Here in America, we are blessed to have our faith and walks of life largely embraced by society. This privilege is not even an option in other parts of the world. We had the honor of speaking with Virginia Prodan, victory coach, speaker, author at Tyndale, and attorney, who defended her faith and nearly paid for it with her life.
4word: What was it like to grow up in a Communist country?
Virginia: I was born with a hunger for truth and freedom. But I was born in Communist Romania, under the brutal totalitarian regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. Ceausescu’s Romania was a real prison—a land of lies. Anyone who would dare question a governmental directive could lose his employment, be imprisoned, physically tortured or put to death. Our entire world revolved around the dictator, Ceausescu, as he declared himself a god and his word was law. Ceausescu and his regime required full submission. Being disobedient resulted in jail, death or “disappearance.”
We lived in a constant state of anxiety and mistrust, where anyone could arbitrarily denounce a neighbor, classmate or family member for making “anti-government” statements at any time, for any reason. Growing up, all I knew were lies and fear. No place was safe.
I watched my parents and relatives playing the part of “good citizens” outside the walls of our house, all while secretly whispering their contempt for the government inside. Early in life I learned the best way to avoid trouble was to remain silent, question nothing, and try to blend in.
Unfortunately, even as a child, I questioned everything. I wanted to understand everything. And the more fear battered those around me into silence, the more obsessed I became with discovering the truth.1
4word: When did you begin to “fight for the truth?”
Virginia: As an attorney, my entire life was dedicated to finding and defending “the truth.” When I finally found it in the pages of the Bible—the most forbidden book in all of Romania—I had no choice but to accept God’s divine call and refocus my career on defending fellow Christians against Ceausescu’s unjust persecution.
I was introduced to my life-changing relationship with God one evening when a client came in to discuss some paperwork related to a property settlement. We had been meeting for months now, and frankly, I was exhausted. But this particular client never seemed to get discouraged. He always smiled, and he had a sense of contentment unlike anything I had ever seen. It was as though he were somehow oblivious to all of the misery that surrounded him. He radiated joy and peace, and for some reason, it troubled me.
Without thinking, I confessed, “I wish I had what you have in your life. I wish I had your sense of peace and happiness.”
“Do you go to church?” he asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “On Christmas and Easter. Why?”
“Would you like to come with me to my church this Sunday?”
My first instinct was to decline. Then I saw once again that look of peace and contentment. I wanted that—so much so that I decided it was worth the risk. The next Sunday I visited his church. As soon as the choir finished the opening song, the pastor read John 14:6—“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I could not believe what I heard. Someone was claiming to be the truth?
As the pastor continued to describe the truth of Jesus Christ, I felt as though the verses he shared were written specifically for me. Looking across the aisle, I saw my client. He smiled, nodded, and gently patted his Bible as if to say, “Now do you understand?” I did.
I had spent years searching for the truth, but I had been looking in the wrong places—law school, the government, the justice system. I suddenly realized that truth was something that came not from law books, but from God himself: the Creator of the universe—my Creator, the source of all life, peace, and happiness.
Barely able to contain my excitement, I accepted the pastor’s invitation to trust in Christ as Lord and Savior. From that moment on, I would dedicate my life to pursuing and speaking the truth, no matter the cost.
Shortly after I was baptized, I began defending fellow Christians facing imprisonment for transporting Bibles across the Romanian border, sharing their faith, or worshiping privately in their own homes.
This quickly made me a target. Many days I awoke to find my tires slashed. Clients and friends—even my children—were threatened. My daughters and I were held under house arrest for almost a month. I was kidnapped, bullied, pushed into moving traffic, and beaten by the secret police. For their own protection, friends and coworkers began keeping their distance. My faith was tested daily. The greatest test of my faith, however, came when Ceausescu sent an assassin to my office to kill me.2
4word: How did you escape assassination?
Virginia: My assassin came late, after everyone else had left my office. As he entered—a tall, massive man close to seven feet, with dark, menacing eyes and a hateful scowl—he pulled a gun from his coat and pointed it at me.
“You have ignored all of our warnings,” he said. “I am here to kill you.”
My mind raced as the gunman explained in a calm, almost businesslike tone, exactly how he would carry out my execution.
I felt blood rush to my head. I swallowed a scream. I wanted to run. Terror banged against my chest like a courtroom gavel. My legs shook. I could hear my heart pounding. But silently, I prayed, “Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.” (Psalm 38:22)
I was alone with my killer. And yet, I was not. Jesus! I began silent, fervent prayers, recalling God’s promises. His Spirit breathed peace into my panicked heart. And then I knew my fear was only temporary—that God would protect me, give me strength and courage.
I sensed His spirit in my spirit: Share the Gospel. So I did. Emboldened, I thought about the man before me. A soul in need of Jesus. I looked into my killer’s eyes and asked, “Have you ever asked yourself ‘Why am I here?’ or ‘What is the meaning of life?’ I once asked myself those questions.”
Staring deeply into my assassin’s eyes, I could almost see a change taking place. God’s Word was saving us both!
“The truth is that we have all been corrupted and gone away from God,” I told him. He nodded. “We all are sinners, and our sin has determined our future. Hebrews 9:27 says, ‘People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.’”
His mouth fell slightly open, and his hands relaxed, so I continued to share the good news.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
He listened, touched his head and appeared even smaller and more peaceful.
“I do need Christ.” he whispered.
I prayed with him as he accepted Christ. Next he promised, “I will come to your church as a secret brother in Christ. I will worship your powerful God.”
And with that, my killer walked away—saved, a brother in Christ. This was God’s battle and I was His tool! I rejoiced.3
4word: How can all of us live as courageously as you did that day?
Virginia: To live a courageous life you / we must do three things:
1. Embrace God’s plan for us: God’s people are called to be hopeful and courageous. Having courage includes the willingness to live out with humility the “radical mission” God calls each one of us. His mission, guidance and power will give us hope. It will change us first and the world around us.
2. Entrust our Lives to God: To be courageous, we must remember that our lives are not our own. We need to live our new life daily by entrusting ourselves to God. He provides, protects, restores, confirms, strengthen, and establishes each life. God purposely calls us to objectives greater than us; to a life that is impossible to live without His power.
3. Engage the Battle: America needs courageous people to understand its reality, to speak the truth and act. With courage, we must reject both head-in-the-sand naiveté and conspiracy-mongering panic. We need each other. Courageously, we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder together with God’s people. Standing without God, without His power or His direction is foolishness. It hurts us and brings only desperation.
With God, there is hope to live a courageous and victorious life!4
4word: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Virginia: I encourage everyone to give your dream to God. Your dream is too small. God has an amazing dream for you and your life. You can be God’s tool for greater changes. Trust Him daily as He will guide you to a “beyond your imagination” courageous and victorious life!
Do you want to live a more courageous life? We hope that Virginia’s words and testimony inspire you to step out in faith and be the instrument of grace and change that God desires for you to be.
We are so excited to announce that Virginia will be starting a 4word Local Group in Romania! If you’d like to be a part of this amazing new group, please email Virginia at email@example.com.
Virginia Prodan is an international human rights attorney, an Allied Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a sought-after speaker and author at Tyndale. Exiled from Romania since 1988, Virginia currently resides in Dallas, TX. She has two daughters, Anca and Andreea, and a son, Emanuel. To can get in contact with Virginia by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or website: https://www.virginiaprodanbooks.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/virginiaprodanauthor; on twitter @virginiaprodan, and on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/pub/virginia-prodan/1b/458/24 5
- Taken from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/socialissues/citizen-magazine/faith-under-fire
- Taken from http://thedailypositive.com/5-verses-prayed-assassin-came-kill/ and http://virginiaprodanbooks.com/2016/10/04/found-gospel-communist-romania/
- Taken from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/socialissues/citizen-magazine/faith-under-fire
- Taken from http://virginiaprodanbooks.com/2017/03/07/want-live-courageous-life/
- Bio taken from: http://www.memoiraddict.com/author-qa-virginia-prodan/