WOS: Hello Mr. Abraham! We are excited about speaking with you today to learn about your phenomenal story on how God has showed Himself mighty in your life!
Abraham Belanger: Yes, I’m truly excited about what He has done in my life. I thank Him for this opportunity to be able to share it with others.
At age fifteen, you had to undergo sixteen hours of brain surgery where they had to remove a tumor. I read that you came out with no complications! Tell us about this particular moment in your life. Did you understand what was going on and that God had a plan for you?
I wasn’t brought up in church, although my mom professed Christianity. I didn’t go to Sunday School or any type of church services when I was younger, so I honestly didn’t know much about God. I always felt as though there was a reason why I was here, but I didn’t know what it was. When we moved from New York to South Carolina, I made a lot of new friends and I was really trying to fit in. That’s how I ended up in a lot of different things. I really enjoyed football so I signed up for Junior Varsity at my high school. I started their spring training and while I was there, my nose continuously bled and it wouldn’t stop for a long time. Finally, one of my coaches told me that I needed to get my mom to take me to a specialist to see what was going on and that I wasn’t able to play until I did so. Of course, I was discouraged and frustrated at this point. I let my mom know and she made an appointment with an ear, nose and foot specialist. When they looked at my nose, they saw what they thought was a small growth. So, they decided to do a cat scan to see how big it was. After they did the scan, they saw that I had a tumor or a blood vessel that started in my nose that went all the way around to the back of my eye under the base of my brain. It was about the size of a grapefruit. This was about the eighth case in medical history, they told me. It was pretty serious. The doctors couldn’t handle it at the hospital that I was currently at, so they had to send me to Vanderbilt University. It didn’t bother me until I arrived there and had to sit down with the doctor. I remember what he said like it was yesterday. He said, “Abraham, if you live, you will be paralyzed for the rest of your life or you may not be able to see or hear anymore.” That’s when I became afraid. I was told that I possibly wouldn’t even make it through the surgery. Not knowing God, I didn’t know who to turn to. But I still went under surgery and sixteen hours later, I came out perfectly fine and I recovered very quickly; the quickest the doctors had ever seen. I also didn’t have any of the side effects they thought I would have either. I believe that is a huge part of my story because I didn’t have a relationship with Christ and neither did I know who He was, yet He still had a purpose for my life. God brought me through that, using the best doctors in the world, and I believe He was leading them through His spirit to make sure that I came out perfectly fine.
Your story is so profound because you went through that surgery afraid, but God still brought you out! So many times, people are going through many different things and because they begin to have fear, they feel as though they can’t do it. Your story is so amazing because you didn’t have anyone around to encourage you. You found out about God after the fact, correct?
Right! When God has a great purpose in ministry for you, I am a true believer that He will bring you through some great trials, tribulations and tests that will place you in the midst of fear, worry, concern and so many different environments to prepare you for what’s coming. Even though I didn’t know that I was going to be preaching one day or that I would be an international president over a youth group, He already knew ahead of time! He had to begin to equip me with all of these testimonies that I would be able to be relevant to individuals today. In the midst of some of the things that I face even now, I am able to reflect back where He brought me from. I believe that is the beauty of it because I can share my story with other people and let them know they aren’t in this alone. God is going to bring you through this just like He brought you through everything else.
I like how you expressed that because society today will make many feel as though they don’t trust God if they worry, but that’s not so! It’s a natural feeling and it doesn’t mean we have to dwell there, but we must push through the process.
Yes, you’re right! You have to go through different seasons, trials and tests, but God always provides. You have to go through the process and so many times we get caught up in the vision and forget all about the process and what God is really doing!
Another thing I thought was so amazing about your story was you had two thirty-year drug sentence, but only did a year on probation! Tell us about that.
It wasn’t anyone but God! The first time I went to jail, I was smoking weed (marijuana) and I passed out in the back of the car and the so-called friends I was hanging with had a bunch of crack on them that they were selling that I didn’t know about. The police saw us and pulled us over and took us to jail. Since no one claimed the charges, they charged all of us with two thirty-year crack charges. Right after I was released from jail, I began dating this girl that a group of guys didn’t want me to date because I was white and she was black; but I often consider myself being light skinned. (laughs) So, I began hanging back around the same guys I was arrested with and we all went over to the high school and ended up jumping another group of guys for whatever reason. Before going there, we smoked about eight blunts (marijuana) so we already weren’t thinking straight! We went to the field and jumped the guys and of course, they got my license plate number because we were using my car at the time. I got arrested and they charged me with second-degree lynching, and I had to go back to jail. Once I got out of jail, those same guys that I jumped were threatening to kill me. Going back to that fear, I was very afraid of them so I stole my step dad’s pistol. I went out to the mall and all eight of them pulled up in a car and jumped out. I pulled out my gun and to myself I said, “I have sixteen bullets, which means I have two bullets for each person and I’m going to lay you all out!” But I heard something tell me to put the gun away not knowing it was God at the time. So I put the gun up and I almost got away, but the police pulled me aside and starting talking to me. A lady pointed at me, saying, “He has a gun in his waist” so apparently she had seen me with the gun out. So of course the police threw me down and took me to jail. I had to stay in jail for three weeks. Once I got out, the courts ran all of my charges together, which gave me seventy-seven years in prison. I remember standing in front of the judge, praying, not knowing who I was really talking to. But I said if I could just come out of this, that I wouldn’t do any of these things anymore. God favored me and the judge called both my lawyer and the solicitor up. One of my friends that were arrested on the crack charges actually owned up to it and the two thirty-year charges against me were automatically dropped. I went from facing seventy-seven years to facing seventeen years in prison. After that was dropped, they dropped the second-degree lynching charge down to a simple assault. So, instead of me having to spend two years in prison, they gave me one year of probation.
That’s why I love your testimony so much because so many men and young boys are going through those very things. They need to hear that it is not the end; God still has purpose for them. Also, seeing that you are a Caucasian male not having a problem dating black women is a big eye catcher as well! Tell us about that!
Well, I like to just refer to myself as light skinned! But one of my biggest experiences from a spiritual perspective that really hit me was the testimony where I was dating a young woman who was black. At the time, I didn’t know my step dad was racist. There was a time where he saw her leaving the house and he sat me down and told me she was not welcomed there, and we got in a big fight and I left the house mad. I left my car keys in the house so I went back, banged on the door for him to let me in, and he opened the door with a pistol and grabbed me by my collar to the sofa. He put the pistol right in front of my face and began to spit on me, telling me he was going to blow my brains out. That was the first time I remember really calling on Jesus. I said, “Lord help me!” No sooner than those words came out of my mouth, his whole countenance changed as well as his voice. He said, “You better call on God because I’m the devil.” Right then and there, I just knew I was going to die and he pulled the trigger to the gun, but it jammed. That didn’t stop him because once it jammed he hit the gun and then put it back to my head. It still didn’t work. It was nothing but the Lord who saved me on that night!
My God! Whoo! There is indeed power in the name of Jesus!
Your testimony has now left you with a burden for other young men who are heading down the wrong path. One of the ways you share this passion is by being the International ABYPU President of the COOLJC. Tell us what that stands for and what that organization is about.
When I got saved in 1996, it was under the leadership of Bishop William Lee Bonners in Columbia. He is also the chief apostle of the organization called Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic, which we like to abbreviate it as COOLJC. Now the International ABYPU is the International Armor Bearers Young Peoples’ Union youth organization. When I got saved, I had such a passion for young people. So, I went to Bible College to gain ministerial training and began to do a lot of ministry with young people. From the very beginning, I remember God telling me my purpose and what He had chosen me to do. When I moved to South Carolina, the Lord dealt with me about working with the young people on a much larger scale. The International President at the time had an opening as an executive staff and he needed someone to fill in the slot for another year. During this time, I was talking to the Lord, seeing how I was going to do this because I worked on a local level in the organization. I didn’t know I was going to be able to work on an international level, working with a multitude of youth. Literally, a couple of weeks later, the president called me and asked if I could fill the role. With my pastor’s permission and God’s favor, I stepped into that spot and for our first meeting, God told me to run for the international president for the youth. I did and I was elected. Now for the past three years, I’ve been leading over 550 church youth departments across the globe. I had a chance to travel to Africa, which was one of my dreams. We have five schools over there now. I’ve had a chance to do some great things over there as well as many other places around the globe. God has been opening doors significantly for me to be able to be a blessing to so many young people. The youth is definitely my passion, but I also know God is shifting me into another area as well which is the multicultural arena.
When you minister to the youth, what is your ultimate message to them?
I believe the main message God has me to communicate and preach is, not “if God”, but look at what God has done for me. The many times that I messed up and almost had my life taken before I given my life to Christ, He still saved me and still had a plan and purpose for my life. Because He did that for me, that means He also has a purpose for you! God is no respecter of persons! God still has a purpose for everyone, regardless of where they are currently and where they have been. He knows where they are going. He is ready to pull them in and establish them so that He can use them for His glory.
You also have a call you conduct entitled Youth Wants to Know. Tell us about that.
Yes, every month we conduct a call entitled: Youth Wants To Know (YW2K), where we have young people that call in from all over the nation. We talk about topics that aren’t normally talked about in church or just in general. For example, our last call topic was, “Why do 80% of young people that graduate high school leave their church?” That is an actual statistic in the United States and we had open dialogue for people to share some of those reasons. Reasons that came about included the fact that they never really had a personal relationship with God from the beginning, and it was more of a religious relationship. They were forced to go to church, but were never saved and filled with the spirit. Once they got out from under their parent’s protection, they took off. Another topic we’ve hit on was the influence of music on the generation of the youth today. God and the enemy use music to their advantage. God speaks to us through praise and worship which takes people into a deeper relationship with Him. At the same time, the enemy is using a lot of the music to capture the hearts and minds of our young people. We discuss how music is the only avenue in which a message can get into your spirit without you giving it permission. We also talked about how we can make music relevant, but still minister at the same time. The third topic we hit was teen pregnancy in the church and how the women are always looked at, but what about these young men? We had real deep dialogue on that topic, so much so that it led to young people wanting to be saved, which is what it is all about–winning souls. The call creates a safe platform for young people to ask questions and receive comments even though we all may be different from one another. We create an atmosphere of a movement to bring the young people together to address many of the areas in which they are forced to deal with in society today.
In closing, I want you to speak directly to the men who will be reading this publication and say whatever God lays on your heart.
God is very concerned with our men today. He is calling on the men! He has already put purpose in each and every man out there. For many, He is beginning to bring them to the forefront. There are a lot of men who feel like they messed up and have made a whole lot of mistakes, and may not know who God is right now. But I believe God is raising up a lot of men who are going to stand for the truth and walk in their purpose and frighten the enemy. God has called a lot of our men, especially the young ones, to do a great work in the Kingdom! To every man and young man out there, you shall NOT die! You shall live! God has a purpose and a plan for your life, and He will use you for His glory. He knows your ending and there is a great destiny that is waiting for you!
Amen! I’m excited about this connection and I’ve been blessed by your testimony Abraham. I thank you for your true walk with God and your genuine love for His people! We appreciate you so much for taking time to talk with us today.
I believe in divine connections as well! I’m excited about what God is going to do through us and His people, Carla. Thank you for the opportunity.
Connect with Abraham Belanger:
Group on Facebook: COOLJC – ABYPU