Flash back to June 2014
Gateway added a new team to our annual Appalachian Outreach Ministries to provide personal services to their clients. They consisted of a professional hair stylist and volunteer manicurists. Another church sent a masseuse. The following year, pedicures were added to the services. The salon was located in the basement loading dock of an old train station owned by the ministry.
Surrounded by boxes of old books, furniture, toys, household items and various other donated items, men and women came to get their hair cut and styled, their nails done, and many for the first time were treated to a professional massage.
Why a salon, when many of the clients need to have their basic needs met? These services are considered by most of us to be luxuries and not necessities. Isn’t providing food and clothing enough?
Ephesians 3:20-21 says that God gives us better things than we can ask or even believe we can have. If we are the representatives of God, shouldn’t we go above and beyond giving just the necessities?
Besides, when someone is getting their hair or nails done, or relaxing under the soothing hands of a good masseuse, they are sitting still long enough for someone who has experienced the Love and Grace of God to share it with them.
One of the ‘clients’ was a lady named Suzanne, recently released from the hospital after a stroke. She came seeking help with her hair because it had been brutally cut off in preparation for emergency surgery to remove a blood clot. We could not help her with her palsied arm and weak leg, but she left with a new hair style, smooth manicured nails, and a new-found faith in Jesus as her Savior. That’s what it’s all about!
Fast forward to April 2016
A team from Gateway left very early from Tipton County and headed East to Jefferson City, Tn. Our goal was to clean out some former office spaces in the old train station and create a nice salon to care for people who could not afford regular hair cuts and styling, or manicures and pedicures. These services may seem unnecessary, but a little “cleanup” always makes one feel better and more assured. It can help one appear more presentable for a job interview. In the case of some, a mani/pedi and a massage will help relieve the pain from diabetic neuropathy, if only for an hour. We all know that people talk to their hair stylist, even to the point of confessing, so why not use that opportunity to share Jesus?
After two 12 hour days, those rooms were cleaned, painted, and transformed into the New Beginnings AO Salon.
Members of a short term mission team from Gateway Baptist church will open the salon on June 6, 2016. Other teams working at Appalachian Outreach this summer will be invited to bring professionals to use this facility throughout the summer. Area salons and beauty schools can keep it open throughout the rest of the year.