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“Called Out of Drug Dealing” Paul Ybarra

What if all you knew as a teenager was abandonment, abuse and drug dealing? How would that shape your perspective and choices? Paul Ybarra takes us right into his home and his life as a teenage drug dealer in California in the 80’s. You will hear how his life spiraled out of control, as the stakes got bigger and bigger. He also shares the beautiful way the Lord stopped him in his tracks, called him out of that life and put him on a new path.

Psalm 1:2-3 “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

**Special Note: Because this is a family-friendly podcast I want to take just a moment to let you know this podcast contains some sensitive content that might not be safe for young ears. If you have young kids listening, please take note and consider putting in earbuds.

Topics Shared:

Low rider truck club parents,  San Jose in the 70’s

Charismatic stepfather, big strong partying family

Learned class in the hood 

Raised Jehovah’s Witness, stepdad was in leadership and nice at home

Light switch to narcissism and major abuse, molestation

Shame and guilt as a family

Elders didn’t believe the family, coverup ensued

Premeditated evil and double life 


Fresh start in Yakima, Wa. & Mabton

Mom spirals down, with cocaine

Created a cool image

Loved by a family

14 yrs old, feeling abandoned by his mom

She chooses another man over her children

Given a ticket back to Ca


His Mom moves back and becomes a secret Taco Bell madam, with a prostitute ring.

Even the high school counselor gives up on him

So he goes hard into the lifestyle

High rolling, living the Snoop Dog Video life

Starts tweaking, and going hard on drugs

Loses everything, and loses trust on the streets, depression sets in, and he tries to forget everything

Gets sober for a minute, finds a girlfriend who he wants to help and gets right back in.p

A String of jobs, and refuses rehab

Two thirty day stints in county jail


Mike Williams and his help


Binging, and doing a paper route

A Cry out to God

Quitting cold turkey, no uppers, no weed,  and starting a New sales job

Affair with a young Christian woman

Reputation lost

Gets sober

His boss invites him to church, first man he respects since the age of 12.

1/09/2005 goes to the altar, salvation 

New life, and then backsliding begins, back in California 

A friend helps bring him back and repentance

A year of purification

Meets his wife at church

Three months later married

Sold out for God


Set Free Ministries

Live-streaming on Periscope

Recovery is for everyone

Coaching ministry begins

Kingdom Linked Network

Spiritual Father to Many

THE P.S. Questions Answered:

The Importance of Discipleship 

How The Pandemic Has Changed Him

Paul Ybarra Links:

Website: Kingdom Lined Network, Connecting Community, Building the Kingdom

Facebook Group: We Are Community

Podcasts to check out: Activate Your Next Level Mindset Podcast with Coach Paul, Coach’s Corner with Paul Ybarra, On The Go Podcast With Paul Ybarra

Paul’s Book: 100 Power Tips to Set You Free:


The Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 & Website:

Paul Ybarra Quotes:

“I just found the easy route, because my brother was out there in the streets. The lifestyle was selling dope, making some money, sell a whole lot of weed and have fun, and smoke weed. Right about that time is when gangster rap had just hit the market, in the late 80’s early 90’s, and you just live the lifestyle. The lifestyle soon became by the time I was 17 in high school, selling dope in school.”

“My mom had a job at Taco Bell, and along the way, she actually became a madam for this secret prostitute ring that was in Taco Bell.  So it was part of the franchise, and she was making a huge amount of money, rolls of money was coming home every night.  At 16 years old, I thought ‘I guess this is how we do life. So I was slinging dope in school. We would go to Taco Bell and get 5 to 10 bags of free food. It was like this junior mafia basically, all my home boys making money, doing the things.”

“I was a senior. One day I went to school and my counselor called me into the office and he said ‘Paul, what do you plan on doing with your life? All you do is come here and sell dope.  Why don’t you just drop out. And I was sitting there thinking, ‘But you are my counselor, really?”

“We lived it, we spent it, boats, cars parties, like a Snoop Dog video, that’s what we lived. And through that, built a lot of respect in the streets. I was never in a gang, p erse, just gang-banged, always wearing red, a northerner, the whole nine, that’s who I was.”

“So basically, you have two different roles in the street.  You have the thug and you have the money makers. I was part of the money maker crews, but we didn’t do the dirt.” 

“I turned a crazy leaf and lost everything.”

“I was no longer the dope addict. I was no longer the home boy that sells dope. I was no longer the connection. I was Paul Ybarra.”

“Back then I was a home boy. I’m surrounded by nothing but white boys.  I thought they were narcs.  I thought it was a set up, because I was high, I was tripping. Then I found my little crew, they were all from Lodi, little Mexican homeboys and white boys that were cool homeboys.  We all thought we were surrounded by narcs.”

I quit cold Turkey. That was my only escape. So we get on a sales crew. I know all the spots. I learned how to sell cleaner, and I learned it well.” 

“I I got kicked out of my apartment. I moved in with a friend of mine who lived out in the country, but that trailer that was out there was infested with rats. I literally had to cover  myself with a blanket like a cocoon to go to sleep. And one Saturday morning I said ‘God whoever you are, if you just give me a better job, I promise to serve you however you see fit. And that same day….”

“Recovery is for everyone. So how do I brand this to where I can reach people that aren’t in recovery, but help them deal with the abandonment, the mindset, the rejection, the spirituality?”

Related Episodes:

Ep. 31- “All Joking Aside” BIG Dave Ebert


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Paul Ybarra: So, my mom had a job at Taco Bell, so she was the manager, she was doing really well. And along the way, she actually became like a, like a “Madame” for this secret prostitute ring that was in Taco Bell. So it was part of the franchise and she was making a huge amount of money. Rolls of money was coming home every night. And I’m like, 16 years old, and like, okay, I guess this is how we do life. And so I, I was slinging dope in school. We’d go to Taco Bell, we’d get five, 10 bags of just free food. It was like this little junior mafia, basically. So all my homeboys and just, just making money and just doing the things.

Narrator: And now for the next episode of Letters From Home, sending encouragement to your doorstep by capturing the heartbeat of God’s people, one story at a time.

Meg Glesener: Hi, this is Meg Glesener your host. Are you ready to be encouraged? What if all you knew as a teenager was abandonment, abuse, and drug dealing? How would that shape your perspective and choices? Today’s guest takes us right into his home and his life as a teenage drug dealer in California in the eighties. And as you can imagine, his adult life spiraled out of control as the stakes got higher and higher. He shares with us the beautiful way the Lord stopped him in his tracks, called him out of that life, and put him on a new path that he has continued on to this day. Here is the everyday extraordinary Paul Ibarra.

Paul Ibarra, it is such a blessing to have you on Letters From Home today. We’ve been in Christian Podcasters Association together on Facebook, and just the different groups and places that I’ve seen your heart for the Lord shines through, so much. You have a joy that just exudes that God has given you. And as we’ve gotten to know each other a bit, I know that you have a great story. God has done so many things in your life and made you the man of God that you are today. 

Paul Ybarra: Thank you so much, Meg, for having me on. This is truly, truly an honor and a privilege. And that is just, it humbles me to hear what you’re saying about God just being in my life, because it’s, it’s been a journey. It has definitely been a journey. And so I’m excited to get into this conversation with you. 

Meg Glesener: Praise the Lord, I know it’s gonna be great. You know, let’s just go right back to the start. What was it like in your childhood? What was it like in your home growing up? 

Paul Ybarra: Ooh, that’s a loaded one, but yes. So starting off it was, it was actually really good. It was almost like perfect, you know. Was raised by my stepfather, never knew my biological father. And so from the beginning, you know, as I grew older, then I started understanding the resentment and abandonment and all that. But as, as I was growing up, I, I never felt that because I had the love of a father. I mean, this man was very well known. His stature was very well known in the community. He was part of a, a low rider truck club, as most Mexicans from San Jose were back in the seventies, late sixties. And just an awesome, just an awesome man. Worked for the city, then he started his own business. All of my cousins and my aunts and uncles, they just adored him. They just loved him. He was very charismatic. He knew how to address a room, like all of these things. And so growing up in that, I learned how to function in different arenas and function in different conversation. And even though we were basically labeled in, in the hood, right? In a more of a lower income area, he taught us how, how to have class. He taught us a good restaurant, how to, you know, even like break open the baked potato and how to squeeze it and get the, you know. Do like do the things, and the napkins and the forks and the knives and the shrimp fork, and all of these different things. And it was awesome. 

And then along the way, you know, we were raised Jehovah Witness. So after a, probably five or six years old, you know, he, he used to smoke a lot of weed. So be, you know, prior to being a Jehovah Witness, he partied a lot. My mom partied a lot, aunts and uncles, it was just that time, it was the hippie era. And so then they found God and then it became what we thought was God, Jehovah Witness and, and started learning about, you know, principles. And, you know, what we thought was the kingdom of God and this and that. And then something along the way, right. About the age of, I would say going into third grade, we went on a trip to New York and back. Like they had saved, you know, back then $1,500, was a huge amount of money. Right. And so you’re looking at 1977, 78, something like that. So we took a trip up to upstate New York, went and visited the whole Jehovah Witness publication and Bethel and all these things and this excitement. And then we get home and it was like a light switch. Went from light to dark. Narcissism, abuse. It, it was I’m telling you, it was like a freak movie. And it was like one day to the next, there was no transition whatsoever. It wasn’t like it was subtle and it just came in. It was like from one day to the next. Prior to that, in his good state, you know, he was very strict. You know, when we needed that spanking, he gave us that spanking. When we had to be disciplined, you know, it was good. But then it just went from that, to like major abuse overnight. Started abusing my mom and started abusing me and started, you know, just this thing, this animal, this monster like just appeared. And through that began to molest my sister, you know, from the age of 13, 14, till she was almost 16 or 17. And so it was this bondage that was in this home that really brought the shame and the guilt on us as a family saying, what did we do wrong?

Meg Glesener: Was everyone still going to church and pretending? And?

Paul Ybarra: Yeah, it was this crazy facade. And through that time, right about, I was the age of probably fourth or fifth grade, close to sixth grade, he stopped participating in the Jehovah Witness organization. And so he started falling off, but he was still well known through the organization. They still respected him and this and that. So when my older brother and my older sister went to the congregation and said, Hey, this is going on. Cuz one of my aunts stepped in and said, you know, I know what’s going on. Like if you guys ever need help. So it finally got to the place where my brother and my sister stepped up, got in contact with her. They went to the congregation, to the elders and it was wow, horrible. They’re like, y’all just wanna leave the house. Like none of that’s going on, like we’re gonna keep it hush, hush. You know, it’s just, whatever happens in your house, that’s what happens in your house. And all these things were going on and just a big cover up a huge cover up.

Meg Glesener: Oh wow. 

Paul Ybarra: And I’m like, what? And the world is going on. Like, you know, 12 years old, my whole life changed. Perspective of a father. 

Meg Glesener: Were you ever able to figure out what was that snapping point for your dad or your mom? Or was, was she kind of looking out for you guys? Could you see that change in her as a little kid?

Paul Ybarra: So here’s, here’s the hard part. And my mom and I have already talked about this and kind of worked through that process. She knew what was going on, but her herself as a child was molested. So it’s that spirit that was in the home and, and not wanting to face it. Like this, this can’t be it because now, as I’ve learned through my coaching and just learning through life, is that when a person has been in a position and now they’re in this new position, it’s almost like they feel guilty as if they’re allowing it to happen. Right? Like it’s my fault, it’s everyone’s gonna blame me. But it all goes back to that root problem. So in that, she, it was a tough place to be. And so the trigger that happened in him, as we found out through time, was it happened to him as a child, through one of his sisters. 

Meg Glesener: Oh, wow. 

Paul Ybarra: You know, so now it’s this hatred. I believe it was hatred towards women because he never, I mean, he abused me, he never, for whatever reason, and I think he abused me more. And you know, now that I’m a, what I consider, you know, a solid Christian, I understand that it was the enemy through him, but he didn’t like me, he just hated me. All of a sudden it was this switch that went off. That was like, he never said it. But I think I, I reminded him of my natural father, cuz he met him a few times. I’ve never met him, but my older brother, he, he loved him. He adored him. He just treated him proper. And so in that is where we found out once everything happened, when he went to prison, the evaluation from the psychologist came back, and he literally premeditated his whole life when he met my mom. So he saw the opportunity. Okay, young girl, two boys, vulnerable mother. Moved from Washington State as a migrant worker, now she’s in California. She’s in a party scene, I got this. And so it was this double life that he was living. My mom asked me years ago, like, what do you think happened? And I said, the only thing I know is the devil that came in, and this is before I was even saved. But I told her, I just, I believe it was Satan. I said, and to answer that question properly, I don’t know what happened. It was like a light switch. 

Meg Glesener: So how did it all come down? So your aunt reported to the church. It came before the church and they’re like, no, no, no. So how did it get from there to him being jailed?

Paul Ybarra: Like, yeah, that was a huge blessing through it all because we were able to, through my aunt, through my cousins, were able to get through to my mom to say this, this ain’t right. Like, there’s like, you’re gonna be safe. Like nothing is going to happen. And to be honest with you, someone that knew him, and knew my aunt, was in and out of prison. And he was out of prison at a certain point, so I remember the meeting that was held at my aunt’s house. 

Meg Glesener: And it was your, your mom, your brother and sister. You said you have a sister too. 

Paul Ybarra: My sister. 

Meg Glesener: And your cousins and your aunt. 

Paul Ybarra: Right. But it was the meeting between just my aunt and all of us boys, but I was like on the outside room.

Meg Glesener: Oh, okay. 

Paul Ybarra: But all I heard this person say was, you’ll never have to worry about him ever again. And so basically, did a crime to go back, to go take care of what he had to take care of. So from that moment forward, we never, I never saw him ever again. You know, through time we connected with all of our cousins, through him, all of our step cousins and they, to us, they’re our cousins, cuz we grew up with them. I mean, we, we loved, we love them. And so, you know, he’s rested in peace. I mean he, he died a couple years ago, probably five, seven years ago. My biological father through just trying to find him, he died in, I think 2004 or 2005. So I have no recollection of either one of them, but at the same time it’s there was a lot of stuff.

Meg Glesener: Oh, I bet there’s yeah. So much stuff that takes decades to process and lots of prayer. And did you ever get to have a conversation with him about things that had happened after that? It was kind of like there was nothing, there was no acknowledgement conversation.

Paul Ybarra: There was no closure, no closure. There was no closure through the transition of us kicking him out of the house. Yeah. Because at one point what, what shifted my mom was when we came home from you know, the meetings, which Jehovah Witness don’t call it church, they call it meetings. The meetings, we came home from the Sunday meeting and there was another woman in the house, and they had just did their, did their duty. So at that point, that’s when my, when my mom was like, okay, this ain’t gonna fly. So from there, then he moved out. But my mom was still having contact with him because through him, there was two younger brothers that came through his seed. And so, you know, my mom still stayed in contact and I would see him every now and then I was very standoffish, but he would always just try to kind of be cool with me. But at the same time, I’m like, no, there’s, there’s nothing here. And so after that season, once we sent him to prison, my mom moved to Washington state. Yeah. Cause we have a lot of family there. Fresh start, new start, all of that. And then that’s when everything also shifted into a whole different direction. We ended up in I guess what they call Upper Valley, Yakima Valley. 

Meg Glesener: Oh, Yakima. Yeah. That’s a great place for lots of orchards and farming and,

Paul Ybarra: Cherries, apples, all that stuff. My mom piled up in a, in a Pinto station wagon and everything that we, that she could fit in there stayed there for my going into high school years, stayed in Yakima and then stayed with my aunt and uncle. My mom started working and started, you know, got her own place and all of that. And she was still getting letters from our stepdad, be, you know, to his, to his boys, everything was being forwarded over from the San Jose address to this address. And one day I was, I was reading these, you know, looking at, at the letter. At the face of it. And I seen these numbers that were all jumbled around. And I started looking at it and my brother couldn’t figure it out. My mom was like, I don’t know what he’s doing. And I said, he’s getting out in 1990. And she’s like, no, they, they said he was gonna get so much time. I said, I said, I’m telling you I’m a numbers guy. That’s one of the gifts that, that, that God has given me, you know, this is before I even became a Christian, but I just knew, like I could see numbers. And I, I said he he’s getting out in 90. I said, trust me, he’s getting out. And they didn’t believe me until 1990 hit. And he was out. 

And so we were, you know, right about that right about 86 is 86 or 87 is when I moved back to California with my brother, my sister, she had already got married. She had a baby, my brother was out, you know, doing his thing in the streets and all that stuff. From Yakima my mom moved to a small town called Mabton, very small town it’s hop central. So there’s nothing but hops all all around. Cuz you know, Washington state is nothing but agricultural. Yeah, that was literally the best year and a half of my life. Even though my mom had gone through this downward spiral, she had gotten addicted to cocaine, to crack cocaine cuz she was in this place of trying to figure things out. But I found this family, which they’re still friends to this day, that pretty much took me in. Small little town, we, I hung out there all the time. That’s where I was able to be, I was able to be Paul. I wasn’t Alex’s younger brother. I wasn’t Robert’s stepson. I wasn’t a Jehovah witness. I was, I could be whatever I wanted to be, whoever I wanted to be. And I created this image within myself. Like, you know, everything was cool. But with this family, they knew that I was a broken mess. And so they always fed me. They always looked out after me, we hung out. And so through that, I was frustrated with my mom, because I could be gone for days on in, and she would not even recognize that I was gone, because she was just high. And so through that time, I, and I was smoking a lot of weed. I was drinking. I was 14, 15 years old. And finally, I just kept telling her, you know, I just wanna go home. I just wanna go to California. I wanna go back to California. Well, one day I woke up, it was a Saturday morning with a bus ticket in my face, get on the bus and go home. 

Meg Glesener: Oh, she gave it to you. 

Paul Ybarra: Mm-hmm so, you know , I tell people, yeah. Be careful what you pray for.

Meg Glesener: What did it feel like? So it’s clear that you’re, you know, it’s easy to put a lot on your stepdad, you know, because of all the horrific stuff. But your mom, and there’s a, something in a kid that wants to believe the best, you still love your mom. But what, what did it feel like at that moment? The, you know, first of all, the absentness cuz she was so busy dealing with her own pain and medicating through cocaine, but handing you the ticket, that seems, what did it feel like? 

Paul Ybarra: Hate. A lot of hate. Abandoned. Like seriously, like even though I asked for it, you’re gonna give it to me?

Meg Glesener: You’re not fighting for me?

Paul Ybarra: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Where where’s the fight? Now you’re with someone else that is abusing you. You’re in the same thing. He’s trying to come against me. We, I used to get in fights with him all the time. I mean, obviously I didn’t win, but like you’re choosing him again over your children. Hello? And so it was just that abandonment, that rejection, that bitterness, that like all the stuff and then the guilt. Why am I even born? What did I do to deserve this? And so all of that just goes to that, that bitterness root of ,,anger and just pride and no one’s ever gonna hurt me again. And just that in that moment, and I jump on a bus and I’m like, okay, going to California, like with no mom, no younger brothers. So yeah. That’s, that was the mentality in that moment of, you’re not my mom, cuz my my mom, my mom shouldn’t do that. Yeah. Like a mom shouldn’t do that. Yeah. You know, and I set in my mind, even prior to that years, before that I’ll never have kids. Like, I will never bring a child into this world like this. And I was insecure within myself to be able to raise a child because I just, I didn’t wanna be like my father or my stepfather or my mother. I didn’t wanna be like. The uncles and aunts that I saw, divorces and divorces, and kids outta wedlock. And I didn’t want that even before I was even saved. It was like, that’s not, that’s not cool. Like I know what that’s like. And so that’s, all of those emotions all in one. And then I had to leave my best friends from one day to the next I was there, and then I go to their house. Hey, I’m, I’m leaving. Like, I’m going back to California. What? For real? Yep. My mom gave me a ticket, I gotta roll. So that was like, oh, major. And so it was all of a sudden, I’m just in this wilderness going back to California. Yes, she’s my sister and yes, I had my brother, but I didn’t know what to expect. Like the whole family unit wasn’t a family unit any longer. And so, talk about emotions, that’s what the emotions were in that moment. When I was asked to asked to leave. 

Meg Glesener: So here you go, starting over back to California, just untethered, missing your friends. What did you do? Did you, did you go to school? Did you try and get a job?

Paul Ybarra: I went to school. Yeah. I went to school. My, my sister was married. She had a, a baby boy, pregnant with a baby girl. Got enrolled in school on a whole different side of town than when, than where I was raised. So I had to create a whole new batch of friends. Just found the easy route, cuz my brother was out there in the streets. You know, his, his homeboy, which is like my brother. I mean he’s, he was, you know, he’s, he’s still like my brother. I still see keep in contact with him and his family and just, just the roots of everything just saw the lifestyle. You know, the lifestyle was sell some dope, make some money, sell a whole lot of weed, and have fun and smoke weed. And this is what we do. And so right about that time is when like, you know, gangster rap had just hit the market, had just hit hard in the early, late eighties, early nineties. So, you know, you, you just lived the lifestyle. And so the lifestyle soon, soon became, by the time I was 17 in, in high school selling dope in school, wasn’t going to, wasn’t going to school. And it, it got to my senior year. I was a senior. By that time, my mom had moved from Washington back to San Jose. So she was staying with my sister, I was staying with them. So my mom had had a job at Taco Bell. So she was the manager she was doing really well. And, and along the way, she actually became like a, like a Madam, for this secret prostitute ring that was in Taco Bell. It was part of the franchise and she was making a huge amount of money. Rolls of money was coming home every night. And I’m like, 16 years old, like, okay, I guess this is how we do life. Yeah. And so I, I was slinging dope in school. We’d go to Taco Bell, we’d get five, 10 bags of just free food. It was like this little junior mafia, basically. So all my homeboys and just, just making money and just doing the things that when I, you know, one day I went to school and my counselor just called me in the office and he said, Paul, what do you, what do you plan on doing with your life? And I’m like, what do you mean? He’s like, well, all you do is come here to sell dope. You might as well just drop out. And I’m sitting there going, but you’re my counselor. Like really? So for me, I’m like, you don’t even get it. Like, this is a call for help. This is a cry for help, right? Like, like, I literally thought you would be like, Hey, let’s get you in a program, bro. Like, how can we help you get better? No. So again, no, 

Meg Glesener: The counselors given up on me. So really, I mean, you’re a kid who’s living in the moment, but you had this other deeper aspect, you know, you, weren’t thinking about a lot and how disappointing that the counselor’s given up on you. 

Paul Ybarra: Yeah. So it’s again. Okay, another rejection, another abandonment. Wow. Okay. So what did I do? I went hard. Okay, cool. So this is the life that I’ve been dealt, whoever you are up there. Is what I’ve been dealt, I’m gonna roll with it the way that I know. And so from 16, 17 year, years old, we moved to a, a small town in California. It’s right next to Merced, Modesto area called Atwater. It was a little military base air force base. Moved out there, didn’t really know nobody. But once I started getting plugged in, I was just slinging a lot of dope. Worked at Kmart, was slinging weed in Kmart to all my managers, all my people, and making money, growing weed, all of that 16, 17 years old. And my brother and his, you know, all his crew were still in San Jose. And at that point they started doing business big. And so at that point, I’m like, I’m going back to San Jose. So I went back to San Jose. 

Meg Glesener: What was it that made you wanna. Were you scared or you wanted to do money? Oh, you wanted to go join up with your brother and do the bigger business. I see. 

Paul Ybarra: Yeah. The money aspect. It’s like, you know, you see people rolling up in 64 Impalas and chrome spokes and all that. It’s it’s the, it’s the life. So I said, I’m go, I’m going back home again. So I went to, I went to CA, I went back to San Jose. I mean, hit it hard, started really just moving weight. I’ve always been like a connector. That’s why I’m all about community and connecting with people. But I was, I was just that guy and I found this one person that had a lot of weight of methamphetamines and I just, I went boldly and said, Hey man, like if you front me this amount of work, that’s what we called it. If you, if you front me this amount of work, I’ll have it back to you in 24 hours. No matter what the cost is, I got you. Sure enough, I got the weight, handed it over to my brother. He moved it, we all moved it within 24 hours, got their money back. And then we started doing business. Like we started doing it big in the nineties. It was what it was. And we lived it. We spent it; boats, cars, parties, like a Snoop dog video. That’s what we lived. Yeah. It was just, it’s what it was. Built a lot of respect in the streets. A lot of people knew me, all of that. I was never in a, in a gang per se. I just gang banged, you know, always wearing red, northerner, the whole nine that’s just who I was. So to be jumped in a gang that’s, that’s I wasn’t even part of that. You know what I’m saying? But I was known because of my brother and everyone else, I was known in that arena of high rollers. Like these are the guys, right. 

Meg Glesener: So you had the respect without as much of the, the danger of violence? 

Paul Ybarra: Right. So it, so it’s basically, you have two different roles in the street, you got the thug and then you got the money makers. Right? So I was part of the moneymaker crews. So we were, we were still representing Northern California, red, all, all of that, but we didn’t do the, we didn’t do the dirt, like the, like all the, all the dirt that was underneath. Right. 

Meg Glesener: Did you feel at all during that time, Paul, that, was there any sense in you, I know you’re just going forward and it’s exciting. You’re like stepping through the bigger and bigger doors, but was there any sort of a, I don’t know, like an emptiness or awareness inside of is this shallow, or this isn’t meeting my need or, or were you not at that place?

Paul Ybarra: In those moments? No. Yeah, because it was, it was working.

Meg Glesener: You felt fulfilled because things are going well. What did your mom have any say or awareness of what was going on with you at that point? Or she was still absent?

Paul Ybarra: At that point it was like, I don’t even view you as, as my mom. So through time, it’s, it’s, it’s sad to say, but we always kind of viewed her as like an aunt or a sister. After everything happened, it was like, We just lost the respect. Now through time, you know, once I got saved and all that, we had these conversations. But even to, to this day, it’s, it’s hard to love somebody at a certain level when they weren’t that. . You understand what I’m saying? I love her cuz she’s my mom. And she knows that I love her. I went and visited her last year, surprisingly for her birthday, I just flew out there, flew in and flew out. Like, she’s like, oh my God, you came for my birthday. I’m like, ma I love you. But to like, it’s hard to say because a lot of Christians won’t understand this. Like, well, you’re supposed to love your mom and yeah, but you don’t understand when somebody’s not a part of your life for so long, it’s hard to love them at a certain level. 

Meg Glesener: The emotional ties, 

Paul Ybarra: the emotional ties there. 

Meg Glesener: Like for me, that happens too with, with my dad and I, the emotional ties aren’t as daily, like you probably have 20 friends that you think of first, when you wanna share something really cool in your life. And your parents, maybe a little further down the list, cuz they just haven’t been there for you emotionally. So it’s, it’s just that kind of a place. You love her and you respect her as your mom, but just not those, not as many connections. 

Paul Ybarra: Absolutely. You nailed it. Nailed it right on the head. It’s it’s that emotional part. It’s that, that daily check in, didn’t have it for years. So when it was that time of wanting that it, it just, it just wasn’t there. So in, in those moments, to answer your question about being fulfilled, I was fulfilled. I was fine. Like it was, I was good. It was, I was living the life. Had a lot of people had a lot of protection. We didn’t do things stupidly. We really tried to keep things structured in a way to where it wasn’t loose, but then through time it did get loose because then I started dabbling outside of circles that were my circle. So I started looking into other ways to make more money, and started getting caught up in the circles. And then they wanted to know, are you a narc? Like, we know who you’re connected with, but why are you out here and what are you doing? And so, you know, party with us. So I said, okay. And I had never touched methamphetamines through that time, through all of my slinging and, and rolling and all of that and never touched it. I was against it because of what my mom went through. So it was that one New Year’s Eve, I, I partied. Didn’t affect me. A couple weeks later, I partied again with these people, didn’t affect me. After the third time it was a wrap, like everything that I had just, I kept partying. And it was this circle of people that it’s it’s the enemy. It’s it’s the devil like, bring it like strip this guy, strip this guy down to nothing. So it was, it was, I just, I just, just turned a crazy leaf, lost everything. And at that point is when I knew, okay. 

Meg Glesener: Can you, so you said you lost everything. What did that look like? 

Paul Ybarra: Cars, money, self respect.

Meg Glesener: You’re just needing to sell it for the next hit kind of a thing? Or is that,

Paul Ybarra: Yeah. To, to get outta debt? Cause it wasn’t as easy before to make moves because once people know, all right, this dude’s a tweaker. Like, I don’t want to do business with him. You know what I’m saying? Like he’s tweaked out. We don’t know who he’s talking to. Cause once you’re tweaking, you’re just blah.

Meg Glesener: They lost trust and confidence in you, so then you lost business, correct? Okay. 

Paul Ybarra: Yes. And then through that, I lost my own trust and confidence within myself, lost my own self respect in the streets within myself. And then that’s when I was feeling unfulfilled, then it’s like, okay, this there’s gotta be something else because why is it that I’m waking up tweaked out? And the people that I went to high school with are all buying houses. Some of them are married. Some of them have kids. They got good jobs. Some of ’em are, are in college. What’s going on? So that’s when I started feeling unfulfilled and even went harder because of the depression and the, the insecurity of, then everything from before 12 years old started to bubble up. Started to surface like the abandonment. Why, you know, why? And I, it was to forget everything that had happened. All of it. 

Meg Glesener: Wow. Were you able to get off drugs and how did you, how did you find the Lord and how did you find your beautiful wife? 

Paul Ybarra: You know, that’s another loaded question. That’s a ,long question. So in that time I had, you know, tried to stop and then there was time when, when I, I would stop and I would stop for six months to a year. And then I would just get back on it. I was bored. I didn’t have any purpose. It’s like, I’m single, you know, 25, 26 years old. I still got time, I’m fine. I’m just not in the dope game, but I’ll do a little party here and there. I still got my little circle of friends and then I found somebody that I got with. And I was sober at the time and she rocked my world. And for me, as she was strong on dope, and for some reason I, I just gravitated to her cause I wanted to help her. I was like, man, like you don’t, I can help you. Like I can help you. And sure enough, I helped her for a while. I was sober, you know, going through all this craziness and just a crazy lifestyle. But after about three or four months, I, you know, I, she wouldn’t stop. So I just kind of joined in with her and started doing little bit more, started partying again. Had good jobs, I mean, I had jobs in, you know, San Mateo just, that that’s back when it was Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley was Silicon valley. Yeah. Like you could find work any day of the week at any time at any pay that you wanted. And so I was part of this company that was building pneumatic scientific mixers for science, for NASA, for all these places. And I had moved up really quick and I was, I mean, great job. Awesome job. And then I, I got strung out through that time to where one of my bosses, well, the main boss, you know, called me one day and said, Hey, I know you’re going through some struggles, man, but we have a rehab program. Let’s get you hooked up. And back then, I just didn’t believe in, in rehab me. I’m like, no, that’s that’s for losers. Like if you wanna stop, you’re just gonna stop. I passed it by and I said, Nope, I’m good. I’m too far gone. That’s where the crazy journey began was with this girl. And, you know, through that, I just, it just got to a point where I’m just like, I was down and out all over again. Working at like labor ready, working daily cash, getting enough for, for my fix, pay my mom, like cuz now I was living back with my mom in the small little apartment. Worst time of my life, cuz I’m like now I’m back at mom’s house, really? Yeah. 

Meg Glesener: Did you ever end up getting caught or doing any jail time or have any encounters with the police? 

Paul Ybarra: I did two 30, 30 day stretches in county. One of ’em was I got pulled over, they found a gun, it was a stolen gun. Did 30 days. The second time it was cuz of warrants. But at some point before I hit rock bottom, there was one time that I was, I almost got caught and I would’ve probably did anywhere from 10 to 15 easy because I had everything bagged up , but because somebody was setting me up. And as I look back I’m like, that was God that didn’t allow that to happen. It was just so crazy. But yeah, that was about the only time that any of that ever happened. I, I really stayed undercover. I thought it was my own doing, but now looking back, that was God. God’s hand was on me, a lot of prayers from somewhere where being instated. And so it got to a point where I was strung out and I was riding the bus to work every morning. And there’s this one guy, Mike Williams. I remember him to this day, but he would always talk to me about God. So he was always at the bus Depot where they would wait, and I would get on early. He’s like, yeah, come on in. And we would have 10 or 15 minutes just me and him. And we would just talk about God and I would listen. And I’m like, no, I was raised Jehovah witness. I don’t really believe what you’re saying, blah, blah, blah. Then through time he’s like, listen, come to one of our church services. So I said, all right. So I went. You know, it was a little bit more Pentecostal than what I was wanting to be involved in. And it, it scared me. I’m like, no. All, all of a sudden I’m gonna see snakes coming out and all this stuff, I’m outta here. So I went to church with him and that was it. Like, we still stay connected on the bus and all that. How did you like it? I said, ah, it’s a little bit, you know, a little weird, but you know, I respect you for it and all that. So after that, I, I went on like a five day binge of just getting high, just getting high, getting high. So me and my girlfriend went to my mom’s to stay there for like a day to sober up. And then we were gonna head back to the hood. And on that same corner, it’s so weird, but it’s, so God, I just stopped and I’m like, I’m done. And she said, what do you mean, babe? And I said, I’m done. I said, Here’s a bus pass, I got 15 bucks in my pocket, have a nice life. I’m just done. And she’s like, whatever. And when she turned to look at me, I had this look like, and she, she looked at me and she had this expression, like, he’s done? Like it’s over? So I head back to my mom’s house. She’s like, I thought you were going back to so-and-so’s house. I said, yeah. She’s like, what are you doing? I said, I don’t know. I said, but mom, I’m done. She , done with what? I said, I don’t know, I don’t know what’s next. I, I don’t know. I said, but I’m not gonna die in California. So from that point, I moved with a friend of mine to Central Valley. I started hooking up with some people out there and it was hard to not party again, because, you know, once you know, somebody, you know, somebody that knows somebody and they’re like, oh, okay, let’s party. So I got on this binge again, and this was 2001. It was down to the point where all I had was a paper route, you know. Old, 70-something, little, looked like a little bean Honda civic, you know, those old school, little round, one of those hatchbacks. Yes. And me and my friend had that and I’m like, man, there’s gotta be more than this bro. And one night I was just high, three or four days up,, and I just start praying. I said, Jehovah, whoever you are, whatever you have for me, just, I just need something to live for. And I literally, Meg, opened up the newspaper that I was wrapping up. I said, you know what, let me look for a job. And right in the middle, it said, travel the country for free, get paid daily, paid cash, no bills. Start today.

Meg Glesener: You’re like, wait, what? 

Paul Ybarra: I’m like, wow. So I called it, and they said, yeah, you’re gonna be selling cleaner door to door. This and that. I said, sign me up within two hours. They had a ticket waiting in Merced. I drove to Merced, my friend thought I was crazy. I jumped on the bus. I was up for four or five days. I, I head, I, I get to San Francisco, next to the airport. And there’s this huge hotel just full of sales reps. I was like, what did I just get myself into? Like, this is a whole different world. And, you know, back then, I, I mean, I, I was a homeboy. I’m like, I’m, I’m surround with nothing but white boys. Like what? Like I thought they were narcs. I thought it was a setup. I, because I was high, I was tripping. And then I found my little crew that, you know, they were all from like Lodi and all these different areas, little Mexican homeboys and white boys that were like, cool homeboys. So we started and, and we all thought we were all in, in like this, like this surrounded by narcs. I was like, what did we, what, what did we just get involved in? And so left, and started this sales crew ,and for a whole year, so to a, you know, to answer your question about how did you quit? I just, I quit cold Turkey. Like that was my only escape was getting out of California, getting out of San Jose. So we get on a sales crew and I was on that sales crew for a whole year, but the first week or so, I’m like, I know all the spots in San Jose area. So my car handler’s like, okay, take us to, I took them to San Mateo and Los Gatos, Los Altos Hills, and like all the places that was just big money. So I learned how to sell cleaner and I, I learned it well. And so I started traveling the country, and I got healthy as far as my mind, cuz I was just eating and making money and eating. Still partying, going to clubs. But I wasn’t doing the uppers. I wasn’t smoking no weed. None of that. I was just living a life, $200, $300 cash every day. We’re out there traveling city to city, state to state. I could be whoever I was all over again. So now I I’m finding myself like, okay, I was no longer the dope addict. I was no longer the homeboy that sells dope. I was no longer the connection. I was Paul Ibarra. I could be Paul at every door. I could be whoever I wanted to be. I, I, I killed it, nailed it. And so through all of that, you know, ended, ended up in Ohio cuz I, you know, once we hit upstate New York, I didn’t want to go back to California cuz I’m like, if I go back to California, all of this is in vain.

Meg Glesener: Right. Is in Ohio, is that where your faith started to take off? Did you have a big encounter with the Lord somewhere? 

Paul Ybarra: Absolutely. So I ended up in Ohio and through that, I, I went on this this telemarketing company and they hired me right away. Oh, he’s off, off of a sales crew. Don’t even train him, give him a script. Boom. I nailed it. I just took over the whole call center. Like, and that’s where my arrogance came up. My pride I’m like, man, I got this. Like no one can touch me, blah, blah, blah. So through that I met this young girl. She was 20 years old and she was married to a 55 year old man. It was arranged. And so it was all about money. She was a Christian girl, and so we had an affair. And so she was trying to break out of the affair. And I, I told her straight up, I’m like, this is God’s will. And the minute that happened, my whole world turned dark. It turned dark. All of a sudden people at work were hating on me within a week’s time. Lost, just a, lost a lot. This, this conviction, which I thought was condemnation, but this conviction, I mean, you don’t mess with God. Like you don’t, you don’t mess with God’s covenant. And so through that within a, like a three month period, I was in this bad place all over again. I wasn’t strung out or nothing, but I just, it was guilt, this shame, this thing, and I just couldn’t shake it. And somebody invited me to church. I went to their church, I’m like, eh, I’m not feeling it. It’s not, it’s not me. And one Saturday morning I was working for this welding company. It was a good company, I just didn’t have enough hours. And I prayed that morning. I was literally staying, I had got kicked outta my apartment one Saturday morning. I’m like, God, whoever you are, if you just gimme a better job, I promise to serve you however you see fit. I was, I was done at that point. And that same day I’m at the welding company and a, and a man drives in with a forklift and a tow motor, and all that, that we had to fix. For some reason, we just kept locking eyes. I’m like, why is this guy keep, you know, I was arrogant. I was like, who the heck are you, looking at me? You know, this other person that I was, 20 years ago. And so he’s trying to tell me how to do my, I said, don’t tell me how to do my job, dude. Like, I, I know what I’m doing. Like leave me alone. I got this. So he leaves, pays this bill leaves. Well, my, my supervisor comes up to me and he, he knew I was frustrated with the job. He’s like, Hey dude so, and so is hiring. I said, who’s that? He’s like, Oliver. I was like, who’s Oliver. He’s like the guy you just worked on his stuff. I’m like, okay. And I’m thinking myself, yeah. I just treated him like garbage. I don’t think he’s gonna . So yeah. And so he’s like, yeah, he owns Job Right pools, this and that. So I said, okay. So I, I went down there and walked in and he saw me. He’s like, Hey, I said, Hey, what’s going on? I said, I hear you hiring. And he’s like, yeah. He’s like, let’s, let’s have a sit down. We talked for like two hours. So through time, got the job. Then through time, God kept reminded me, you made me a promise. You made me a promise. And so it was right about Easter time, my boss invited me to this, to this function. We see these guys with their hands up and men hugging each other. And I’m like, eh, ah, this is not, this is not what I’m signing up for. No, this is not me. This is not my jam, but outta respect, I stayed there cuz I respected this man, you know. Afterwards he’s like, Hey, what’d you think? I was like, eh, alright. I don’t know about all y’all hugging and stuff, but he’s like, eh, you know, it’s just the joy of the Lord, this all right, cool. Whatever. So a week later, there’s another smaller group. And I knew the pastor of this, of their church because he had his pool, so we used to service the pool. So I already knew him. So he’s like, Hey, we’re having, you know, we’re having another men’s breakfast, but it’s gonna be smaller group with so and so, and I’m like, okay, I go check it out. I come and there’s something about that day. I’m like, these are real people. Like they were all older, I was the only brown skin colored person in that place, but I’m like, there’s something about this. And so I just asked one of the pastors, I’m like, Hey, where’s your church? What time does it start? And they’re like, it’s 9, 9 30, come on through. I didn’t let him know. And so the next day I showed up and he comes in and he saw me. He’s like, Hey, what are you ,doing here? I said that ain’t no way to invite somebody to church, man. . And so I, I started going, but I was only going to church. I had got baptized all of that, but I had never had salvation. January 9th, 2005, I was going to church. I had a good job, living in a great apartment, brand new car, again, status. But I was still this broken mess. And I, I, I cried out to God and I said, you know what, Lord, I don’t understand what altar call is, I don’t understand what none of this stuff is, but I need to be, be shaken loose of all of this stuff that’s in inside of me. And I’m gonna go to church today and I’m gonna be the first one at that altar. I don’t know what it represents, I don’t know what it does. The same words that I gave God. I show up to church, one of the worship singers, which is one of my best friends now, she was battling cancer hard. She was pretty much on her deathbed. I didn’t know her back then, but the anointing that was on her, I always desired that, and she’s on that stage. We hadn’t seen her for like a month. Well, the, well, the Holy Spirit had prompted her two days prior to sing a certain song. So she called the pastor’s wife and said, I’m coming in to sing. She goes, are you sure? She’s like, yeah, the Lord has prompted me with, with this song. So she’s up on stage. I walk into that church and I’m telling you that everyone’s just worshiping. And the words that came out of her mouth was from, I forget the, the gospel singer’s name, but it’s the song, Shake Yourself Loose, which was the exact words that I gave God.

Meg Glesener: Wow. 

Paul Ybarra: I need you to shake me loose of all these chains. So I go and I’m hearing these lyrics and I’m like, what? And I, and I, I just plow to the altar and I’m seeing people like slain in the spirit and, you know, Pentecostal church. And I’m like, all right, God, this is just weird. He said, don’t focus on any of that. I just need you to come to the altar. That’s it, just create an altar. And nobody stood there with me, but the guy that brought me to church. He was one of the elders, a prayer partner. I literally felt God just extract everything from my spirit. Like all the negative, all the dark, all the, all the rejection, all the abandonment, all of that. And I turn around and I’m bawling my eyes out and I look and I see him, and that just broke me even more. That’s where the journey began. So I kept going to church and kept doing my thing and all of that, but then there was something still on the inside of me that wasn’t burnt out. And I said, you know what, I’m going back to California. Like I’m, I’m I’m, you know, actually, no, my brother moved to Texas. So I went, visited him, checked it out, went back to Ohio. Said, Hey, in six months, I’m gonna move out to Texas, blah, blah, blah. So I go to Texas and that’s where my year and a half to two years of, of, of backsliding started, cuz now I wasn’t rooted. But I was at a point Meg, where I was tired of just traditional church. Yeah. I was tired of going, going to the altar for the same sin. I was hooked to pornography. I was still angry. I was still bitter, all of like, none of that stuff left. So I’m like, I’m, I’m tired of playing church. Like this is this ain’t real to me. So through that time I went back to California and that was the worst time of my life. Oh, because I tell people this, I would’ve rather never, ever heard God’s voice then to have heard his voice at one, one point and then not hear it for a year and a half. Because I had backslid so hard. Like so hard. Well, through that time, my best friend, the girl that was battling battling cancer, we had become friends and, you know, she got married and all of that, had kids. So she was totally healed. And oh, so she calls me one day when I’m in California, in my worst state. And she called me and I ignored it. I’m like, I ain’t talking to her, like, she’s Holy Ghost filled. Like she’s gonna know everything I’m I’m doing. And I looked at my phone. I said, you know what? I don’t run from anybody. I called her back. She said, how are you? And I said, I’m good. And she just stayed quiet. It was the longest 30 seconds of my life. I said, you know what, I’m not good. I said, all I’m doing right now is, is working through what I know to work through the way that I know how. She said, just come home. I said, I can’t come home. She said, why? I said, have you ever wanna buy a new house? She said, yeah. I said, and in that house, it’s never been, it’s just beautiful, and immaculate, brand new carpet, floors are done. I said, would you take your old furniture and put your old carpet in there? She said, probably not. I said, well, I’m that old carpet, and I’m that beat up furniture. I can’t step foot back in God’s house. She said, just come home. Within 24 hours, she had a plane ticket waiting for me. She texted me and said, there’s a plane ticket waiting for you. Get on that plane, come home. I jumped on, flew into Cleveland. And the minute that I stepped on that ground, I said, God, if you can’t produce for me the God that I read about in the Bible, then I’m gonna get back on this plane and I’m going back to San Jose to go hard at what I know to do.

Meg Glesener: What ultimately made you want to go, go back to Ohio?

Paul Ybarra: Because there was this phone call that I got from somebody that I hadn’t even connected with out there from my past, from somebody in California. That was, that was one of my, that we used to do a lot of work together. And I’m like, hello? And he is like, what’s up. And right when I heard his voice, I knew who it was. I’m like, how’d you get my number? He’s like, come on, bro. This is San Jose. I’m like, yeah. He’s like you ready to get to work or what? And I’m like, at that moment, I’m like… I said, you know what, let me call you back. I’ll call you back. He’s like, all right, for sure. Hung up, and that’s what I knew. I’m like, there’s no way shape or form, because I know if I get back to work, it’s back to work. So I took her up. I, I texted her, she said the plane tickets are all, it’s already bought, it’s done. So jump on the plane. That’s when I got back to back to Cleveland and I said, what I said, you know. And sure enough, from 2009 to 2011 was a whole year of purification because somebody else from Ohio, I let them know I was coming. I just needed, you know, somewhere to crash. She said, listen, my sister just moved out. There’s a room here. You don’t have to worry about nothing. Just get back in tune with God, make enough money to pay your bills. And we’re good. So a whole year of just purification with me and God, that’s where everything shifted. Then God called me back to Texas. I didn’t wanna go. I’m like, it’s hot. I’ve been to Texas. It’s hot. There was nothing there for me. He said, go back one more time. Okay. And I left, I landed in Texas. My sister was staying there. She was going through this divorce separation, an extra room there. I moved in, met my wife at church. I was new to the church. I was doing security and doing volunteer work and all that stuff. And three months later we were married, ministry started and then that’s when everything started lining up. So for the last 11 years, ministry was hard, just hitting the streets, doing just sold out for God. Am, am I perfect? Absolutely not. There was a lot of Hills and mountains and roller coasters and all that good stuff, but that’s where my ministry “Set Free” launched. It was all about recovery and the gang banger and the prisoner and all of that. And then it started morphing into, one of my leadership in “Set Free”, just kept calling me coach. You’re my coach, put me in coach. And I’m like, why you keep calling me coach? She’s like, I don’t know. You just, you just seem like a coach. You have this fatherly spirit and you’re a coach. So I just, okay. I’m coach I’m coach I’m coach. Started live streaming on, on on Periscope, started doing virtual whole lot more virtual, and then it started shifting into recovery coaching for like recovery homes and stuff like that. And then life happened and I couldn’t coach. So I started working at a grocery store and started this transition of humbleness. God really humbled me through this three or four years of breaking my flesh and breaking the pride and breaking the arrogance. And that’s where I started really realizing, you know, recovery is for everyone. So how do I brand this to where I can reach people that aren’t in recovery, but help them through their abandonment, the rejection, the mindset, the spirituality.

Meg Glesener: So encouraging to see how God took you really just from that really comfortable life on the streets and the place that you knew, saves you, gets this deep transformation. I, albeit imperfect, right? We, we still need Jesus every day. And brought you into a ministry where you’re helping people be set free from so many things. It’s so encouraging to see what God’s done in your life. Is there a verse that you feel sums up your story? 

Paul Ybarra: Absolutely. You know, there’s a few scriptures, but one that, that I would say that has really spoken to me over the years is Psalms chapter one, verse two and three, where it talks about being planted by the streams of water. That even through the hot weather, the leaf won’t wither. Once we’re rooted, like really, truly rooted in his soil, in his water, that there’s nothing that can come against us that will destroy us. Right? And then also Philippians 1:6, being confident knowing that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. And so it’s the work that he placed in me. It’s the framework that he placed in me. And all I’ve gotta do is really just go after the assignment instead of trying to figure out what my purpose is. Just find out what the assignment is cuz I’m already on purpose. Why? Cuz I’m here. So obviously he had a purpose for me. So once I figured out what the assignment was, that’s where everything changed.

Meg Glesener: Before we seal up the envelope on this letter of encouragement, we have prepared a little treat for you that we like to call the PS. So you can see more of the heart and personality of our guest. Here is your PS.

Are you ready for some bonus questions? 

Paul Ybarra: Absolutely. I love them. 

Meg Glesener: All right, I know you said you didn’t feel, because of your upbringing, that you were able ever to have, or that you didn’t feel like it was a responsible thing to have kids cuz you were just scared. Has that view for you changed at all? And I know you became a grandparent recently.

Paul Ybarra: Through the, through my life, what God has given me is, even though I haven’t had my own kids is he’s given me a, a ton of spiritual kids. And so through life, my, my one ask was always, I want a daughter. Like if I could just have a daughter, I would just love on her. And God has given me a spiritual daughter, especially this season. I met her about a year ago and immediately, like online we’re, you know, I met her through a, through another person, she’s one of my clients. But quickly she’s like, within like two days she’s like, can I just, can I just say that you, I just see you like my dad. And I’m like, I, I feel the same way. And so, you know, she’s married, she’s got kids and all that, but she literally calls me pops. And then, so through that, you know, with my stepson, you know, legally, he’s my stepson, but spiritually he’s my son. Like, I, I, I never address him like, Hey, this is my stepson. You know, whether he said, Hey, this is my stepdad. I, it doesn’t bother me. Like, it’s not about that. It’s he’s my son. And so through that, he’s, he’s had his baby and I see this girl and I’m like, I finally got my girl. Oh, like I finally got my girl. But also through that, what I believe the Lord told me in my life was, you won’t have kids because I’m breaking the curse in your life. Through you. There will no longer be this curse that was laid on your life through your seed, but I will give you children. And I was good with that. I was definitely good with that. And, and now I’ve got a granddaughter, I got spiritual daughters, I got spiritual sons. It’s what I do. So people tell me all the time, you have a very strong father spirit, which is crazy to me sometimes because I used to always be insecure about being a father. And also I never had a father. So when people started speaking that into me, I’m like, how do you see that? and now as I’m in the place that I am now, I actually see it because I’ve received it and say, you know what? I, I do have that father spirit. So yeah. 

Meg Glesener: Yeah. Even, it’s so clear in your, your younger years and, you know, working the streets and doing all those things that have a gift of building community and bringing people together and, and being a father figure it’s, it’s encouraging to see how, you know, what, what the enemy was maybe intending for evil, God’s, God’s using those parts of you to bless and build, build community. Mm-hmm . How do you feel like he’s using that in your life today? 

Paul Ybarra: You know, there there’s a lot of different aspects to look at that, but in this season, probably in the last year or so, I felt led to first start a Facebook group and it was it’s called we are community. And it’s bringing people together. But what I found through that was, I didn’t know how to like be the admin of getting people really engaged. And so the Lord showed me somebody, and I put her in that position and she ran with it and that’s where I learned like, Hmm. I don’t have to do everything. I’m just anointed to bring people together. So as it’s grown, I’m like, okay, well Lord, what’s next? Cuz that’s my heart is to be able to have community connect and collaborate. In October of last year, God gave me a network in my spirit called Kingdom Link Network, and I’m like, okay, I don’t really know what to do with this. And so I said, Lord, I’m I’m, I’m just gonna make it really cute and bedazzle it and make it shiny and I just bought the domain and created this blog and allowed authors to come and blog. And so I’m like, okay, God, I’m done. And he’s like, ah, that’s cute, but we’re gonna add to that. And so through time, about a month and a half ago, two months ago, I did my February workshop and I dropped it and I said, Hey, there’s a Kingdom Link Network and so what it’s based on is being able to build community, connect and collaborate. Because I feel so many times, and I’m sure you have experienced this, right away people want to just collaborate. And it’s like, well, I, I don’t really know you, I haven’t heard you. I haven’t spent time with you. Right. So it’s, it’s kind of like you and I. We met each other on, on, through, through CPA, right? Yep. And then it was like, okay, well, I’m, I’m hearing you talking, I’m hearing you speak and I’m connecting with you on, on zooms and all these community zoom rooms. It’s like, Hey, Paul, let’s let’s connect. right, because there was a community, then there was a connection then it’s like, Hey, how can we collaborate? And then obviously clubhouse started and all this, you know, this big steamroller started happening. And so through, so in kingdom link network, that’s what it’s all about is about servanthood and connecting. And so that’s what God has, has put in my spirit and God is just leading me on how to grow it and is growing organically. It’s growing powerfully and just being able to connect with fellow believers. 

Meg Glesener: Yeah. And I highly recommend Paul’s, you can, you can hear his heart, his wisdom, his ability to help people take leadership to the next level. He’s a great coach and God’s used him in so many ways. And if you’re interested at all, yeah, highly recommend, go check out the website on So just go look on there and you’ll see a lot of opportunities that you would have to get involved. And if people wanna catch you on livestream, Paul, I know you used to have a podcast, but if they wanna catch you on livestream, just to, you know, get a little more flavor of, of hearing what you have to say, where can they find you?

Paul Ybarra: They can find me at that Facebook profile, 

Meg Glesener: Okay. So yeah. So if you go to that website, then you’ll also be able to join into some of his live streaming. He does a lot of live streaming. And do you do Q and A type things, or is it audience participation or more? You just kind of sharing thoughts?

Paul Ybarra: Sharing thoughts, different themes, different topics, audience engagement, and just really from there, then, then start plugging into people and, and really connecting with them through Facebook messenger and all of that good stuff. So yeah, I would love for your audience to come check me out. 

Meg Glesener: Yeah. And you know, if you’ve got a small business or a big business or your company needs some, you know, coaching help to help for the next level. He’s good for all that too. So yeah. Go ahead and check out what Paul’s doing. Paul, is far as you know, your experience in the church, I guess I would love to know what do you feel is the greatest need in the church? 

Paul Ybarra: I would say discipleship. And what I mean by that is not, you know, you go to a class and you have these workbooks and you, and you work and you just fill ’em out and say, okay, that’s discipleship. For me, discipleship is really walking it out with people, one person at a time. And so being able to, to take somebody with you, you know, for six months to a year or just forever, and just walking it out with them, like really doing life with them, looking at their flaws, allowing them to see your flaws, allowing them to see your imperfections, all of that, but outside not only in the building, but outside the building. So I would say one of the major disconnects right now, from what I see and just being involved in, in ministry the last 17 years is real authentic discipleship.

Meg Glesener: This is the last question. How has the pandemic changed you as a person and changed your worldview? 

Paul Ybarra: How has it changed me as a, as a person? I will start with, how has it changed me as a husband? You know, we were in Dallas, Texas. and through the pandemic we were trying to start a church and all kinds of different things were happening and nothing was clicking. And I was, you know, my wife was laid off. I was not working because of, of the pandemic. We stepped out in faith cuz we heard God’s voice and said it’s time to go. And so with my son being out here in Colorado at the time my wife said, I think it’s time to go. The exact word that God gave me. I said, okay, let’s go. So by faith, we pulled up stakes, came out to Colorado. Within six months we bought a house. And so how’s, it changed me as a person? It’s, it’s created the faith in me for God, even stronger because of the transition that, that we went through. And as far as world views, I think it’s done two things. I think it’s brought the world together, but then I think it’s also separated the world. So. Social media is a place to connect, but it’s also disconnected us because now it’s, now that we’re getting into the, back into the local venues and the local events and stuff, people are kind of like, well, I kind of like it right where I’m at. Like, I don’t really have to deal with people and stuff like that. And so I think it’s, it’s, it’s this balance that was like this reset. I really think it was like this reset because in the pandemic and in the whole shutdown for a, you know, a few months skies were clearer, plants were blooming, pollution was a whole lot less . And so it brought the mindset of people. Cause that’s what I’m all about is about the mindset. Bringing them back to being family oriented, being secure with one another, loving on one, one another more. And for me and my wife, we were in each other’s bubbles now. So we had to do life together for like a whole year, and now she works upstairs, I work downstairs and we’re fine. Like we do life together. 

Meg Glesener: I trust you are encouraged by Paul’s story as much as I am, what a rough upbringing and how confusing. And then to just be so deep into drug dealing. And you could, you could just see how he had these beautiful strengths that the enemy was just using for so many wrong things. God saw him right in the middle of that and plucked him out. He called him out of that life. And I just love how today the Lord is using Paul in an amazing way to be a spiritual father, to many. To encourage so many. That his gifts of connecting and bringing people together are so in use. I’m praying for us today that when we look at those around us, maybe sometimes we just see those flaws and the faults, but I’m praying that we have faith to see. Maybe that’s something incredible God could use for his glory on almost every platform where you can listen to a podcast. There’s a little button called follow or subscribe, and maybe you didn’t know this, but I think it’s pretty awesome. When you subscribe to podcast, it’s free. The good thing about it is when you subscribe, the next time I put out an episode, it’ll drop right into your inbox. You don’t have to go search for it. It’s really handy. 

Narrator: Links from our guests will be in the show notes for more everyday extraordinary faith stories. Go to our website and click “subscriber follow” in whatever platform you’re listening to. 2 Corinthians 3:3, And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us. Written, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Until next time, go in peace.

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