Posted Mar 07, 2024 | Share this:

Ever wondered about the impact of living a ‘Lent lifestyle’? Karina’s 30+ years of mission work provides profound insights. Walk the New Testament’s paths with us in the latest episode on The Satisfied Soul Podcast.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk the same paths as the Apostle Paul, to see the world through the lens of a seasoned missionary, or to understand the true meaning of Lent? Our latest podcast episode brings you a conversation with Karina, a woman who has dedicated over 30 years to missions work, touching lives across 40 nations.

Karina’s journey is not just about the places she’s been but also about the people she’s served and the faith that has driven her every step of the way. In this episode, she shares her experiences of walking in the footsteps of biblical history in Greece, teaching, and serving in various capacities, from the ancient ruins of Corinth to the peaceful Lydia Springs.

But it’s not just the historical sites that captivate; it’s the raw, transformative work Karina does in the red light districts, with gypsy Roma education programs, and her ministry to refugees. Her stories reveal the harsh realities of these environments and the light of hope that ministry can bring to the darkest corners.

What’s more, this episode delves into the significance of Lent, a season often misunderstood and reduced to mere ritual. Karina and our host discuss the origins and practices of Lent, challenging listeners to look beyond tradition to the heart of sacrificial living. They explore how cultural Christianity often misses the mark, emphasizing the importance of returning to the Bible for guidance.

The conversation is as much about self-reflection as it is about global missions. It’s a call to consider how even the smallest acts of kindness, like writing a letter of encouragement, can have profound effects, sometimes only realized in eternity.

Karina’s insights are a reminder that true ministry is not confined to the walls of a church or the borders of a country. It’s about making sacred, holy spaces wherever we are, allowing God to work through us in ways we may never see.

This episode isn’t just for those with a heart for missions; it’s for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of faith, service, and the global church. It’s a testament to the power of living a life dedicated to God’s work, whether at home or abroad.

So, if you’re ready to be inspired, to learn about the power of living a Lent lifestyle, and to hear stories of faith in action, tune in to our latest episode. It’s more than just a podcast; it’s a journey into the heart of what it means to truly live out your faith.

Listen now, and let Karina’s stories challenge and encourage you to find your own path of service and devotion.


Continue scrolling to read the full transcript.

Karina has been doing missions work for over 30 years

>> Sarah: So today I have my friend Karina with me on this podcast, and I asked her to be on the podcast with us because she has traveled all over the world and we are in a season of lint, and I couldn’t think of a better person or a better example of explaining what it m means to live a kind of lent lifestyle while. So I would like Karina to introduce herself.

>> Karina: Hi, my name is Karina. I’ve been doing missions work for over 30 years now in various locations around the world and have been to over 40 different nations and serve here in home as well, and have a full time, 40 hours a week job.

>> Sarah: Yeah. Karina, where are you currently serving? Because it is such a cool thing for me. Whenever you talk about it, I get so excited because you’re walking paths that somebody else got to walk.

>> Karina: Yeah. I’ve been very blessed to be in the nation of Greece, where much of the New Testament has taken place, so literally walking in the footsteps of Paul on a regular basis.

>> Sarah: Isn’t that amazing? Yeah. Do you just stop in specific places and go, Paul’s feet could have been, like, right here.

>> Karina: I think I probably did nine years ago when I first started going. It’s just. It almost becomes second place. It’s just normal. You’re like, oh, well, Paul was. And it’s. It’s always nice when you have people come over to visit and you get to share that with them because they’re so. They. This is new for them. And it just reminds me of the joy and the appreciation I should have for being in that place and in that location.

>> Sarah: Was there ever any place in all your visits that you felt like you were more impacted by the location, knowing what had taken place than any other place in Greece? Like, any specific spot.

>> Karina: I really love ancient Corinth. It’s probably one of my favorite places, and one I go to one, ah, of the most often. So literally sitting where Paul has been to the Bema’s seat to share communion with believers. When you can see the environment that he was in when he gave those lessons, it’s quite amazing to see those kind of things.

>> Sarah: Yeah.

>> Karina: another favorite place that I really like is, in Philippi. Lydia Springs is what they call it. And it’s just this beautiful, peaceful place. And you can know where the first convents and your conversions of. To Christianity, came when the apostle Paul met the women by the flowing water.

>> Sarah: Wow. One day I have said this, and I’ll say it as many times until I get there. One day I’m going to go with you for a little short term mission out there in Greece, because I think it would be awesome. I mean, you’re currently transitioning to doing different things than we first met, but I still think it would be awesome.

>> Karina: Oh, I’ll still be doing some of those things. Know the Lord permits and, part of the practical ministry application is to doing some of the things that I’ve been doing for years.

>> Sarah: Yeah. What types of things have you been able to do ministry wise in Greece?

>> Karina: I absolutely love teaching, so I have the opportunity to, when groups and pastors, and different things come over to actually lead them on the footsteps of Paul tour. so that’s always an exciting thing to do. I work with a gypsy Roma education program, getting these kids into the public school system and all of that entails. We’ve seen amazing growth over the years. I do go out weekly in the streets, to the bars and the brothels, to women in prostitution, work with freedom businesses, once they’ve come out of those things, connected with the local church and various other refugee ministries, as needed as the times changed throughout the course of the years that I’ve been there.

>> Sarah: Wow. I know that you’ve worked with women and kids and done a lot of teaching because we’ve talked about that many times before, and you helped me out with kids ministry when we were trying to fix the kids ministry at the church we were at at the time. But I think the most fascinating one for me of all the stuff you talked about was the red light district, because people don’t understand that it’s still an active, normal way of society. And, you spend a great deal of time trying to minister to women, to help them understand that there’s a different way to live and help them figure out what types of skills they can do to be different, to still m, support their family. And I remember one year, ah, I want to say it was two years, maybe three years ago, you had asked me, there was, ah, a Christmas party you guys were going to have, and you had asked me if I would write a letter to the women of encouragement, like, just encouraging them that they can keep going with what they’re doing. And I think that was one of the things of all my ministry stuff that I have ever done over the last 25 years is how long I’ve been doing ministry stuff. That probably was the most profound thing for me because I was loving on people I had never met, never known, and I just allowed God to speak through me. Onto paper. And, it impacted me so much. I can’t even imagine how it impacted them. But more so, just being able to have that space with the Lord, knowing that he was going to use it for those women, that was incredible.

>> Karina: Absolutely. And I mean, it’s one of those things. You may never see the rewards until you get to heaven. but I think we lose sight of that. Even at home, you can have an impact on those things.

We talk about the people who travel, which by all means is important, but even here at home, you can have an impact on those things. That is profound. And not only does it affect, the people that you’re giving and ministering to, but it also affects you. And that’s something you did, sitting in the comfort of your own house in America and spending time with God. And I think if we make those kind of sacred, holy spaces, I think God is, more than willing and able and wants to do those things with and through.

>> Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. So we’ve known each other for about five years, four or five years, and we met through, a church situation with another person that we both know. And we started interacting at this conference. And there was such an amazing connection. When I first met you, I thought, well, you’re more like the other person than me, but the more I got to hang out with you, I thought, this is my kindred spirit. This chick gets me. And it has been so evident because we have a lot of things in common when it comes to ministry. We both love to teach. We have such a cool calling of teaching, but also we have a heart for missions.

There are some things that are difficult to translate in Greek missions

And so I actually reached out to you about a mission situation that I was dealing with, and it has been, to say the least, a whirlwind. And I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year, maybe a year and a half. But you’ve been doing missions for. Well, I’ve been doing missions for a while. But you’ve been doing this specific mission with Greece for nine years.

>> Karina: Absolutely.

>> Sarah: Yeah. And I know in the year and a half that I’ve been working with Pakistan, there’s been some things that have come up that have been very difficult translation wise for me, and some of them are just the practices. I’ve noticed that even though, they proclaim Christianity, they practice very Catholicism rituals. And so we’re going to talk about one of them specifically. But do you notice in Greece it’s hard to explain how to do, how to just be a Christian to where they understand in their language. Do you ever have that issue?

>> Karina: there’s always some translation problems. And I’m thankful that, our international language there, when working with people is English, and I am very blessed with people who speak a multitude of different languages. I will never learn, whether it’s the women on the streets or it’s the refugees or things of those nature. So there are some things that are very difficult to explain, but it also makes me sit back and realize and actually say, what does the Bible say? Not how I was raised, not how I was told. But let’s take it actually back to the Bible and what does that look like in practice? And I think we’ll find that we find a lot of those things a lot more similar than we do dissimilar. And if they are from a religious background of some sort, sometimes it’s almost harder to undo those religious thoughts than it is to somebody who has none at know, but taking and bringing Christ into those and not just the ritual of it into a relationship. And to me, that’s the big conversion point.

>> Sarah: Yeah. I think I’ve had the hardest time, with trying to explain the differences between ritualistic and relational because, some of it I’ve just had to let go. Like, if you want to do the crossing over your body, the Catholic crossing over your body, ritual. And a lot of them do, I have to think they don’t understand that it’s not really a biblical thing. And so it’s that whole pick your battle, like win the war, pick the battle kind of thing to where their heart is in the right place. They’re not doing it, because somebody told them to check the box. They’re doing it because to them, that’s a way to show I love God, and they don’t know the difference. So to me it’s like, pick the battle. Who cares if they’re doing that because it’s not detrimental to your salvation. Right. And I think sometimes we Christians specifically get very stuck on trying to explain rules or trying to explain practices and don’t focus on the relationship part. And so we sometimes miss the mark with some of these practices that are actually important and we give them up because we don’t get it or we don’t feel like it’s the thing, that we should be doing. And one of those things that I think it’s starting to come back, actually.

I think we’ve lost the purpose behind Lent, which is to prepare for Christ

But one of those things is Lent, and we are currently in Lent season. And so for this time with you, I wanted to talk about what the history of Lent was. And so what are your thoughts or. Both of us have a pretty significant education when it comes to the Bible. What is your thought about the history of lent? What’s the facts you know about Lent?

>> Karina: Oh, there’s a lot of facts in there, but, when it is brought in as a time of sacrifice, and it’s brought in as a time of doing things, but it was also brought in as a time of control as well, and ritualism and those kind of things, and I think we’ve missed the point. A lot of people do it because they’re told to do it. They’ll give up meat, at least one day a week. They’ll do certain things. and I’m all for doing things as a community, but I think we’ve lost the purpose behind it, which is to put ourself in remembrance in a place where we’re more able to hear from God. Right. I don’t have a problem practicing lent. I have a problem practicing lent for the sake of practicing lent, if that makes any sense. Like I said, I think it’s not necessarily bad to do with a community, but it’s the heart behind it as it is with everything in Christ.

>> Sarah: Right? So I do know that lint’s starting off. Jumping off point is ash Wednesday, which actually just occurred a couple of weeks ago. And, funny story. My husband just went to a monastery, and he was going there just for a little sabbatical. We’re not Catholic, but we had heard, and I have gone to this monastery. We have heard that people go to monasteries just for this time of Sabbath and peaceful, quiet, reverent time. And so he was needing that time, and he went for two nights, three day stay. And sadly, my husband, who absolutely loves meat, went at, the start of Lent, and I felt so bad for him. It was Ash Wednesday the day before he went. We didn’t put two and two together that they would be practicing lint at the time. We were just thinking, it’s a great time to go. There’s open space, there’s available beds. Let’s schedule you. So we sent him, and he went Thursday afternoon and basically had rice and beans the entire time he was there. He did take some protein bars and protein shakes, so he was okay. But that was the first thing he said when we finally got signal. When he got signal and he was able to call me to tell me he was on his way home. He’s like, I didn’t have any meat for three days. And I’m like, that doesn’t make any sense, babe. When I went, I had meat, I had ham one day, and I was telling him all the stuff, and he goes, there was no food, no meat. And I’m like, what is wrong? This is not normal. And then it dawned on me. They’re in Lent. And so they very much practiced it while he was there. There was, no red meat, well, actually no meat of any kind. But also their bookstore was closed, so there was no purchasing any stuff. And all the monks were basically in silence. Unless you absolutely had a question, there were no monks to talk to you. And so it was so opposite of what I experienced that I was like, something’s not right. That’s not right, that’s not normal. And then I realized it’s because they’re in Lent. And so, like I said, I know it starts ash Wednesday and it goes until Easter. And the whole purpose really is to prepare yourself for Christ’s coming. Spend this time that you have, really focusing on the Lord. It’s a fasting ritual, but really just spending that time focusing on Lord giving up something, sacrificing something for the sacrifice that he’s made. And unfortunately, a lot of people take Lent season as a ritual as opposed to a relational situation. And like you said, I think it all has to do with the heart and where your heart is. And so, like you, I’m not somebody that is a lint follower to the letter. I’m going to do every single protocol that I know of for Lent. I am more like beforehand, lord, is there something that I need to, give up for this time and just spending time with him? And so even though there’s a history, I look at it different because there’s also an Old Testament and a New Testament. And when the New Testament came, the Old Testament was fulfilled. So, I practice it in a way that honors Christ and my desire to be closer in relationship to him.

>> Karina: Yeah. And I mean, I think that’s my biggest problem with the Lenten period, is that it is often preceded with carnival or Mardi Gras or whatever your culture is. And it’s kind of several, ah, weeks of debauchery. It’s like getting all your said and done before we have to do. Right. I do have a problem with that. That is so true.

>> Sarah: I never thought about that, but that’s so true.

>> Karina: Yeah. So it’s kind of like, oh, you have to get all your sinning in before fat Tuesday and, ah, eat everything that you want and be a glutton or whatever it is, because now you have to behave for the next 40 days. and I don’t think that’s what we see. When Jesus was tested in the wilderness, we didn’t see him out spinning, obviously, ever. But he wasn’t trying to get away with. Yeah, it wasn’t. How much can I get away with that I need to repent from for the next 40 days to check that box.

>> Sarah: Right. Yeah. Now that you say that, I actually have heard people say many times before, oh, I got to eat this and this and this, because tomorrow I’m starting my fast. Tomorrow I’m starting my Lent. Tomorrow I’m giving this, up. And it does.

We’ve taken pagan traditions and overshadowed them with Christian practices.

It’s very interesting to me how we have taken something that, like you said, the 40 days in the wilderness that Christ experienced. we’ve taken something that was somewhat designed as a Christian practice, but in reality, it was actually a pagan ritual. And we’ve done that with a lot of other holidays. Easter, pagan ritual, Christmas, pagan ritual. we’ve taken these things and overshadowed them with Christian practices, I think somewhat in an effort, you can even say, like, Halloween could be one of them, really, because, it’s a holiday that people celebrate. And, originally it was pagan situation, but now Christians are coming behind and trying to make it be more of a, let’s focus on what we can do for God during the time. And I don’t think any of that’s wrong. I just think, for us to call it a Christian practice, it’s not really biblical. There is nothing in the Bible that declares that. In fact, you could even look at Christmas, the day of Christmas, December 25, is not actually the day Christ was born. But that’s what we say to people. That’s what we tell Christ was born on this day. But if you look in the Bible, he was not. And so I think anything that we do, like you said about Greece, anything we do should be specifically, let me check the Bible about that. Let me go back to my true reference, the place where the facts are, and I’ll tell you what it says. Because us humans get it wrong.

>> Karina: Right. We do get it wrong. And so much of our perspective is from our own culture, a western culture. like, even in Greece, Ash Wednesday is not a big thing there because we have Clean Monday. it’s the same kind of principle, but, we view things from our perspective. But I think we often forget that the Bible is kind of a middle eastern book and written to that culture. But we try to impose our culture upon other people’s churches. And that’s not the way the first church was, and that’s not the way I believe Christ is coming back for his glorious bride. Is everybody kind of looks alike? Nope. Your church should look like you and your people and how God has called you to be and not necessarily conforming to what everybody else is around you.

>> Sarah: Yeah. So that’s something, actually to talk about for next week because we’re going to be talking about, what Lent means to us specifically. And our culture plays a big role in what it means to us. So we’ll stop for now and we’ll pick this up week two.

Please join us next week for Part Two of this conversation. Thank you for being here!

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