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.”