Posted by: mopmovm | May 25, 2010

“THE PURPOSE, THE VISION NEWSLETTER”

Before God’s calling ever became clear, the focus of Men of Purpose Men of Vision has been bringing healing and wholeness to individuals who have been left broken and weary.  Ministry founder Don Stewart has dedicated himself and his life to maintaining these principles and being an instrument of God’s love, grace and mercy in a world that often experiences little of these.  Many times that involves counseling, both in individual and group settings, as well as intercessory prayer and mentoring.  The following story, based on the experiences of Michael and Tamika King, exemplifies the many facets of the ministry and is a shining example of how God works in the lives of ordinary people in truly extraordinary ways.

Michael and Tamika met as high school sweethearts.  They eventually married and became the proud parents of three children.  Early in their marriage, Tamika was employed by IBM, ironically in the same office as MOPMOV founder Don Stewart.  This is really where God began the work of reconciliation, even before problems arose.

According to Tamika, “I remember Don as this guy who always asked me how I was doing…he always was concerned about me, but I never really paid much attention when he talked to me about God.  But I knew he was someone I could talk to about my life.  One day at lunch, I mentioned that my daughters needed winter coats.  The next day, Don met me at my car after work with three gift wrapped coats.”

At this point in time, Michael and Tamika’s marriage began to suffer some stresses.  Michael was going to school and working long hours and also going out with friends more frequently.  He readily admits this took time away from Tamika and the family.

“I knew I should have been spending time with my family, but the stress of work and school got to be too much.  Then I met someone at school and before I knew it, things had gone way too far way too fast.  Tamika found out and she and the kids moved in with her Mom.” Michael recalls.

Tamika turned to Don for help and counseling.  Things became more complicated when Michael allowed his girlfriend and her son to move into the apartment he and Tamika had originally shared.  She was left wondering what had become of the marriage she had wanted so badly.

“I felt betrayed,” said Tamika.  “I couldn’t imagine Michael doing something like this.  I still loved him, but I was hurt so badly by the actions he had taken.  I told Don I was starting the paperwork to file for a divorce.”

Don remembers, “I told Tamika to wait on the divorce if she truly loved him.  I told her I wanted to talk to Michael in person – not on the phone.  I needed to face him and have him face me like a man…not to berate him, but to gently make him face his responsibilities as a husband and father.”

Meanwhile, Tamika proceeded with the divorce process and sought to obtain child support.  Michael was served papers at his job, but curiously enough, he says he never understood them to be preliminary divorce papers.  After agreeing to meet with Don, Michael says God began to work on his heart.

“Deep in my heart, I knew what I had done was wrong,” Michael said, “but I just kept doing it.  I wanted to get back with Tamika and my girls but I just didn’t know how.  I was trapped.  I started seeing Don on a regular basis and he began to explain to me God’s plan for my life and how my mistakes had led me to this place I was in.  Finally, in January of 2008, I gave my life to God and accepted Jesus as my Savior.  It was like a new beginning for me.  I don’t really know how to explain it.”

At the same time Michael was experiencing salvation, Tamika was faced with a major choice.  Her lawyer informed her that the final hearing on the divorce was scheduled for late January.  She would have to decide whether she really wanted this divorce or not.  Tamika again sought counsel from Don, who told her to wait and see if she saw any changes in Michael.  Reluctantly, she agreed and the hearing was postponed.  She set a condition on any possible reconciliation with Michael: the girlfriend had to go and he had to break the lease on the apartment.

In the midst of all this, Michael had no knowledge that the divorce was close to being finalized or that Tamika was also counseling with Don.  Don urged him to move the girlfriend and her son out as soon as possible and to break the lease as a good faith gesture to show Tamika his seriousness in regards to mending the relationship.  This would prove to be a major test of his new faith.

“All I could think of at first was how much it was going to cost me to break the lease.  Finally, I called Tamika and told her I would do it.  I just had this realization that all along, it had been demonic influences that had led me to do these things, and I was determined not to let them led me astray again.”  Michael said.

Thanks to Don’s persistent urging, Tamika began to see the difference Christ was making in Michael’s life.  She cancelled the divorce hearing, which had been postponed yet again.   Slowly, they began to take the first steps toward reconciliation.  Michael began discipleship counseling with MOPMOVM, and this eventually led to both he and Tamika entering marriage counseling together.  Finally, in July of 2008, Tamika surrendered her life to God just as Michael had done six months earlier.  The couple had begun the long journey along a path of healing.

Michael sums up the key factor in the change in his life by saying, “God was the difference.  Everything changed for me and for our relationship when I made Him my Lord and Savior.  I started taking my responsibilities seriously and He took care of the rest.  I’m a new man!”

Tamika shares that enthusiasm as well.  “Yes, I was skeptical at first, until I saw the proof.  Michael takes a more active part in our daughter’s lives now.  I see how committed he is to making this marriage work.  I thank God for that.”

In Galatians 6:2, Paul exhorts us as Christians to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  By obeying this command, the seemingly simple act of caring for a co-worker’s well being saved a marriage from certain failure.  This is the crux of the mission of Men of Purpose Men of Vision Ministries, to be an instrument of God’s love, grace and mercy to people who are broken, weary, and in need.  That may take the form of informal counseling and mentoring.  It may manifest itself in marriage or group counseling.  Often, it may just be simple acts of kindness and love reflecting the love of our Heavenly Father.  Experience has shown that, as in the case of Michael and Tamika King, it encompasses all of these things.  Founder Don Stewart states it simply, “Just be Jesus to them…that’s what makes the difference.”

Posted by: mopmovm | May 25, 2010

Sandra’s Story

Often times in our daily lives we experience what some would call “chance” encounters with people in many different settings and contexts.  In the life of a Christian, these are opportunities to, as MOPMOVM founder Don Stewart so eloquently puts it, “be Jesus with skin on.”  The following story begins long before the birth of this ministry, but exemplifies the profound and far-reaching effect one act of Christian love and concern can have on an entire family.  It is also a beautiful illustration of how God works His plan through the ebb and flow of our lives when we sometimes are not even aware of it happening.

The year was 1991 and MOPMOVM founder Don Stewart was employed by IBM at the Hillside facility in North Atlanta.  What originally was just a simple work order was used by God to make sweeping changes in the lives of one individual family.

Don remembers, “It was springtime and, as usual, my allergies were giving me problems, especially at the office.  I was in the habit of locking the inner door to my office, which prevented the night cleaning crew from being able to dust and clean, so I placed a work order for one of the day crew to come and clean.  The person they sent was Sandra Pope.”

“I walked in and thought to myself, ’What needs cleaning?  There’s no trash or mess.’  I said as much to Mr. Stewart, who asked me why I had an ‘attitude’ about things,” Sandra recalls. “So I began to tell him about some of the problems going on in my life.  At the time, I had one son, Travis, and it seemed like my world was crashing down around me…relationships gone bad, financial worries…my life was in turmoil.  Mr. Stewart then told me I ‘needed Jesus.’  But more than that, he really listened and cared about me and what I was going through.”

After talking with Don further, Sandra accepted Christ as her Savior.  Not long after that day, the first true test of her newly found faith presented itself in the form of a disconnect notice from the power company.

“I came home one day and found the notice on my front door…and it said my power was to be cut off the very next day!  I went straight to Mr. Stewart’s office the next morning in a panic.” Sandra recalls.  “His response was to tell me that we needed to pray and trust God to provide for me.  So, I prayed with him instead of trying to find a way to get the money…and God miraculously provided the money!  I knew then in my heart that God was true to His word and that He would take care of me.”

Smiling, Don says, “She had such a look of joy on her face the next day when she came to my office.  She told me, ‘Mr. Stewart! Mr. Stewart!  God really did provide a way…and my lights didn’t get turned off!’  It was such a blessing for me to see the manifested faith in her life.”

In the following years, Don and Sandra drifted apart.  Don’s career at IBM took him to several locations in the Atlanta area while Sandra moved on to other jobs and found herself the single mother of now three children, Travis, Kendrick and Shere.  In April of 2002, Sandra suddenly became very ill.  Even after several doctors’ visits and numerous tests, no definitive diagnosis could be made.

“I was so sick…some nights I would come home from work and barely have the energy to make it to my bed and just collapse.  I was so sick all the time, my muscles ached, I found it hard to do even simple things around the house like wash clothes…and the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong physically,” Sandra remembers.  “It was very frustrating.  Then one day someone gave me two verses of Scripture.  One was Isaiah 54:17 and the other was Isaiah 53:5.  I held on to two phrases from those verses…”no weapon forged against you shall prevail” (54:17) and “by His wounds we are healed” (53:5).  I repeated those verses every night and prayed them every day.  I remembered Mr. Stewart telling me to pray with faith and I did.  Finally, in June of 2004, a coworker asked me how I was feeling.  I responded. ‘God healed me!’  From that day forward, I felt no more pain and had no more weakness.  It was just another example of how God faithfully provided for me.”

In 2003, Don was transferred to IBM’s Highland Parkway office in Smyrna and learned that Sandra’s sister, Jackie Pope, was an independent contractor working at that office.  Don had previously met Jackie while he and Sandra had worked at the Hillside office. After talking together, he was able to reconnect with Sandra.  It was a very trying time in Sandra’s life.  The financial strain of providing for three children was beginning to take its toll.  Sandra knew that she needed a stable home environment as her children were growing older.

“I was living in an apartment off South Cobb Drive and I knew it was not the place I wanted to raise my children.  I wanted them to have a home…a real home, but I just couldn’t find a way to buy a house as a single mom.  Mr. Stewart assured me that the same God who made sure my light bill was paid and had healed me could provide a house for my family. I trusted in that and began to pray.  He never let me forget that my God was faithful.”

“I could see that she desperately wanted the best for her children, and that, because of her faith, she was an incredible mother to those children, even under trying circumstances,” Don says. “I ministered to her several times, reassuring her that God could overcome any obstacle.  I sponsored Sandra for a Tres Dias weekend around that time, and I could see that her faith had grown even more.  God’s hand was so very evident in her life and in her entire family at that time.  Travis had accepted Christ several years prior to that and I also had the opportunity to sponsor him for a Vida Nueva weekend.  Because of that, Jackie’s oldest son, Jason, accepted Christ.  God then provided an opportunity for me to share the Gospel with Travis’ brother Kendrick and Jason’s youngest brother Nicholas.  And as a result of my giving those two boys a cross, Jackie’s  middle son, Tobias, began to ask questions about salvation and prayed to accept Christ.  I was able to sponsor all four of the boys on Vida Nueva weekends over the next few years.  God’s power had taken the small seed of Sandra’s faith and had literally grown a garden of souls for the Kingdom!  I shared this with Sandra and encouraged her to put her trust in God to supply a house.  In a very short time, in spite of all the seeming obstacles, God did provide a house.”

Sandra says, “Getting the house as a single mom of three kids would be considered next to impossible to most people, but I knew that my God promised to supply ALL my needs…He had done it before and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt He would again.”

In looking back, Don marvels at the way God continued to work in Sandra’s life and especially to use him to minister to her entire family, even through periods of separation.

“It is so humbling to me to see how one encounter through a service call could have such a profound effect on a family…how a routine ‘service call’ had really been a ‘call to service.’” says Don.  “As a result of that meeting, not only Sandra and her two sons were saved, but her sister Jackie and her three sons were saved as well.  Recently, I prayed with Shere to accept Christ, bringing it full circle.  No one could have foreseen that…only God could have orchestrated these things.  What an amazing God we serve!”

Sandra sums it up by saying, “No matter what comes my way in life, I can always hold on to one thing.  All I know is God…and He will provide for me each and every day, whatever the circumstances may be.  That’s all I’ll ever need!”

.

God tells us through the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  That promise is being beautifully portrayed in the life of Sandra Pope and her family.  God’s plan began in that IBM office nearly 20 years ago and is still being fulfilled today.  No obstacles or hardships can stop that plan; no earthly limits can be placed upon it.  MOPMOVM founder Don Stewart says, “This family is such a shining example of God giving ’beauty for ashes’…of how His love and grace can overcome so much.  These are the kinds of things I want this ministry to be grounded in.”

MOPMOVM NEWSLETTER SPRING 2009

Posted by: mopmovm | May 25, 2010

THE PURPOSE, THE VISION

At the core of Men of Purpose Men of Vision Ministries is a desire to see God work in the lives of individuals to bring about reconciliation and peace.  From the time of the fall in the Garden, God has been tirelessly working to reconcile His creation and provide a means of redemption for His children.    As is often the case, reconciliation and redemption must occur within earthly relationships as well as heavenly ones.  This was the situation faced by Julio and Melissa Santacruz when they sought guidance from MOPMOV founder Don Stewart.

Julio and Melissa Santacruz’s story is one that could easily be mistaken for a Hollywood script.  Julio, a native of Venezuela, came to the United States looking for work and a chance to further his education.  Melissa came from her native Indonesia seeking a better life.  They met in Marietta, fell in love, married and eventually had a son, Nicholas.  However, like many a Hollywood script, that wasn’t the end of the story.

A few years into the marriage, Julio was working full-time and going to school at night.  Pressures built and began to take their toll on him physically and emotionally.  He met a woman at work who, by Julio’s own admission, “seemed to really care about my problems…just as a friend at first.”  That friendship, however, quickly began to blossom into something much more.  As problems mounted and Melissa became more and more concerned, Julio found it increasingly easier to turn to a seemingly more sympathetic ear.

“I realize now, looking back, that I was really just using this woman as an escape from my own problems, instead of trying to work them out with Melissa,” Julio admits.  “In my mind, I felt justified in what I was doing.  I kept thinking, ‘All Melissa does is complain and worry…I deserve to have someone who cares about me and my needs.’  I know now this was just a trick Satan used to deceive me.”

As things began to unravel between Julio and Melissa, their marriage started to deteriorate.  Julio spent more and more time away from home with friends and less and less time with Melissa and Nicholas.  Then the relationship between Julio and the friend at work was exposed.

“I was hurt…crushed.  This was a woman I knew, that had been a guest in my house.  I was mad at Julio but at the same time I felt so betrayed.  He didn’t respect me as a woman, as his wife.” Melissa recalls.  “Julio eventually moved out and I began to try to sell the house.  This was all very foreign to me…in my family we don’t use the “D” word.  Divorce was just not an option…if you had problems, you worked through them and moved on.   It was heartbreaking to hear Nicholas ask about his father and to see him act out at school but I didn’t see any other solution.  It was during this period that Don (MOPMOVM founder Don Stewart) began to notice something was wrong.”

“I had been acquainted with Melissa for some time through her job.  I noticed one day that she had a heaviness about her, as if she were carrying a huge weight on her shoulders.  I asked what was wrong and she opened up to me about her struggles in her marriage,” Don shares.  “Men of Purpose, Men of Vision Ministries was just getting started, so I gave her a brochure and said I wanted to talk to Julio.”

As all this was going on, Melissa found she had another crisis to deal with.  Her visa was set to expire at the end of 2007.  Julio had gained citizenship in September of 2007, but with an impending divorce, Melissa would be facing possible deportation back to China, where her family now lived.

Melissa remembers, “I was very scared and confused.  My life was not what I had imagined it would be.  All of a sudden, my whole future was now uncertain.  My lawyer had called at the end of November and said ‘If I were you, I would buy a ticket home.’   My family wanted me to come home and assured me I would be OK.  But I didn’t want that…I wanted my marriage back…I wanted to stay here.  Deep down, I felt that Julio knew that was what I wanted too.  So I gave Julio Don’s brochure on his birthday and asked him to talk with Don.  Later that year, I met with Don and after sharing my burden with him, we prayed a prayer of repentance together.  All at once, I could feel that burden inside my heart lifted by Jesus…I knew in my heart that there was no need to worry or cry anymore.  God would take care of it all.”

Julio continues the story, “I was kind of surprised that Melissa gave me the brochure, but I decided to at least give it a try.  The very first time I met him, I knew there was something different about Don.  He didn’t put me down or accuse me of being a bad husband, he just pointed out the facts and shared what the Bible had to say about what I was doing.  On my second visit, I accepted Christ as my Savior.  I immediately began to see life differently…I had a new awareness of the situation and how I had crushed Melissa with my actions.  I began intensive counseling one-on-one with Don that eventually led to Melissa and I going as a couple.”

The change did not go unnoticed by Melissa.  “Julio made a miraculous change.  He began to talk to me and expressed a desire to reconcile our marriage.  He eventually moved back in and spent more quality time with me and especially Nicholas.  God worked in such an amazing way.  He even took care of my visa problems so that I could stay here.”

“The transformation in Julio’s life was truly a joy to see.” Don recalls.  “God took a very broken and hurtful situation and molded it back into beautiful thing.  What The Enemy had intended for pain and hurt became triumph and victory.”

II Corinthians 5:18 teaches “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”  Julio and Melissa Santacruz had a need that went much deeper than simply a broken marriage that needed “fixing.”  They need reconciliation, to each other and for Julio, to his Heavenly Father.  This is the type of ministry to which MOPMOVM founder Don Stewart feels God has called him.  “Jesus promised us “To him who believes, all things are possible,” Don explains.  “We see situations that are hopeless; God sees an opportunity to display His grace and mercy in ways that we can’t fathom.  At the end of man’s hope lies the beginning of God’s love for us.”

Posted by: mopmovm | April 26, 2010

A fresh Anointing 2

April 25, 2010

On behalf of Men of Purpose Men of Vision we would like to say thank G-d for the use of this beach house.  This weekend was truly set up and orchestrated by G-d, The Father.  Even the weather was designed by Him especially for our weekend.  This house was fabulous and the interior decoration was magnificent.  Men of Purpose Men of Vision were elated with delight with our stay here.

What we encountered here is a freedom and peace of G-d that surpasses all understanding.  What we encountered in a new way is the height, width and depth of G-d’s love for us.  G-d caressed our faces with His delicate winds out on the beach, He washed any doubts we may have been feeling away in the ocean…  He told us He is the One that reigns in our life and even in our storms though the raindrops on Friday night and throughout Saturday.  Then after the rain on Friday and Saturday He brought out the bright sunshine Sunday for us to show His Son Jesus Christ and His love for us by bringing Him out to die for our sins so He can be near us and love us forever more.

Crosses were broken here this weekend.  Miracles were done.  Men were set free here in this house and out on the beach.  Men saw love in a new profound way here this weekend.  It is no accident we saw on the way down here to Rosemary Beach a street named New Hope Avenue and a town called Graceville.  For we received both of these this weekend.

We leave here at this beach house the reign of G-d and His bright shining Son Jesus Christ and the peace of Him that surpasses all comprehension.  Oh yeah we leave his love for you.

In Jesus Name… amen

P.S. Please see and read Romans 10:9 in The Holy Bible.

Fresh Anointin 2
Posted by: mopmovm | April 7, 2010

Group Meetings

Group meetings are a time of Bible study, prayer and worship. It is a time where we come together as men of God for the purpose of strengthening and ecouraging one another, sharing our burdens and cares and seeking wisdom from God through His word. It is a time of honesty and transparency as we follow the exhortation of the Hebrews writer to “sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron.” Currently groups meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:45 PM at the Men of Purpose Men of Vision Ministries office.

Group
Posted by: mopmovm | March 28, 2010

Christmas Dinner 2009

Both groups enjoyed a night of food and wonderful fellowship at Marietta’s famous House of Chan restaurant. It was a time to reflect upon and take stock of the past year and share our praises and milestones.

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Christmas Dinner 2009
Posted by: mopmovm | March 28, 2010

Fresh Anointing Weekend

Fresh Annointing, the inaugral spiritual retreat for both groups, was held September 25-27 at Wood Duck Lodge in Ellijay, GA. Don’s theme of “A Fresh Annointing from God” rang true in a weekend filled with worship, singing, fellowship, group discussions, and personal time alone with Abba.

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Fresh Anointing Weekend Sept 09
Posted by: mopmovm | March 28, 2010

Jamaica Mission Trip

While serving as Rector for Montego Bay Tres Dias #4, Don had the great privilege to be able to engage in ministry on the streets and in a variety of settings. This was a powerful and rewarding experience of God’s love and grace as hearts and minds were opened and the message of Jesus Christ was preached and received.

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Jaimaca 2009
Posted by: mopmovm | March 28, 2010

Ukraine Mission Trip

During June and July of 2009, Don and a team from the U.S. served on a succession of Vida Nueva weekends in Kiev, Ukraine. Don and the American team functioned as mentors and advisors to native Ukrainian team members and leaders in an effort to firmly establish a core leadership group for the movement in Ukraine. In all, nearly 300 young people from Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Moldova, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe were minstered to and blessed by these efforts. It truly was a time to see and experience God’s kingdom growing and to be reminded that God’s love knows no barriers.

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Ukraine 2009

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