John has a passion for the youth of Sioux Falls and has led the Collision team since 2008. John grew up in Wyoming and graduated from Riverton High School, where his running skills earned him a scholarship to attend and run for the University of Sioux Falls. He graduated with a Business degree and then earned his MBA. Years later, he obtained his Master’s Degree in Christian Leadership from Liberty Online University.
John has had a front row seat to watching God do some amazing things in and through students in the Sioux Falls area. Collision started because of a student’s passion at Lincoln High School and today, the organization serves students at all Sioux Falls middle and high schools. John’s work with Collision has given him a platform to speak at conferences and work with other leaders from around the country who are looking to impact youth in a growing post-Christian culture. He also travels frequently to the Ukraine to speak and train up leaders in that country to come alongside youth to share and live out their faith.
John is married to Angie, and they have three wonderful children. When he isn’t being a husband, dad, serving students and staff, or sharing vision with supporters (yes, this is one busy guy), you will find him on the Sioux Falls bike trail peddling and praying for his family, Collision, students and the city of Sioux Falls.
While Ciji’s story starts out rough, it’s filled with hope and incredible God moments. She was born in North Dakota (that’s not the rough part yet). Her parents divorced when she was three and her mother died two years later. Her stepmother was abusive and she grew up never feeling “good enough.” Her family moved around and she found herself in Rapid City during her high school years. Throughout high school she suffered from depression and began making unwise decisions. As Ciji says, “By my senior year I was out of control.”
Freshman year of college was more of the same. That year she met her future husband, Marcus at a party. In 2004, they married and life together started out pretty rocky. Prior to getting married, they both made a pact that church, the Bible and religious stuff was never going to have any place in their marriage (ha…never say never).
Ciji began to contemplate divorce and then stuff started to happen. A friend from high school called her and had a career opportunity for her and Marcus to consider. Ciji was selling vacuums door-to-door, so she was all ears. The company was operated by Christians and suddenly they found themselves surrounded. They attended a sales meeting in Kentucky and were invited to a Sunday worship service. They declined…and declined...and declined…and then accepted the invite. Long story short, Ciji found herself weeping and knowing what was being talked about was what she had longed for. She accepted Jesus and stopped the party lifestyle immediately. Ciji’s faith added more strain to the marriage. She started attending church, and one day, seven years later, Marcus came to know Jesus.
Ciji had known about the work that Collision does, since she led a group of girls from her church and some of the girls were involved with the student-led movement. Because of her high school years, she has a passion for students to know their true worth, purpose and identity through Jesus.
Today, Ciji and Marcus have a wonderful marriage with two children. In addition to serving with Collision, she owns her own photography business and is a coach for the Safe Families program within the foster system. Her husband serves full-time in the Air National Guard and they enjoy the great outdoors every chance they get.
Saying this South Dakota native has been around the block a few times is an understatement. His journey began in Hamlin County, South Dakota, and his travels have taken him to far off places like Thailand, Malaysia, China, Orlando, and back to South Dakota.
As the son of a school administrator of the Hamlin School District in South Dakota, Mike was raised in a Christian family and came to know Jesus at an early age. His prayer warrior parents and grandparents left a huge impression on him. He smiles as he recalls the stories of answered prayers that his grandparents would share with him as a young child. He believes it is one of the reasons he is so passionate about prayer. He also remembers seeing his school as a mission field and talking to his peers about Jesus every chance he got.
Mike went to the University of South Dakota and immediately got connected to Campus Crusade for Christ (which would later become Cru). As a Journalism and Mass Communication student, he was on the school newspaper’s Student Publication Board and was part of the student team responsible for developing a state-of-art college newspaper. Mike was offered a sports photojournalism internship from USA Today but turned it down to pursue a calling on his life to East Asia. In his junior year, the calling was confirmed when USD’s language program offered Mandarin Chinese, which he became proficient in.
After accepting the invitation to join Cru in East Asia, Mike spent many years serving there and eventually met his wife Heather.
When his time oversees came to a close, he and his wife moved on to spend 12 years at the international headquarters of Cru in Orlando developing leaders and working in a variety of areas including training, leadership development, missions, etc.
Later they were given the opportunity to move back to South Dakota, where Heather became the regional director of Cru for ND, SD, IA, NE, KS and MO and Mike became National Director for Volunteer Strategy. A friend of Mike’s encouraged him to check out Collision and the work they were doing with middle and high school students. Long story short, Mike was intrigued with how God is using Collision to mobilize resources and influence the next generation to reach the world, and he is now on loan from CRU to Collision for the foreseeable future.
Mike and Heather now call South Dakota home and have two young daughters. Mike also has a brother named Mark whom he calls the most handsome guy on the planet (Mark and Mike are identical twins).
Caiden needs no introduction (literally, because he seems to know every student in Sioux Falls). As a 2019 graduate of Lincoln High School, this guy lived his faith inside and outside of the school walls. He and his missionary family lived in Siberia and Alaska before moving to Sioux Falls in 2013 to get to the warmer climate (just kidding about the warmer weather).
“Growing up in a family that loved Jesus, it’s easy for me to say that I have always known about God. But we all have to acknowledge that we are sinful people and accept the free gift of grace that Jesus offered by dying for our sins on the cross. I did that at 10 years of age,” says Caiden.
Caiden got involved with Collision at Edison Middle School in 8th grade. Through his involvement Caiden says he was learning to have more courage to share his faith with his peers and to step out of his comfort zone, but he continued to struggle too much with what others thought about him. It wasn’t until the summer of his sophomore year at LHS that it really clicked -- he stopped pursuing popularity and focused on who God said he was.
Caiden engaged fully with his peers by expanding his influence and platform to share his faith through various activities like Cross Country, Track, Student Council, Homecoming King, participating in Mr. LHS and more. As a result, Caiden has seen God do some pretty amazing things in his own life and in his peers.
As a student, Caiden has first-hand experience and understands that schools are massive mission fields. “As a student-led movement, it was incredible to see what God was doing on a peer-to-peer level. I want to continue to encourage students to understand who they are in Christ and to simply live that out among their peers.” Caiden is attending the University Center and pursuing a degree in Education. He is also an aficionado of colorful shorts. The crazier the better!
Schools served: Brandon Valley HS and MS, Joe Foss, Washington HS, Whittier MS
Lue was born in Siberia, Russia, and moved with her family to balmy Sioux Falls, South Dakota, when she was six years old. She and her seven sisters (yes, seven sisters) grew up in a Christ-loving home, but she didn’t make her relationship with Jesus personal until she was 16 years old.
She is an alumni of Terry Redlin Elementary, Whittier Middle School and Washington High School in Sioux Falls. She was involved with Collision as a student all four years at Washington (in an honest moment she shares that what first attracted her was the food). After high school she took a gap year and volunteered for Collision. Lue shares that “God shifted my focus and broke my heart for youth and gave me an opportunity to serve Him full-time through Collision.” She now serves students at two of her alma maters and has a huge heart for our growing and diverse community. Her work with Collision has also taken her to the Ukraine to help train leaders on how to start Disciple Making Movement groups.
Lue is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Christian Leadership from Sioux Falls Seminary. When she isn’t hanging out with students or studying, she loves music (she recently started playing the violin again), movies, outdoor activities, traveling, coffee and food (hmm…seems to be a common theme developing). She also enjoys weightlifting and has a heart for missions.
Nash grew up in South Dakota and enjoys everything the state has to offer, including living the small-town life in Parker, SD. He is also Collision’s resident renaissance man. As a handyman, he can help with everything from fences to sump pumps. He owns Big C Creations, where he creates individual custom wood projects or he can handle your office remodel project (have you seen the renovated Collision office). He currently serves in the South Dakota Air National Guard, where he earned his Technical Certification in Tactical Aircraft Maintenance (thanks for keeping those F-16’s in the air). Oh, and he was also recruited and played one year of football at South Dakota State University. Plus, he loves to cook…not bake…cook. BAM!
He came to know Jesus personally through the loving prayers and relationship with his wife, Laura, and friend Aaron Myers, a Collision board member. His passion and what gets him out of bed in the morning is to share the gospel so that there is no one left in South Dakota that hasn’t had the chance to have an encounter with Jesus.
Nash and his wife are the parents of three beautiful girls that they are training up to love Jesus.
Angie was born and raised in Sioux Falls. After graduating from Sioux Falls Christian High School, she attended the University of Sioux Falls and graduated with degrees in Special Education and Elementary Education. Little known fact: Angie received a soccer scholarship and played on USF’s very first team – having NO previous soccer experience. Now that’s an athlete! She also ended up running cross-country on scholarship as well – not to run (although she did a lot of that) but to chase after a young man that would later become her husband, John (our Executive Director) who was also on scholarship with the team.
Angie joined Collision full-time in 2011 as Office Manager. However, because of her relationship to John, she has been on board since day one. Needless to say, Angie wears a lot of hats and her attention to detail and organizational skills keeps the Collision team on track. Angie shares, “I enjoy using my gifts behind the scenes and hopefully making it easier for the staff to fulfill their calling through their work at Collision.”
As if a growing organization, being a wife and mother to three children doesn’t keep her busy enough, she finds
Aaron is a native of Omaha, Nebraska…go Sooners! That’s right, a Sooner fan among Huskers (only because he wanted to be different as a kid growing up). He’s also a huge Cleveland sports fan (Browns, Cavaliers and Indians). Why? Because as a young kid he thought Cleveland was close to Omaha and picked the pro teams close to his hometown. His geography skills have improved, but he still loves Cleveland.
Regardless of his confusing sports history growing up, he had solid Christian parents that got him involved in the local church. At the age of 10 he was playing guitar and bass for his youth groups worship team. In high school he was involved in literally everything…football, basketball, track and more. Unfortunately, he started to make bad choices. Aaron shares, “I wanted to fit in and be cool. I became arrogant. I fell victim to my immaturity and didn’t think I needed Jesus.” His faith became real to him for the first time when he was sitting in a car listening to rap music where God confronted him with his attitude and direction in his life. Aaron says, “it was a crazy deliverance!” Since then, he hasn’t looked back.
Aaron ended up at the University of Sioux Falls as a Theology and Biblical Studies student. He also ran track and was All Conference in the 110 hurdles. Through an internship with a church in Sioux Falls, he met John Glasser, Collision’s Executive Director. The frequent conversations helped to ignite a passion in him to work with students who are struggling in their bad choices and self-image. “I am stoked to help unite, empower and serve students to collect the fruit of their harvest among their peers.”
Liza is a farm girl from Spencer, South Dakota. Growing up in rural South Dakota meant that she WOULD play sports and get involved in music (if you are from a small school, you understand). She graduated from the University of South Dakota and earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education. She spent several years consulting with various teams in the Sioux Falls School District that worked with children with autism. She also started a special needs ministry at a local church in Sioux Falls and was eventually on staff there for 5 years.
While in transition, God impressed upon her heart to join Collision after learning about how students in Sioux Falls were being raised up to lead boldly. Her heart today is to mentor, develop and equip strong, Christ-focused leaders and to help them grow into all that God intends for them to be.
She is married to Aaron and is blessed with two, active children. Her time away from Collision is spent enjoying her family, serving and taking ministry classes at her church. She likes to travel and finds her happy spot at the beach.
This lady has been going places all her life. Kat was born in Long Island, New York; moved to Texas when she was 11; attended Liberty University in Virginia; taught English in Spain, and now happily calls Sioux Falls her home.
Kat grew up in a Christian home with parents who were very intentional about their faith, yet, as she states, “I just wasn’t sure about this whole Christianity thing and hadn’t made it my own.” Her junior year in high school she remembers asking her sister, “What does that even mean that Jesus died on the cross?”
After high school she attended Liberty University, where she would run cross country and track (she is among the top 10 steeplechase athletes of all time for the university). In her freshman year she also wrestled…with God, with questions like who is He and is He real? Kat says God used two things to help influence her thinking. The first was reading the book “Mere Christianity” by ex-atheist turned Christ-follower, C.S. Lewis. The second was a group of friends that helped her process all her questions. In her freshman year, she finally understood what Jesus did for her on the cross and made it her own.
In the spring semester she also met Luke (a native of Sioux Falls), the man she would later marry. He was a transfer student to Liberty and also ran cross country and track. They would often be the only ones eating together in the school cafeteria at lunchtime after the teams were finished with their meals. The food was okay, but the conversation was great. As Kat explains, it was all very innocent until Spring Break, where she decided to rent a moped and texted Luke to ask him if he wanted a ride on the back of her moped…the ultimate pick up line. It worked and the rest as they say is history. Vroom. Vroom.
Kat was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, and after getting married, she and Luke ended up in Spain where she taught English and he worked with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Once that assignment was finished, they moved to Sioux Falls, where Luke still works with FCA and is a volunteer cross country coach for his alma mater, Lincoln High School. Kat was also presented with the opportunity to work with Collision.
Kat is excited to be a part of Collision because of the peer-to-peer discipleship aspect. “I struggled with my understanding of who God was. He used a bunch of my peers to lovingly and persistently help me truly understand who He is and how much He loves me. I can’t wait to see what God does with us in Sioux Falls.”
Can you sing, “Go! You Packers Go!?” Then you would have an immediate connection with Carley. Yes, that’s right, she isn’t from these parts, she hails from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and cheese runs in her bloodline.
Her faith journey took a lot of
In November 2016, Carley married the love of her life, Jesse. They were invited to join the staff at a church in Sioux Falls to serve youth and moved the month after their wedding. In 2017, she attended the Annual Collision Celebration Dinner, where God eventually would lead her to serve students throughout the city.
Carley (along with fellow Collision study buddy, Lue) is attending Sioux Falls Seminary to pursue a Master’s Degree in Christian Leadership. Outside of serving students, Carley loves playing and watching sports (she has won her share of accolades in high school softball and basketball – don’t even bring that stuff on the court), anything outdoors, iced caramel lattes and reading leadership books. She also knows her way around the kitchen stating that the “Instant Pot has changed her life.”
Ellie grew up in a Christian family, went to church and played the good girl role. As she states, “I put on the face when I was at church but I was someone completely different away from church.” She states, “I began to idolize different things…popularity…my friendships…I simply was serving all the wrong things. I eventually realized I was on a dead end path.”
As her senior year of high school approached for the 2019/2020 school year, she made the tough decision to finish school by taking online classes through Moody Bible Institute. Her goal is to graduate early and prepare to attend Moody full-time in the fall of 2020.
She had been praying that God would open the doors to a greater opportunity to grow in her faith. She also wanted to spread hope to her peers, sharing her own experiences and helping them get out of the same traps she had gotten into. She said, “I received a call from a guy (John Glasser, Collision Executive Director) I didn’t even know. He told me God put it on his heart to reach out to her.” Through various conversations John asked her to join the Collision team as a 2019/2020 school year intern.
She has had a desire to be a missionary since she was in 7th grade and has been on service trips every year since then. “Now, as I wrap up high school experience and prepare for college I have realized I have a major mission field with my peers. I’m excited about the year ahead and how He will use and teach me.”
Ellie serves on her church youth group’s worship team by playing the guitar and singing. She also likes to play tennis and roast Starbursts over campfires like marshmallows.
Ryan is a product of Sioux Falls, having been born, raised and educated here, where he graduated from Roosevelt High School and Augustana University. Like most teenagers, his goal was to get as far away from his hometown as possible. Little did he know the amazing ministry opportunities and impact he would have on youth in his hometown.
His life has always been connected with sports. He was always training or competing. He grew up in the church but didn’t accept Jesus into his life until 8th grade, where he was at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) football camp. Ryan says, “It’s there that Christ became real and personal to me.” While he continued to be involved in church and FCA, he struggled with a performance mentality on and off the field. “I found my identity in how I played, not in who God says I am.”
He ran track and played football (and like a lot of young guys, had visions of playing professionally). At Augie, he earned his degree in Exercise Science and played football. After suffering a neck injury as a red shirt freshman, God began to reveal how sports had become his idol and he began to understand his true identity in Christ.
As a Youth Pastor Intern at a local church, he met his soon to be wife Danae. They have a true heart for kids and had fostered 13 babies prior to having their first child. Today, Ryan and Danae’s family consists of five energetic boys and one girl.
Ryan has run his own financial counseling and planning business for over 10 years. More recently, he combined his passion for Christ and sports as the Area Representative for FCA where he worked with middle and high school students in the Sioux Falls area. Although no longer working for FCA, his passion for serving youth didn’t fade. He was first introduced to Collision through the working relationship they had with FCA to reach the youth in our community. Today, Ryan continues to operate his own business, however, he has joined the Collision team to reach the hearts of young people. In addition, he is the Assistant Cross Country Coach for Lincoln High School and continues to run his Camp Steward program for area athletes.
In his free time, this guy enjoys getting his hands dirty and throwing around dirt… gardening and growing healthy food for Team Ovenden.
To say Bobby’s life is full of twist and turns would be an understatement. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Bobby’s early life experiences included being in ten different foster homes, three orphanages and two failed adoptions. He could have lost hope,
In the 8th grade, he had a desire to go to a smaller school. He received the opportunity to attend Sioux Falls Christian High School. He enjoyed playing football, choir and participating in the chapel band (he plays the bass and drums with lively enthusiasm). His head knowledge transformed into heart knowledge in his junior and senior years at the school. He was plugged into a life-giving youth group at a local church and a teacher at SFC lit his passion for video.
After graduating, Bobby had hoped to attend a Bible college in Oklahoma but found himself on the short side of finances. Instead, he attended South Dakota State University. After his freshman year, he was offered an internship at his church to work with video and tech in the children’s and youth departments. He didn’t return to school and his internship eventually led to a full-time job at the church.
Bobby’s dream of starting his own business came true with the creation of Peacock Entertainment, where he offers videography, video training
When he isn’t serving at Collision or working with other clients, Bobby loves hanging out with his wife, Ashleigh, and their four children.
Schools served: Memorial Middle School, Roosevelt High School, Tea Area High School
When he was 5 years old, Zach’s superhero was Phil Collins (any Genesis fans out there?) and began to play the drums. Ok, kidding about the superhero part, but this kid could and can beat those drums! He grew up in a home where his mom and dad loved Jesus, but as he explains it, as a young boy he was simply going through the motions of “being good” and “checking the boxes” that he felt would make his dad proud.
At the age of 17, he attended a youth camp where during a worship night the question was raised, “if you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?” That night he made it personal and accepted the gift of salvation. He attended Lincoln High School and was invited to attend Collision Café, hey who can refuse free food, right? Since it was his senior year, he felt like he had “one foot in and one foot out.”
After graduation he went to Northern State University and later transferred to South Dakota State University. He was pulled in a variety of direction, looking to be accepted and wanted, which led him to make some bad choices in college. He attended a college ministry worship night (notice the theme of worship nights) at SDSU and recommitted his life to Jesus at 20 years of age – and there has been no looking back. Over the last several years his love of Jesus has grown deeper through his study of the Bible and having mentors in his life to help disciple him. He also self taught himself the guitar and piano and can regularly be found leading worship at youth events and area churches.
He met his soon-to-be wife, Kaylee, at SDSU and they married in December 2018. Because of his heart for students, he reconnected with Collision and started working as a social media consultant and then joined the staff full-time where he invests in the lives of students helping them understand their true identity in Christ.
Zach and Kaylee are the proud parents of Apollo, their German Shepard. Zach has some farmer blood in him and loves to garden. Also, a little known fact, he considers himself the horse whisper from his horse training days.
Cori’s family moved to Sioux Falls when she was five years old and has been here ever since. Her Mom named her after Corrie Ten Boom (even though it’s spelled different – if you’ve never heard of her, Google her – Corrie…not Cori.). As a pastor’s kid, Cori came to know Jesus at an early age. She graduated from Washington High School and then entered the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Discipleship Training School in Montana, which took her to Taiwan and Japan for outreach.
In her early 20’s, Cori says she had enough of “religion” and says she walked away from God. (You can run, but you can’t hide.) God continued to chase after her. Upon her recommitment to Jesus, she says that God reminded her of her mission’s heart and began rekindling a desire to reach out to the nations.
In 2002, Cori also got reacquainted with a boy named Chris that she knew in middle school who had joined the Army. They would later marry in 2004, ten weeks after he returned home from Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, they have four amazing children. The three oldest are siblings adopted from Ethiopia. Operating with the understanding that they couldn’t have children, imagine Cori and Chris’ surprise when they discovered the she was pregnant and 25 weeks along. Their youngest was born five weeks later (talk about a surprise party!).
Cori joined Collision in 2015 after attending a church picnic where she was introduced to the organization’s vision and mission. She immediately was excited to hear about how Collision was raising up the next generation to be bold leaders. She also loved how the organization was actively working with the diverse population within Sioux Falls.
When Cori isn’t serving at Collision, she is a mom in motion, getting kids to school and football, basketball, volleyball and…whew. Cori quiets herself by reading, writing and worship music. She also has begun to take piano lessons.
School served: George McGovern Middle School
Gordon left his childhood roots behind in California and Wyoming when he moved to Sioux Falls in 2008 to attend the University of Sioux Falls. After graduating with History and Education degrees, he taught and served on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota (known as the poorest county in the United States). He then made his way back to Sioux Falls and joined the YMCA staff, where he saw the impact of Collision through the Y’s
Today, we are happy to share Gordon. What we mean is that Gordon serves on Collision staff part-time and is employed full-time with Select Painting. He enjoys interacting with middle school students and helping them to understand who they are and what they were created for. He also gets excited to see how one sold out middle school student can reach his/her friends and multiply exponentially.
Gordon and his wife Ellen and have three wonderful children.
LYNN LIND Part-time Administrative Assistant