By Mike and Dawn Jewell, who serve in the city of Tatui in South Brazil.
Karina lived with her family of eight in a one-room house. “House” is a generous word for the place because there were few comforts, not even running water. When the family needed to use the bathroom or take a shower, they had to go to a neighbor or nearby store.
Karina never knew her real father and lived with her stepfather who abused her and her three siblings. In drunken stupors he would beat the children and made Karina stay out in the tiny yard behind the house. Her mother had to sneak food to her. Karina even spent the night on the street once for fear of punishment. This went on for some time until her stepfather committed suicide.
Around this same time Karina was invited to church by her friend Camila who had recently come to Christ. Karina was reluctant to enter because she didn't have clothes that fit (she is very tiny). However, Camila convinced her to take part in Sunday school.
There she heard that God wouldn't let sinners into heaven. She didn't see a problem because she knew that she wasn't that bad of a sinner. On her second visit, Karina got to the door of the church but couldn't bring herself to go in. Clothes were again the issue.
Upon Karina’s third visit to church, the pastor preached about sin again, but this time it was different. She heard him quote Revelation 21:8.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
She agreed with most of the verse's description of those deserving hell. However, when she heard that liars were included, she knew she was in trouble: she was a terrible liar.
At the invitation, she went to talk to the pastor's wife, who explained how Karina could make a life-changing decision for Christ.
The teaching and preaching during the following years helped Karina grow in the faith. She dedicated her life to serve Christ, and in preparation for that she studied at the BMM Bible college in Curitiba during the 2009–2010 school year. God provided in a wonderful way for her tuition. She had gone in faith with no money.
Today Karina is an inspiration as she serves the Lord in the local church as the teen girls’ Sunday school teacher. She also plays piano and participates in the church orchestra with her flute.
She furthered her studies and is now a certified teacher at a local daycare.
Karina is waiting on God's direction for a husband who will serve Christ and raise a family with her.
Photo: Mike Jewell, Elzira (read her story at https://www.bmm.org/partner/news/elzira), Dawn Jewell, and Karina.