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Becoming a Christian Almost Got Her Killed

Vivian Prodan was born in Communist Romania under the brutal totalitarian regime of Nicolae Ceauescu (“Chow-sches-coo”). A place where questioning a government directive could lead to imprisonment, physical torture, and death. The best way to avoid trouble was to remain silent and try to blend in. But Vivian became obsessed with finding the truth. After graduation, she went to law school and became an attorney. Vivian writes:

One evening a client came in to discuss some paperwork. He radiated joy and peace and without thinking, I confessed, “I wish I had your sense of peace and happiness.” He asked, “Do you go to church?” “Yes,” I replied. “On Christmas and Easter. Why?” He said, “Would you like to come with me to my church this Sunday?”

The next Sunday I visited his church. The pastor read John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.” I could not believe what I heard. Someone was claiming to be the truth? I felt as though the verses he shared were written specifically for me. For the first time in my life, everything made sense. 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.

Vivian 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 her a target. Many days her tires were slashed. She was kidnapped, bullied, pushed into moving traffic, and beaten by the secret police. However, the greatest test was yet to come.

Late at night my legal assistant peeked into my doorway: “A big man in the waiting room says he wants to discuss a case. That’s all he will tell me.” I was taken aback at how enormous he was. As he sat down in front of my desk, a sneer formed at the corner of his mouth. Slowly, he reached into a shoulder holster, drawing a gun.

He aimed his gun at me and said, “You have failed to heed the warnings you’ve been given. I’ve come here to finish the matter once and for all.” I heard a distinctive click. “I am here to kill you.”

I was alone with my killer. And yet, I was not. I began silent, fervent prayers, recalling God’s promises. His Spirit breathed peace into my panicked heart. Then I sensed his message: “Share the gospel.” I knew that behind those hate-filled eyes he had an immortal soul, and he needed to know about the love God has shown in Jesus Christ. At once emboldened, “Have you ever asked yourself: Why do I exist? or What is the meaning of my life?”

He slid his gun back into the holster. Vivian leaned forward. “You are here because God put you here, and he has put you to a test. Will you abide in God or in the will of a man—President Ceauescu?” His eyes softened.

Hebrews 9:27 says, “People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” But the good news is that God has prepared a way out for every one of us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross: “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.”

As she continued to talk with him, he appeared more peaceful. Finally, he said, “You are right. The people who sent me here are crazy. I do need Christ.” 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. He went on to enroll in seminary, and we have even kept in touch. He, like me, had found the Truth. And neither of us will be afraid to speak it ever again.


Virginia Prodan, “Becoming a Christian Almost Got Me Killed,” CT magazine (October, 2016), pp. 111-112

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