In Detroit, a group of women gather to read the Bible together and see how God’s Word relates to their daily lives. This scenario of pointing people to Jesus through His Word is a familiar one for Navigators. What is remarkable about this gathering is that it took place with a group of Albanian immigrants in Metro Detroit, in a beauty salon owned by an Albanian woman!
The Bible reading group was started by Mary Jane Kurili, as part of her work with Albanian women in the area.
Zamira* worked in the salon and decided to join the Bible reading group. She had many questions about the Bible and God and was eager to learn. Zamira shares about her experience: “I couldn’t wait until my last client left the salon so we could start reading the Bible. I had no idea about God or Jesus or the Bible, but I wanted to know more.”
She had come to the States from Albania with her family when she was 12 years old. While her family aligned themselves with the Muslim faith, they were not particularly religious. Married to an American, Zamira had two children and she was discouraged about the direction of her life. When she had married right out of high school, her parents were unhappy with her choices.
One day Zamira was driving and talking to God. Why am I in this situation? What can I do with my life?
She sensed God speaking to her and pulled the car over to the side of the road. Zamira, give me your life and I will take care of you, He invited.
Soon after this encounter with God, Mary Jane met with Zamira. While Mary Jane was sharing about how to have a relationship with God, Zamira affirmed that she had just made that decision the previous week, on the side of the road.
Mary Jane and Zamira continued meeting, going through the Scriptures. Zamira was ready to apply everything she learned, and follow God. Her husband, who had some Christian background but had rebelled in high school, saw the positive changes in Zamira’s life and appreciated her hopeful attitude. He started going to church with Zamira and meeting with Armando, Mary Jane’s husband, to explore faith questions.
As Zamira studied Scripture with Mary Jane and connected with a church, she decided to get baptized, “I wanted to make a public statement that I was following Jesus, so my family would know I had made this commitment.”
Zamira’s story continues on, as she now wants to raise her children in the knowledge of God, so they can know the hope that she has in Jesus. Zamira shares about her 7-year-old son: “He soaks up all the stories about Jesus. I tell him that God is his safe space. I want my children to grow up knowing God and Jesus. My parents never talked about God or faith with me.”