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AK: How did you find Jesus?
LS: I was born in the Ukraine and grew up in a Christian family. When I was three and a half years old my mom and dad moved us to America. I will never forget saying goodbye to my grandpa and Aunt Lida…it was super difficult for my family to leave our motherland…by watching the way my Dad loved my Mom and took care of her in it all, I knew Jesus was real. My Dad exemplified the love of the Savior in so many ways to me and I have seen many miracles happen as I have walked with God.
AK: What do you do to make a living?
LS: I do flora design for weddings and events. I help the bride pick color schemes, style, themes and all that good stuff! My favorite part of what I do is helping people make their dreams come true. Every little girl dreams of her wedding day… it’s a blessing to be a part of their special day…I love it! A typical workday for me can vary. If there is a wedding on the weekend, I make a trip to the farms and markets in North County, pick up the flowers there and make sure all the blooms are in the right shades of color and looking healthy. Then I process them and set aside the best blooms for the bride's bouquet. Then I do the fun part…designing! I totally zone out when I start designing the arches, centerpieces, bouquets and everything else in my comfort zone. It’s art really and I just start creating and don't stop until it's all perfect. I always save the best for last, the bridal bouquet. Monday through Thursday I am usually at the office meeting brides and ordering product…I love to get personal with my clients, find out how they met, how they fell in love and details of the proposal… I figure if I am going to be a part of their life on such a special day, that it’s important I know them. My favorite part of the wedding is watching the father walk the bride down the aisle. I love to hear the bride and groom's commitments to each other too in the presence of God… It’s amazing that even if a bride and groom profess not to be believers, they almost always use scripture in their vows to one another and acknowledge God in some sort of way.
AK: What are the joys of sharing Jesus in the marketplace?
LS: I love to love on my neighbors…literally. Bringing the farmer I buy the floras from coffee, leaving some extra blooms on someone’s desk at the office or whatever it is... It brings me so much joy to bless people with something little that shows I care and that God cares. My job is not behind an office desk. I interact with a lot of people so I have built a ton of relationships over the last seven years… and in this business community we all help each other… I have been kind and honest with those I work with and we take care of each other when projects come up… Having integrity in my field has opened the door for me to model the love of Jesus as I am afforded opportunities to do so. And being your own boss and managing your own schedule is nice too, because it frees you up to spend time with people and love on them the way Christ would.
AK: What has been difficult about living out your faith in the marketplace?
LS: Not every couple you work with is easy to work with in the wedding industry. Sometimes my flesh rears up when I see the future bride get yelled at by her fiancé or when there is clearly already tension and fear in the room over the prospect of picking flowers. I have to ask God continuously for His heart for others. Sometimes there are events that I have to say no to and that may not be a particularly popular thing to do and that can ruffle some feathers sometimes. It’s also not good for business to say no to things, but I pay attention to the Lord’s leading and I would rather obey Him than make it all about money and getting the next client. I am learning more and more not to be afraid to share my faith with others at opportune times.
AK: What is your favorite part about giving to support the Kingdom?
LS: I absolutely love to support missionaries in the field! Over the past few years I was fortunate enough to go to Haiti, the Middle East, Ukraine and Mexico on short-term mission trips. I was so touched by the labor and courage and heart expended by missionaries counting it all loss to serve Jesus in very difficult situations. I watched them feed orphans and attempt to start new projects in poverty stricken areas… and many times they were lacking the resources to do all they wanted to do for those God had called them to serve. When Jesus walked the earth, He fed the hungry and He healed the sick. By supporting missionaries, through them, Jesus continues to feed the hungry and heal the sick. I love knowing that when I work hard, someone is getting fed and that someone is going to come to know Jesus through my hard work and shared resources. It motivates me to continue to be diligent and do the work here, so that I can send the finances for those laboring for the Kingdom over there.
AK: If you could leave readers with any nugget from your life experience what would it be?
LS: Between the ages of seventeen and twenty –one, I wasn’t really walking with the Lord. All I cared about was becoming financially stable and living the dream. I worked so hard, yet when I think about where all that money went it makes me really sad. Sometimes I would stand in front of my closet, filled with Gucci bags and tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff and for what? After visiting places like Haiti and Mexico I realized that one of those purses in my closet would have paid for two people to go and spread love and hope. I would encourage readers to be wise where they spend their treasure… and don’t make the same mistakes I did! I spend my money totally different now. In Matthew 6.33 it says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else shall be added unto you. I know that if I am seeking first His kingdom, that everything else will get figured out. Life is good right now…I have a roof, gas in my car, great family and amazing relationships in the Body of Christ. Don’t be a hoarder of materialistic earthly stuff…make Christ number one and fight for souls! God will work everything else out in His perfect timing.