From The Streets To The Pulpit: Pastor Broderick Connesero

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

I first met Pastor Broderick Connesero in 2007 at the University of Memphis. I was a student who was missing home and feeling a little out-of-place. I didn’t know anyone. I went to class, work, and straight to my room, occasionally making a stop at the library. If my sissy (best friend) wasn’t in town for a weekend visit, I didn’t have a social life. I was desperately searching for something to connect to make this college journey a little easier. That’s when a classmate told me about an on-campus weekly bible study and I decided to check it. On my first visit there weren’t that many people in attendance, and when I saw the pastor leading the group I was a little taken aback. He didn’t fit the bill for a pastor, at least not any I’d seen. He was in street clothes and fit the description of what some would consider a thug. Despite my hesitation, I stayed and found myself attending this bible study every week, and eventually joining the church of which Pastor Connesero was youth pastor. He became one of my mentors and the big brother I never had.

As a drug dealer, Broderick lived a very prosperous, and what he believed was a good life. While running drugs from California to Memphis, he was able to maintain living quarters in two different states and generated a large amount of money. Life was good, until the city of Memphis experienced a drought–a drug drought that is. A sudden turn of events also left Broderick faced with a big question from God, “What are you going to do with your life?”

Born in Bellflower, California and raised in Compton, Broderick had dreams of being in the entertainment business. Growing tired of the liars in Los Angeles and Hollywood, he made his way to Memphis, TN and enrolled at the University of Memphis. His attempt to be a college student left him financially frustrated and depressed. He soon sought relief in what he was familiar with, selling dope.
Selling drugs between the U of M and an apartment complex located in Whitehaven, Broderick began to experience the life he was accustomed to. Always having money at his disposal, Broderick lived what most would consider a good life. Fortunately for him, and others around him, this good life was short-lived. During the drug drought, mentioned above, he was unable to get drugs in or out of Memphis. Everyone he sent to make drops or pick ups got arrested…Broderick saw 7 of his associates go to jail because of him. Broderick began living off of money he’d already made and stashed away. But he soon saw a break in the drought and was able to finally get a package through. This break came during the holiday season, so his workers were excited about the opportunity to make some money for Christmas.
While in the apartment he worked out of, after the drugs has been broken down and all the work was finished, him and one of his associates sat and had conversation. This associate casually asked to see his gun. Feeling comfortable with this person and not giving it a second thought, Broderick handed his gun over to this man…the man then turned the gun on Broderick. He stripped him of all his clothes, hog tied him, and placed him in the bathtub. When he pulled the trigger the first time, the gun jammed. He pulled the trigger a second time and was again unsuccessful and fled the apartment. For the next 2 months, Broderick was on a mission of revenge. He spent that time looking for the man who tried to kill him with his own gun and looking for anyone he could rob for some money. In a desperate attempt to make some money, Broderick actually took a ‘job for hire’…he was hired to kill someone.
On the day that he was supposed to carry out this mission of murder, his plans were halted. Him and a friend set out, on a rainy day, to follow and kill a man, but ironically the car they were using kept stalling. By the time they caught up with the man, he was surrounded by too many people, and they were unable to complete the job. At that point Broderick began to analyze his life. After helping his sister through a financial crisis, along with his continued lifestyle of partying and blowing money, the man who once had money at this disposal, found himself broke and homeless. He ended up living with a friend, who shared a two bedroom apartment with your boyfriend and their child. On his first night there the friend prepared dinner for all of them. Never really experiencing hard times, Broderick was shocked at the meal they shared that night…a pack of Ramen noodles for each of them and one Tostino’s pizza. Now one grown man could eat all of that by himself, imagine having to split that between four people.
Broderick had reached his lowest point. Crying out to God for help, he began the process of ‘change’. He took a job at an apartment complex where he picked up and shoveled others people’s trash into the trash dispenser. As you can imagine, this was a humbling experience. Even though he was now making an honest living, he became angry and upset at the turn his life had taken. But in this moment of humility and anger he finally started listening to God, attending church and bible study on a regular basis. Six months later he got a job offer that took him out of the trash cans–he became a case specialist for the Department of Human Service. Eventually his walk with God would lead him to New Direction Christian Church, where he became the youth pastor and leader of the college and singles ministry. Almost being killed, taking a job to kill someone and becoming homeless led Broderick to finally realize that God would never let him be happy without Him…he’s been riding with God ever since.
I’m so glad that I looked pass Pastor Connesero exterior and listened to his message at that first bible study. He has a tough exterior but a soft heart when it comes to reaching and helping others. He’s made incredible strides in helping develop the youth in the city of Memphis. It’s heartwarming to see how much his ‘children’ love him…he leaves a permanent positive mark on all of the kids that have the opportunity and pleasure of experiencing his mentoring.  I can honestly say he was instrumental in helping me connect to New Direction and becoming more than just a church member, but a volunteer as well. Broderick is currently a pastor at Living Hope Church-Vollintine Evergreen. He is now happily married, raising three children, and still riding for God, mentoring and touching the lives of the youth all over the city of Memphis.
You find Pastor Connesero on Instagram @Six45 and Facebook.

As Always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

Is “1” Really the Loneliest Number?

For all of you who find yourselves “single” this holiday season…cheer up! You’re in good company.

Bridget Jones' Diary

It’s that time of year again! That time of year where the temperature drops and your body temperature rises! Lol. It’s that time of year where you want to snuggle up next to that special someone (for some of you that special anyone). It’s also that time of year when the media bombards us with romantic comedies – New Year’s Eve – and back to back commercials of lovers expressing their affections for one another with expensive jewelry.

So I began to wonder:  Is being single really all that bad?

I mean, think about it. Most of us don’t have a problem being single until the holidays come around anyway.

First thing first:  We must end the negative connotation attached to the word “single.” Stop fleeing every time you see a “Singles” event. These are really fun ways to get out and meet people. They beat going to the club looking for a mate. (By the way, when’s the last time that has worked out for you?) So, the next time you see Speed Dating or Singles’ Bible Study, don’t frown up your nose. It’s all about your perspective. Speed Dating is a fun way to meet people and network, and who knows you might actually luck up and meet someone you’re interested in dating. And as far as Single Bible Study goes, it is not “just for ugly people” as my dad says. Pray for him. Lol. My bible study group focuses on bettering our relationships with Christ and bettering ourselves so that when that special someone comes along we won’t run him/her off with our issues. And we all have issues. (If you don’t think you have issues, ask your friends or your ex’s; they will gladly tell you!)

So here we go:  The Top 10 Reasons why being Single ain’t half bad!

10. Saves you money! Think about all the money you are going to save by not having to purchase gifts for a mate or for his/her parents.

9. You can come and go as you please. Most singles have a real problem adjusting to this once in a committed relationship. It’s hard to give up that freedom to do what you want, when you want, and with whom you want without any concern to how it will affect someone else. And it feels GOOD!

8. You avoid the emotional roller coaster! Meaning the ups and downs of a relationship including the times when you can’t eat, sleep, focus, etc. because your emotions are tied in a knot.

7. Adding on to #8, you avoid the risk of heartbreak. Period. Really needs no explanation. Though, I will say those who risk big, gain big.

6. Gives you time to get rid of your baggage. While single, take the time to do personal inventory. Reflect on past relationships and where you were at fault. And fix it! No need in taking baggage into the next relationship.

5. You can focus on your goals and dreams. A lot of times when we become romantically involved, we lose sight of our own desires as we sometimes take on the desires of our mates. It happens.

4. Sow your royal oats! Lol! Just playing (though this is what some of you do). Take advantage of being single and date! And by date I do not mean sleep around. But have fun. Meet people, different people and discover what you like and what you don’t like. Because once you settle down, no more of that woulda, coulda, shoulda. Trust me, a person gets tired of hearing that.

3. Adding on to #4, you’re just not ready. Do not enter a relationship if you know you are not ready. You do yourself and the other person a major disservice, and it’s only a matter of time before you or both of you are unhappy. If you’re not ready, you’re just not ready. No one can fault you for that if you are honest about it from the start.

2. You spend time getting to know (and love) you! It’s a chance to become comfortable in your singleness. I fear people who have always jumped from relationship to relationship. How do they know that they can function on their own?

1. You spend more time cultivating your relationship with God. The Bible actually views singleness as a more favorable status than marriage (1 Corinthians 7: 32-35). A single person, unconcerned about a spouse, can devote more time, energy, and attention to Christ.

See, being single really isn’t all that bad! Now get up off that couch and go enjoy it! Cause I promise you, there are couples out there wishing they were in your shoes! IJS!

Here’s a little homework:  If you have never gone anywhere by yourself (movie, lunch, dinner, event, party, sporting event, etc.) then I want you to conquer your fear, break out of your comfort zone, and take yourself out. Report back to me when accomplished. 🙂

*And for those of you who despite the advantages to being single still desire to be in a relationship, don’t lose hope! Love, joy, happiness, and peace all await you, but you’re not going to find it moping around the house. Get out there and claim it!

Until next time,


*Here are a few Can I Laugh Now? videos to keep you busy until the new year:

“I’ve Got a Crush on You” Find out what happened when Kitta and I revealed our secret crushes!

“Thanksgiving Special” See what silly things our viewers are thankful for this year.

“December Testimony Special” From drug dealer to youth pastor. See what amazing transformations only God can make!