PASTOR ABRAHAM’S PERSONAL TESTIMONY
Six months after I was born, my family left Puerto Rico and moved to the U.S. I grew up on the East Coast, living in the projects of New Jersey, just an eight-minute drive from New York City. When I was 15 years old, my family moved to Los Angeles. I was in high school when I first started doing drugs. I ended up getting kicked out of school and spent the rest of my teenage years in and out of jail. That was just the beginning of a series of events that would bring me to Christ and He would bring me where I am today.
With my girlfriend, Maribel (my wife now), I went into a Christian church just to mock God and His people. I acted demon possessed on purpose! The church grabbed me and threw me on the ground, trying to remove the devil. I was mocking everyone! When I finally left, I walked away thinking I had made fools out of all of them. Little did I know what I had actually done. After that, I lost my job, I ended up being homeless, I caught hepatitis and I went to jail. When I reached out for help, everyone turned me down, everyone rejected me. I had nothing.
I knew I needed to change, knew my life was a mess. I had been close to death a number of times, could have been killed very easily, yet escaping every time. God had a hold of me even then. He spared my life because He had a plan and a purpose for me. When I got out of jail, I knew I needed to change my life. I was looking for something, longing for something else other than what my life had become. That’s when I got saved, in East LA, by the Golden Gate Theater, on a Saturday in August 1987, Dennis from Praise Chapel witnessed to me for six hours. Six hours straight. I couldn’t move, I was just locked there. I received Christ. Immediately, God delivered me from drugs, drinking, cigarettes, and cursing. I was becoming the person I always wanted to be – a person of integrity.
I got saved when Praise Chapel was experiencing a great revival and I just jumped right in.
The first conference I went to was at East Los Angeles College. I caught the Praise Chapel vision – “Win, Build, Send.” Within a week or two after I was saved, I started going to Bible Study. Then, I went out on my first outreach and I loved it! I started witnessing right away. I didn’t waste any time telling people about Jesus and how God changed my life. I started winning souls for the Lord and bringing people to church. When I became a Bible Study leader, it was a very peculiar Bible Study. People were getting healed, delivered and slain in the Spirit, and it soon grew like a mini-church. During a hospital outreach, God spoke to me through a stranger and told me I was an evangelist. I believe it was an Angel because those words went right through me into my spirit and it moved me. I shared what had happened with Pastor Mike and he said, “You don’t know how long I have been waiting for you to tell me that.” So, I became a full-time evangelist. I kept doing revival after revival, and they kept going longer and longer. A one-week revival turned into a two-week revival; a two-week revival turned into a month revival! I could see God moving in my ministry – people being saved, healed and delivered.
I went to preach a revival in Lincoln Heights, California.
What started as a 4-week revival, ended up with me staying to pastor the church. Beginning with just 30 people, the Spanish church grew to 150 people in no time. An advertisement in the Penny Saver grew into what is now the English church. Soon, the Spanish and English fused together and a bi-lingual service was established. Our conferences became bi-lingual as well. From there, a bi-lingual Bible College was launched, an extension of the Pastor Michael Neville Bible Training Center in Huntington Park. Continuing with the vision I caught so many years before, I knew we could win more in the City of Lincoln Heights. Soon, Pastor John and Rebu Luong came under the covering of the fellowship and the first U.S. Chinese Praise Chapel was born. The church continues to experience a great revival and we’ve now planted seven churches. This vision – win, build, send – that I caught so early on in my salvation has been nurtured and continues to expand by the fact that I have been in only one church; have had only one Pastor. Praise Chapel is my only church, Pastor Michael and Donna Neville have been my only Pastors. I want to thank Pastor Donna for believing in me. For believing in that scrawny, hopeless, lost soul who walked into a theater in Maywood and now stands ready to reach the world for Christ. Thank you to Pastor Larry Neville too, who has a greater understanding of what God has for me than I do!
None of this would be possible without my wife, Maribel.
I met her in 1983 and we got married in 1988. Aside from the Lord, she has been and continues to be the greatest influence in my life. Without her and God, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. She releases me to fulfill the call of God on my life. She is my greatest support in my pastoral and evangelistic ministries. She balances me. When I need an example of what is a Godly woman, I need look no further than my wife. She is a woman of character and integrity. I thank God for blessing me with a Godly woman like Maribel.
Together, our vision is to not only reach Lincoln Heights, but to reach the world. We have planted churches in Tijuana, Mexico City and most recently in Guatemala.
We will continue to win build send.