From Federal Prison to Mega-Church Pastor - Robert Stevenson
April 28, 2022
From federal prison to leading one of the largest Christian movements in Mexico, check out the powerful story of Pastor Robert Stevenson from Tierra Prometida (The Promised Land) Church.
Youtube - https://youtu.be/b4iX69RJWwM
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Andy Miller III: Thanks for coming to the more to the story podcast we have a lot happening here so thankful for all the ways that we had encouragement over the last several weeks of people.
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Andy Miller III: who appreciate this content and the way that god's leading us to kind of create new things to have good conversations.
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Andy Miller III: To go deeper as we find out more to the story and a variety of subjects, today we have pastor Roberto Stevenson coming on.
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Andy Miller III: I was able to go and teach with him at his church and was incredibly bad blessed by the opportunity to serve there and the work that god's doing.
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Andy Miller III: Through him and through his Church is remarkable, so I hope that you'll enjoy this conversation of His story and what's led him to serve in Mexico.
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Andy Miller III: Thanks to For those of you who maybe don't know there are people in the background, who are making a lot of this happened to Sarah more who helps me with my graphics.
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welcome to the more to the story podcast i'm glad that you come along today everybody, I have my friend on the podcast pastor Roberto Stevenson Roberto welcome to the podcast.
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Roberto Stevenson: Thank you very much it's pleasure to be here now.
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Andy Miller III: People are gonna love this because one of my the podcast that seemed to go the far this or that people keep on coming back to time and time again, or the.
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Andy Miller III: Testimony podcasts and that's why I wanted to hear from you now I got to know you via and we've only met on zoom but next week i'm resolving that problem.
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Andy Miller III: And i'm coming to Mexico City to teach a class with some of your students there but.
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Andy Miller III: we've just had conversations, just like this over zoom and i've been so impressed and thankful for your connection with Leslie biblical seminary but, most importantly, our connection in the Kingdom so.
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Andy Miller III: Roberta i'm just really excited to hear your story now just real quickly just tell us what you do right now and then we'll back up and like hear your story.
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Roberto Stevenson: Okay, well, along with my wife we've been missionaries in Mexico in Mexico country, mostly in Mexico City metropolitan area for the last 35 years.
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Roberto Stevenson: wow i'm so at the beginning, we were street evangelists and we had some success and planting churches, so now we are pestering a network of churches.
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Roberto Stevenson: Although I don't.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah, but I still feel like we're missionary evangelists.
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Roberto Stevenson: All right, people in Mexico call us pastors.
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Andy Miller III: gotcha and there's a about 60 churches in your network is.
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Roberto Stevenson: About 60 churches.
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Andy Miller III: wow and.
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Roberto Stevenson: Mexico so i'm outside.
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Andy Miller III: In the congregation you, Sir what's the name of that that.
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Andy Miller III: The kind of the mother church has speak.
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Roberto Stevenson: it's tiered approach that either, which in English is promised land.
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Andy Miller III: Okay, great and that's me i'm not I don't want to emphasize numbers too much, but it's a large church by most people's standards right.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah it's a large church were several thousand.
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Andy Miller III: awesome okay let's back up people will hear your accent they'll say, well, it doesn't sound like he's only from Mexico right like obviously a missionary so tell us a little about how you came to Jesus.
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Roberto Stevenson: Had a praying mother.
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Roberto Stevenson: raised in a very nominal united Methodist church, although my mom was very active.
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Roberto Stevenson: But my dad wasn't so somewhere in high school between sports I was introduced to marijuana introduced to drugs, this was in 1969 1970.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah you know the the That was what was happening back then and i'm went on the first year of college, I think the only thing that kept me from getting sucked into the drug addiction and the drug world quicker was I you know I like sports and played sports and.
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Andy Miller III: yeah.
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Roberto Stevenson: I tried to get in shape, but the drugs, you know eventually got me and by the time I was 19 I was doing hard drugs.
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Roberto Stevenson: I was introduced to people that told me, I can sell marijuana.
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Roberto Stevenson: And I would sell it out of the trunk of my car in the Community college and I thought I was like I thought I was all that.
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Roberto Stevenson: Oh yeah you know I mean I thought I really thought that I was doing good I had parties, I could, since I was selling the drugs, I was the life of the party I got arrested.
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Roberto Stevenson: But it was just for just for possession of marijuana which I think is legal in a lot of places now unfortunately little opinionated there.
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Roberto Stevenson: Absolutely, and I did.
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Roberto Stevenson: I got some community service and I got a few months in the county jail, but that only made like my REP in that world even stronger, you know i've been.
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Roberto Stevenson: here for six months, then, when I was 24 I was, I continue to sell drugs I dropped out of college I just had a facade of being a university student and I got sentenced to nine years in the federal prison for.
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Roberto Stevenson: Our interstate transport of drugs, and it was a hard sentence.
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Roberto Stevenson: huh nine year minimum.
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Roberto Stevenson: And I went to a federal penitentiary.
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Roberto Stevenson: And I felt like my whole world ended.
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Roberto Stevenson: But you know, this is where the conversion comes in God had other plans.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah I am I was two and a half, three year I was like three years in prison, and I was a totally crazy totally unsafe did everything in prison that you're not supposed to do after I got over the initial fear I was 24 years old.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah but the nine year sentence.
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Roberto Stevenson: And I was in a prison outside of Washington DC and Virginia.
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Roberto Stevenson: And I got in trouble for with other running football pools and had money, and so I got put in the hole and it wasn't the first time I was in the hole.
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Roberto Stevenson: But this time they came in after a few weeks, and they had me they were giving me a disciplinary transfer they don't tell you where you're going.
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Roberto Stevenson: Okay, so I went things went from bad to worse and I gotta say this for the testimony and I, and they put me they pick you up on a van the shackle your hands your feet, but you get out on the road and.
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Roberto Stevenson: They left us in Fayette county can Kentucky.
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Roberto Stevenson: Oh yeah i'll tell you where you're going you can't call anybody.
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Roberto Stevenson: And the kale a county jail, we were federal prisoner, so we were kept in ourselves.
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Roberto Stevenson: Like he say 24 seven, but I was put in a cell that had a New Testament.
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Roberto Stevenson: Oh, why, and it was a New Testament remember it was a New Testament I still have it, it was a New Testament at the good news for modern man.
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Roberto Stevenson: With my drawings in it and I read mark Matthew I can't really say I remember what I read or what verse and after several days of reading the New Testament in the in the hole.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah and I got on my knees and I said I mean, of course I knew about Jesus from my growing up in the Methodist church and my mom's praying for me and.
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Roberto Stevenson: I got on my knees and said God, you know if you can do anything i'm scared I wasn't bargaining with God, like everybody does when they get put in jail.
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Roberto Stevenson: first few weeks everybody says God, if you get me out, I promise I won't drink.
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Roberto Stevenson: I promise I won't do that and I did all that.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah I haven't the heavens are pretty silent and I gave my life to God and there was a change or radical change in my heart.
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Roberto Stevenson: wow then in a few days, one thing I remember well.
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Roberto Stevenson: I we got we go they came and picked us up in the in the marshals in the band, and he took us to Atlanta penitentiary and in Atlanta penitentiary is a really tough prison is just like you see on in the movies and.
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Roberto Stevenson: The guy I got put in with a mafia guy and Italian older man and he in the cell later I think he was on a witness protection that's why he was there, you know stuck away, and I was on disciplining and he had a stack of these chaplain Ray and the different books and the King James Bible.
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Roberto Stevenson: And he had a stack of them over there by the bunk and he said yeah ordered all these he said they brought them to me, so you want them, you can have them.
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Roberto Stevenson: So I spent a month or two in Atlanta penitentiary and I read every Christian book this guy had.
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Andy Miller III: wow.
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Roberto Stevenson: You know, and was reading the Bible, and we were also on lockdown and then I realized that God had done the work in my life, and I was saved that was born again.
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Andy Miller III: amen wow.
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Roberto Stevenson: Sorry, I got a little long on.
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Andy Miller III: Oh, I love it no that's great so obviously a story is in there, but now it maybe this isn't the part of the story, but we were talking one time, when I told you, I had built the Salvation Army.
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Andy Miller III: You said that there was a couple of Salvation Army folks that came in and saw you in in federal prison.
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Roberto Stevenson: Right that's when, after I got from Atlanta I got transferred to Danbury.
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Roberto Stevenson: Okay i've never really been in a Christian service yet.
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Andy Miller III: Okay.
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Roberto Stevenson: But in Danbury of course you're in quarantine when you're in a federal prison system when you first move even though i've been in prison, over three years, I put you on quarantine.
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Roberto Stevenson: So in the quarantine they told me about the different services and then, of course, as i'm I went to everything, so we had a couple Salvation Army guys, I met him, I think, in the first Sunday service.
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Roberto Stevenson: That they came in and did the service men and women, and there was one guy that continued to write me about a year, a year and a half after I got out of prison.
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Roberto Stevenson: And some of those letters I have a box, I think, in my sister's house, I was going to look to see if.
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Roberto Stevenson: To get the name for you, but I haven't been back there yet so yeah man.
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Roberto Stevenson: No man can remember, and he was faithfully he would write.
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Roberto Stevenson: Some of the things I think that, I mean he would do, which is nice guys and i'm they would preach, then I had you on Wednesday night prison fellowship came in.
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Andy Miller III: Right, he back in the day, this is like 1981.
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Andy Miller III: Like chuck colson himself.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah.
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Roberto Stevenson: I guess a chuck colson.
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Andy Miller III: Or did you really.
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Andy Miller III: I thought you're saying so early i'm like it might have been like before became.
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Roberto Stevenson: No, no, no, we really bad well.
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Roberto Stevenson: Then didn't really meet him but.
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Roberto Stevenson: He heard my testimony and when I got out of Danbury, which was a miracle it he they had an event in Washington DC and he invited me to give my testimony and short testimony and he put it in his you know his monthly magazine.
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Roberto Stevenson: So actually I didn't meet chuck colson.
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Roberto Stevenson: You know there's a lot of people that are have studied all his books and knowing that i've never really got the meeting.
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Andy Miller III: But yeah.
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Roberto Stevenson: I actually met inside prison fellowship on Wednesday, I had the Salvation Army guys that would come in and they're just nice guys.
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Roberto Stevenson: I, as a new Christian and.
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Roberto Stevenson: It was they were like in every two weeks.
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Roberto Stevenson: apostolic Pentecostal holiness African American church, because I was in Danbury Connecticut from New York would come.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah and that was the time man, they would light it up, you know they would and we're you know the songs were all Jesus on the main line tell them what you want, tell them what you want.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah anybody that's done prison ministry also long's loads of songs so I had a year.
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Roberto Stevenson: Of in Danbury federal penitentiary a little over a year really good discipleship yeah.
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Roberto Stevenson: And, of course, there was a man or two in the prison that had a couple years in Jesus, and I look to them like very mature Christians and they taught me how to read the Bible, and we had our own little groups.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah so it was an intensive discipleship.
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Roberto Stevenson: That you know, we need to try to recapture that in the Church is not easy.
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Roberto Stevenson: it's like the small groups in the bands.
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Roberto Stevenson: Yes, yeah you're in you're in that environment and.
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Roberto Stevenson: You know, there was a prison thousands of men would come hundreds would come out Sunday, but there was about 10 or 12 of us that we really gave accountability to each other.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah and I wouldn't trade that year for anything.
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Roberto Stevenson: sounds we oh wow.
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Andy Miller III: You know you bring this up it and there's a famous line in my denomination maybe you've heard it and you've talked about your admiration for William booth and kind of inspiration you receive from him.
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Andy Miller III: But it's actually not not positive he actually said it, but it's something like he would have said it's called the all fight speech I will fight speech he's a while women weep as they do now i'll fight.
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Andy Miller III: While little children are on the streets i'll fight, while there remains one last drunkard and then, but there is this other line that is often forgotten is not necessarily part of savagery ministry as much anymore, but it needs to be.
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Andy Miller III: It says, while men go to prison in and out in and out as they do now i'll fight and so it's something it's something that we encourage people to do here Wesley biblical seminary is prison ministry, to get out and do things like love those people have places to preach.
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Andy Miller III: Like in in their home church well I got a place, you can preach.
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Andy Miller III: Right.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah when I got home I got really quickly involved in prison ministry and um yeah but you know the Salvation Army link was good, they I found out later they weren't they weren't officers, yet they were soldiers and.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah I know they're still going to school and they were training, but you know we were talking about right before the podcast the church today we can't lose that.
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Andy Miller III: Right.
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Roberto Stevenson: You know the guy I was for time with the.
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Roberto Stevenson: With whack and the founder CT stud you know i'd rather.
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Roberto Stevenson: i'd rather have a Chapel within a yard of hell, then um no i'd rather.
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Roberto Stevenson: i'd rather have a rescue mission within a yard of hell.
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Roberto Stevenson: Then live within the sound of a Chapel bell.
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Andy Miller III: Right right.
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Roberto Stevenson: Those guys they had it with the rhymes then.
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Andy Miller III: They did they did.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah that same spirit, also we were with work for like three or four years.
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Roberto Stevenson: And he was the founder a guy named CT study.
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Andy Miller III: Right yeah.
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Roberto Stevenson: and his heart was.
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Roberto Stevenson: It was similar to William booth different contexts different background, but.
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Roberto Stevenson: I mean, he went for it.
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Andy Miller III: So did you serve all nine years.
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Roberto Stevenson: No that's where the miracle came in, I was now serving the Lord I was, I was happy.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah the Gospel songs that I was learning and.
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Roberto Stevenson: A couple hands, I would walk down the halls of the prisons singing them.
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Roberto Stevenson: standing on the promises of God, my savior standing on the Center fire yeah.
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Roberto Stevenson: And and those like triumphal hems we were singing them and one day I got called up to the administrative office and that's always a fearful thing, even though i'm solidly saved.
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Roberto Stevenson: i'm a federal prison, this is like a medium to maximum federal prison because I had got bumped up because of my disciplinary problems.
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Roberto Stevenson: hmm and he had to go to the administration office you know you you put the cuffs on with the chain around your waist they take me up.
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Roberto Stevenson: And the administrative warden was sort of angry came in to see me the the guards are standing behind me i'm standing there you know it comes in, sits at the table and I don't know how you did it Stephenson.
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Roberto Stevenson: You got an appeal on your sentence and your minimum is instead of a nine in the federal prison, they give you a minimum and maximum I had a 921.
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Roberto Stevenson: Okay, they said, your sentence has been reduced from the nine to 21 to three to nine and you've been here for over four years.
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Roberto Stevenson: wow so i'm so you're getting out and he gave me a.
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Roberto Stevenson: And I even said, am I going to a halfway house because that's what it prison jargon, you know.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah no there's no time.
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Roberto Stevenson: He said just tell me if somebody's going to pick you up you want a bus ticket and then go to the tailor shop to get measured for clothes.
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Roberto Stevenson: Because obviously we're wearing a uniform for four years.
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Roberto Stevenson: yeah and they give you the federal county and state prisons, I don't think do it federal prison and they give you $50.
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Roberto Stevenson: Oh, if somebody doesn't pick you up, you have to go with the marshals.
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Roberto Stevenson: Like to the bus station and they see that you physically get on the bus, to get out of to get out of town.
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Roberto Stevenson: And I got that.
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Roberto Stevenson: I got out of prison December 2 1982.
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Roberto Stevenson: wow and it was a miracle like where'd you go word I went to my mom's house.
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Roberto Stevenson: Okay, my mother and father's house outside of Washington DC again.
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Roberto Stevenson: Okay, my mom had on.
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Roberto Stevenson: My mom through Community Bible studies had now radically also given her life to the Lord she was praying more fervently for me and I got involved right away in your church okay.
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Roberto Stevenson: for about a year I went to the pastor and the day I got out of prison, I had the little I guess it's called the upper room and English, the little devotional book.
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Andy Miller III: gap.
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Roberto Stevenson: Because they took everything else i'm in the holding cell waiting to go there to get my street clothes and get out on the street get my 50 bucks that they were going to give me.
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Roberto Stevenson: And I, the only thing I could keep with me in my back pocket was that little upper room I opened it December 2 1982 Matthew 2819.
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Roberto Stevenson: wow and then the guys Another point I should say before.
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Roberto Stevenson: I got a call up to the wardens office I don't know this might stretch the faith of some of your listeners but it's the truth.
00:16:40.710 --> 00:16:43.740
Roberto Stevenson: we're not you know crazy.
00:16:44.850 --> 00:16:59.910
Roberto Stevenson: charismatics here in our ministry, but one of the brothers in the APA style of holiness church called me up to the altar on a Sunday night, this was just a few days before I got the news that my sentence got reduced by six years.
00:17:00.210 --> 00:17:00.420
Andy Miller III: wow.
00:17:00.450 --> 00:17:01.290
Roberto Stevenson: And he hugged me.
00:17:02.640 --> 00:17:09.540
Roberto Stevenson: And I don't know his name they were all evangelists so and so i'm in a sister evangelist brother.
00:17:10.440 --> 00:17:16.170
Roberto Stevenson: yeah and he prophesied and he said you'll be with your room you'll be with your mother by Christmas and you.
00:17:16.650 --> 00:17:24.180
Roberto Stevenson: And God i've called you to preach to use the King James language and he said, you know i've called you to preach the Gospel and you'll preach the Gospel he told me.
00:17:24.840 --> 00:17:33.810
Roberto Stevenson: In another language that you do not that you know not now and he's and he gave me that prophecy first, he said, you will be traveling on airplanes around the world.
00:17:34.050 --> 00:17:45.150
Roberto Stevenson: And then, he said, to show that this is let's say if the Lord he said by Christmas you'll be with your mother and and worshiping the Lord worshiping me in a church, he said it like in first person.
00:17:45.600 --> 00:17:51.900
Roberto Stevenson: I didn't know anything about any of that and I was like just like whoa guy there was a guy in.
00:17:52.740 --> 00:17:54.510
Roberto Stevenson: A pastor in the prison.
00:17:55.080 --> 00:17:57.180
Roberto Stevenson: yeah and they could roll call.
00:17:57.240 --> 00:18:12.030
Roberto Stevenson: roll call right when i'm getting the prophecy the voice comes over the microphone so roll call the visitors, leaving the prisoners go back to their dorm and i'm Leonard fields, who I looked up to greatly because he knew the Bible.
00:18:13.380 --> 00:18:22.110
Roberto Stevenson: African American brother in prison, it was the cycling me personally, he grabbed me put his arm around his head was great is that was a prophetic word and i'm like what.
00:18:23.490 --> 00:18:25.140
Roberto Stevenson: And he said write it down.
00:18:25.320 --> 00:18:27.180
Roberto Stevenson: everything he told you down.
00:18:27.420 --> 00:18:36.330
Roberto Stevenson: And I had my chaplain Ray King James Bible with like a red vinyl cover I still have that the Bible is falling apart and I wrote everything down, he told me.
00:18:36.900 --> 00:18:40.500
Roberto Stevenson: Three or four days later, is when I got the news that i'd be home by Christmas.
00:18:40.650 --> 00:18:45.660
Roberto Stevenson: wow the date I got that word was November 13 I wrote it down.
00:18:45.930 --> 00:18:58.500
Roberto Stevenson: wow so I had to prophesy I got the word from the upper room my daily devotion on December 2, and so I got to my mom's church and, finally, she got her an appointment with the pastor for me.
00:18:59.250 --> 00:19:06.300
Roberto Stevenson: And he heard my testimony and now as a pastor in the YouTube I mean this young guy out of prison, I must have blown him away I said.
00:19:06.300 --> 00:19:09.990
Roberto Stevenson: i'm a missionary missionary I got this I got Matthew.
00:19:10.290 --> 00:19:13.140
Roberto Stevenson: I thought he was going to send me as a missionary like two weeks later.
00:19:13.620 --> 00:19:15.360
Roberto Stevenson: yeah but I was still on parole.
00:19:15.870 --> 00:19:16.500
00:19:17.880 --> 00:19:19.380
Roberto Stevenson: So I there's just so much.
00:19:19.830 --> 00:19:21.240
Andy Miller III: Andy the god I love it.
00:19:21.240 --> 00:19:26.940
Roberto Stevenson: Oh, so good i'm actually two years later, getting out of prison.
00:19:28.890 --> 00:19:42.930
Roberto Stevenson: A year and a half later I was that the pastor called me and said, we have a coffee house and evangelistic ministry ministry in the north of Mexico and the young man there and the married couple that are going as missionaries, you know, would you like to go.
00:19:44.040 --> 00:19:53.790
Roberto Stevenson: And I said I don't speak Spanish This is like a year and a half later I was a fifth I taught Sunday school for that year and a half, with the five year olds actually teach I was like the teaching assistant.
00:19:53.970 --> 00:19:56.070
Roberto Stevenson: gotcha pastor was very wise.
00:19:56.490 --> 00:20:03.270
Roberto Stevenson: And every once in a while I taught if the young lady who was the head of the class, would you know go not be there, so that's what I did.
00:20:03.660 --> 00:20:11.070
Roberto Stevenson: But at that time I did get back into some county jail so like you said I didn't get chance to preach in that year and a half and I got out share my testimony.
00:20:11.940 --> 00:20:24.570
Roberto Stevenson: But um so a year and a half, out of prison, I had to get a special permission from my parole officer to go out the first time as a missionary I was still giving urine samples to see if I was on drugs, it was a condition of my parole.
00:20:24.960 --> 00:20:36.570
Roberto Stevenson: wow so for one side of solidly my hearts change them a new Christian Christ, but i'm still going to see the parole officer once a week, giving your samples whenever he asked me, and he gave me the permission.
00:20:36.810 --> 00:20:38.640
Roberto Stevenson: For six months to go to Mexico.
00:20:39.210 --> 00:20:44.940
Roberto Stevenson: I came back and I got in valley forge university there in Pennsylvania to study the Bible.
00:20:45.450 --> 00:20:56.940
Roberto Stevenson: Basically cuz I was in them on the mission field and I met some missionaries that had been to a Bible college and I was like unduly impressed they know what christology is and they know this.
00:20:57.450 --> 00:21:11.580
Roberto Stevenson: And I filled out my application, while I was in Mexico, I got back the parole officer said you didn't report, I went and I told him he came to the College to without telling me to see if this was true he could not believe it.
00:21:11.940 --> 00:21:27.990
Roberto Stevenson: Was somebody that was selling marijuana and selling pills and stuff like that, and was in prison was you know really admissions and stuff and the day he came they asked me to give a testimony in the Chapel and I tell you Andy i'll never forget these are moments you don't forget.
00:21:28.320 --> 00:21:31.170
Roberto Stevenson: yeah I walked out of the Chapel and I see my parole officer.
00:21:32.010 --> 00:21:34.740
Roberto Stevenson: And he had tears in his eyes and he wasn't a Christian.
00:21:34.920 --> 00:21:39.000
Roberto Stevenson: wow is this is what this is what we need to see all.
00:21:39.870 --> 00:21:40.830
Roberto Stevenson: amen and.
00:21:41.400 --> 00:21:55.530
Roberto Stevenson: Two weeks later, I got a letter I still had like six years parole because my sense was three to nine right like five years bro so he got me off parole early and that's how I was able to pursue in the purposes of God.
00:21:55.920 --> 00:21:57.480
Roberto Stevenson: But there's so much more I mean God is.
00:21:57.480 --> 00:21:57.840
Andy Miller III: Just so.
00:21:59.070 --> 00:22:06.300
Andy Miller III: So, give me the quick version like like where you were when before you got from there to before you got into the church planning mode.
00:22:07.770 --> 00:22:08.160
Andy Miller III: You stay.
00:22:09.000 --> 00:22:12.780
Andy Miller III: Right, you did, and I went into school I three years in that college.
00:22:13.200 --> 00:22:19.140
Roberto Stevenson: I continued to go back to Mexico in the summers to the north of Mexico, where I first cut my teeth and missions.
00:22:19.500 --> 00:22:20.970
Roberto Stevenson: pretty well i'd learn Spanish.
00:22:21.450 --> 00:22:33.600
Roberto Stevenson: At the last few months there in the school, I met who the lady who's now my wife, she had been a student in the same school, but now she was going to a teacher's college to finish up and we had a really, really quick.
00:22:35.820 --> 00:22:45.810
Roberto Stevenson: relationship as far as that and in I graduated I only needed to go to the College three years instead of four and.
00:22:46.950 --> 00:23:02.070
Roberto Stevenson: I committed to the missionaries in Mexico, that I would go live in our House, so they could do a furlough which they've never done so, the commitment was there before I met and was engaged to my wife bonnie so I we went out a few times she's here somewhere probably listening.
00:23:02.520 --> 00:23:05.100
Roberto Stevenson: And she can correct me, you know as wives do and.
00:23:05.520 --> 00:23:06.600
Roberto Stevenson: I asked her to marry me.
00:23:07.020 --> 00:23:12.630
Roberto Stevenson: yeah before I be and but I said, I have a commitment from July to December, I have to be back in Mexico.
00:23:13.020 --> 00:23:27.360
Roberto Stevenson: I told the missionaries I would live in their house and keep a watch on things, the best I could, and so I got engaged, we got engaged like in June barter the ring and July I left, which was actually a good engagement when a whole lot of temptation, you know.
00:23:29.100 --> 00:23:37.200
Roberto Stevenson: There wasn't but think about this there wasn't even emails much like what's up facetime zoom so we you know we did the letter writing thing.
00:23:37.230 --> 00:23:38.100
Andy Miller III: yeah sure.
00:23:38.340 --> 00:23:46.590
Roberto Stevenson: The ladies in the post office in some ways, put to see Mexico with where it started mocking because I go in every day with a little letter and put the stamp on and mail it.
00:23:47.640 --> 00:24:00.570
Roberto Stevenson: And I came back in December and we got married January 2 and pastor had given me good advice that getting married I should take a year from full time ministry and soon after that.
00:24:01.620 --> 00:24:04.170
Roberto Stevenson: Some leaders of the church came and said there's a man that.
00:24:06.180 --> 00:24:11.160
Roberto Stevenson: doesn't want to be known but he's paying your full ride to go to fuller seminary the school of world missions.
00:24:11.310 --> 00:24:14.940
Roberto Stevenson: wow which in like 1986 fuller seminary was like.
00:24:15.270 --> 00:24:18.120
Roberto Stevenson: In the school of world missions Donald MacGyver and.
00:24:18.540 --> 00:24:22.500
Roberto Stevenson: It was like the cutting edge and missions, Robert Kraft and dealing.
00:24:23.760 --> 00:24:28.530
Roberto Stevenson: You know, they were prideful the fact that they had older now, and so, then we went to fuller for a year.
00:24:29.880 --> 00:24:32.790
Roberto Stevenson: We were accepted as missionaries during that time.
00:24:33.030 --> 00:24:33.390
Andy Miller III: Okay.
00:24:33.420 --> 00:24:42.630
Roberto Stevenson: Well, the vandalism crusade, one year after getting married to the day, we came flew into Mexico City to become part of a church planting movement.
00:24:43.920 --> 00:24:48.360
Roberto Stevenson: As submitting to Mexican leaders and Mexican brothers well that was in.
00:24:48.660 --> 00:24:51.300
Roberto Stevenson: January 1989.
00:24:52.620 --> 00:25:04.710
Andy Miller III: amazing Okay, and then I want to make sure you get the story, and so, then you had an interaction with a Catholic priest who became a evangelical Christian I mean i'm not trying to you know.
00:25:04.920 --> 00:25:11.970
Andy Miller III: move people against each other, but that was a part of the story and that's a part of the story of the movement that you're a part of so give us that I know we're running out of.
00:25:12.000 --> 00:25:15.660
Roberto Stevenson: time but I want to get it in yeah i'm sorry I get I would.
00:25:15.720 --> 00:25:18.090
Andy Miller III: love it off well the pockets, you have to give.
00:25:18.090 --> 00:25:23.610
Roberto Stevenson: A brief version of yeah I just got is just really good in the all the glory would be for the Lord.
00:25:23.880 --> 00:25:27.270
Roberto Stevenson: Absolutely, and everything i've said the older, I get the more I said, Lord.
00:25:27.780 --> 00:25:33.390
Roberto Stevenson: Let me be like john the Baptist you know I got a decrease law, you need to increase in my life.
00:25:33.720 --> 00:25:35.700
Roberto Stevenson: yeah it's not going to be good.
00:25:37.260 --> 00:25:42.450
Roberto Stevenson: In 19 we had some success my wife and I with church planning with that movement.
00:25:42.810 --> 00:25:50.790
Roberto Stevenson: Yes, and we stayed with them for four or five years, we were able to actually start a church plant from nothing in a really, really rough neighborhood where we live.
00:25:51.930 --> 00:25:55.770
Roberto Stevenson: We had that incarnation dual mission philosophy.
00:25:56.100 --> 00:25:58.230
Roberto Stevenson: You know, we live like two people we.
00:25:58.500 --> 00:26:11.340
Roberto Stevenson: can obviously get rid of our car and we lived in like the projects, and you know this is what our our goal was and still is still is even after all these years, like a simple lifestyle there's another Salvation Army tenants.
00:26:11.490 --> 00:26:12.900
Andy Miller III: There you go hey man.
00:26:12.960 --> 00:26:23.940
Roberto Stevenson: yeah and we really believe that strongly is a balance with your family so we're out preaching on the street, we had a couple of churches one church up and established.
00:26:24.450 --> 00:26:33.870
Roberto Stevenson: And then we're starting a new church and our thing was getting out where the street markets are you'll see them when you get here they're called Qiang DS for those who know Latin America.
00:26:34.380 --> 00:26:52.050
Roberto Stevenson: And they set them up one day Monday here Tuesday and another neighborhood and they they're moving markets, and so our philosophy for a couple years i've watched speakers and I had up a Volkswagen car battery the hook, the speakers in, and if we would do we would put Christian music on.
00:26:52.470 --> 00:26:52.680
Andy Miller III: yeah.
00:26:52.710 --> 00:26:54.120
Roberto Stevenson: And the idea was loud.
00:26:55.260 --> 00:27:04.680
Roberto Stevenson: You know and get people and then we'd have a microphone hooked into the speakers and I would tell the young guys with me when you get like 20 or 25 you give them they start to testify.
00:27:05.100 --> 00:27:07.560
Roberto Stevenson: Three minute testimony so we've been doing this and.
00:27:07.860 --> 00:27:15.000
Roberto Stevenson: we've been getting it better, because we were doing it for a couple year couple years like two or three days a week, I mean I guess.
00:27:16.290 --> 00:27:18.570
Roberto Stevenson: We were we were westlands and salvation.
00:27:20.190 --> 00:27:22.110
Roberto Stevenson: Salvation Army from the 19th century.
00:27:22.140 --> 00:27:23.190
Roberto Stevenson: let's go to embed your.
00:27:23.190 --> 00:27:23.910
Andy Miller III: yeah oh you.
00:27:24.570 --> 00:27:29.280
Roberto Stevenson: Were out there, doing it, and then I would usually take her the younger guys was a good chance for them to learn to preach.
00:27:29.520 --> 00:27:33.570
Roberto Stevenson: Give us give testimony to give a salvation message in 10 minutes yeah.
00:27:33.600 --> 00:27:40.650
Roberto Stevenson: or 90 minutes and we'd even stand up we'd have like a little wooden box, so he could stand up to be just a little bit above.
00:27:41.490 --> 00:27:50.670
Roberto Stevenson: And we got some hard times on one of these things, a Catholic priest shows up there's about 50 people around like in a circle, if you can imagine it see this white guy.
00:27:51.180 --> 00:28:00.570
Roberto Stevenson: preaching in Spanish, and the music and I think that day, I had a young couple that were from some church and I did mine ministry, so they even got more people.
00:28:00.630 --> 00:28:01.260
Roberto Stevenson: You know where they.
00:28:01.710 --> 00:28:12.810
Roberto Stevenson: They do like a Christian mime out on the streets, and then I saw the priest, and he was dressed as a priest, and I got nervous and I got to the end of where you talk about repentance and he started to applaud me.
00:28:13.260 --> 00:28:13.950
Andy Miller III: I interesting.
00:28:13.980 --> 00:28:23.220
Roberto Stevenson: And I went over and introduced him, he said, we need you need to teach my church this I couldn't get it because of my years in Mexico Catholic priest is against us.
00:28:23.490 --> 00:28:30.720
Roberto Stevenson: Right, you know they don't like us it's us in them and and we exchanged phone numbers and little cards.
00:28:31.320 --> 00:28:44.070
Roberto Stevenson: And he called me a day or two later and invited me for breakfast and 10 minutes into the breakfast as he sharing who he is I said this guy is solidly born again he's still priest, and he had had an experience with God.
00:28:44.400 --> 00:28:44.850
Andy Miller III: Yes.
00:28:44.970 --> 00:28:56.820
Roberto Stevenson: or any we've been reading the Bible now for about four years and um it was that was 93 it was three years later, that he finally renounce as they were pressuring him he renounced the Catholic Church.
00:28:57.180 --> 00:28:59.820
Roberto Stevenson: Okay, for those three years he did a lot of good.
00:29:00.300 --> 00:29:09.360
Roberto Stevenson: yeah because he was preaching the gospel you know, in the mass and stuff and he really was and then I became his friend in those three years.
00:29:12.120 --> 00:29:17.700
Roberto Stevenson: And, and I sort of got it on the one side from some evangelical Christians that couldn't believe why.
00:29:18.180 --> 00:29:24.240
Roberto Stevenson: Right, you know i'm associated with a Catholic priest, and I went to their thing and taught a class on evangelism and stuff.
00:29:25.260 --> 00:29:43.170
Roberto Stevenson: And why on the others, you know, and then, on the other side, so I was sort of we were like but I knew that he was real and he eventually left the Catholic Church became my mentor until he died and before he died that we went through sometimes a revival with him incredible revival.
00:29:45.180 --> 00:29:48.210
Roberto Stevenson: And, and you know we probably have to do a part two.
00:29:48.420 --> 00:29:49.230
Andy Miller III: yeah so.
00:29:49.260 --> 00:29:54.120
Roberto Stevenson: You asked me how I was converted and I went and that you know the half of it.
00:29:55.170 --> 00:30:01.920
Roberto Stevenson: Everybody has this testimony it's incredible when you think about it and you reflect it's like whoa.
00:30:02.610 --> 00:30:15.180
Roberto Stevenson: You know, sometimes we don't feel like today, God is with us or he's not leading us or Where are you lord and when we do this, like we're doing now with you, we see that God has just let our pets every step of the way don't want.
00:30:15.420 --> 00:30:16.710
Andy Miller III: yeah absolutely.
00:30:17.190 --> 00:30:23.880
Andy Miller III: Well, Roberta Thank you so much for taking time with us on this and we will love to come up with another time we'll have to have you on again.
00:30:24.120 --> 00:30:27.720
Andy Miller III: i'm excited to come down i'm going to be, by the time this podcast comes out.
00:30:28.050 --> 00:30:34.170
Andy Miller III: I will have already come and gone from being around you and maybe that will give me a good opportunity to ask some better questions.
00:30:34.470 --> 00:30:39.210
Andy Miller III: After I see the ministry myself there, but we, thank God, for the work he's doing through you, your.
00:30:39.570 --> 00:30:48.180
Andy Miller III: wps board member actively involved in the academic affairs committee and all these things, and hopefully teaching adjunct for us at some point here in the future too, so.
00:30:48.360 --> 00:30:57.630
Andy Miller III: we're really amazed and thankful for that God is still doing these type of things and I think we're all challenged and encouraged by hearing from you today thanks so much for coming on Roberto.
00:30:58.410 --> 00:30:58.950
Roberto Stevenson: Thank you.
00:31:00.300 --> 00:31:04.650
Roberto Stevenson: Once again, I apologize for i'm talking too much.
00:31:04.740 --> 00:31:07.860
Andy Miller III: No it's exactly what we wanted, I so appreciate it.