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STEPHEN BALDWIN STANDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Окт 07, 2017
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Mikhail Morgulis chats with Hollywood star Stephen Baldwin of the Baldwin Brothers

We met in the lobby of a Hilton hotel in Texas. He raced towards me, sparks of light leaping from his famous blue eyes. People stopped to pull out notebooks, or any piece of paper, hoping to get an autograph. He wore a red shirt and worn out jeans, with tattooed hands, and a gold cross flanking his chest. As he moved towards me, he shouted in Spanish, “Muchacho Mikhail!” In response I yelled, “Que pasa, comrade?”

Stephen and I have known each other for a few years. He had read the English version of my book, Spiritual Diplomacy. He commented on a chapter in the book, specifically on the murder of Father Alexander Men, “You write that the Father would most likely forgive his killer. But what did he feel before his death?” I answered, “He felt that, by dying and forgiving, he reflected Christ.” Stephen looked out from the side of his wise eyes and said, “If only I could play him in a film, understand him, and understand his soul….”

We sat down at a corner table, while a small crowd stood of to the side and waited patiently. Stephen noticed they were still there, so he walked over to the people and simply said, “I need to talk with this man for a little bit. Come back in an hour, and I will give you autographs and take pictures.”

When he returned we began to chat again.

“How much do you sleep, Stephen?”

“Not much. Around five hours, maybe six.”

“Did you previously sleep more?”

“Yes, but now I take extra time to communicate with God, to pray, to talk to Him.”

Stephen heard God’s calling on September 11th, 2001, when the Twin Towers in New York City collapsed, and it seemed as though the whole world was ending. As a native New Yorker, he watched the insanity and, like so many other people, began to pray. God answered his prayers. Specifically, Stephen received this answer: “This is all done by people, but I come in love. I need you, so that you can tell others about My love.”

On that tragic day, Stephen Baldwin, one of America’s most recognizable actors, having already starred in 54 films, came to believe in God and to put his trust in Him. After this, he began to talk about God’s love.

“Stephen, I heard that you recently talked to Tom Cruise about Christ and His love.”

“Yes, I did. Tom stared at me and asked me, ‘Steve, are you okay?’ ‘Absolutely’, I answered him. ‘And you, Tom? Do you see that when things seem completely out of control, it’s time to learn about Christ.’ Tom attentively looked at me and said, ‘I’m surprised, but I will think about it.’ And I emphatically told him, ‘Think with your heart, Tom.’

“Stephen, the big question: How do you manage to have faith in God and still continue to work in Hollywood?”

“You remember, Mikhail, how Jesus examined the coin: ‘Give to God what is God’s, and to Caesar what is Caesar’s.’ I want to show kids, that is, talk to kids about Christ, and let them know that they are not alone in the world, that He is with them. I am a former skateboarder, and I take a few young skaters, who have already given their lives to God, and we go to different countries. We invite local youth to skate with us, and then I talk to them about Christ. We always get a few thousand teens showing up.”

“Is it hard to do?” I asked.

“You yourself are always saying that it was not any easier for Christ than it is for us. Yes, it is hard to find the time. But since God has become my main focus, there is always time for Him.”

“Not to change the subject, but you grew up and lived in Long Island City, Queens, and I lived nearby in Forest Hills, Queens.”

“No way! That’s a great area. How did you end up there?”

“Fate took me there. Tell me about your wife, you met her in New York didn’t you?”

“I met her on a city bus! I was poor back then, and I had to ride buses. I had just finished work as a Calvin Klein model, and I had decided to go to the movies. There I was, getting on the bus. I turned around and there she was, looking out the window. I sat across from her and grabbed a pencil and pad from my bag and began to sketch her profile, right in front of her, and nothing. She paid me no attention at all. So I said, ‘Excuse me, but with your looks, you must be an actress or a model.’ She totally ignored me and pressed her nose to the window (Stephen laughingly showed how she arrogantly turned her nose toward the window). Basically, I got no answer at all. I got off the bus. The next day I specifically got on the same bus, at the same time. She was there. Once more I said something about her beauty and again got nothing in return. So I left and decided it was not meant to be. For a month I never rode that bus. Ten, once again, I took the same bus. As I got on the bus that time, she looked at me and said, ‘I have been waiting for you for a month. I am not an actress or a model. I am from Brazil, and I am a university student. My name is Kennya Deodato.’ I said to her, ‘It’s clear why fate brought you here.’ She asked me why. I simply replied, ‘So that I would find you and marry you.’”

“Stephen, I know that you and Kennya have two daughters together, and, as noted in the press, you are a good husband and you don’t compromise that.”  

“Mikhail, God changes everything. He changes your soul.”

“So there IS love in the world, Stephen.”

“Mikhail, I remember your story, The Last Interview, in which an old, dying actor recalls the places in his life where he encountered only love. On Earth there is God’s love for us, our love for God, and our love for a woman or our children. God’s love helps me be stronger and love this woman endlessly.”

“What is your favorite role from your career?”

“My first movie, The Beast of War. Strangely enough, I played a Russian tanker in Afghanistan.”

“You are a Hollywood actor and a wealthy man. You love motorcycles, skydiving, and shooting pool. You have everything a person could want. I am sure you are happy. But if you didn’t have all this, would you still be happy?”

“Mikhail Morgulis, you told me yourself that whether you were in the foxholes in Chechnya or in presidential palaces, you have never felt a lack of love or happiness. You can be unhappy with millions, yet you can be happy if you have God in your life. You can reach out your hands to His wounded palms, and He will look in and answer your heart. He will calm your soul and fill it with happiness. You know as well as I do that true happiness is not for sale and cannot be bought.”

“Well, Stephen, you have given us many good thoughts today. You have also previously told me about your dream of visiting Belarus. I know that you have been Invited to many countries. Why has Belarus become your dream all of a sudden?”  

“As a Christian and as a human being, you must help those that are really in need of your help. Belarus is a small country with a very bitter history. There were always armies from large neighboring countries entering the country in order to fight each other. The people there suffered from this. Historians have confirmed that in World War II, every third Belarusian citizen was killed as a result of Nazi occupation. It is really unfathomable! Furthermore, this number includes almost 1 million Belarusian Jews! This is horrific!”

“Yes, Stephen, history is often more horrific than Hollywood’s horror films.”

“So I decided to visit this country and to meet this group of long-suffering people. Moreover, you yourself told me that Belarusians are both humble and thoughtful. In addition to this, I know that Belarus has given the world many great names. For example, artists Marc Chagall and Chaim Soutine. Actually, the founders of Hollywood were immigrants from Belarus. Namely, Louis Burt Mayer. The Warner Brothers were also from Belarus and later founded Warner Brothers. The ancestors of Steven Spielberg and Sydney Pollack were also from Belarus. The great composers of Broadway, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin, were from families that came from Belarus. I wanted to be in the place that gave America so many great people.”

“Besides your knowledge of the people and the country, what other purpose do you have?”

“Yes, that is really important. You know that I gather kids in every country, who love to skateboard and perform tricks. I teach them the right, healthy way to live, without drugs and alcohol. Of course, as an actor, I would love to play in a film, where the real Belarusian character is depicted, including the music and nature of Belarus. So, Mikhail, since I know how much you love Belarus, call me to go with you!”

We said our goodbyes. He had to leave the next day at 7 a.m. to fly to Canada, and I, at 9 a.m., to Florida. We held hands for a minute and prayed. His blue eyes exhibited happiness. And his last words were these, “Tell them, Mikhail, when I am on set and in the spotlight, I am not standing in front of the public, but in front of God.”

You can reach Mikhail Morgulis at SDiplomacy@gmail.com

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