The Table Podcast

Facing Death for Following Christ

In this episode, Bill Hendricks and Virginia Prodan discuss her life story, focusing on her work defending Christians in Romania. Note: This interview was recorded before social distancing practices began in March 2020.

Timecodes
0:15
Prodan’s background in Romania
05:03
Importance of Prodan’s Story
11:35
Education in a socialist country
14:57
Prodan’s journey to faith
20:04
Prodan’s work to defend Christians
25:06
Government persecution because of work
31:32
Assassination attempt on Prodan’s life
39:47
Prodan's journey from Romania to the United States
Resources Saving My Assassin by Virginia Prodan
Transcript
Bill Hendricks
Well, hello. My name is Bill Hendricks. I’m the executive director for Christian leadership, at the Hendricks Center, and it’s my privilege to welcome you to today’s Table Podcast. And I have a wonderful guest with me, Virginia Prodan, who grew up in Romania. And the reason we’ve asked Virginia to join us today is, she has a story that needs to be heard, because it tells us so much about Christians who live in what we might call closed access or restricted access countries. And it shows us what happens when God goes to work behind closed doors, closed borders, et cetera, in an individual’s life, and then, through her, into the lives of many others. It’s a fairly dramatic story and she tells it really well.

I will mention that it’s put in a written form in her book, Saving My Assassin. And right there ought to start to pique your curiosity. This is someone who has stared death in the face and, by the grace of God, is here to tell the story. So, without further ado, Virginia, welcome to The Table Podcast. Thank you for being with us, today.

Virginia Prodan
I’m honored to be here. Thank you so much.
Bill Hendricks
Well, we’re honored to have you. And so, as I started to say, you grew up in the country of Romania, which at the time, was part of the Soviet block of countries, right?
Virginia Prodan
Yes, that’s correct.
Bill Hendricks
And it sounds like you had a, you know, fairly wonderful childhood, and you talk, in the book, about a lot of fun things that you did as a little girl, and it was a very beautiful country, and – and as you got older, you started to notice that the adults sometimes were in very difficult circumstances, where there’s people coming to the home and treating them roughly and – and you’re wondering what’s going on. Tell us about that.
Virginia Prodan
The communist system, the socialist and communist system, when establishes its power in a country, controls your life: you don’t have privacy, you don’t have property; you are just a puppet in their hands. And the socialists got more and more power, the older I got, and I realized that my parents were many times very obedient outside, very careful to listen and to obey the government. But I watched them, also, inside of home, whispering how horrible the government is, and the fact that no matter how obedient they are, the next day, the government will take more rights.
Bill Hendricks
Wow. You said they were whispering – like, why were they whispering?
Virginia Prodan
They whispered, I believe, for two reasons. They were afraid of children to hear, because children were required –
Bill Hendricks
To report on their parents.
Virginia Prodan
To report on them.
Bill Hendricks
Wow.
Virginia Prodan
And also, I believe they were whispering because they were thinking, “Maybe those might be my last words. I’m telling the truth, but I’m gonna pay for telling the truth, even in my own home.”
Bill Hendricks
Wow, wow. And so, at some point, as a child, you thought, “I wanna become a lawyer.” How did that come about?
Virginia Prodan
Well, I watched my parents being careful outside, whispering how horrible the government was, inside, inside of the house, whispering how horrible the government was, and I was thinking, “I don’t wanna grow up living like this, a double life and so fearful.” We had a small family, as a family, but we have a tradition, every single year, we had a family reunion. And as a child, I watched my parents and relatives, and many times, they were group, our relatives, around three people. So, I listened to them, but I did some research, and I found out that each one of those three people that our relatives were group around and asking questions, those people were lawyers. So I said to myself, “Oh, they don’t speak up, but they know the truth. So I’m gonna go to law school, and I’m gonna find out the truth and speak up for the truth.”
Bill Hendricks
Now, it turns out that “the truth” and truth factors heavily into your story.
Virginia Prodan
Mm-hmm.
Bill Hendricks
What was it about truth that was so engaging for you?
Virginia Prodan
The fear that paralyzed people, the fact that they knew what was right and they were afraid to do it. They were watching each other, to see how silent and how deeply silent can be, and that really motivated me. It was, as a child, it was painful to watch adults doing those kind of things to themselves, and I am saying because now I have kids of my own, I have grandkids, I am saying to myself, and to everyone who listen or watch, we have to be very careful. Because what we do, how we act, has a big influence on our relatives, and even generations to come. And we live in a free country, many of –
Bill Hendricks
Here in the States, yes.
Virginia Prodan
Here in the States, we live in a free country, and if we are Christian, we know the truth, and we are obligated in love to present the truth. And if we don’t, we shouldn’t expect our children to be full of enthusiasm, less fearful in college or universities, and confront their professors.
Bill Hendricks
Yeah. So, I’m hearing a story where there’s a lot of stuff that’s in the background, it’s secrets, it’s suppressed, it’s whispers, it’s things that aren’t said, and so, I suppose part of it’s just natural curiosity. But there’s this, “Well, what’s the real truth going on, here?” Because when there’s silence like that, it’s suppressing something, it’s suppressing what’s truth, and maybe in some cases, an inconvenient truth.
Virginia Prodan
Well, first of all, the socialist system, the bigger power they receive, they will replace your freedom with putting yourself, as a people, in, like, a prison land, or land of lies, what I consider. The leaders will have more and more power, and humanly speaking, they would like to have, tomorrow, more power than they had today. And people will become more fearful instead of confronting and saying the truth. And if you go on this slippery slope, the socialists will make a puppet out of you. They control not only your life, to see if you say something at work, at home, or wherever you go, but they also control all the production.

So, you’re not gonna have property, or you’re not gonna have several stores where you can pick and choose. You have one store where the government establishes the price, the time when they bring food, and so forth. And the control, from the government, becomes bigger and bigger and stronger on people, the more power the socialist government. Now, later on, in my own country, the Dictator decided to declare himself God, and to require all the Romanians to worship him alone. So, the socialists and fear goes from, “Don’t say anything. You’re not gonna have anything. You are gonna be under our control. And you’re gonna worship our leader.”

Bill Hendricks
And that particular leader was Nicolas Ceausescu?
Virginia Prodan
Nicolae Ceausescu, yes.
Bill Hendricks
I can’t say it with the wonderful pronunciation that you can.
Virginia Prodan
[Laughs]
Bill Hendricks
But, yes, he was rather infamous. How old were you when he came into power?
Virginia Prodan
I don’t remember – it looks, to me, like I was very young when –
Bill Hendricks
Fairly young, right.
Virginia Prodan
Yeah, fairly young. But I hear, while I was searching for the truth and going to law school and everything, I remember when the Orthodox church agree with him, the first church agree with him that he is God and everybody will worship him and so forth. And I remember those situations, vividly. Later on, after I accepted Christ, I realized how horrible the situation was, because of my clients that will come to me and I have to defend them.
Bill Hendricks
So, you’re navigating through this socialist system, and you’ve mentioned going to law school, and you’re coming up through the system, and you have no faith to speak of, right?
Virginia Prodan
Mm-hmm.
Bill Hendricks
You’re not a Christian.
Virginia Prodan
No, mm-mm.
Bill Hendricks
Which is something that’s rather fascinating to me, that if you don’t have Christ in your life, you’ve got to answer lots of questions that are pretty basic questions in life, and you don’t have access to, you know.
Virginia Prodan
Mm-hmm. I believe somewhere in Chapter Two or Three –
Bill Hendricks
Of your book?
Virginia Prodan
– in my book, it’s really, even now, it fascinates me that I didn’t know God, but God knew me. I remember starting the chapter and saying I was going to work as a young person, at six or seven years old, and I remember the sun was up and I felt like someone loves me and gives me that warmth. I believe – I’m for sure God knew me, I just didn’t know him at that time. I also want to reach one point about how you go to law school in a socialist country, compared with law school in America, because I went –
Bill Hendricks
You’ve done that, yes.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, I went to law school in Romania, and I went to law school at SMU in United States. You will find all the details in the book, but I wanna tell you that, when I applied for law school, I was very enthusiastic, I knew that I want to find the truth and everything. I didn’t know, at that time, that the socialist government had two layers of verification or of approval. One was, the government will look at your political file, which means that, from the time that you were born to the time that you died, the government had a file on you. And you had no access to look at the file, to say, “I can prove it to you that this is wrong,” no. But they look at three questions, and the questions were: if my parents ever organized something to dethrone the government; if my parents were reported, by their children, of saying something about the government in their home; and the third one, if my parents were Christians.

So, nothing was found, so I was allowed to go to law school. The reason they established this first, before you were allowed to take actual exam, is because the government, later on, I found out, in the interrogation room, when they started to beat me and they said, “We admitted you,” it was unspoken, unspoken word, “We admitted you to law school because we believe, on your past, that you will be loyal to the government, and you will protect the government from its people.” So that’s the way it works in a socialist, and it’s not only in Romania, it’s the same system in every country where the socialists established. Also, when you finish law school – and the book talks in details about that – the government will decide the city where you work, what kind of job, how much salary you have, and so on.

Everything –

Bill Hendricks
Is controlled.
Virginia Prodan
– is absolutely controlled. There is no freedom. What young people are lied about the freedom and the wonderful life that they will live under socialist, it’s a huge, huge lie.
Bill Hendricks
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, you get into your law practice and – what kind of law were you doing?
Virginia Prodan
I was doing all kind of law, commercial and – I had individual clients, I did not have corporation, because we didn’t have corporation government had everything, we didn’t have anything. So, divorce or contract –
Bill Hendricks
So it’s like family law.
Virginia Prodan
– yes, family law or contract – I remember criminal law, administrative law, all kind of law, I defended people, yeah.
Bill Hendricks
So, at what point did you come to faith?
Virginia Prodan
I remember –
Bill Hendricks
And how did that happen?
Virginia Prodan
Yeah. I am, by nature, I didn’t realize at that time, but by nature, God created me a kind of joyful person, the person that sees half of the cup –
Bill Hendricks
Glass full? Right.
Virginia Prodan
– full. So, every morning, I will go to work and say, “Today, is gonna be my day. Today, I’m gonna find the truth.” And after a few years of practicing, one day, I came to my office, and I was so disappointed, I put my briefcase on my secretary’s desk, and I said, “I can’t find the truth, and I don’t wanna be a lawyer anymore.” She looked up at me, like, “Where have you been? What are you dreaming about?” and she gave me two files and said, “Two people will come and see you, those are the files, and one is in your office.” So, I walk in my office, and I realize the client that was in my office, I had been working with him for a year or something. And he was a good client, but to me, he was a little bit strange, many times I thought that he was crazy, because, in a joyless land, he had joy all the time.
Bill Hendricks
Joy in a joyless land is a little crazy.
Virginia Prodan
Yes. And he had a different way of seeing life, and I always thought, “I need to fix this man.” But I had client after client, but that day, I was so upset, I was so preoccupied, in my mind, “Where is the truth? What I can find the truth?” So, as I stood on my chair, and he was in front of me and talking about new things in his case and putting documents on my desk, I found myself saying, “I want to have, in my life, what you have.” And he looked up at me, stop, looked up at me, and say, “Do you go to church?” I stare back to him and I thought, “I am so sorry I asked.” I didn’t see a difference, I didn’t see anything. So, he wrote something and he said, “This is the address of our church. Would you come to church, Sunday?” and I heard myself saying, “Yes, I’ll come to church.” The craziest things that a lawyer in a socialist country can say
“I don’t know what you’re doing at church, I don’t know if you worship the Dictator or not, but I will come to your church. Maybe the government will take my license away, or arrest me, or everything – ” but I said yes. And more than that, next Sunday, I was at the church. And he was there with his family, waiting for us. And as we went inside of the church, I heard, following my client, I heard the choir singing, “Sinner, come home.”

And I was still a little bit nervous, but when I heard the song, “Sinner, come home,” I thought to myself, “Oh, these are good people, they have a celebration. There is a many behind me, his name is ‘Sinner,’ and he’s coming home.” This is what I knew about sin or God or anything else. So –

Bill Hendricks
Right, well, and based on something you said earlier, you referenced the church that had sort of accommodated itself to the Dictator.
Virginia Prodan
Yes.
Bill Hendricks
But for you, you know, church is just another, you know, part of the state.
Virginia Prodan
Exactly, exactly. But I was so determined to find the truth that I went to his church with him, with his family. And as we walked more, following them, they told us where to sit and everything, and the pastor came, opened the Bible, and read, “Jesus Christ said, ‘I am the truth, the way, and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through me.'” And the church was quiet and big. Imagine that in that big quiet church you hear somebody said, “What?” That was me. Because finally someone said, “I am the truth.”
Bill Hendricks
“I am the truth,” right.
Virginia Prodan
And the lady by me put the Bible in front of me, showed me, and I got glued to the pastor. Christ came so real to me, I realized that the truth is Jesus Christ, not a notion from the law books, and he came so clear to me. And I accepted him as my Lord and Savior, and I also understood that he took me to law school in order to prepare me to defend Christians and churches persecuted by the government.
Bill Hendricks
He had a purpose for you.
Virginia Prodan
He had a purpose for me, yes.
Bill Hendricks
That’s wonderful.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, it is.
Bill Hendricks
So, was it shortly after that, that people started to seek you out, Christians started to seek you out, for legal help?
Virginia Prodan
Yes, I did not have to look for them, because nobody will take their cases – nobody.
Bill Hendricks
Word got out, real fast, that, “We have a lawyer, over here, that will take your case.”
Virginia Prodan
Yes, yeah, if you read _____ stories and everything, that’s exactly what happened before the Lord helped me to defend Christians: nobody – nobody – will dare to take their cases.
Bill Hendricks
So, when we say “defend Christians,” that has a special meaning when you’re in a socialist country like Romania.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Let me tell you, for example, when I got the first cases, you are a young lawyer, you find out the suffering of now your brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s something new that, before I accepted Christ, I didn’t see around me, I didn’t know the suffering and everything. So, the first thing that you do, as a lawyer, is you look and see if there is anything, if there is a law that you can use to protect them. And as a child of God, now what do you do? You go to your Father and say, “Lord, help me to find.” Well, he is the best resource: he helped me to find the laws that the government was putting them in very isolated areas of the library, nobody to find it, and everything.
Bill Hendricks
They’re laws on the books, but nobody knows about them.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, and not only that, but I got the sense that, when I found them, God asked me to prepare copies for this. And I learned not to argue with God. So I made copies, and you will be surprised that, when I had those copies and I defended my first case, when I started to talk in front of the judge and the prosecutor and saying, “We have laws in this country,” and everything, the judge looked at me, like, “You are crazy.” So, I pick up the copies and I give it to them. They were red, their faces were red, they could not believe this. And more than that: God, many times, does things behind the screen, not necessary for us to know.

As I was defending those cases and everything, later on in that night, I put my kids to bed and everything, and the Dictator did not want us to listen to Voice of America or Free Europe, but we always listened.

Bill Hendricks
For podcast listeners who may not be familiar, for many years, the United States government and its allies had radio programs broadcast that would go behind the Iron Curtain, as we called it, into Soviet countries, and Radio Free Europe was one of them, and Voice of America was one of them.
Virginia Prodan
So, it was our only source to find out what’s going on outside of the Iron Curtain. So, I’m listening to the radio broadcast, and I found out that I was the news. They were telling my arguments, how I gave them copies, what kind of dress I have, everything, absolutely. And I have to tell you that I went to different kind of emotions.
Bill Hendricks
I’ll bet.
Virginia Prodan
I was very happy that the world knew about me, but in the same time, I knew that the government can come any time in my home and just kill me. But that was God’s way to protect me and make the news to the entire world. Later on, what I found out is that when I was in front of the judge and the prosecutor, behind me, there were representatives from United States, from England, from Germany, from Israel, from all over the free world, they took notes and they sent it back to their country. Because they never heard an 82-pound woman, under 5 feet tall, taking the government to court and saying to the government, “You need to respect the laws.” And you can imagine why the judge was red, because he knew who was behind me.

But I consider God’s protection. And I wanna encourage the listener, sometimes in life we don’t know the entire picture of what God is doing, but we need to trust God who, when he said, “Do this,” or, “Do that,” he is faithful. And you will find out that he is doing more than you expect him to do.

Bill Hendricks
Absolutely, behind the scenes, for sure.
Virginia Prodan
Yes.
Bill Hendricks
Well, at some point, the government and Ceausescu, they start to ratchet up the heat on you, like, they are losing cases and they’re not happy about it. And you actually yourself start to get persecuted. Tell me about that.
Virginia Prodan
Yeah. Well, before I started to defend cases, usually, the secretary of state or congressman from the United States will come to Romania and talk with the Dictator. Our listeners, they need to understand that Romania received, from United States, the most-favored-nation statute, which provided Romanians lots of – Romanian I’m saying, but it was Dictator – lots of economical benefits. But America attached the most-favored-nation with the respect of religious and human rights, and congressmen and senator will go and talk with Ceausescu, and he will always said, “We don’t have any cases.” Now, when they found out about those cases, they will come first and talk with me, and then collect all the documents and go and talk with the Dictator.

And Dictator will say the same thing, “We don’t have any cases,” and they will say, “Oh, let us tell you what kind of cases,” so you can imagine that he was not very happy. So, I was under interrogation many times, day after day, I was beaten, tortured, I was told that my kids will be killed, I was put under house arrest later on.

Bill Hendricks
You mention a number of times, in the book, where you’ve got people watching the house.
Virginia Prodan
Yes.
Bill Hendricks
And you’ve got your kids – you didn’t have kids at that point did you?
Virginia Prodan
Yes, I had two girls, yes.
Bill Hendricks
Two girls, that’s right. And so, that must’ve created a lot of fear in the home.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. When they watch us, and sometimes they will cut off the telephone, so we had no access to communicate with anyone, and so forth. But I tell you, God is so faithful, when you train your kids and your kids are seeing you, how much you love the Lord and how much you trust the Lord, I even had days when I was maybe upset or I look upset, and my kids will say, “Mom, let’s just sing a song so those secret police watching us and outside will hear the song, and maybe, maybe they will accept Christ.”
Bill Hendricks
Wow.
Virginia Prodan
So, help from God comes from different ways –
Bill Hendricks
Out of the mouth of babes.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, exactly, exactly, God has his way.
Bill Hendricks
Oh, I was gonna ask you, I mean, I’m seeing this increasing pressure and stress, I think would be the best word – surely, somewhere in there, you must’ve had days when you had doubts or you had – you know, just like that day when you thought, “Well, maybe truth doesn’t exist, after all, I don’t know,” when your faith is, you know, sort of wavering.
Virginia Prodan
Yeah, I remember being under house arrest, and it was very hard because the girls were not allowed to go to school, we were surrounded by police with guns, we had no phone, no communication. I was not able to go outside and buy food or anything. I had to cut bread in slices and so forth, even to say to my kids, “I’m not hungry,” and so forth. I do remember, at one point, one day, I was exhausted, I felt like I was fainting, trying to keep my balance and everything. And I put my girls to sleep and I was on my sofa and I was, I believe, at the end of my rope. And I do remember taking a pillow and putting the pillow in my face, because I was crying and I didn’t want the secret police to know that I was crying.

And as I was putting my pillow on my face, I started to cry and I said, “I know, Lord, nobody cares about us, nobody comes, nobody is allowed, nobody tries to tell them, ‘I brought something, food or water or something, for them.'” But I said, “I feel like even you forgot about us.” And the minute that I said that, I knew that it was not right, but the pain inside of me was so unbearable that I wanted to take it out. I heard from the Lord, “Remember the day, Virginia.” I didn’t know what “remember the day,” but I wrote somewhere the day. When I came to United States of America, I found out, from President Ronald Reagan, that that day, when I questioned and I doubted my Lord, the Lord put on President Reagan and his cabinet the desire to check our whereabouts, every single day. And also, to make a deal, later on, with the Dictator, that he will let us leave Romania, and he will receive six months of most-favored-nation.

What I wanna say and what I learned is, you are a child of God, and the Lord of the universe put the most powerful person in the world to protect my life. He will do whatever it takes to protect you. You don’t have to know, and you don’t have to doubt like I did, but he is a faithful God.

Bill Hendricks
Well, and the very last phrase in the Great Commission: “Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the age.”
Virginia Prodan
Yes, yes.
Bill Hendricks
So it’s a great example, even though you didn’t have the experience of his presence, his presence and his power are very much at work in your story.
Virginia Prodan
Yes.
Bill Hendricks
And of course, in the book, you get to this most dramatic climax of the story, in a way, where, basically, the Dictator says, “Okay, enough,” and decides to have you executed.
Virginia Prodan
From my own experience – and I don’t wanna scare anyone, but I hope lots of people will relate to this – any time the Lord gives me an assignment, it takes my breath away. It is impossible, and I always start like Moses, “I don’t have this, I don’t have that,” and so forth. And I see the Lord smiling back to me and said, “I’m ready to give you everything that you need.” So, with every assignment, God is elevated you to the other one, more risky one. I will not say exactly what the risky one was, but I will tell them – they will discover, reading my book – that when the Lord gave me the assignment, I said, “Lord, you give them a chance to kill me, but I will do it.”

So, I decided, that night when I received the assignment, to create a pocket in my suit, and to hide the documents there, knowing that the next day, as usually, they will take me to the Securitate headquarter, and they will beat me, interrogate me, and search me. And as I left the house, everything was the same. I was interrogated, but they forgot to search me, that day. So, I was able, later on, to give the documents to the American embassy, that proved that Dictator was, even at this level, with all the intervention of President Ronald Reagan, still lying to President Ronald Reagan. And President Ronald Reagan wanted to take the most-favored-nation from him.

You can imagine that the Dictator was not very happy, so he decided – I don’t know if he knew that it was me, or 99 percent that it was me, but he knew that I was the one, for sure. So, he decided to send a client to my office, to kill me. And as I look back, everything was organized in detail, almost to the perfection, human perfection.

Bill Hendricks
Yeah, until God showed up.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, exactly, that is so true. So, he came to my office exactly in time when my assistant was ready to leave the office, and they had microphones, so they knew my schedule, my whereabouts, they listened to our conversation, you know, with my secretary, was nothing, you know, new for them. So, the minute that he came inside of the office and heard my assistant closing the door to the office, he started to scream and say, “I’m not your client. I’m here to kill you.” And he pulled the gun and pointed to my face. You can imagine that I thought that that was –
Bill Hendricks
“This is it.”
Virginia Prodan
Yeah. I heard my heart in my ears. I remember remembering all the things that my friends, relatives, and even enemies will say, “One day we’re gonna find you dead. Stop fighting a cruel dictator,” and so forth. And it was so much noise outside of me, because he was screaming and telling me – he told me details, what the Dictator said and everything, because he really believed that I will not live not one second not more, to tell the story. And it was also so much noise inside of me, fear, and my entire body was shaking. In all of this, I heard the whisper of God saying, “Share the Gospel with him.” And because it was risky, in Romania, to have a Bible, when we had a Bible, we memorized the Gospel, we memorized Bible verses to encourage us, everything that was necessary for us.

So, when I shared the Gospel, it was very easy for me just to recite the Gospel to him. And as I –

Bill Hendricks
Just by sharing verses and so forth.
Virginia Prodan
Verses – yes. And as I was sharing the verses from the Bible, I looked at him and he nodded several times, his shoulders relaxed, he put the gun on the table, and he was melting under God’s power. And I was mesmerized by the power of God, and I lost my thoughts, and I was thinking, “When I finish, he’s gonna kill me.” So, the next thing that I do, I just paraphrase two, three sentence, but I got so scared because he changed from a melting person under God’s Word to the man who he came telling me, “I’m gonna kill you,” who send you. I pray like never before.
Bill Hendricks
This story reminds me of Peter, who’s jumped outside the boat when he sees Jesus walking on the water, and he’s doing just fine walking to Jesus –
Virginia Prodan
[Laughs] Yes.
Bill Hendricks
– and then he suddenly notices the wind and the waves, and he goes in.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, exactly. So, I continued to recite the Bible to him, and at the end, he accepted Christ. And he left that office as my brother in Christ. Years later, he wrote a chapter in my book.
Bill Hendricks
Yeah, he tells his side of the story.
Virginia Prodan
His side of the story, and what God is doing in our lives is just beyond our imagination. This is our God, this is how he works.
Bill Hendricks
It is how he works, and it almost sounds impossible, but nothing is impossible with God.
Virginia Prodan
No, no, and it’s not only that, but we are just humans, but we are children of God. What an honor to, yes, to suffer, but also to see, with your own eyes, what the power of the word by word will have, when you obey God over even a criminal who tries to kill you. After all, that criminal is a creation of God, it’s a person who is in need for the Gospel.
Bill Hendricks
Yeah, he’s very eloquent, in here, about, once he realized what you were saying, what the Gospel was saying to him, this was a man in need of salvation. He knew he was a sinner, and he was lost.
Virginia Prodan
Yes.
Bill Hendricks
And so, what you were telling him, it just, it’s like the scales fell from his eyes.
Virginia Prodan
Absolutely. God just asks us to share; he is doing the rest of the work. And I believe it’s essential for us, as Christians, we are not divided between black and white, brown, and woman and man, and everything; we are God’s creation. If you look at the other person as a person that God created, that Christ died for them, that you will feel the honor and also the responsibility that God is using you, what an honor, that God is using you as a tool to take that person from the prison of the Evil One, to bring into Christ. There is no greater honor than that.
Bill Hendricks
Absolutely.
Virginia Prodan
There is no greater honor.
Bill Hendricks
So, through the auspices of President Reagan and the State Department and the Secretary of State and the leverage of the most-favored-nation status and so forth, the miracle happens and you’re one day told, “Okay, there’s a plane waiting for you, and you’re now out of Romania,” with not much.
Virginia Prodan
Mm-hmm.
Bill Hendricks
And Ceausescu is not happy about it, but it’s, like, “Get rid of her. Good riddance,” you know, “We’re not gonna lose this – “
Virginia Prodan
Ceausescu was not very happy, but I believe that President Reagan was not very sure about the Dictator. Because he sent several people from the American embassy, with high level of position in American embassy, that stood with us in the airplane, until the pilot came and said, “I need to close the doors.” So, at that time, I didn’t know why they were staying there, but now I realize they had to report that, “Yes, we are in the airplane, and the airplane, it’s up, it’s not – “
Bill Hendricks
“It’s safe.”
Virginia Prodan
Yes, “It’s safe,” yeah. God used President Reagan, he knew so much about socialists and he knew so much about the power of God, and he knew how to be, to me, a brother in Christ. So, we always have to remember that, outside of America, there are lots of people that are suffer for Christ. And whatever we can do to pray for them, to support them financially or in any situation, it is our privilege and our responsibility to do it.
Bill Hendricks
Well, that’s a good segue into the question that I wanted to get into, as we just have a few minutes left. So, you live here in the United States, now, and actually are back practicing law –
Virginia Prodan
Yeah, I went back to law school, to SMU, and I got two degrees, Juris Doctor and Master of Laws. I raised my kids, and the first daughter graduated from SMU, the second one from Harvard Law School, and my son from United States Air Force. And all three of them are working with the Lord.
Bill Hendricks
Praise God.
Virginia Prodan
It’s – America is the best country in the world, and with God, you can rebuild your life. And we have to keep America free.
Bill Hendricks
Yeah, absolutely, and you’re working in the area of human rights – as you know that many who are listening to this podcast are in the United States, and, you know, they’re going about their lives and, you know, they have this vague sense that, “Yeah, there’s a church that’s persecuted around the world, there’s people in difficult circumstances, brothers and sisters in Christ. But, look, I’m just one person, and I’ve got a life to live here, and what, realistically, can I do?” I think is sort of the attitude that many of us get, here. What would just be a handful of things that you would say, “Here’s what you can do, and here’s what you need to think about”?
Virginia Prodan
Mm-hmm. I believe, you heard that the Lord put on my heart the desire to find the truth.
Bill Hendricks
Yes.
Virginia Prodan
In every single heart, God put a desire, because he put skills, he puts talents, and he wants to use you. And that desire that it’s in you and say, “This thing needs to be fixed, or this things is not right and anything,” that is your mission. Pray, because the Lord is a Lord of order and the Lord of personal direction. The Bible says that he will put his hands on our back and say, “This is the way. Walk in it.” The path will be clear, and what the Lord is saying to you, in your closet when you pray, he will show you the way. You are here for a reason, for a purpose, with a purpose. Your job is just a temporary job, but you have more than that: you have a mission from the Lord that will affect generations to come, and will be here on this earth, your influence, years after you will be in Heaven.

So, take advantage of what the Lord provided for you. He will provide for you everything that you need. I have to tell you, I went to two law schools, and I’m very grateful for that and I am for education. But the education, side by side with Christ and with the Holy Spirit, is the highest education that you’re gonna receive, and also, the most impactful one. If it’s at your work, the way you treat others, if it’s with people that you are signing a contract or going to another country on a business, and you act like a Christian and you change somebody’s life by your deeds and by the way you treat them, that’s what God wants you to do. But he will not give me the answer for your mission. He will give you the answer. Pray, and the Lord of the universe will reveal to you so clear will be no doubt about.

Bill Hendricks
Wow, thank you very, very much, Virginia, you’re giving us a great word: God’s got a mission for us, for each of us, and, really, it starts with us praying, “Lord, what have you put me here to do? I know that I’m here for a purpose. I look at the gifts, I look at the resources you’ve given me, the opportunities. Now, Lord, I wanna put them in your hand, and you guide me and direct me, and I’m gonna trust that you’re gonna put me in that place of opportunity.”
Virginia Prodan
Yes. I wanna say that the dream that every person has for their lives, it’s nothing compared with the beautiful amazing Godly Heavenly dream that God has for them.
Bill Hendricks
That God has for that person.
Virginia Prodan
Yes, exactly.
Bill Hendricks
Well, the book, again, is Saving My Assassin – heartily encourage you to pick it up.

If you have a topic or would like to have us consider something that should be covered on The Table Podcast in the future, please e-mail us at thetable@dts.edu.

Virginia, thank you, once again, for being with us, today, telling us this marvelous story. Thank God for your life and for your witness.

For The Table Podcast, I’m Bill Hendricks.

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Bill Hendricks
Bill Hendricks is Executive Director for Christian Leadership at the Center and President of The Giftedness Center, where he serves individuals making key life and career decisions. A graduate of Harvard, Boston University, and DTS, Bill has authored or co-authored twenty-two books, including “The Person Called YOU: Why You’re Here, Why You Matter & What You Should Do With Your Life.” He sits on the Steering Committee for The Theology of Work Project.
Virginia Prodan
Virginia Prodan is an international human rights attorney, holding degrees from Bucharest Law School and S.M.U. Law School. She is the author of Saving My Assassin, which tells her compelling story of courage in the face of death. Her organization exists to encourage, equip, and empower families and leaders to live courageous and victorious lives under any circumstances.
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