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

  • Last week a preschool parent picked up her 2yr old son and noticed he was wearing a new sticker. Intrigued, she asked his leader what it was for. The leader explained that the child had learned his Bible verse and was rewarded for his amazing hard work. To prove he had memorized it, the leader asked the child if he could recite the verse again for his parent.  Boldly he said, “With God all things are possible.”! Such truth from this little guy.
  • Some new guests to Celebrate started attending a LIFE Group and one shared that the LIFE Group has given them something else to live for outside of his addiction to alcohol.
  • Two young gals from Watertown saw the event for Night to Shine on our website and decided to come help before the event.   Because of this experience, they have started attending services! Here’s their review from Facebook:   Celebrate,thank you thank you thank you. Thank you SO much for the welcomeness and love. I am currently living in Watertown SD but come home to Sioux Falls on the weekends. I came to Celebrate to help with the Night to Shine which was my first time attending. I have attended worship the following two weekends and I cannot explain how “at home” you guys have made me feel. The people and especially Austin and his wife Jessica made me feel so at home. Thinking about coming back each weekend is what gets me through the week. So thank you Celebrate!
  • We had a couple who came for the first time on the weekend because they experienced Celebrate Recovery and were so welcomed that they wanted to experience the welcome of the rest of the church!
  • A recent attender of 101 class started coming to the church because of a friend who wanted to go to their “Happy Church.” She walked in and immediately experienced an environment of joy and love.
  • Celebrate Recovery has recently launched an east-side location on Monday nights, at the Sycamore location!  We are excited to offer Celebrate Recovery two times a week.
  • Because of the leadership, care and value that DivorceCare provides, over 30 new people are in attendance in the group of 45 people.
  • The heart and love of the leader in the GriefShare care group is helping to move people from mourning to joy in the loss of a loved one, and because of this GriefShare has 6 new members in it.
  • A parent came out of service and shared how they have been hesitant to leave their youngest child, almost one year old, in the Nursery as he has a feeding tube, but was currently not able to sit through the entire service because the little one was so restless.  The KiDS team reassured her that our team is actually capable and familiar with this and could provide the care he needs as well as be part of an age appropriate, fun and loving service. Mom was so relieved and was able to leave her child comfortably and receive the message. We have amazingly gifted and loving team members!

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

Brandon, South Dakota

Celebrate Community Church
John & Dayna Semchenko

  • We saw 2 decisions for Christ!  Also, 3 new LIFE group leaders have stepped up to lead! One leadership team was formed (14 adults and one student) and is currently going through Purpose Driven Church training.
  • We saw 48 students participate in our youth sledding outing!
  • We have an adult to who is translating services and discipling a young man that he led to Christ in Mandarin.
  • We saw 5 decisions for Christ. Two men from our church visited a former co-worker in the hospital and lead him to receive Christ.
  • We also added 15 new members at our March membership class and had 9 renewals.
  • We now have 13 life groups meeting in Brandon.
  • Please pray for wisdom and humility as we train new leaders and get more people connected through Class 101.

Dell Rapids, South Dakota

Quarry Rock Church
Milt & Maddie Borah

  • We have our new baptistery set up and ready to go and several are showing interest in baptism. 12 people made decisions for Jesus this month!
  • We’ve baptized 2 so far this month in our new baptistry! Great celebration at the end of 2 Sunday services!
  • My daughter, Elena has returned from a 6 month deployment in Kuwait!
  • Our attendance has been really good and climbing during March and there have been salvations at Quarry Rock! I had the privilege to lead a man to Christ in a one-on-one conversation this month

Fargo, North Dakota*

Story Church
Wade & Chelsey Coffey

  • Everything came together super well with the Super Bowl Party. This was our first bigger outreach event. We did great working as a team. Our guests felt blessed and were treated like royalty!
  • We made strong connections with people in February, of which, more than 10 are planning on checking out our church plant and/or LIFE Groups.
  • We filled every seat at the “I Can Only Imagine” movie night (68 seats), and even had to turn people away! I gave a short message on forgiveness with a transition into our need for forgiveness and salvation from God and that it starts there. At the end of my prayer, 40 people made a commitments/recommitments to Christ! Praise God for setting that up so perfectly! 
  • We had 7 first time guests the Sunday after the movie night and 5 first time guests the next Sunday, with many more interested and planning on coming! 
  • Pray for God to give us provision and wisdom in finding a new location to meet in by May. Also pray for us to continue to be blessed with new and returning guests that will give our launch team growth and momentum, and for new and creative opportunities to reach into the community.

Lake Andes, South Dakota*

Don Ryswyk

  • We were recently given a box of Bibles that were received with appreciation by the people. Bringing your Bible to Celebrate – LA is kind of like wearing your badge of honor.
  • A spirit of trust is growing between me and the church-attenders.  Recently, I have found myself involved in several deep and difficult conversations with the people of Lake Andes.  I am so thankful for the message of God’s love and grace that can be planted in the hearts of the people in Lake Andes.
  • There were two decisions for Jesus Christ this month.
  • Every week there seems to be someone that is a first time guest. 
  • Celebrate Sycamore sent out a mailer to every household in the Lake Andes area inviting people to Celebrate – Lake Andes for Easter. 
  • Pray for the follow up to the mailer and guests that came at Easter

Omaha, Nebraska

Meadows Church
Monte & Jody Gannon

  • We had 15 first time guests, and 9 people made decisions for Christ! We had our second baptism event and baptized nine people!
  • Seven decisions for Christ!
  • 18 First Time Guests
  • Over 15 families graduated from FPU and they’ve already paid off $102,000 of non-mortgage debt, saved almost $21,000, and closed 7 credit card accounts.
  • Pray for our Youth leaders and kids as we launch our Youth ministry in April

Pharr, Texas

Marv & Deanna Odegaard

  • 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 on March 18. G 
  • Much sickness among our people. Many prayers for healing were answered last month.

San Rafael, Mexico

Celebrate Community Church
Eliud & Brenda Garza

  • Sunday, January 21st we broke our own record in attendance on a regular Sunday service, 189.
  • We broke our own record in 1st time visitors: 13 in one regular Sunday.
  • Celebrate Zacatecas opened their very 1st Life group. They also had 6 people give their lives to Christ in January.
  • Pray: My wife, Brenda, had surgery on Feb. 6th. Pray for healing. Pray for Pastor Jaime of Celebrate Zacatecas he is being attacked by the enemy. Pray for God’s provision. Construction has been put on hold due to lack of finances.
  • Attendance has been higher than 185 for 3 consecutive Sundays. 
  • 7 first time decisions for the month. 
  • One marriage restored by the power of Jesus. Esthela and Ruben were on the edge of divorce, and she was going to take her life. Someone invited her to Celebrate. They both came to church and gave their lives to Christ. They testified that they are glad they came to Celebrate. Their marriage is happy. They even dedicated their kids to the Lord last Sunday. Praise God!! 
  • Pray for Brenda’s surgery next Tuesday, for God’s resources for our building, and for Celebrate México here in San Rafael that many more come to know the Lord.

Yankton, South Dakota

Celebrate Community Church
Jeff & Alane Todd

  • We continue to see new people come to our Sunday gatherings. We are currently in the “I DO” series, and will be formally launching Easter Sunday, April 1st!
  • Our first Men’s LIFE Group launched on Thursday mornings. This was started and led by one of our launch team members. LIFE Groups are the key to our discipleship and growth as a family, so it is exciting to see this DNA catch on with our team!
  • We launched our our KiDS service this month. We have two adult leaders and two youth who are leading birth through fifth grade service. 
  • We had 23 people attend our vision event for launch. Many of those who attended are getting connected to a serving team as we move to launch. 
  • Our team has been hard at work preparing for our launch on Easter Sunday. It has been fun watching leaders emerge in the different areas many for the first time. 
  • Pray that God will bring people and they would encounter Jesus. That we would follow up and connect to their next step. For protection, unity, and leadership of our ministry teams.

Watch stories of changed lives.

Jonathon's Story

Jonathon's Story

Austin's Story

Austin's Story

Chas & Char's Story

Chas & Char's Story

Joe & Suzy's Story

Joe & Suzy's Story

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