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Starting Over

It is years since I left my previous marketing work in the cosmetics industry to become a pastor. Most of my clients and colleagues found my decision perplexing. Why would I leave a well-paying job to start a church? What a waste of skills.

But with God nothing is ever wasted. 

In 2021, Lithuania began experiencing waves of immigration. People from Iraq, Congo, and Cameroon all came hoping for a better life. There has been a mixed reaction from Eastern European countries, but I felt clearly that God wanted me to do everything in my power - where I was, with whatever I had - to help people feel human, regardless of their race, beliefs, or politics. 

As our city of Vilnius began preparing to open one of the largest refugee camps in Lithuania, I got in touch with the Red Cross and asked what kind of help they needed. Soon we had a team from our church cleaning and organizing warehouses in the camp. We wanted to do more. Workers from the Red Cross shared with us that many refugees would be leaving skilled professions and would want to work but lacked the means to do so. Also, they would not be allowed to leave the facilities as all of their activity would need to be under surveillance. This limited their options greatly. Could our church help them? 

I thought of these refugees, starting over as I had done, and knowing how hard that could be. “What kinds of professions did they have?” I asked.

“Well,” a Red Cross worker responded, “quite a few are hairdressers.” 

I immediately contacted my former colleagues in the hair salon industry, and was gratified to see that, even though they still did not understand why I had become a pastor, I was not a stranger to them. They received my requests with warmth, and within a short time we were fully resourced with tools and supplies to help the refugees start several hairdressing businesses inside the camp. 

Over time, our church built relationships with the refugees, and we had many opportunities to share the Gospel. Now, as teams from our church are involved in relief efforts and transportation of refugees from the borders of Ukraine, we are asking God to give us strategies to help them also, in their new lives.

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