Monday, June 2, 2014

An Interview with Laura Vega

Laura Vega
The purpose of these interviews is to help women in the Celebration Church congregation get to know other women who are a part of our church family. 

Today we're interviewing Laura Vega. Get to know her!

Laura, where are you originally from?

I was born in San Antonio Texas but raised in Tampa Florida. I consider Tampa Florida my home. 
Can you tell us a bit about your family? 

I have been married to Victor for 11 years. I have two girls who are 10 and 7 and a boy that's 4. 

When did you say "Yes" to Jesus? How did that come about? 

I was raised in church since I was about 7 years old. I instantly fell in love with Jesus and life in Jesus. I was also filled with the Holy Spirit at about 7 or 8 years old. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and church?

My job is my kids. So that's like 24/7 but everything I do involves them. We are home just doing things like singing songs together.

Why did you come back to CC after you visited the first time?

I wanted to find a home church so I could raise my kids in church, just as I was raised. My mom started coming to Celebration Church, so I came. I love this church because it has great pastors and great people.

What do you like being involved in at the church?

I am involved in any way that I can be – with anything that is needed.  So far I have helped out on all the church workdays. I also  helped in any way I could with the Inner Healing Conference. I look forward to serving more.

What's your favorite color?

My favorite color is red.

What's your favorite food?

Anything spicy. Not too much, but a bit is great.

What's your favorite book besides the Bible?

Anything by Jeannette Oke.

What's your favorite worship song we do at church?

Break Every Chain

Thank you Laura! It's great to find out more about you. We are so glad you call Celebration Church home!

Monday, May 19, 2014

An Interview with Jackie Segal

Do you personally know Jackie Segal? The purpose of these interviews is to feature women in the Celebration Church (Tampa) congregation and help others to get to know them more. Today it's our pleasure to introduce Jackie. Get to know her!


Jackie, where are you from?

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida until three years ago. I moved to Land O’ Lakes and I live in Stonegate with my husband and two kids -- Noah and Ariel, and my two furry children Pearl and Fluffy.

Where do you work?

I am a homemaker.

Awesome! When did you say yes to Jesus?

I was raised going to church. I was baptized at a young age as well. I have also gone to the same church, First Coast Christian Center, up until we moved. My husband David and I got baptized together a few years back. We wanted to make a outward appearance that we live for Jesus. I have lived for Jesus my entire life along with ups and downs, but Jesus has always helped me back up and back on the right track. Jesus comes first in my life and I try to instill that in my children. By keeping him first in my life it helps to keep me from straying away. We all know what can happen when Jesus Christ is not there.

Can you tell us a bit about your family?

David & Jackie
 David and I have been together since April 8, 1999 and married on April 8, 2000. We have been married for 14 years now. We have two kids -- Noah Samuel is 12 and is in 6th grade and Ariel Jackalen is 10 is a 4th grade. Both kids take private piano lesson and sewing lessons. Ariel is also in American Heritage Girls. David works for Aetna, which is what brought us to Tampa to begin with. David has been with Aetna for 18 years -- thank God for that. We love to cruise! And the rest of our family is back in Jacksonville, Florida.

How did you end up at Celebration Church?

Noah & Ariel
The pastor’s wife at First Coast Christian Center gave us names of two churches to try. We went to one and it was just too big and didn’t feel right. We went to another church that was not recommended and it was too small. And we had not gone to church in a while, and I said, "I have to go to church to David. Let's go to the other church that Pastor’s wife said to go to." So we came to Celebration Church and it was just right! The atmosphere was friendly and inviting. The people were kind, and one thing that stood out was that Pastor Larry remembered my name the second time he saw me. Every service since then it’s just gotten better! One day soon I plan on becoming a member of Celebration Church.

We are so glad your family has found a home church with Celebration. We love you and look forward to what God will do, going forward, together.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

An Interview with Felicia Alphonse

Do you personally know Felicia Alphonse? If not, you're missing out! She's a gift to everyone she meets. We are so very blessed to have her as a member of Celebration Church.  Here's an opportunity to find out more about the awesomeness that is, Felicia.

Felicia, where are you originally from? 

I was born in Bronx, New York and I lived there until I was about 8 years old, but I grew up for the most part in Virginia. 

When did you say YES to Jesus?  

In the spring of 2009 I said YES to Jesus. I was at a dark place in my life or so I thought. Even then I knew Jesus was the only true way. You see on October 30, 2006 God saved my life and the lives of my girls (that is an amazing story that I will share with you one day) so, Jesus was real to me even before 2009.  After all, my Mother was a woman of faith and she made sure I knew about Jesus. For me between October 30, 2006 and 2009 I was going through trials and tribulations, I had to come to a point where Jesus was really my one and only true Lord and Savior. During that time God never gave up on me. He continued to pull on my heart until I welcomed His Son Jesus in. Today I am a Joint Heir with Jesus and an Heir to God my Father the Great I AM.

Can you share with us how you ended up at Celebration Church? What brought you to the church and what drew you back a second time?

I often have my car detailed on Saturdays at the place on the corner by the Church. While the car is being detailed my daughter and I always walk through the neighborhood. I noticed a vehicle parked at the church and I always wondered about the Church so, I went to the door. Pastor Deanna answered the door and I asked what kind of church it was. I’m sure she thought I was crazy. I went on to say I was getting my car detailed next door and I often walked past the yet I knew nothing about the church. We were then invited in and Pastor Deanna began to tell me and my daughter Gia all about the church. She gave us a tour and invited us to Sunday service. Gia and I felt good about what I thought was a chance encounter. 

There was something in Pastor Deanna’s spirit that drew me during my tour and while speaking with her. I was able to be open concerning my struggles and also share the matters of my heart from the very start. I never intended to do those things when I went to the door. I just wanted to know the denomination of the Church. 

After that first chance Saturday encounter with Pastor Deanna, I had to attend a Sunday service.  One week later Gia and I made our first visit, which happened to be about two weeks before Thanksgiving. I absolutely adored everything about it! The experience was a breath of fresh air. I was so excited and amazed. The praise and worship, The Word, the fellowship and not mention the Children’s Church for Gia were all just what we needed. It felt like family and we have been attending ever since.

How many children do you have? Can you share a bit about each one?

I have two beautiful girls. Toy is 26 years old and Gia is11 years old. Currently Toy lives in Virginia. She is a poet and an inspiring artist and quite good at both. Toy’s passion lies in her art work and she longs to work fulltime as an artist. We just discovered that Gia is an amazing artist as well and she is proving to be great in gymnastics. She recently started gymnastics and has moved up to advanced classes. Please keep us in prayer that I my work schedule will soon allow me to be able to accommodate her gymnastics schedule. Gia loves the Lord, has a big heart and is very loving and caring little girl.

You are a lady of many talents and roles. Can you share with us your career and interests?

Presently I am an Academic Advisor (College Students) and a Counselor. I take great joy in speaking positive into the lives of the people I come into contact with and motivating them to be their best. It is my belief that as long as you are alive it is never too late to turn things around for the better. Change is never easy, but it is attainable with God. I have a love for helping others reach their full potential. As a Counselor my clients usually vary from ages 24 – 97.
I am currently pursuing certification as a Sexual Addictions Treatment Provider and awaiting my credentials as a Board Certified Christian Counselor.  One of my greatest rewards is helping those in need of relationship and intimacy counseling.

As a Counselor I want to find the best way to use the gifts God has given me to aid people who are hurt or struggling. I have been blessed with the opportunity to facilitate a Single Mother’s Group, and in the near future I would also like to facilitate a group for spouses of sexual addicts. A long term goal I have is to open a transitional home for single working mothers, women who are slightly over the income guidelines for assistance in other areas. Additionally, I aspire to bring my mission to an international base and provide counseling wherever it is needed in the world. 

What is your greatest passion?

Wow, my greatest passion is kind of twofold. Well, honestly I believe it belongs to God now that I am able to see it. I’m just the vessel He decided to place the passion in to do His will and bring Him Glory.  I believe, “I have been established, anointed and sealed by God” (2 Corinthians1:21, 22) with enormous passion for women and relationships (especially women’s issues and single working mothers). 

Felicia, we are so blessed that God brought you and Gia to us at Celebration and that He is using you mightily for His glory!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Journey
A Poem by Cathy Sed

Cathy Sed

I wandered through the forest
when I felt it call my name
Knowing I'd never be the same
and that it's such a easy place
for someone to get lost 
From across I saw the beauty
And the wind it whispered to me 
But as I traveled further deeper 
I saw it for what it was 
Sunlight shielded by the treetops 
Creatures hiding in the shadows 
The path 
obscured by the underbrush
And my feet, they feel so heavy in the mud
So unsteady, as the shrubs 
and sticks and roots spread out 
and try to trip me up
Ran through brambles and thorns that grabbed my flesh 
Then took a breath because I knew that I could not give up yet 
Felt a pulling from within me
as I stepped out of the depths,
someone guiding my steps, 
and just as quickly as I wandered in 
I found that I had left 
And made it.
I could see the ocean and I knew that by the sea 
I could wash the dirt and all the blood away from me 
It was difficult, and stung,
As the salt filled my wounds, water in my lungs
But after I was through, I knew that I had been renewed
And even though my skin was screaming, there is always pain in healing
No one ever said that cleaning up was easy.
So I let the current take me far away
I discover peace amongst the stars and waves 
I awaken when the sunlight gives birth to the brightest day
A day of new beginnings, and I know I'm on my way.