, Elrod's scripture reading inspired Zapatera tribe member Julie Wolfe to rekindle her faith.
After losing her duel, Wolfe, a California firefighter, told show host Jeff Probst that she was going to find a church upon returning home."I came short of the money, but I'm walking away with something bigger.
Mariano voted Elrod off a second time when Elrod returned from Redemption Island after the tribes merged.
Looking back on his time in Nicaragua, Elrod said, "Seeing how dependent I was on God [while] playing “Survivor” challenges me to trust Him equally as much or more in my life outside the game.”Elrod is currently a student at Lipscomb University, a faith-based, liberal arts institution in Tennessee, and will graduate in December.The failed challenge, balancing a clay vase on a plank with one foot, ended Elrod's chance at the cash prize.Elrod initially looked surprised by his loss, but later said of his longevity in the game, "God was with me every step of the way ...– Who had the better first episode Coach Ben Wade or Ozzy Lusth?Which of these two returning Survivors is set up better for success on Survivor South Pacific? – What does Andrea Boehlke think of the two returning players to the game?It had a great impact on Julie – she is now with [me] at our Bible-based church in San Diego."Chiesl said of his resulting experience, "It was a journey that I took with others and was able to learn more about myself and develop my relationship with Christ."He said of Elrod, who generally led their prayers and readings, "Matt is just an all-around awesome guy.