June 6, 2017

Haircuts, Styling, and Bible Studies

For years, Iluiza Silva had had a strong desire in her heart—she wanted to talk to others about Jesus. The problem? She didn’t know how to do it. After all, she was just a hairdresser. Or so she thought.

But one day Silva, who owns a beauty salon in downtown Curitiba, a 1.8-million-resident city in southern Brazil, had an idea. She decided she would use her business to share her faith with her employees.

“I wanted my employees to gain access to the Bible,” Silva said. “So I decided to invite them to a weekly Bible study on the premises, no strings attached.”

Silva was delighted when her employees gladly accepted her invitation. After the first few studies, their feedback was very positive.

“I used to follow many traditions and to know a few phrases from the Bible,” said employee Juliana Trindade. “But here I learned that the Bible must be studied in its entirety because its themes are all interconnected. Isolated phrases are not enough.”

During their long shifts, employees usually talk to each other as they assist customers. After Silva launched the weekly Bible study, it became normal for her employees to discuss the topic from their previous meeting. And so, customers began to notice.

Silva shared an interesting experience about one day when she was working on a teenager’s hair. “As I was taking care of her hair, I was discussing with one of my employees the Bible topic studied a day before,” said Silva. “When our teenage customer went back home, she told her mother, also a customer, what our distinct understanding of Bible truth was. Her mother then came to get a haircut and to find out more about it.”

Learning Opportunities

Luzia Andrade, another employee in the beauty salon, said that she had studied the Bible before, but always as a listener, with no opportunity of asking questions. But their weekly study is different, she said, as she now finds ample opportunity of expressing herself.

“This is a place to exchange ideas,” said Andrade. “You can share your doubts with your coworkers daily. And now I see that this search for a deeper connection with God is something that transforms one’s life.”

Besides the weekly Bible study, every year, Silva organizes a “Tea for Women” event, where she invites her friends and employees. The idea is to invite people who are not yet acquainted with the Adventist Church for a moment of fellowship and motivational talks catered specifically to women.

Silva also knows that this is an opportunity for witnessing, showing guests that her church is interested in the well-being the community and its people. Maria Rita Vicente, an attendee, said she was greatly surprised about the event. “We enjoyed such great talks; time flew by,” she said.

Local Women Ministries leader Dulcine Chicoski explained that they are presenting the message of the church in a different way. “At the ‘Tea for Women’ event we focus on social and emotional areas, on women’s needs,” she said. “As we cover those issues, we also talk about the God we believe in.”

The results of the hairdresser with a heart for mission are being already being seen. “I feel God closer to me, and I feel happy,” said participant Elisabete Silva. “I feel that Jesus loves me.”

Through it all, Silva is clear that what she does is a natural consequence of knowing God and Scripture. “When you study the Bible, all you want is for other people to get to know it too,” she said. “You want to learn more and more every day, and this is precisely what we are doing.”