We praise Jesus that the Internet started at roughly the same time as Mars Hill Church. It’s allowed us to put all our content (sermons, blog posts, worship music, etc.) online for free for over 15 years. In January, 1,488,593 people from all seven continents visited marshill.com. We love our global family and are grateful for the opportunities technology has given us to share Jesus around the world. This is Karolina’s story.
Karolina was born one year before the fall of the Soviet Union in a country that became known as Turkmenistan. What was once a decent way of life under the Soviet regime now declined under the new government. A decade after the fall, the country was still trying to piece itself back together. Karolina’s parents felt a future did not exist in Turkmenistan so they decided it was time to move their family. Her father had Jewish ancestors so there were two countries they could flee to as quota refugees: Israel or Germany.
Life in Germany did not start well for Karolina. She did not speak the language of her new country. Students bullied her for the way she dressed and her good grades. She became very unhappy. “All the insulting words were eating me up inside,” she says. “I didn’t feel loved or accepted in school. I started to hate myself; everyday was a burden for me. Everyday I woke up and didn’t want to go on living. I even had suicidal thoughts.”
In 2008, Karolina graduated high school and began studying biotechnology at the Technical University in Braunschweig, Germany. Four years later a new friend invited her to a Baptist church. The church service got her thinking about the existence of God so she started to read the Bible. At first, she was skeptical of its claims and struggled to trust what it said.
In her last year of school, she spent a semester abroad studying in Sweden, where she met friends in a Christian student group. A German friend suggested checking out Mars Hill and listening to podcasts from Pastor Mark Driscoll. After many months of studying and talking with Christian friends, she asked Jesus to save her before going back to Germany.
“In Jesus I found my Savior,” Karolina says, “the one I can lay my hope on.” She says Jesus has changed her character. “I used to be aggressive toward people. I am no longer focused on the opinions others have about me. Through God’s help, I’ve been able to find true friends who love and accept me.” She says she also has a desire to help and serve people for God’s glory.
When she returned to Germany, she got plugged back into the Baptist church where she now serves meals to people and helps in the student group. She watches Mars Hill sermons regularly and is currently reading Who Do You Think You Are? “While reading [Who Do You Think You Are?], and discussing Ephesians with a friend, I realized I used to put my identity in the opinions of others. It was the reason I felt so unhappy. By putting my identity in Christ I am able to accomplish more than I would eve be able to on my own.”
Karolina recently graduated from university and is open to living and working wherever God leads her. She says she wants to grow in her faith and let Jesus produce fruitfulness in her life. She also wants to introduce other people to Jesus, especially her parents.
“I keep praying for them and put my trust in God to change the hearts of non-believers.”
Karolina by Lake Weser in Bad Karlshafen, Germany, December 2012
If you have a story you would like to share with the church, please submit it here. We would love to hear how God is revealing himself through his people.