The Art of Forgiving

The Art of Forgiving tells of the events that follow me being sent off to military school. While the end focuses on the relationship with my earthly father, I learn something about how to love as my Heavenly Father does.

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About Stokes Mayfield, Jr

Stokes was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina. His father was a payroll business owner and his mother served in education as an English teacher, a guidance counselor/director, and an associate dean at their local technical college.

​In 1989 after his parents separated and later divorced, his father opened a door for the two of them to try martial arts as a father-son outlet. That didn’t work as planned because Stokes, Jr. was too young to be in the adult class, but God unlocked a door for Stokes. Twenty-four years later, he had been trained, mentored, and vested in by two Masters and two Grand Masters in various martial arts. Stokes realized he had a gift to be a teacher. So, he made a quality decision to leverage his background to work with next generation leaders in marketplace and ministry as well as families.

​ In 2007, God opened a door that changed his life. While making a final presentation in one of his night business classes in college, the spouse of his instructor, was asked to introduce herself as an observer. Stokes didn't think anything about it at the time. The next semester, Stokes took another night class and discovered he had the same instructor. Of course, he had another final presentation to make at the end of the course and sitting in the back of the classroom was the instructor’s wife again. After she left, it was revealed that she had been watching him and wanted to make him an offer. It turned out she was the principal of a nearby public junior high school and offered him a position teaching martial arts to their self-contained emotionally disabled students, promising Walmart gas cards as compensation. Without thinking, he jumped at the chance! Asking him why he said yes to such an offer, he shared, "It just felt right." Stokes, to this day, wonders how she ever knew he had a background in martial arts. He figures it was the Lord.

Working with these junior high students, as well as receiving the compensation of Wal-mart gift cards and many thanks, greatly humbled him. After one month of serving, he was “sent” to the principal's office. Although he was a little nervous at first, the principal was very complimentary on his efforts. She was so enthusiastic, she had a sign-up sheet full of names to persuade Mr. Stokes to offer an after-school martial arts program. Stokes was stunned and accepted the offer. Excited, she immediately called the district to ask them for funding. It was about a week later when he was told the district's funding just wasn't there. However, God was backing Stokes, and the district made their own offer because they valued what he was doing for their students. They offered him the opportunity to teach at three of their elementary schools, at an excellent three figure hourly wage. This was the catalyst of his first for-profit ministry, Life Harvest, LLC.

​While growing this ministry, he balanced his schedule serving a commercial martial art school in Fort Mill, SC. Today, it's getting close to ten years. He stays involved training staff, teaching students, and tries to schedule time to be a part of their demonstration team.

​In 2008, at the very last minute, Stokes felt led to spend his summer as a counselor at a Christian camp and conference center. It just so happened that they hired a director that was an expert high and low ropes group facilitator. This was only one of the skill sets that God would use to teach him how to train, teach, and equip groups with a high regard for safety. By the end of the summer, the Lord showed him how to integrate his new skill sets with his martial arts. This resulted in a brand new program called Martial Arts Confidence Course, or M.A.C.C. In the spring of 2010, he had the burning desire to create an evening schedule spin-off of M.A.C.C, to serve children paired with adults. Family groupings included single and foster parents, Big Brother/Big Sister participants, and guardian ad litem sponsors. The concept birthed in April 2010 called Connectors, created and implemented through Life Harvest. Starting Connectors led to creating a second entity, a non-profit, to bypass the red tape he foresaw with his programs in Christian circles.

​In May 2010, Stokes’s mother saw the traction of this outreach and surprised her son with a check to cover the cost of incorporating Mayfield Ministries. It was June 1, 2010, that Mayfield Ministries was official. In less than a month, Connectors quickly formed a core group of participants. Soon after, God opened a door to move Connectors from Stokes’ backyard to a nearby unused Boy Scout hut owned by the church his parent’s raised him in. Families participating were now able to enjoy the benefit of a climate-controlled environment. In addition to enjoying the curriculum, the group indulged in regularly dining out together, a cookout and rib-eating contest at Stokes' house, before the ministry took a break in June 2011.

​With a unique learning background, Stokes has taught in commercial martial art schools, several churches, two colleges, k-12 in the public school system, and various Christian non-church organizations. With over 4,700 hours of training, Stokes has impacted between 800 to 900 children/youth and young adults with his expertise among North and South Carolina and the Greater Atlanta Area.

​In 2011, he became aware of a ministry for Christian men in the marketplace called Souly Business in Atlanta, GA. Stokes was e-mailed a teaser from a dear friend and colleague with the instructions to, " this!" While watching he knew, right away, God wanted him to attend this amazing ministry. Stokes told the Lord that if He wanted him to go, He's going to have to pay for it, reminding God that His word says, "A general will not send a soldier out on his own charge." God created a way for Stokes to attend. After his first session, he went back and served for five consecutive sessions. It was here Stokes learned the model of servant leadership and many other valuable lessons. This opened up several key and special relationships in Stokes life to be closely mentored by amazing marketplace and ministry leaders and influencers.

​In 2013, he was introduced to another great ministry called Transformational Leadership, where he receives training and coaching from Fortune 1000 business consultants. The men in these ministries play an incredible role in developing Stokes as an influencer in marketplace, in ministry, and in his household.

​When Stokes is not traveling, he is spending time with his family, his girlfriend, serving at local martial art school, reading, plugging away at his next book, shooting pool, or playing video games.

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