We welcome Jacob and Karina Starnes to the Stoneworks family as our newest Living Stones! They will serve in the Gyergyo Basin, a Hungarian-speaking region of Romania.
Jacob was born in Texas, but his childhood included moving to a new place every three years. One of the most formative moments was when a house church was started in his living room when his family was living in Paraguay. He accepted Christ as his Savior when he was a child. Jacob served in a homeless ministry and with a discipleship ministry called Launch Global, preparing Christians to evangelize globally, in their own neighborhoods and internationally.
Jacob’s prior missions experience took him to Senegal and Chad for nearly three years with Pioneers to start a church planting movement among the Arab nomads. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a Master of Theological Studies degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Karina was born in Budapest, Hungary to Hungarian parents and is a dual citizen (US and Hungary) and speaks Hungarian fluently. She moved to the US when she was three years old. She also accepted Christ as her Savior as a child. Her faith deepened when she moved to Taiwan to teach English after college and fully understood contrition after an experience with a friend who was struggling. Karina’s prior missions experience has consisted of leading a nationwide campus ministry for CURE International and leading their short-term missions trips to several countries in Africa to minister to children with disabilities.
Most recently, Karina was a school administrator at an international Christian K-12 school in Budapest, Hungary. She has a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Chinese language, as well as a master’s degree in international relations. Karina now feels a burden for her own people group, the Hungarians, to know the Lord.
Jacob and Karina met online while they were missionaries in Chad and Hungary. After a few months in Hungary together, it became apparent that God was calling them to marriage. They were married in 2019 at the church where they will serve in Gyergyoszentmiklos, in a Hungarian-speaking region of Romania. In 2020, God blessed them with a daughter named Genevieve.
Jacob and Karina will work alongside the pastor who married them in Transylvania. His church is growing rapidly, seeing many new converts, so there is a great need for discipleship of new believers and church planting in the Gyergyo Basin (with a population of about a quarter million people, and his church is the only evangelical church in the basin). There are also allegations of child abuse and trafficking in this region, so they may be involved in children’s/orphan ministry. Additionally, in 2016 the largest Satanic conference in Europe was held in the town where the church is located. There is a great need for the Gospel there.
Jacob and Karina currently live in Texas and will move to Romania later this year.