Vladimir* tried drugs for the first time as a 15-year-old while living in a small Eastern European town. Twenty years later, your support helped him return to plant a church.

An unstable childhood.

Both Vlad’s father and grandfather were dedicated military colonels. Proud to have a son to follow in his footsteps, Vlad’s father sent him to study at a military academy as a young boy.

But Vlad had an unstable childhood. Because of his father’s job, his family moved often. With every move, tension built between Vlad’s mother and father. His parents eventually divorced, and Vlad did not see his father for 15 years. At school, he began to fail in his studies. Vlad gave in to peer pressure from some classmates and tried opium.

Addiction.

By age 20, Vlad was struggling with a serious addiction—one that slowly took the lives of many of his classmates.

Vlad too was wasting away. He felt alone. Trapped. Worthless.

“At age 26, he saw no use in his life,” said Jacob*, a Resonate missionary. “He believed his fate was to die, so he attempted suicide with an overdose.”

But God had different plans.

A new start.

Vlad’s suicide attempt was unsuccessful. Walking out of the hospital, Vlad was desperate. He had failed at everything: school, a career, relationships—even trying to take his own life.

But then Vlad came across an ad posted on a building wall.

It read, “Life ruined? You can change your life!” and supplied an address.

Vlad is convinced that “an angel of God walked just ahead of him to stick that leaflet on the wall that day,” said Jacob. The address was for a rehab ministry started by missionaries working to plant a church among drug addicts.

Finding God.

“Vlad found Christ through this ministry,” Jacob said. “Cleaned his life of all destructive habits.”

Vlad came to know the heavenly Father who loves him unconditionally. As Vlad grew in relationship with God and his church community, he began to hear God call him to service—but not to military service as his earthly father had wanted for him.

God was calling Vlad back into the shadows from which he came.

God was calling him to ministry.

Stepping into leadership.

When the church he was attending multiplied to plant a new church in a neighboring city, Vlad stepped in as a capable assistant leader there. He led a small group for weekly discipleship and served as the director of a satellite rehab center for drug addicts.

But something more was stirring in Vlad’s heart.

For three years, Vlad had been prayerfully considering to return to the town where his addiction began and to plant a church there.

“It was in his heart to go back there,” said Jacob. “But he was too afraid.”

Then Vlad attended a church-planter visioning conference organized by Multiplication Network Ministries, a Resonate partner, and felt convicted. He heard God speak to him: “You have to take the first step.”

And he did.

Planting a church.

Just two months after the conference, Vlad moved back to the town where his drug addiction had started. He wanted to share the miracle of his transformed life with all who would listen.

Not only have you given Vlad the courage to take his first step of faith into church planting, but you also continue to walk alongside him as he works to bring the light of the gospel to the town that nearly swallowed him by drug addiction.

Jacob continues to train Vlad in leadership. With Jacob’s mentorship, Vlad graduated from a four-year bachelor’s program for pastors and strives to form networks of ministry leaders in his town to help strengthen the Christian community that’s forming.

Thanks to your prayer and support, Vlad now has resources and knowledge to complement his powerful testimony and zealous faith in God. Please pray for him as he walks into the shadows to share God’s light.

*Names changed for security purposes.

Region: 
Europe
Initiative: 
Starting Churches
Tag: 
Missional Leaders