Nicole Hammond and her husband, Mark, continue the legacy of the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Modesto, California. Their church was established in 1939 and is now known as Celebration Center where they have co-pastored for the last 5 years. In that time, the church has grown by over 500 people: many who desire to reach the lost and disciple the found, and they’ve had to purchase a bigger building to accommodate!
Both Nicole and Mark have attended their church since they were children, actually growing up together but not being very close. After his first wife passed away, Mark and Nicole reconnected and were married in 1999. He had two small children, Ryan and Bethany, and they had their daughter Alexis a year later, and a year and a half later, they adopted their fourth child, Angelica, a teenager who was part of their youth ministry. Now, they are also the proud grandparents to two granddaughters, Ava and Chloe, and owners of three Goldendoodles.
Whether it is time around the piano singing, at the table eating dinner or enjoying game night, or spending time in the swimming pool, the Hammonds enjoy family time! They also love a good cup of coffee, traveling, and Nicole especially loves spending time with her mom, Gilda, and two sisters, Denise and Nanette, who also serve faithfully at Celebration Center, along with their families.
Family and sharing the Lord are vital to Nicole because she grew up in a broken home and suffered abuse at a young age. Her father left her mother when she was pregnant with Nicole and her twin sister, Nanette. Nicole’s mother remarried when Nicole was 8, and not long afterwards, he began to sexually molest her. As a teenager, she was angry: with God for the pain she experienced, with her dad who had rejected her, and with her stepdad for abusing her for 8 years. After walking away from the church, the next decade was filled with self-destruction and promiscuity.
At 26, Nicole had a near-death experience. While in and out of consciousness as paramedics arrived, her grandfather (an ordained minister with IPHC) began to speak life over her. Surviving emergency surgery was the beginning of her way back to church and coincided with reuniting with Mark. “God used Mark to help love me whole again. I received inner healing and was set free from wounds of rejection, abandonment, abuse, unforgiveness, resentment, and anger,” Nicole declares. When she was able to see God correctly and understand how much He loves her, Nicole saw herself through God’s eyes.
Before coming back to the Lord, she would not have wished her past on anyone, but in hindsight, she would not wish it away because it allowed her to save others who were in a similar situation. Her transparency with her story and her realization of John 10:10 compel Nicole to help others experience His love and to be free of the bondage of sin. “I believe God uses people to bring hope and to be instruments of His healing. I have a passion to help people break free from an orphan spirit and become sons and daughters who will take their seat at His table, dine with Him, and discover their purpose,” Nicole shares.
Her convictions are supported by Jeremiah 29:11-14 and Romans 8:28 because both show God’s faithfulness and sovereignty. “God gives us hope that there is a time when all the suffering we face will end, but probably my favorite part of this is that, when we pray and seek Him, He will be found” Nicole says.
Through her mess, God has brought His message. Nicole sees His work has been for her good. She wants to remind others that if one is willing to “get down in the trenches” and share the good, bad, and ugly of their lives, giving God the glory, it makes room for God to work and do amazing things in their life and ministry. Nicole and Mark have found that one of the best conversation starters is “What’s your story?” And then, they get to tell theirs, and more importantly, His!