Hello Italo I was wondering if you would be willing to share your testimony on how you became Christian. I know this is not really a fishing question but was hoping you would share your storey with me.Maybe you can share a story on how God has used you in the Fishing Industry. I personaly have just joined the Quinte Bassmasters. I am really excited to see what is in store for my first season of Tournaments. I am more excited to see what God has in store. This is sort of a step of faith for me and I am testing the waters to see what happens. Really hoping to have a good year but we will see. Anyways… I may throw a few more questions at you in the future about this if thats ok. Take care for now. Yours Turly Billy Kimmerly Ps. Thanks for signing a poster for my Son Nash at the Toronto Sportsman Show.Posted on April 13th, 2009
Hi Billy….Nice to have met you at the Toronto Sportsman Show. Every believers testimony is unique. In my case I was raised up Roman Catholic, I attended a Roman Catholic grade school & high school, in my younger years I went to church regularly with my parents, but I did not have a personal relationship with God. In my heart I always believed in God and in the principle of “cause & effect” (do something bad and there will be bad repercussions, do something good and there will be good repercussions). I had what I would consider a normal childhood, fell in love when I was 18, and after getting engaged and going to our Priest to make arrangements to get married I was very disillusioned with the Roman Catholic Church when I was told the Priest would not marry us because my wife to be was Anglican. I could not understand if we were truly in love why the church I was attending would not marry us. Anyway, after negotiations with the priest, and taking a Catholic marriage course, the priest agreed to be present at the wedding in an Anglican church. We married, but I did not want to go to church anymore because I believed it was hypocritical.
Both my wife and I went to Fleming College in Lindsay, ON. At college I made friends with Tim Arndt who was also married and was in the Fish & Wildlife course as I was. One day Tim invited us over for dinner and than invited us out to their church. I asked what church it was and he answered “Pentecostal”. I did not know what that was so I asked my wife. She said she had heard they like to sing and clap hands and told me that we would probably have a good time. We decided to go. When we arrived there our friends took us to the front of the sanctuary and we sat in the front pew. I don’t remember much about the service. I don’t remember the message the Pastor gave, but I must have enjoyed it because after the service the Pastor came up to my wife and I and asked what church we were from and I let him know that we were not attending a church regularly. We went back to our apartment and something very interesting started to happen. The closer we got to our apartment, the more uncomfortable I started to feel. I started to get a strong sense of fear. So much so that as I entered the apartment I could hardly breath, and all I wanted to do was go to bed and pray any prayers I could remember like Our Father and Hail Mary. In bed I was not talking or responding to my wife (just praying quietly) and she knew something was wrong. She told me later that the only thing she thought would help would be to hand me a Bible. We had a bible, but I don’t think I ever looked at it. She handed it to me and I opened it up somewhere in the middle where there were many small chapters & verses. My eyes fell on one, Psalm 121; I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon they right side. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even evermore. I read this Psalm and fell asleep. I woke up the next morning and went about getting ready for college when I realized I was doing something in my head I have never done before. I was saying, “Thank you Lord. Praise you Lord. Hallelujah.” I didn’t really know why I was saying this in my head but I could not stop (and I have not stopped to-date). When I got to college my friends came up to me and greeted me as usual. Back than it was common for everyone to use the “F-word” as a part of a conversation. One of my friends said, “How the F– are you?” and instantly took a few steps back and apologized for swearing (something that had never happened before). I told him it was fine and wondered why he did that. Many things started to happen which confirmed that there was a chance in my with the way thought, the way I spoke, and in my spirit. I saw things very clearly. I realized I didn’t have to swear any more, so I did not. I had a strong desire to continue to read the Bible and I did not know where to start, so I went to the back of the book (New Testament). As I started reading the New Testament it did not seem to be just words, but the words came alive and as I would read for example the book of John 15, I felt like Jesus was talking to me and tears would roll from my eyes. I realized sometime later that that night I was full of fear was probably the most important night in my life. When I read Psalm 121, the words went directly into my heart and I in-fact received them and God’s Spirit…..I became born-again & started having a personal relationship with God. I have been on a path ever since than to be closer to God. Some people see the “God bless you.” I place on all the signatures I give, or the “Have faith in God.” that is part of my letterhead and they have responded that I must be very religious. I tell them I am not religious, but I do have a personal relationship with God. To take my testimony one step further I need to share how God led me to what I am doing today.
I have a strong faith in God and I believe that if we know Him, God will give us the desire of our heart. In my case I went to Fleming College in Lindsay, ON (Canada’s School of Natural Resources). In my 20’s I had a passion for fishing, but I was not sure what I should do with that passion, so I studied all kinds of outdoor disciplines and graduated as a Fish & Wildlife Technician. During my schooling I learned everything about fish and wildlife. I learned important fish & wildlife management skills, and after graduating I worked for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. At that point in my life I had a talk with God and told Him that even though I love to fish, I am surrendering everything to Him, my life, my passion for fishing, everything, and that He could do with my life as he pleased.
After that prayer I continued to work for the MNR and shortly afterwards opened a small fishing tackle shop called The Angler in Oshawa, ON. At the same time I learned to do taxidermy and started a business called Professional Taxidermy. The whole time I fished as much as I could and started getting some recognition from fishing tackle companies who I would write to and tell them what I thought about their products. At the same time I also started entering fishing derbies and fishing contests, and eventually fishing tournaments (back in the 70’s there were few fishing tournaments). I also started writing fishing articles and some of the fishing tackle companies who got to know me asked me to promote their products and become part of their “pro-staff”. Eventually I started doing fishing seminars at sports clubs and “in-store” fishing clinics in tackle shops. By the mid-70’s I started getting asked to help people get video fishing footage. By the early 80’s I was a regular “fishing-tournament” trail competitor in Ontario, and I did very well winning some tournaments and placing in the top-10 of most of them. All this time I earned some money from fishing, but most of my income came from either the tackle store or from the taxidermy work. By 1986 I was encouraged to produce a pilot for the Canadian Sportfishing show. The pilot was accepted by TSN, and the rest as they say is history. I have to be honest with you and tell you I never had a specific goal as to what I wanted to achieve. All I knew growing up was that I loved to fish and I was hoping to do something that had to do with fish and the outdoors. I realized many years ago that God, in fact gave me the desires of my heart because I surrendered everything to Him!
At about the age of 12 God gave me a passion for fishng and it has gotten stronger over the years. God has choosen to in fact use me within the passion that He has given me, which is fishing. I try and do my best when I do the TV shows, when I answer questions on Ask Italo, when I meet people in person, no matter what I do, I do it unto the Lord. That’s infact what God wants me to do because that’s how he revels himself through people. I hope that in everything I do God is reveled through me.
You probably know that I love to fish the Bay of Quinte and you may not know that I have been fishing there for over 38 yrs. I know you will learn much in the Quinte Bassmasters and your competitive fishing events. To encourage you, trust God. He has you exactly were he wants you and everything will be OK….God bless you, Italo