2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for women. In honor of this, the Times-Tribune will feature throughout the year the women who make it happen, inspirers and game changers in Tri-County in a series titled “Year of the Woman. “. This is the second story in this series.
WHITLEY COUNTY – For over a year now, a group of women in Whitley County have been praying together and laughing a lot while building the kingdom of God.
They are unorthodox in their method, meeting on Thursday nights at a beauty salon in downtown Williamsburg, but April McIntosh, who organized a Bible study on the beauty salon, said they were supporting each other, praying for each other and were truly amazed at what God was doing.
McIntosh, owner of Just Teasin ‘hair salon, said she and a friend who owned a salon nearby started the Bible study about a year ago and have been doing well ever since.
The women meet on Thursday evenings around 7 p.m., although most women (and an occasional man) show up around 6:30 p.m. for snacks and prayer requests.
McIntosh said the Holy Spirit led her to begin Bible study, especially after someone kept asking her what she was doing to serve the Lord. At first, she thought Sunday school work, church cooking, and Bible school teaching during the holidays were her service to God. But as the individual kept asking her what she was doing to serve the Lord, something came over her.
Finally, reminding him that she had her own beauty salon, she told him exactly what she was doing to serve the Lord.
“I am my own boss. I have a ministry behind this chair, ”McIntosh said. “Every day there is a woman who needs therapy, who just needs to cry, who needs to be reassured and no one can tell me that I can’t say it because I’m the boss. . “
The Holy Spirit overwhelmed her as she spoke these words and just days after the birth of Beauty Shop Bible Study.
McIntosh never really saw himself as a person to risk, but it was something worth taking a chance on. Like many, she was brought up in church, started her children in church, but when she was “hurt in church,” as she describes it, she left church for about 12 years.
“I went crazy, really crazy,” McIntosh said.
She thinks that for people with similar feelings to hers, it would be nice to have a location, a neutral territory, like a beauty salon.
“It’s very unorthodox,” she admitted.
She saw him bring a lot of people who would otherwise be uncomfortable talking with you about religion, the gospel, and Jesus, to open up.
“It opens a lot of doors,” McIntosh said. “With us, this group of women, we have been through difficult things together.”
Ashley Warren was looking for a Bible study when she heard about Beauty Shop Bible Study.
“I hate to miss it,” Warren said. “It gives me time with other women to talk and learn about Jesus. It feeds my soul.
Denise Willmore agreed.
Willmore lost his mother over a year ago and said she looked at herself for a long time and decided she wanted to be closer to the Lord.
Unlike her mother, who was at church whenever the doors were opened, she had fallen and was not where she wanted to be. Marilyn Smith, who also attends the Bible study, remembers meeting Willmore for the first time and said that Willmore told her that she prayed that God would send her Christian friends.
He did indeed.
“We really appreciate it,” Smith said.
For Denise Ferguson, studying the Bible has been a lifeline for her mental health. She said it’s a weekly booster to keep a calmer temper. It not only restored her prayer life, but her home life as well.
What prompted Ferguson to study the Bible?
An appointment with the hairdresser, of course.
And although she admitted at first, she had no intention of sticking to Bible study, now she enjoys it.
For McIntosh, it’s about letting people know that even though they think they are unworthy or unapproachable, they are. She admits she went through tough times and felt unworthy of God’s blessing, but was shown to be different.
Beauty Shop Bible Study focuses on growing the kingdom of God in various ways, inside or outside the box.
McIntosh said the individuals within the group became stronger in their testimony. They began to communicate their faith to community members, to the people they work with, and to strangers at the gym.
“Our strength and our testimony have grown,” said McIntosh. “It’s really amazing how God can use our little old folks to make such a big difference.”
The women in the group all agree that the group serves as a stress management tool, adding that they pray for each other and communicate on days other than Thursday. The women also agree that their spiritual growth over the past year has helped them deal with stress better.
They have a lot of advice for young women, like not to put yourself down but rather to be a woman’s wife.
Warren said the main thing is to commit to knowing Jesus. They remind young women that often feelings and peer pressure can be deceptive and that it is important to be true to yourself. Nearly 60, Ferguson said she still had that feeling and knew right from wrong.
Most importantly, McIntosh wants young women to know that it’s never too late to change their lives.
“Even if you’ve made some really big mistakes, it’s never too late to change your life – God don’t blame you,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh was not as knowledgeable about the Bible as she wanted when she first started out and this led McIntosh to enroll in Bible classes.
As the group recalls one of their previous Bible studies, Warren said she liked the fact that God uses women in the Bible.
Okay, McIntosh said: “a lot”.
Then the women, all sitting in a circle inside the beauty salon, start talking about the women of the Bible, the power plants if you will, even the business women of the Bible. There is no doubt that if women did not know much about the Bible a year ago, they certainly know it now, appointing great leaders and conquerors of the Bible, quoting the scriptures and testifying to their neighbors.