Courtesy of Karina Martinez

Blink of an Eye

In June 2006, then seven-year-old Karina Martinez was traveling back with her family from a trip to Mexico. It was late and “I was feeling tired,” Karina recalls, “so I took off my seatbelt and laid down to sleep.” The next thing Karina remembers was her mom yelling, ‘Get Karina out!’ When Karina opened her eyes, her dad was struggling to remove her seatbelt. The car had overturned.

Months after the accident, Zeferino, Karina’s father, a tireless missionary, was ready to get back on track conducting Bible studies. He asked Karina to join him. For years, Karina was exposed to the teachings of the Bible. After each Bible study, Zeferino would do an appeal. Karina questioned why the appeal was never directed at her, “My dad said to people, ‘Do you want to be saved? Do you want to serve God?’” Karina wondered, “Why am I not being baptized?”

Karina considers her parents, her role models. They live out the Gospel both in word and in action, always sharing the Gospel and ministering to those in need. Her parents’ example and a realization that God spared her life for a reason drove her decision to be baptized, which she did at age 10.

By 16, Karina had developed many fears that sometimes get in the way of living life to the fullest. She was especially afraid of communicating with other people. One day her dad dropped her off at school. As she got out of the car, her backpack got trapped in the passenger door as she closed it. Her dad did not notice and drove off. Her backpack tore off and she collapsed on the ground. Miraculously, the only thing wounded was her pride. Just then she had an epiphany: the memory of the accident years ago came rushing back. If she had unfastened her seatbelt to lay down in the backseat, then why was her father struggling to unbuckle her when the car overturned? Surely, an angel of the Lord had protected her.

From then on, she decided to live life with no fear. She has been more active in the Racine Hispanic Church, serving as Sabbath School secretary and using her artistic talents to create beautiful pieces used during kids’ programs and evangelistic meetings.

Now 20, Karina desires to make a difference through a career in nursing, and her love for Christ is stronger than ever. “I pray every morning and every night. I have conversations with God, and talk to Him about my day – I thank Him for the bad days, too. This time with God helps me to remember that God has a plan for me.”

Carmen Mora is a member of the Racine Hispanic Church.