Steve Stirling made a name for himself as a high powered marketing expert for Fortune 500 companies. But he says the best thing that ever happened to him was being laid off.

“In 2000 when the Nasdaq and stock market crashed, I was laid off. It was the best thing that’s happened in my life, because I had the time to then travel to Korea.”

Korea was the land of Steve’s birth. There he contracted polio at the tender age of 1, and spent years in an orphanage before being adopted by an American family.

“There I met one of my childhood friends. He could barely feed himself. He literally couldn’t get around by himself, but he was smiling. And so I thought, this must be my friend. ‘Do you remember me?’ ‘Yes! I remember you!’ My wife was translating for me, by the way. I said, ‘What do you remember about me?’ ‘You used to beat me up all the time!'”

“It’s because I would have picked on him. I said, ‘Would you forgive me for what I did to you growing up?’ I felt really bad, because I have a really strong upper body, and he could barely feed himself. So I’m just taking my pain and frustration out on him every day, and it was amazing to see his smile. He said, ‘I forgave you a long time ago, because Jesus forgave me of my sins.’

It was one of the most powerful moments of Steve’s life.

“When he said that, I’m just thinking – here’s a man trapped in his own body. He could barely feed himself, and he can’t really take care of himself. So he’ll never know the joys of having the life I have. Driving a car. All these things. But he’s happy! And I start thinking to myself, ‘What am I doing with my life?'”

“And right there I said to the Lord, ‘Lord tell me what You want me to do. I will do anything You want me to do. I will do anything.'”


Steve Stirling is president & CEO of Medical Assistance Programs International & authors the new book The Crutch of Success: From Polio to Purpose, Bringing Health & Hope to the World.

On the Road with Steve Stirling

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