Refugee Hair

This last weekend we were in Brussels to learn more about a big service project called Serve The City. Justin and I know that this is something we definitely want to do in whatever city we end up in. This weekend was a great time of learning and connecting with fellow CAI-ers. On Saturday we actually did do a day of service. Justin took photographs and my project was to cut hair for refugees at a refugee center. Thank the Lord I had a professional hair stylist with me, who taught me all sorts of things that I didn’t know about hair cutting. I have so much to learn and really would love to be able to do some sort of official training!!! Anyways, enough rambling on about that!!!

If I am honest with myself, part of me was thinking of how cool it would be to be able to cut these people’s hair and then be able to tell about it on my blog or in our support update letter. Pretty pathetic, huh??? Completely the wrong reasons. Not that that was my only reason for wanting to cut their hair as I have always wanted to cut hair for serving/ministry reasons, but there was that piece of me that thought it would be cool to tell people. And here I am, telling you.  

And while I did cut their hair, I was actually pretty humbled in lots of areas. Starting with my lack of knowledge of cutting hair properly to the fact that these people were not just objects for me to take advantage of for support reasons or people thinking I am wonderful reasons. They have stories. Sad stories that most of us couldn’t even imagine. They come from cities that are literally torn apart by war. Families torn apart from war. One of the ladies who’s hair we cut was separated from her family and unable to return to her country due to not knowing where they were. She has a Bachelor’s degree, yet cannot use it. Now she waits, alone, in a foreign country. For what she waits, I am unsure.

This all got me thinking just how amazing and what a blessing it was to actually have the honor to cut these people’s hair. How we could easily be one of those people. Some of them were people just like you and me, but they just happened to grow up in a country where war is a part of daily life. If I could only stop and realize that everyone has a story and then take the time to actually listen to them. 

The sad part of all of this is that I was so worried about my hair cutting skills that I didn’t really even talk with the people. Well, and we spoke different languages. But the woman with the degree I talked about above, she spoke English and I didn’t hear her story from her, but from Justin, who actually took the time to talk with her.

I am pretty pathetic sometimes, but I am thankful that God is revealing these pathetic areas to me. I hope he continues to as I am such a messed up person.


  1. alyssa on November 9, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Jen! Thank you for stopping by my blog and telling me I’m not a terrible person. Now it’s my turn! You aren’t pathetic! 🙂 I think it’s okay to serve like you were doing and not say much. And it sounds like God totally taught you things through the process! You are amazing and I love you!

  2. Mom on November 9, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    jen…i love how God is teaching you so many valuable things about your service to Him. every opportunity, whether missed or not, still remains an opportunity for growth. i’m really proud of you honey. you have a humbleness that comes across the page as He reveals more and more of His character to you through the people you minister to. i love you.

  3. tony sheng on November 9, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    thanks for sharing about that experience. oh so many ways to serve humanity and we put ourselves in boxes so often.

  4. jen braun on November 9, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    great thoughts jen!! you INSPIRE me so! i love to see what God is teaching you and love to see how this charges you. love ya!

  5. katie on November 9, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for your transparency. That’s totally me sometimes. Focus on the wrong thing – I’m so glad God just keeps teaching us and changing us.

  6. kelly on November 10, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    jen, i am inspired by the degree of honesty you are willing to go to! it looks like i’m not the only one who’s inspired, either. you’re leaving me challenged!
    loooove getting to chat. one way or another, sounds like we WILL see each other this spring!!!

  7. Svest on November 14, 2008 at 11:45 am

    That is awesome Jen. I am so excited that you are finally getting chances to do what you have talked to me about for so long. Hopefully there will be times I can partner with you 🙂 I am so glad that God is allowing you to use your gifts and passions. And don’t worry…the rest (the listening) will come when you get comfortable with what you are to do, and how you are to do it! Love you sis. And I am so proud of what you do!!

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