Stories & Wins

Everyone has a story, and every story matters. There is nothing more powerful than a changed life, and your story could be the catalyst of hope in the life of another.


Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sycamore, Meadows, Hispanic, African, and Online

Celebrate Sycamore & Meadows

  • We continue to hear feedback from first-time guests who are starting to call Celebrate “home.”
  • LIFE Groups are having great conversations as they go through the Dream On LIFE Group materials. One group reported that the intensity with which their group was having conversations was amazing, and another group reported that people’s dreams are being ignited through this series and study!
  • A woman that lives 2 hours away had not yet joined a LIFE Group for Dream On, thinking that there would be no Celebrate LIFE Groups in her area; after talking to a Pastor, she found out that there actually is a LIFE Group meeting in her very own community! She has already connected to the group.
  • We asked Celebrators to step up, and give of their time to appreciate city employees at a meeting that the Mayor had called; the feedback was incredible! One city employee wrote: “Thank you Mayor for the one team meeting it was good and I enjoyed it. The one thing that brought tears to my eyes was the thanks we got from the citizens that were outside the theater. That meant a lot to me to hear, thank you. I went into public service as a cop in the past and now a sewer tech knowing this a thankless job and were there for citizens when they are having a problem or a bad day.  Again thank you.”  We live in a great city and are committed to being a part of it. Great job Celebrate!

Hispanic Ministry

  • This last month has been a very blessed month, this month’s attendance has been maintained at more than 120 per weekend, the Presence of the Holy Spirit has been something beautiful, seeing different miracles, people with sicknesses, healed.
  • People from Watertown, SD and Brookings, SD are coming.  We are seeing people as they surrender themselves in the hands of Our Lord Jesus.
  • We are seeing restored lives, after people have been in different vices or not being sure of their future. People are understanding that there is something bigger, much bigger; He is called Christ. God is good.

LIFE Groups

  • At our Leadership gathering, one gal saw another woman “ugly crying” during worship and decided to sit by her. By the end of  the night, the two had decided to co-lead a LIFE Group together!

Celebrate KiDS

  • This past week there was a testimony & baptism night at our Wednesday night at YOUTH, following camp. Many families were in attendance to help them celebrate, one elementary boy was so moved by the stories and profession of faith by the youth. He made the decision to be baptized and wanted to tell the world he lives for Jesus! To make this more awesome, two of his leaders from the weekend service was there and were able to baptize him!
  • A team member has been having a hard time serving consistently due to her work schedule changing. She enjoys serving in the KiDS ministry so much that she asked to start coming in on Saturday services to serve as she wants to make sure she is giving back each weekend. We have the most amazing servant-hearted team members, thank you all for what you do!
  • As a children’s ministry we are collecting school supplies for our friends at Terry Redlin Elementary. The true giving heart has been showing from the kids and their families as the supplies continue to pour in. We will be delivering to the school n time for their open house. This will be a blessing to the children and their parents allowing them to start the school year off strong and equipped to do their school work! Way to go Celebrate KiDS!
  • What a great night it was at our Thunder Road event!  We had 1051 people in attendance and it was so cool to get to know the families of Terry Redlin better. We had so much fun mini-golfing, racing, batting, boating, and riding the tilt-a-whirl. Thanks to everyone that served, and everyone that came to hang out!
  • A 2nd grader saw two students outside of Celebrate KiDS, who were hesitant to come in. She became a friend to them, encouraged them to come in, and helped them to have a great time at church.
  • Celebrate KiDS are practicing what they’ve been learning about: initiative. This past weekend 100’s of encouragement/treat bags made by Celebrate KiDS were delivered to Terry Redlin Elementary School students! One boy was moved to give his prize from the prize box as encouragement in the bag he made! The lessons taught each week are helping to mold the hearts and minds of the kids we serve; YAY God!

Church Plants
(* denotes churches in pre-launch phase)

Brandon, South Dakota

Celebrate Community Church
John & Dayna Semchenko

  • This month:
    • We received an email from a man in Alabama who told of a former co-worker who had just completed cancer surgery and was recovering at home with no job or disability insurance. This lady is 31 years old, has a teenage son and lives in Brandon.  She does not have a church home.  We visited her, prayed for her healing and connected her with a life group that is bringing her meals and praying with her. Another single mom needed help moving out of a difficult situation and two life groups stepped up to move her to new place.
    • The Brandon Area Prayer breakfast was a huge success!  487 people were fed, and many more were in attendance for the event that blesses the community with prayer.  Celebrate was able to help sponsor the event and serve at it.  After the event pastors and parents were able to walk the school hallways, blessing the classrooms, teachers and students.
    • We saw 8 new LIFE Group leaders trained as we look towards launching 30 groups this fall.
    • God moved on one person who indicated making a decision to follow Jesus for the first time.  Three people indicated a renewed decision to follow Christ.
    • We had 16 first-time guests in August.
  • Prayer Requests: 
    • Please pray for wisdom and humility as we move forward with our Dream On campaign, LIFE Groups, and sending people to neighboring communities.

Dell Rapids, South Dakota

Quarry Rock Church
Milt & Maddie Borah

  • This month:
    • Three people committed their lives to Jesus this month at Quarry Rock Church!
    • Two people were baptized!
    • I (Pastor Milt) started some discussions about being part of starting a new church plant family in Crooks. This has been received warmly at this stage.
    • Our summer is ending with a great anticipation for fall and lots of volunteerism surfacing! I believe what Pastor Keith says— God is up to something!
  • Prayer requests:
    • Pray for God to guide and open doors in Crooks.
    • Pray for great momentum going into fall.
    • Pray for open eyes and opportunities to be Jesus in Dell Rapids.
    • Pray for our next two series, “Bucket List” and “Dream On.”

Fargo, North Dakota*

Story Church
Wade & Chelsey Coffey

  • This month:
    • Our Party in the Park outreach was a success! Weather was perfect, and Story Church and Celebrate Church joined forces to create a really fun environment and experience for the guests! Many showed up up and everyone was engaged and connected with. Big thanks to the Celebrate family for sending up the team!
    • As a result of the outreach, Story Church team grew by 8 adults, 1 teen, and 7 children for a total of 16!
    • On August 19th, 7 adults made decisions for Christ; 2 signed up to be baptized; and 4 signed up for baby dedications!
  • Prayer Requests:
    • For God to show His will through a recent complication with the logistics regarding meeting space with our current venue and when we would like to launch. The two aren’t lining up. We believe God is going to either clear some things out of the way and show Himself in a mighty way through that, or He is giving us a later launch date.
    • For continued growth, provision, and direction in all areas as we move towards launch.

Lake Andes, South Dakota*

Don Ryswyk

  • This month:
    • A new couple have attended quite frequently. The cool thing is that the female is fresh out of treatment and has given her life to God. Her boyfriend has actively joined in with helping with brunch and cleaning up.
    • I had six people in church on August 19th.  All six were single, Native American guys.  I had a great time with my buddies!
    • On August 11th, Celebrate-Sycamore teens, leaders and interns were out to Lake Andes. We filled two dumpsters with junk from the old church property. What a fun, sweaty and blessed day!
  • Prayer Requests:
    • Please pray that people would see Celebrate Lake Andes as their church home and step forward into more leadership.

Omaha, Nebraska

Meadows Church
Monte & Jody Gannon

  • This month:
    • Four decisions for Christ!
    • We had a record numbers in our Kids Ministry on 8/26!
    • We had 21 first-time guests!
  • Prayer Requests:
    • Pray for our current series as we encourage people to take a next step and join a LIFE Group.
    • Pray for an outreach event we are planning for Oct.

Pharr, Texas

Marv & Deanna Odegaard

  • This month:
    • The gospel is being preached, praise songs are being sung, and people are being blessed. This month a couple from Quarry Rock Church in Dell Rapids, who heard me fill in for Milt Borah one Sunday are coming to church here in Texas!! They are being blessed!! God is blessing us all so unbelievably well.
    • Bill Roth who fills in for Marv during the summer struggled physically for 2 months. 2 others from the church went and laid hands and prayed over Bill. Seeing healing coming.
    • Our choir put on a great musical event.
  • Prayer Requests:
    • Much sickness among our people. Many prayers for healing were answered last month.

San Rafael, Mexico

Celebrate Community Church
Eliud & Brenda Garza

  • This month:
    • We finished laying the floor in our new church building. Thanks to the Celebrate team from Sioux Falls, we did it in record time of 3 days!
    • 8 people got baptized on the 19th.
    • There were 6 first-time decisions and 21 first-time guests in the month. Praise God!
  • Prayer Requests:
    • I (Pastor Eliud) need healing in my body. I am suffering from the sciatic nerve. I am in a lot of pain.
    • May God continue to bring those who need to be saved.
    • We are in need of another van for church transportation.

Yankton, South Dakota

Celebrate Community Church
Jeff & Alane Todd

  • This month:
    • We had 1 decision for Christ and 2 re-commitments!
    • We averaged 52 people at our Sunday Gatherings through August and saw 26 first time guests.
    • We had six people attend Membership 101 class and all six decided to take the step and join our Yankton family!
    • Riverboat Days was a huge success. We had 22 people give of their time over three days, and 9 of those 22 were not currently serving on any team yet. We gave rides to over 500 kids, and while those kids were getting rides, we had a chance to talk with the parents and hand out invite cards to our event Sept 9th to kick off our Secrets to Success Series. It was a great way to love on our community. The Riverboat Days committee was blown away and have already asked us to help in a larger role next year. The Press and Dakotan featured us in a very nice article. It was the second most viewed story that week!
  • Prayer Requests:
    • Secrets to Success Campaign: We are doing an 8 week campaign where we are asking everyone to be in a LIFE Group. We already have four people who have stepped up and want to HOST a new LIFE Group. One of these families is in Vermillion and our heart is to eventually plant in Vermillion.
    • Protection: While we are in a season of amazing growth, we are also experiencing increased spiritual attacks. Pray for God’s protection on our team, jobs, and families. Pray for unity on our team.

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