I met Dustin Berlin when he stayed at our house in Barcelona. I hadn’t cried laughing for a while, and it happened after 15 minutes with him. I’m inspired by how he blesses and loves others on the street by using his talents.
AMAG: How did you get the idea to cut hair on the street?
DB: I know that we can bless each other with the skills we have. I have done hairdressing for 8 years and most people want a hip and personalized look or just feel fresh. If I have the power to do that with ease, I should be out there giving back with my skill. I’ve been cutting hair for random people ever since I started hairdressing in 2006.
I believe everyone has a skill. Maybe a hard skill like a mechanic or doing massage or a soft skill, like being aware of other people’s moods and feelings and creating a safe place for someone by offering your ears. I think we dramatically underestimate the gift of listening.
If we all have these gifts readily available, and they literally cost you nothing but time, patience, and willingness, then I ask you, what holds you back?
AMAG: What compels you to go out?
DB: What compels me to pursue others is the feeling of creating value. This may look like a smile or laughter or a simple knowing that I wish them good fortune and am a safe person for them.
At the end of the interaction, I want them to walk away thinking, “Wow, I really enjoyed that.”
AMAG: Why do you love people so much?
DB: I have an authentic curiosity about most people. This causes me to pay attention to others around me. I care more about the interaction with them than the safety of my lonely comfort.
Choosing this path has offered me many opportunities socially, financially, and relationally.
AMAG: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in the street?
DB: Wow, that is a really difficult question to answer. I think the most enlightening people I meet in the streets are the ones who have minimized their needs and have chosen happiness. Regardless of their abundance or lack of it, they chose to be content. I love that.
AMAG: What advice do you have for Christians who want to take action for Jesus on the streets?
DB: If you want to take “Jesus to the streets,” first ask yourself, “How can I scratch someone’s back?” “What do I have to bless someone with?” A hard skill or a soft skill like we talked about earlier can bless someone. No one’s skills are better—just figure out how to help or bless someone and then gain experience waiting on God while you talk to others.
Ask other questions about them that you are curious about. Maybe, “Does your family go to church?” Or “Do you subscribe to a certain belief or faith?” Listen way more than you talk, and you will make a friend. They’ll see how Jesus is a giver and wants to connect with everyone.
AMAG: What’s the best advice someone has given you in your life?
DB: Best advice I’ve received is, if you want a fruitful life doing missions, whatever continent you are on—even your own hometown—invest in a consistent time with just you and Jesus. Build that relationship and you will be comfortable sharing life and truth with others wherever you go.
The greatest currency we have in this world is our effect on others. – Jim Carrey
Photos by Jordan England and Dustin Berlin