Broken Chains Ministry was birthed as many organizations are—out of a dire need, and the compassion that is burdened on a few to meet those needs.
Our story starts long before there was any thought of God, compassion, or ministry. In fact, it started in of some of the most abusive circumstances a child could grow up with.
The truth that God never creates the evil, but He works all things for good—more truer words cannot be used to portray the example of how Broken Chains Ministry came into existence.
The founder of Broken Chains, Cody Huff, grew up in everything that epitomizes the opposite of a home filled with love, nurturing parents, or any mention of God. A dysfunctional, unhappy, abusive, pain-filled environment was the family that Cody ran away from three times starting at the young age of 13. By the time he was 14 he was arrested for a felony hit and run.
Looking for the love and acceptance he never experienced at home, Cody found both in the hippie subculture that settled in the Haight Ashbury area of San Francisco when he was a teenager. At that time Cody was introduced and turned to drugs and alcohol abuse in his teens to try to avoid the pain that was still in his heart and that he had endured before he ran away from home.
After leaving the Hippie scene of San Francisco in his 20’s, Cody became a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and also found he was great at sport fishing professionally. Fishing came naturally for him as a result of learning from his stepfather and uncle when he was young, who both taught him how to hunt, fish, respect and use guns. Even though Cody found success in sport fishing, there was still a hurt and void he would later realize he was trying to fill to drown the pain and hurt. This pain and hurt all started early on and was the catalyst later in his life for excessive abuse of drugs and alcohol.
As an adult in his twenties and thirties, Cody still slipped back into severe drug and alcohol abuse every time there was a problem in his life. Between the time he was twenty to the age of forty-five, Cody had accrued seven DUI’s, had served more than five years in jail, and became a hardcore drug addict. If that wasn’t enough, once released Cody acquired arrests for parole violations frequently.
At points when he did clean up, Cody’s career as a successful registered nurse provided him ways to help people that he enjoyed. These opportunities ultimately led to him being given the opening with an elderly lady needing live-in medial assistance. The nursing job that Cody was given as an LPN for this patient was what God used to show love and acceptance that Cody was missing ever since he was a child. God used this woman to show more love and care to Cody than he had experienced from a single human being before that time. Looking back, Cody realized that even though she was his patient, in many ways she really became the mother he never had.
When she died six years later, the emotional attachment and loss of this patient in Cody’s life sent him spiraling out of control with depression and confusion about direction in life. As he had done before, Cody resorted to drug and alcohol abuse. Only this time the abuse escalated to a much greater extent than he had ever done before. The drug and alcohol abuse sent Cody’s life spiraling downward and landed him living on the streets in a short amount of time.
Cody became a heroin addict in his 30’s (youngest looking picture) and was doing burglaries in San Diego for the mafia that landed him a 1–15-year sentence in Chino State Prison. Cody continued a life of crime that spiraled his life even further away from a path resembling the straight and narrow.
From trafficking drugs on the streets to getting involved with a counterfeiting ring, Cody attempted to find love and acceptance in all the wrong places. During his time in the counterfeiting ring, Cody and the ring members would make their own silver dollars and then play them at casinos and trade them for casino money in Las Vegas. At the same time, Cody was arrested and spent time in jail on and off in Las Vegas for crimes ranging from possession of drugs and narcotics to possession of paraphernalia, and even solicitation of a prostitute. Continuing his life of crime in Las Vegas, Cody racked up arrests for writing bad checks, trespassing, and other “little stuff.” Most of the time he was doing so just to get the next drug fix. Cody got to the point of where it didn’t matter what would happen to him, he just didn’t care and continued in the life of crime he knew.
As Cody’s life plunged, it fell to an all time low when he found himself digging through trash cans for food to fight off the pain of hunger at night; asking people in grocery store parking lots if he could wash their windows so he could get some money for his next drug fix (even though he told them it was for food).
While homeless, he figured out one of the rouses that would get people to give him money without any hassle was to stay as dirty and smelly as he could. Then, whenever he walked up to someone to ask if he could wash their windows, or ask for food, most of the time they would just give him the money so that he would leave them alone because he smelled so bad.
At one point Cody walked up to a police man in a parked car on Freemont Street at a 7-Eleven. Cody was tired and exhausted of living on the streets and asked the policeman to arrest him. The policeman tried to talk him out of it once he found out that Cody was a professional fisherman he used to idolize and watch on TV at national championships.
It was in this darkest point in his life when he remembered crying to God out in a dirt field one cold night close to Freemont street. Looking up to the stars, he shouted out to God, “If you’re so loving and if you’re all these things that you say you are, why am I homeless, and why don’t you care for me?”
What he realizes now, and tells others, is that it wasn’t God that put him in the field, nor was it God’s purpose, but Cody’s choices and the temptations and lies that he believed once he was on drugs that landed him there. Once you’re on drugs, all of your guards are down. When the guards were down, he listened to whatever voice was in his head and fell for every temptation, and every vice that was in his path. He didn’t realize he was wide open for what he believes now was direct, spiritual, and mental attacks from the devil which he didn’t even realize were happening.
Cody was living in one of what has been nicknamed the “bush communities” in Vegas on the outskirts of a police department property. This is where the homeless have found shelter amongst the sagebrush, and other dirt filled, undeveloped lots. At that time, a church nearby offered clean clothes, a Bible study, a meal and free showers to the homeless once a week on Sundays.
One Sunday morning, when there was no hope left in Cody’s life, he walked into that church, wanting just to go through the motions to get a shower and a meal. What he didn’t realize was that this morning would be a start to a new life. As he was standing in line, waiting to go in and get a shower, he was approached by one of the ladies that faithfully volunteered at the ministry. She walked up to him and told him, “Jesus loves YOU!” With tears in his eyes Cody was taken back and asked, “Jesus loves me? How could Jesus love ME? I don’t even love myself?”
The lady said, “All the sins that you have, Jesus died for all of them so that you could have life more abundantly.”
At that moment, Cody felt important again. He felt a flood of emotions come back that he hadn’t felt in years. All of the hurt was poured over by the love and grace that this woman told him about even though he smelled so bad.
That encounter with a humble volunteer, who God used to speak words of love and kindness that Cody had never heard before, is what sparked the radical transformation. This transformation took Cody from living on the streets as a homeless drug addict to a community voice for the homeless in Las Vegas and around the world.
Since his transformation, God has blessed Cody with opportunities and blessings that he could have never imagined would happen. From being reunited with a daughter he never knew he had, to becoming an ordained Pastor leading Bible studies and feeding some of the same people he used to sleep next to on the streets, God has given the passion of leading the ministry of Broken Chains through a man that most anyone else would have counted out long before hope arrived on the scene.
Find out more about how God used both Pastor Cody and his wife Heather’s stories to start and run Broken Chains ministry on Our Founders page.
Pastor Cody’s story has been written about in several books. You can find out more information about these books on our Where You’ve Seen Us page.