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Pulled from the Mud

Pavlo and the son of Resonate Global Mission missionaries Brian and Erin Bronsink, who serve as teachers at LCC International University in Lithuania.

Pavlo,* a native of Ukraine, was naturally stoic, slow to show emotion. But on the morning that Russian tanks started rolling into his home country, fear and uncertainty rushed through him.

As Pavlo arrived for class on the LCC International University campus in Lithuania, his ears rang with the news being passed between students and staff: Ukraine was under attack.

Resonate Global Mission missionary Erin Bronsink locked eyes with Pavlo in the hallway. Erin and her husband, Brian, are Resonate missionaries serving as teachers at LCC. Pavlo had been a student of Erin’s last fall, so she knew his home and his family were in Ukraine. Erin offered Pavlo a hug, and he collapsed into her arms. She invited him to their home as a safe place to process the news.

As Pavlo sat quietly at the Bronsinks’ kitchen table, Erin gently asked, “Do you want to sit? Pray? Talk?”

Pavlo began sharing his frustration, fear, and uncertainty. He came from a Russian Orthodox background, but today his world had turned upside down, and he expressed doubt about everything from world leaders to God.

Brian offered to pray. With a sigh of defeat and a mutter of God being “the only thing left,” Pavlo reluctantly agreed. Though Pavlo’s heart was weary, God’s peace was near, and accepting prayer that day marked the moment Pavlo’s life and relationship with God changed.

That fall, Pavlo accepted Brian’s invitation to join his Alpha group, an eight-week introduction to Christianity. Over weekly meals and video lessons, students shared foundational wonderings about Christ and the gospel, such as “What is the Bible?” or “Can God really help me?”

Ivan, a student who sat at Pavlo’s table, was already a believer. The pair engaged in vibrant dialogue about what walking with God looks like and what praying in relationship with God sounds like.

The ability to speak directly with God at any moment intrigued Pavlo. As he grew deeper in his understanding of God, he began to appear more alive. He started attending church on Sundays, helping Brian set up for events, and talking about Jesus with others.

During their last meeting, the group drew pictures representing their spiritual life before and after their eight-week journey. Pavlo, an artist at heart, drew two pictures—the first, a messy and muddy pit, and the second, him walking hand in hand with Jesus, who was pulling him from the mud.

“Before, I was stuck in a mud pit, covered in the muck and messiness of sin,” Pavlo shared. “Now, though I still have some mud on me, Jesus walks beside me, helping me every step of the way.”

Brian pointed out the striking parallel to Psalm 40:2: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

Resonate missionaries like the Bronsinks are sharing the gospel with people like Pavlo all around the world. While it is still not safe for Pavlo to return home, and his parents are unable to leave Ukraine, Pavlo’s hope and comfort in Jesus grows deeper each day—and the Bronsinks are there for him.

“He has a desire to surround himself with Christian community, and his outlook on life is noticeably more joyful since growing closer to Christ,” Erin said.

*Name changed for privacy.

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