Tommy Kodel Story

My name is Tommy Kodel, and I would like to tell you my story. As a young kid, I always had an awareness of God.

My mom used to pray for me and tell me about Jesus. She also used to drop Bible verses into my mind every now and then. However, because we could not find a real, believing church in our area, my relationship with God slowly began to slip away and that awareness I once had of God eventually vanished

 

By the time I got to high school, I was all messed up. Due to a few hurtful experiences during my middle school years, I was internally filled with so much hurt and hatred. My relationships with my family and fellow peers were not good at all. I closed myself off to many people, hardly ever smiled, and just tried to live for my own self and pleasure. By the age of 15, I was seduced by so many temptations and was overtaken by the lusts of the world. I was also highly influenced by hardcore rap music. And I wanted to be just like all the rappers I was listening to. My life was heading in the wrong direction fast, and the stuff I was being taught in school about the big bang theory did not help. Nor did it give me any kind of hope or purpose. I was so confused about what I believed about God, and my heart was filled with doubt toward Him.

Finally, one day after my mom got out of the hospital after a serious operation, my parents decided to take us to a church in my area that my aunt attended. They literally had to force my brother, sister, and me out of the house in order to get us to go. However, when we finally got there, I actually found the preaching to be extremely interesting. I heard stories about how God still speaks to people today, how He still does miracles, and heals people too. I was blown away by it all! After a few weeks of attending, all my doubts began to turn into faith the more I heard the Word.

One Sunday, while my family and I were in church, a guest speaker was invited to give his testimony. After hearing how close he walked with God, I suddenly began to desire that same kind of relationship with Jesus. I saw that what he had was better than all the stuff I was experiencing in the world, and I wanted it. After he was done preaching, he gave an invitation to people in the church to come up front and give their lives to Jesus. Immediately, my dad ran up to the front to pray, and my brother, sister, and I followed close behind him. While my dad prayed to rededicate his life to the Lord, my siblings and I all asked God to forgive us, and then we all prayed to receive Jesus. My mom cried when she witnessed all her prayers being answered on that day. Although I didn’t quite understand fully what I was doing at the time, I felt a huge difference in my life. During the next couple of days, I felt a love and a presence that I had never felt before. I felt so much lighter, as if a heavy weight had been lifted off me. God came back into my life, even during a time when I was not seeking Him. The truth is, He was seeking me all along.

Ever since that moment, a fire started to burn in my heart. I didn’t want to just hear about this Jesus anymore. I wanted to know Him for myself. I started reading the Bible from cover to cover. I was amazed at what I read. I could not believe that I went 15 years of my life without ever hearing a word about who God really was, as He revealed Himself in the Bible. My life began to be transformed as I started talking to Him and seeing Him for who He really was. All this happened while I was still a sophomore in high school.

As the years went by, I got baptized in water, and then eventually baptized in the Holy Spirit as He fell in a healing meeting late one night in Old Saybrook, CT. As a young believer, I prayed all the time that God would reach the young people in my hometown, in Norwalk, CT. Not too long later, God began to answer my prayers. I met an older man at my church named Jerry, who was actually a member of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America. He had an idea to do some kind of outreach to the youth and young adults in the area. As he shared the idea with me, I was willing to do whatever I could to help. I had the same desire in my heart to reach this younger generation with the Truth. After I got back from college the outreach was up and running, and many lives were being touched. It was called “Holy Smoke Hangout,” and it was held on the bottom floor of a local library in the area.

I am now 24 years old, and for the past couple years I have been helping lead this outreach ministry that God raised up in my own hometown. Through it, I have seen Him do amazing things. A young man who was on the verge of suicide came to one meeting, heard the testimonies, and dropped to his knees to encounter God. Now he is alive and well, married with a wife and son. At another meeting, a young girl who was bound to cutting herself came and received the Lord and has been free ever since. These are the kind of things we are seeing take place monthly at these meetings. Young people are also being given a platform to share their God-given gifts and testimonies. The fruit of it has been incredible so far, only because God is in it. After looking back, I always find it funny that God paired up Tom and Jerry to work together in this, along with many others.

God has also given me the opportunity to travel to different countries and share the gospel overseas as well. He always provides for me financially, and recently provided a great job for me in my area with perfect working hours. My relationships are now much better than they were before. My family is a lot closer now, and I am so much freer internally than I was before I met the Lord. The emptiness and void, I once had, in my heart is now being filled with satisfaction in the great love and purpose that I have found in Jesus Christ.

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