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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Laying Your Life On the Line for Christ (Part 2 of 2)

Laying Your Life On the Line for Christ (Part 2 of 2)

Virginia Prodan is an author, international human rights attorney, and public speaker. She shares her powerful story of courageously sharing God's love with a gun-wielding assassin in Communist Romania sent to execute her in her law office. For defending Christians behind the Iron Curtain, Virginia was kidnapped, beaten, and had her life threatened on several occasions. She shares about leading her would-be assassin to Christ and inspires listeners to fearlessly stand for the truth, no matter the cost. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: November 28, 2023

 

Preview:

Virginia Prodan: And I heard the Lord whispering to me, “Do not be terrified by them.” It was like a cold water that came on me, reminding me God is here. I’m in His hands. Don’t worry. Don’t look at the situation. I even say to them, “I don’t like what you’re doing, but God loves you, and I choose to love you.”

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Virginia Prodan sharing about her persecution years ago at the hands of the Romanian government. Uh, what a woman of faith, and you’re gonna hear more of her remarkable story today on Focus on the Family working as a human rights attorney behind the Iron Curtain and all of the miracles God has done in her life. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, last time we enjoyed the first part of Virginia’s testimony about being interrogated and beaten for defending Christians in court, uh, during the rule of former Communist dictator, Ceausescu. Virginia came to Christ in her 20s. She was raised in Romania by her aunt. She had a very difficult childhood and didn’t know who her mother was until much later in life. Uh, to hear that extended conversation with Virginia, listen to my podcast, ReFOCUS with Jim Daly. You can find it wherever you get your podcasts, and we’ll also provide a link on our webpage.

John: Right. And, uh, Virginia is an allied attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom. She’s a writer, speaker, and podcaster and lives in Dallas, Texas. She has three adult children, and her story is captured in a really remarkable book called Saving My Assassin. You can find details about the book and our guest at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And as we get back into the conversation, Jim asked Virginia about the most profound story in her book about an assassin sent by the Romanian government to kill her. And we’ll pick it up right there on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Virginia: The Lord gave me an assignment, and I wanna say it. The more you obey God, God will elevate to it more risky, um, assignment. This was an assignment when I received it. I created a pocket in my suit, and, uh… but I said to the Lord, “Lord, if they find out as they interrogate me every single day and they search me, they will be able to kill me right away.” But I said, “Lord, I trust you. I trust you.’ And I did that. The next day, I went, uh, outside. They took me to the interrogation room, and they beat me like never before. But you know what? They forgot to search me.

Jim: (laughs)

Virginia: And that day, I was able to give those documents to the American Embassy. And by the end of the day, those documents were on the desk of President Reagan, who said, “I proved to them that the dictator lied even at that point.” And President Reagan said, “I’m gonna take the most favored nation statute from you.” So the dictator created the perfect plan. He sent a new client, an assassin to kill me. So he… Because they had microphones everywhere, they knew about my whereabouts, wa- what I was talking with my assistant. So he came exactly in time for my assistant to introduce him to my office. And she said, “I’m going to pick up my kids.” The minute that he heard my assistant locking the door, he pull his jacket, took his, uh, gun and pointed to my face and said, “I’m not here as your client.” I’m here to kill you. And he was so joyful. It struck me to the core. But he explained to me, “By doing this,” he said, “I will be number one in President Ceausescu’s rank.” And he was so happy. I was shaking. Uh, he was six-10 feet tall with a gun at my face. I was under five feet tall 82 pounds. I was shaking. I assumed that my face was red. I heard my, my heart in my ears. I was looking at my picture saying, “My girls will live without a mother.” And in all this noise, I heard the Lord saying, “Share the gospel.” And I was thinking, “That’s my last chance before I leave this earth to share the gospel-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Virginia: … with this soul.” And I started to share the gospel. And I remember telling him, “I know you have a job, but I would love to share something with you.” And to my surprise, he said, “Yes.” And I started to share the gospel with him. Uh, I… He put the gun down. He noted several times. His, uh, shoulders relaxed. I have to tell you that I recited the Bible, not saying the gospel. I recited the gospel-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Virginia: … to him. And I watch him melting in under God’s word. And as I watch him, I’m thinking, “When I am done, he’s gonna kill me.” And that stopped my thoughts of thinking. So I started to say two sentences on my own. And boy, he came back to, “I’m here to kill you,” and so forth. I was so scared. I pray like never before. And the good Lord reminded me the gospel. And I shared the gospel, and he accepted Christ right there in front of me. When he left, I don’t know how long I stayed there. But I was thinking, “It happened really in front of me.” He is my brother in Christ. And the story doesn’t end there. You know that.

Jim: Yeah. Yeah. Tell it. Tell it because people may have to cut out.

Virginia: Yes.

Jim: But tell me what, uh, happened.

Virginia: So years after that, uh, six months or a year after that, President Reagan pick up the phone and said… because he heard about what happened, uh, he- and was afraid that, um, the dictator will kill me, he said, “I will make a deal with you. I will give you the most favored nation statute for one more year, if you allow Virginia and her family to live today.” The dictator said, “Deal in a month.” You will find out in the book that he created another plan to kill me. But I wanna say this. I didn’t know President Reagan. When you are a child of God and you obey God, he will put the most powerful person in the world to protect your life.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Virginia: That’s what God did. I came to United States. I didn’t know an word in English, no f- money, no friends, no nothing. So I learned English. I went back to law school, and I graduated. I opened my law firm, and I practiced. And few years in my practice, a man comes to my office. He presented his case, and he- it was a good case. And I’m thinking, “Boom, I would take his case. It’s a good case.” When he finished, he was very frustrated and said, “Virginia, don’t you recognize me?”

Jim: (laughs)

Virginia: And he’s shown me his, uh, Securitate ID. I thought that I re-lived again that moment in Romania. It was so real.

Jim: It shook you.

Virginia: Yes, it shook me-

Jim: Yeah.

Virginia: … to the core that I am in front of my assassin one more time, and my- by myself again, and he started to say what the Lord is doing in his life. I’ll share one, one cigarette. He’s a pastor now.

Jim: Yeah. He became a pastor.

Virginia: Yes. And I shared what the, uh, Lord is doing in my life that I’m writing the book and he said, “Let me write a chapter in your book.” And he wrote a chapter in my book. In my wildest dream, when I started writing my book, I never thought that one day my assassin would write a, a chapter in my book.

Jim: That is crazy.

Virginia: That’s the way God works.

Jim: (laughs) That’s the way God works.

Virginia: That’s the, the way, and, and it’s so important to read also his, uh, um, chapter because-

Jim: Yeah.

Virginia: … he explains how as a young person, he was attracted by the lies of socialists’ free, free, free, free stuff. And he got into socialists. He got into the, the party. And in order to, to go up on, on the error, he, he started to kill people, to put wrong, um, um, documents at their place in order to arrest them or even to kill them, that how socialists created a monster out of him. But he also explained how God redeemed him and what he is doing now.

Jim: Hmm.

Virginia: It’s a great, great lesson of how powerful our God is and how to treat people as God’s creation, not our enemies.

Jim: It’s such a powerful story, and it does sum it all up. I mean, when you stay true to the Lord, again, it’s not always gonna work out perfectly. It may not always work out positively, but you’ll be faithful to the Lord. And so, those consequences are what the Lord intended.

Virginia: Yes. Exactly.

Jim: It’s what is true-

Virginia: Exactly.

Jim: … back to who you are and-

Virginia: Yes.

Jim: … what you’re about.

Virginia: Yeah.

Jim: At the same time, to have your assassin, to be able to lead that person to the Lord, a lot of Christians, and let me just speak to the Christian community because a lot of Christians would struggle with that because in that moment, you’re operating out of your flesh so often.

Virginia: Yes. Ah-huh.

Jim: How am I gonna save my own skin-

Virginia: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … you know? Um-

Virginia: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … what am I gonna do here? What do I need to sign? What do I got to do?

Virginia: Exactly.

Jim: And you buckle. You, you… Unfortunately, you give in.

Virginia: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And in this case, you, you did perhaps the boldest thing that you could do. Can I share the gospel with you? And the man was receptive.

Virginia: Yes. Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that’s amazing.

Virginia: You have no idea.

Jim: That’s two lives-

Virginia: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … profoundly changed-

Virginia: Exactly.

Jim: … yours and his.

Virginia: Yes. God saved both of us that day. He saved me from this man to pull the trigger. And he saved him from the evil empire to, back to Christ-

Jim: Yeah.

Virginia: … who created him. Yes.

Jim: In that regard, Virginia, when you look at the US and where we’re at in the attitude of the church, how do we, uh, refrain from fighting this battle against people that don’t like what we stand for as Christians?

Virginia: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Ha- how do we, how do we learn? What do you say to us to gain wisdom in order to reflect Christ the way he would want us to reflect him in this culture that’s coming at us?

Virginia: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s kind of nasty toward us.

Virginia: I will say two things. One is you, as American people, never experience persecution. You need to be trained. You need to be prepared not to run away that someone else will, will do it, not that is not my time to speak. I have been watching you from overseas in Romania and growing with you here for so many years in America. And now, I can say as American people, we brought Christ, freedom, and prosperity to people all over the world. God is saying, “It’s time for you, American people, to bring Christ, freedom, and prosperity back to America.” In order to do this, I believe two things are essential. We have Bibles at our fingertips. But many of us, and if you don’t see the reality, you will never correct the reality. I’m not saying this to criticize. I’m saying to help American people. Many people don’t open the Bible Monday to Sunday morning until they go to church. And they hear only what the pastor said. It’s time for us to have time with the Lord for two reasons. One is to learn who you are. You are a sinful person. You are in need for God, but you are God’s creation who gives you favor and honor. You don’t need to look for anyone else. You already have the highest rank in the entire world, child of God.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Virginia: And he is giving you honor and favor. He is providing your resources. Know your boss. Know the government. Be respectful, but know who you are in Christ. The second part is know who your God is. Did you put your God in, in a box? And God is the only one that you go after, you go to your phone, you go to social media, you go to all your friends, you go to government, and the list goes on. And finally, you go to God. Do you have that relationship with God and say, “Lord, I am your child.” And like David says, “Lord, fight with those who fight with me. Lord, help me,” and say like David said, “How long, Lord? Are you asleep, Lord?” He is not offended.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Virginia: No, he’s not offended. Go and complain to God first about your situation. Go and hear from, there is a time that you can talk and, and take away everything that you have in your heart and receive the peace that surpasses all understanding. There is a time that you hear from God. God says in his word that he will put his hands on our back and say, “This is a way. Walk in it. You will never be alone.” You might hear, hear me saying, “God told me this, and God told me that,” because we have a God who communicates with us. I speak with him every single day. I cry with him and I laugh with him every single moment. And that is what God wants. Another thing that I wanna say and encourage American people, this is the best time in our life. Oh, you might think I’m crazy, but when the darkness comes, the s- light of Christ will shine so powerful in us, and people want to see a God full of grace, care, uh, uh, full of sovereignty, a God who is in charge of the evil one who has a limited time, and they will say, “I want your God to be my God.”

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Virginia: And lastly, I’m not saying because I’m polite, I’m saying because it’s true. It’s true and I hope and I know it will be true until my last breath on this earth. There is no greater honor for a Christian to suffer for Christ and to suffer with Christ, that the way you witness, the way you know yourself, the way you hear God and feel him, no, I’m not crazy, I can feel God’s warmth and hands around me. I can hear his whisper. I can h- know even his smell, his laugh because, uh, he took me to times when nobody was able to help but him, and I know who my God is. And that’s what we have to do, and we will have the best. Now, it might be painful. But the best spiritual awakening in America, this- the best spiritual way to walk with God, to obey God and to see miracles because God will perform miracles. He changed Romania to a little tiny me. He wants to change America to each one of us wherever he place us. And this is our opportunity. Fear God and no one else.

Jim: Let’s go. (laughs)

Virginia: Yes. (laughs)

Jim: You are a cheerleader.

Virginia: Yes, (laughs) I am.

Jim: I love it.

John: What a courageous story you’re hearing from Virginia Prodan on Focus on the Family in a recent conversation Jim Daly had with her. And be sure to get her inspiring book, Saving My Assassin. Uh, we’ve got that here at Focus on the Family. And when you get it from us, you further our ministry and help us present programs like this. So please stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast to get the book.

Jim: Virginia, let me also ask you, uh, y- you mentioned it. But yo- I mean, you ended up being interrogated frequently, and you were beaten and more than one time.

Virginia: Yes. Ah-huh.

Jim: So I mean, that was just part of your routine, and you never gave up.

Virginia: Yes. Ah-huh.

Jim: Why not? Why didn’t you say, “Okay, enough is enough. I don’t wanna suffer this physical pain anymore. I don’t wanna be interrogated. I don’t wanna be mistreated. Therefore, I’ll go along with the society’s lies.”

Virginia: You know, I- you, you remember that I, I said, “You need to know who you are and you need to know who your God is.”

Jim: Oh, I remember. (laughs)

Virginia: And when you know all this, you know for sure the mission that God gave you.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Virginia: And I will say, when you know the mission, you are so rooted in, in God’s, God’s principle, and you’re, you’re… He transforms you. God is not in a business of, uh, working on your brain. He transforms you from who you are into a new creation, and he transformed me gradually in all this situation. And he built in me when I was under interrogation, and they would beat my head at the table or my, uh, back to the wall. And I was not able to breathe. I, I look at those people as, first of all, I felt like God was there holding me. I, uh, look at them as God’s creation. I knew that I was there to show them Christ, and I want to share a story. Uh, when they were beating me so hard, I was full of blood, and I believed that I was at the end of my rope. And I don’t know if they asked me to sign that I was crazy, that everything, all the lawsuits that I did, they were just lies and everything because they want to redeem their self and the dictator-

Jim: Right.

Virginia: … in front of. And I kept saying, “No, no, no.” And I believe I was at the end of my rope, and I heard the Lord whispering to me, “Do not be terrified by them.”

Jim: Hmm.

Virginia: It was like a cold water that came on me, reminding me, God is here. I mean, his hands, don’t worry, don’t look at the situation. And I started to share what, what the God, uh, asked me to share. And I even say to them, “I don’t like what you’re doing, but God loves you, and I choose to love you.” They were turning their heads because they were crying. They didn’t know what to do with them.

Jim: Can’t manage it.

Virginia: Ol- Only in heaven I will find out which one of them accepted Christ, which one of them went to my church, maybe later on.

Jim: Well, like your assassin-

Virginia: Yes. Yeah.

Jim: … who became a pastor. Virginia, right at the end here, let me just ask you to give us, in a nutshell, kind of the wrap-up statement. When you look at your life at Romania, what you suffered under, uh, Ceausescu-

Virginia: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … what happened, uh, to your family, then coming to the US, going to SMU, doing your law degree all over, sitting for the bar in the US, becoming an attorney here, which by the way, that’s a very impressive thing to do in a second language, so well done.

Virginia: Thank you. Thank you.

Jim: But when you look at all of it and you continue to fight for, uh, freedom-

Virginia: Yeah.

Jim: … for-

Virginia: Um-

Jim: … religious rights, what do you s-

Virginia: … uh, yeah. I’m an allied attorney with the-

Jim: Yeah.

Virginia: … Alliance Defending Freedom.

Jim: So what-

Virginia: Yes.

Jim: … what do you say to us as a culture, both the Christian culture and the broader American culture?

Virginia: I… First of all, I will say God built my life in such a way that he wants you to see that it’s an example for you. I didn’t do anything. Ha- Da- God has done it in my life. Like I said, I’m a tool in God’s hands. And if you allowed God to- you to be a tool in God’s hands, God will change America, will change you and will change America. I will say this is the best country in the world. I told you-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Virginia: … I came here. No empty hands. No money. I raised three kids. Uh, I went to law school. My, uh, my daughter, um, first daughter graduated from SMU like me, my son, my, uh, second daughter from Harvard Law School, my son from United States Air Force Academy. They all serve the Lord. That’s the best country in the world. We receive freedom from others that sacrifice for us. It’s our time to sacrifice for freedom and keep the freedom that comes from God, not from anyone else. And be courageous, be strong and courageous what he is doing, asking you, watch for him. This is a way, walk in it. And if you don’t remember anything at all, remember, Ceaușescu believed… a dictator, believed that he had my life in his hands. He had everything in his power. And he died 30 something years ago. And I’m still going around the world, telling the story of what God has done in my life-

Jim: Amen.

Virginia: … and what God is able to do it. And your life will be changed forever. I wanna say one thing. Your wildest dream about your life is rubbish, rubbish, compare with the dreams that God has for your life. But I want you from the bottom of my heart. I am telling you, stay strong. You, your life will be so much better. Yes. Maybe, you lose your job. Maybe, you lose your friends. You might lose even your o- family. I lost my family when I became a Christian. They said, “You cannot come to our home, our place. You’re not part of the family.” But you will gain the family, the true family of God. They will stay by you, and they will fight with you. You will read in my book stories about so many people from, uh, Romania and from outside of Romania. You know, Congressman Frank Wolf or Christopher Smith, Secretary of State, Ronald Reagan that I didn’t know, you know, did I tell you the story about the fact that Ronald Reagan told me that God told him to pick up the phone and call the dictator?

Jim: Yeah.

Virginia: That’s, that’s the way God, God works.

Jim: There’s a little detail. (laughs)

Virginia: A lil- the little detail. I, I am a child of God like you. So be encouraged by the story, “Oh, I’m not the hero.” God is the hero of my story. And he wrote the story in my life long, long before I scribe it in my book. And he’s still working on mine. And he wants to work on you. And he is so in love with you. And he’s so in love for America to be transformed to the America that we knew and we receive so much freedom. So let’s get to work with God.

Jim: Virginia, you need more passion. (laughing) This is awesome. Thank you for spending time with me and with the listeners. I so appreciate it. Thank you for your life. Thanks for staying faithful.

Virginia: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share God’s story is my- in my life. And thank you for so many years that your organization and your ministry invested and is still invested in Christians, encouraging them to be faithful to God.

Jim: It’s all the Lord’s, right?

Virginia: Yes.

Jim: Yes.

John: Well, what a conversation these past couple of days on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, uh, talking to Virginia Prodan. And Jim, there are so many practical takeaways for us today as believers.

Jim: Absolutely. I mean, she reminds me of Corrie ten Boom, who went through a concentration camp and was persecuted for her faith and then forgiving her persecutors. It’s a little different story than this one, but there are some parallels. Virginia had to rely on God’s strength to face the trials she’s been through. And the joy of the Lord really shines bright in her. And her story is a great reminder, uh, today of how much God really loves us. If you’ve been inspired by this broadcast, you will love reading Virginia’s book, Saving My Assassin. We’re getting close to the end of the year. And as I think about the impact that Focus is having through the radio programs and podcasts, counseling, Adventures in Odyssey for kids, parenting and marriage help, I am reminded of all the good things God has done for over 45 years through Focus on the Family. And I would wanna ask you to join us to impact even more people for Christ. There are people who utilize resources from Focus every day, but maybe they haven’t supported us financially. Will you step in the gap and help us cover those expenses to help others? We’re so grateful that you’re listening and getting the help you need. Uh, that’s why we’re here, of course. But the truth is less than 1% of the listeners and viewers engage with us financially. Uh, would you preferably consider making today the day that you donate to help us further the ministry of changing lives for Christ? Uh, with the gift of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of Virginia’s great book, Saving My Assassin. And to make your gift go even further, some generous friends of Focus have offered to double your donation today. So if you give $25, they’ll match it, and it’ll be $50. It’s that simple. And I wanna say thank you in advance for helping families through Focus.

John: Yeah. Get in touch today to partner with us, and get the book when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or you can stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast to donate. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back next time as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Saving My Assassin

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