How it Began
Holy Smoke Hangout Ministries was birthed out of the heart of Jerry DeFlorio in 2012. It was always on Jerry's heart to reach the young people, and to bring them hope and direction in their lives. When his good friend Joseph Corley caught the vision of what God wanted to do with the youth, he teamed up with Jerry, and they began working together. Jerry saw that we were losing a generation of young people, caught up in a promiscuous society as referred to in the Bible:
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:1-7, NKJ).
Jerry then began praying with a team of five people for about a year for a lost generation, asking God what to do. Shortly after, he attended a prayer meeting in Stamford, CT where the guest speaker that night prophesied over Jerry that he would start an outreach to a lost generation. The following week Jerry attended another prayer meeting, which he attended often. While he was there he shared about what had been prophesied over him and he received a large donation to start it up. It was at that time Jerry believed God had opened the door for him to start Holy Smoke Hangout. He immediately went out and found a place to meet that would hold up to 150 people. The name of the place was called, "Eunice Van Zilen Hall," in East Norwalk. The cost was very low, and the place could be used to meet on a monthly basis. This was another door that God opened, which showed Jerry that he was on the right track.
Together, Jerry and Joseph persevered in prayer and encouragement for each other to keep moving forward. When the meetings finally got started it was amazing to see young people show up out of the blue with such little advertisement. Now the meetings still continue to this day, and are very successful with so many attending that we need to expand further. Youth are being reached, talents are being shared, people are being connected, everyone is having fun, and God is being glorified! Since this outreach continues to grow, Holy Smoke is now looking for a larger facility to accommodate the ongoing growth of this ministry. Holy Smoke has become much more of an enlarged ministry than we could have ever imagined, and the reason is simply because God is in it!
Joseph and his wife, Mara, have been a huge help. Their simplicity, wisdom, and experience helped Holy Smoke to get off to a great start. Tommy Kodel has also come alongside to help with Holy Smoke since the beginning, and is growing into a responsible young leader for the future of this Ministry. In addition, many others have graciously helped out along the way through volunteering, giving financially, spreading the word, sharing their gifts and talents, and encouraging the growth of Holy Smoke Hangout. We are amazed at what the Lord is doing through this ministry so far, and we are even more excited for the things to come!