Discovering the Truth

How Do I Stand Firm In My Faith In Difficult Times?

Eric Estes & Virginia Prodan
Nov 22, 2020    58m
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Today we hear the inspiring story of Virginia Prodan, a Christian who faced persecution in a communist Romania at a time when owning a Bible was outlawed. And through her story, we will learn what it looks like to stand firm in your faith in even the most difficult times. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Eric Estes (00:09):
Let's pray. Lord, we love you. We thank you for your goodness today. We thank you that you've gathered us together, whether it's here or online. And God, I pray that that you would speak to us this morning through your Word, through our guests that we have today, through her stories and what you've done in her life. Lord, I thank you for all of your goodness and all of your mercy. And Lord, I pray that we would find them all in you. And it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Eric Estes (00:40):
So in John 8:31 and 32. John writes this, he's speaking for Jesus. So if you have your Bibles, you can open those up to this passage. And we're going to start off anchoring in this passage, and then we're gonna really, we have a guest who's going to come really tell her story and how this really, how this passage applies, has applied in her life and what that looks like for all of us. So in John 8:31 and 32 says, so Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Eric Estes (01:16):
That Scripture may be familiar to a lot of you. And I think there's something that we need to hear there today, that the truth sets us free. And there's so many of us who are just needing that freedom in so many areas of our life. If you look at the beginning there, that word abide, that may sound familiar to you because as we've been walking through the eight ways to follow Christ in our life groups, and we've talked about it here a lot, that one of those ways that we follow Jesus is to abide in Him, to abide in His Word, to remain in Him, to spend time with Him in His Word. And that's a way that we follow Jesus. That's how we grow as disciples or followers of Jesus. And then when we do that, Jesus tells us, He promises us that we will know the truth and that truth will set us free.

Eric Estes (02:03):
So for the last several months, we've been walking through what it looks like as part of the underground church, those Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, across the world who are persecuted for their faith. We've seen stories about people who have lost their homes, lost their jobs, have been forced out of their countries, been harassed, been beaten, been arrested and even been killed for their faith in places in the world where it's hostile to the Christian faith. But in all of those areas, the one thing that is the common theme is that idea of freedom. In many cases, their freedom had been taken away. So as we look at this Scripture, I think it has specific reference here because as we've heard more and more stories of people who are in these persecuted areas, while their circumstances are terrible, right, their freedoms are taken away.

Eric Estes (02:53):
In many cases, they are the most free people that we see, right? In many cases, they are more free than you and I because they have stopped focusing on the concerns of this world and they found their freedom in Christ. They are free to live for Christ no matter what the cost. And so in a lot of ways, those in these terrible circumstances are more free than we are. We've had many speakers over these last several months, and we've heard many stories about what's happening in the persecuted church. And it's a great way for us to understand what's happening, to pray for them and then also to learn from them. What does it look like to stand firm when circumstances are difficult in our context? Well, today I am really, really excited. I think y'all are going to love what we have today.

Eric Estes (03:44):
We have, I want to introduce to you Virginia Prodan, and Miss Prodan has found her freedom in Christ. She found her freedom there while searching for the truth, just like Jesus promised. As she was searching for the truth, she came across the most hidden book all in all of Romania which was the Bible. And as she found God's Word and she started reading it, she encountered Christ, and Christ, just as He promised, the truth set her free. So she has not only in Romania was she a, she became an attorney. Then she became a Christian and she set her life to starting to defend those who had lost their freedoms to the Romanian government. And then what she didn't expect was the Romanian government came after her. And so we're going to hear her story and how that plays out as a way that we can apply this Scripture in John 8. So before I bring her out here, I want to show just a quick video that'll give you a taste of her story and what God has been doing in her life.

Virginia Prodan (04:55):
I should be dead, but God had other plans. I spent my entire life searching for the truth. That search led to a life of intimidation and possibly even death. I was beaten, tortured. My family was threatened, all for defending Christ and standing up to an evil communist regime. My life led to a moment, a moment when I met him. A towering armed assassin. It was then that I felt the divine call to share Christ with the very man who was sent to kill me.

Eric Estes (06:08):
Well, I know everybody's wanting to hear that story and we'll get there. But I just want to welcome Virginia. Welcome. Thanks for being here today.

Virginia Prodan (06:14):
Thank you. It's my honor to be here with you.

Eric Estes (06:16):
Excellent. So believe it or not, Virginia lives in Dallas, and you will hear the story of how that came to be. But she is a mother of three. She is an international human rights attorney as well as an author and a speaker. And I think it's gonna be amazing to hear her story as it plays out. So as we start off, can you just kind of tell us what was it like growing up in communist Romania under Ceausescu? Am I saying that right? The dictator of the time. And what was that like growing up for you and then in that type of oppressive time period?

Virginia Prodan (06:53):
The book starts with the time when I was six years old. That's what I remember, being six years old and seeing my parents outside of the home being very politically correct, doing whatever the government asked them to do. But also inside of our home, I heard them whispering how horrible the government was and the fact that they were concerned that no matter how much and how obedient they are, the government will take more rights the next day. And as I watched them whispering inside of home as a young six-year-old girl, I was petrified. I thought to myself, I felt very insecure. I felt for the government, I'm nobody, and my parents are too fearful to protect me. So somehow I made a decision in my heart that I will not grow up to be like them. I wanted to know the truth, why the adults are not speaking truth.

Virginia Prodan (08:11):
They knew the truth, but they were afraid. And I wanted to grow up and speak the truth. When you read my book or the ones of you who read the book, you know a little bit about my childhood. And I want you to know that in everything that created and built me to the person that I needed to be. So as I was a child and taking care of everything from a younger age, God gave me an opportunity as I was serving them. Many people say you're more than Cinderella in your life. Yes, but that gave me an opportunity to serve them and as a kid, to hear from them. And as we had a custom in our family to meet together every single year, with the fire that God put in me to find the truth, I started to look around at our family reunion.

Virginia Prodan (09:19):
And I realized that my relatives were grouped in three places, around three people. So I did my search and I discovered that all those three people that had answer to the question of my relatives were lawyers. They were not speaking up, but they had the answer. So as a six-year-old child, I was thinking, I found the way. I know what to do. I'm going to go to law school. Later on, I realized it was God who put that in my heart, not me. I want to stop for a second and ask you a question. What is God putting in your heart? What is God telling you needs to be changed? I will not let or grow up this way or that way. That's your mission. That's what God created you to do. As you read my book and as I try as much as possible to tell you a lot about my life, I want you to realize that when God calls you to a mission, you don't have to have the blueprint.

Virginia Prodan (10:40):
You do not have to think that right now, when God is calling you, you have everything that you need because God is going to give you minute by minute. I have been walking with the Lord for a long time, but I'm human. And sometimes when God takes me to another level, I still ask God, can you give me the blueprint? Can you, we are all humans, but trust me that when God calls, He provides. He already put the skills in your life, the skills that you need and also people around you. So I started to learn and see how I can go to law school. There are few things that I discovered how to apply to law school, but there were other things that I never discovered. And I got to the conclusion that sometimes, you don't need to know anything that God has in plan because one of the things that it was in the plan of going to law school in a socialist society was very intimidated.

Virginia Prodan (11:59):
And maybe I would have said, no, I am not going to go through this. See, when you go to law school or any school in freedom, in America, you pick or choose. You decide where to apply. Not in a socialist country where the government dictates your profession, where you to stay and so on. So the things that I didn't know when I applied to law school was this, that the socialist government, not only in Romania, wherever establishes, the socialist government works the same. From the minute that you are born to the minute that you die, you have a file in their documentation about you without you having the opportunity to see it or to say, hold on just one second. This thing that you put in here is wrong. I can prove it to you.

Virginia Prodan (12:59):
Please fix it. No. It was not, it was not. So those are the three things that the government was looking at my file in order to allow me to take the exam. So I had to pass government test before I was allowed to apply to law school. And those three things that the government was looking at, that my parents never revolted against the government or organize something against the socialist government. The second one was that my parents were never reported by their own kids that they said something against the government in their own home. And the third one was that my parents were not Christians. So I passed.

Virginia Prodan (13:58):
Again, I want to stop here. And I want to you to ask yourself, where in your life you think that you don't have what your neighbor, what your relative has and you cannot advance. I didn't grow up in a Christian family. God knew why. I became a Christian. I fought for Christians. Do you see how God can take something that you think or you believe that you don't have it in a sudden, transform it into a treasure? Something, don't worry about that. Follow the Lord and make sure that you are doing. And you don't focus on what you don't have, but what God can do it and the type of miracles that He will do. So I went to law school.

Eric Estes (14:58):
So if you had been a Christian or if you grew up in a Christian home, they would not have let you into law school.

Virginia Prodan (15:02):
No, not at all.

Eric Estes (15:03):
That is amazing. So how did you become a Christian?

Virginia Prodan (15:08):
If you learn to know yourself, which to me, it's very important. It's very important to know yourself as God knows you and to know God. Those two things go together and you will work with God in an amazing way. I have to tell you, even before I knew the Lord, I notice that God put in my heart the desire to look at the half full of the glass. I see it. I notice that it's just half full. But I don't spend time on the half empty. So I look at the half full. So after I graduated from law school, every single day full of enthusiasm, I will go to the courtroom, I will defend people and I will say today, I'm going to reach the truth. I'm going to speak up for the truth. And after a while, I was very discouraged.

Virginia Prodan (16:16):
I came to my office, I put my briefcase on my secretary's desk and I said to her, I don't want to be a lawyer anymore. I can't find the truth. She looked up at me like, where have you been? What kind of dreams? And she said, those are the files. Three people will come and see you this afternoon. And one is in your office. In another way, come back to reality. So I took the files. They heard that nobody understands. I'm not a quitter. But was so determined to quit. So I walk inside of my office. And I recognize the gentlemen, my client that was there. And I had been working with him maybe for a year or a year something. And I always noticed and I always wondered. To me, he looked crazy. He sounds crazy. See, in a land of hopelessness, he was full of hope. In a land of lack of joy, he had joy. And I always thought, I need to fix this man. He's crazy.

Virginia Prodan (17:42):
But I was always busy and he was always a client after I never had time. So I walk to my desk, and I stood there. And I look at his face and I heard myself, all of a sudden saying, I want to have in my life what you have in your life. He stopped talking. And he said, do you go to church? I stared back at him thinking, I knew you are crazy. Why in the world I ask you this question? But he wrote something and give it to me. And he said, this is the address of our church. And we will be happy to see you in church. And as I pick up the note that he gave me, I heard myself saying, yes, I'll come to your church. The craziest thing that a lawyer can say to a client in socialist. The dictator just declared himself God.

Virginia Prodan (18:46):
Required all of us to worship him. And I just said to my client, I'll be in your church. I have no idea what you're doing there, but I'll be in your church. I was that determined to find the truth. So I came to his church and they were outside of church waiting for us. And we walk inside of church. We walk and he told us where to sit. And the quiet was singing, and the song was sinner come home. And I said to myself, oh, I am just okay in this church. The government is not going to arrest me or take my license away from being here. This is a nice place. These people have a celebration. Must be a man behind me, his name is sinner and he is coming home today.

Virginia Prodan (19:47):
That's what I knew about sin. That's what I knew about everything. So my client told us where to sit. The pastor came and opened the Bible and said, I am the truth, the way and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through me. In that quiet and huge, huge church, imagine you hear someone saying what? That was me. Because finally somebody said, I am the truth, Virginia. And I got glued to the Bible. I got glued to the Bible that the lady by me put it and show me the Bible verse and to the pastor. And that day, I accepted Christ and I understood that He put the desire in my life to find the truth, that desire to find Him. And I have to tell you, I did not to look for clients. People were coming to me because nobody, no other lawyer will take Christians to defend them for having a Bible in their home or for seeing a Jesus movie only with their families or a church who apply for a permit from the government to keep the church, maintain the church. What the government will do before I started to defend them, will put them on the waiting list for years.

Virginia Prodan (21:20):
And then when the government will see the church in disrepair, it will say, oh, we have to demolish this church and take your land. So I knew that that was God's mission for my life. And that was important to me. You will see later on because when God gives you that mission, He gives you everything that you need. I want you to make sure that when you go home or when you read the Book or give the Book to someone else, you don't say, I met a hero. You will say, I met a tool in God's hands because that's what I am. The hero is God. He wrote the story of my life long before I scribe it into my memoir. And He is the hero of my story. I'm just a tool in His hands. And I hope you will desire to be a tool in His hands because He is so ready to do marvelous things in your life.

Eric Estes (22:33):
That's amazing. My wife, Kathy and I were talking about why we haven't heard this story before. And she was saying in the car that you had said that you wanted to wait until you spoke English well enough to write the book yourself because everybody else who tried to write it was trying to make you the hero and you wanted Jesus to be the hero. I think that's amazing.

Virginia Prodan (22:56):
Yes.

Eric Estes (22:56):
That's fantastic. So you're a believer now and you're defending other Christians. What does that look like?

Virginia Prodan (23:05):
First of all, I want to say that I'm very grateful it was in God's plan. I know that, but I'm still grateful for my church who when I was baptized did not put my name on the bulletin so the government didn't know. I was the last one to be baptized by surprise that day. And the pastor and his entire team decided to take me into a six months, me and my daughters, into a six months training to teach me who I was and who God is. And that really, really helped me in my walk with the Lord. The first thing that you do as a lawyer, and I want you to know that I was very young at that time. In Romania, by the time, you will graduate from 12th grade, you will be allowed to go to graduate school.

Virginia Prodan (24:02):
We didn't have college. And I want you to keep in mind that I went to first grade when I was five and a half because my birthday is in January. So I was very, very young. So when you have a new kind of cases, as a lawyer, you have to look around and see, are those people protected by a law or something? And God works miracles. I can't tell you all the miracles but I will tell you a few of them. So the first thing that I had to do here is I pray and I ask, Lord help me to find if there is a law. Because if you file something as a lawyer, it's considered frivolous if it's not based on the law. So you put your license at risk. So I pray and I pray and I went to different places.

Virginia Prodan (25:04):
And all of a sudden, in the place that you don't expect to find it, I found those laws. Somebody look at those laws and forgot to take them and put them back and lock them. Forgot. It was God's plan. I also learned that when God says something, and I know you will hear me, that God talks with me and I talk back and it's true. You can consider me crazy. I was called worse than that, but it's true. So as I found those laws and I was so happy, the Lord said, make copies of those laws. And I did. So here I am in the courtroom not knowing why and everything. But I learned, God said, obey. Do it. It's going to be a reason. So here I am in a courtroom and I'm talking. And I was saying to the judge and prosecutor, and an attorney that this is the reason why I filed for my clients that they were in jail, in a jail box because they transported Bibles from one church to another for vacation Bible schools. And they were put in jail.

Virginia Prodan (26:28):
And I told them, we have laws in this country that protect, and my clients should be free today. The judge looked at me like you are crazy. You're crazy. And when I saw his face, I just pick up the copies and I gave it to everyone. The judge turned red. And I didn't know at that time why. He had a good reason. And he took the case. He said, we need to wait for an hour or something and he will have a decision. And I won that case. Later on at home, some of you remember, Voice of America and Free Europe, the radios, that powerful, strong radios that were able to penetrate behind the Berlin Wall and tell us in that land of lies and prison land that I called, will tell us what is outside. So, as I was listening to Voice of America, even though the news. They were telling about me being in the court room and giving the government copies and so forth.

Virginia Prodan (27:51):
And I was thinking, how is that possible? Free Europe and Voice of America cannot come to Romania. They will be arrested. They will be killed. Some of them were killed in Germany by spies of the communists. How is that possible? Later on, I realized, I learned that behind me, as I was facing the court, there were representatives from all over the world, Germany, United States, Jewish, all over the world. And they will take note and they will send it to their country and of course, they will send it to Free Europe. I learned that I don't have to know everything that God organizes. That was one of God's way to protect me and to make sure that the whole world knows. They were even saying, it's hard to believe that a 25 years old, under five feet tall, 82 pounds have the courage to take the government to court and win against. Why I won? Because unknown to us.

Virginia Prodan (29:10):
And that's the way socialist government works on fake news and covering everything for leaders' benefit. President Ronald Reagan gave Romania the most favored nation status which was full of economic benefits, but it was attached to respecting human and religious rights. It was attached to the fact that missionaries from all over the world were able to come to Romania and bring Bibles in Romania. But when my clients were arrested, they were told you have a Bible from United States, you are a spy to America, for America. So it was very easy for me because those people later on that were behind me in the courtroom, contacted me and they explained it to me. And I found out, and for me to tell the entire court and to my clients, no, you have the right to have the Bible. If they arrest you, just give me a call and I will take you out of jail because that was a right. So God works in many ways, and we don't have to know everything about how He works.

Eric Estes (30:35):
Okay. That's amazing. So you're defending them. I'm assuming the Romanian government didn't like that, and you had two young girls at home. Tell us about how you wrestled, how you got through that and what the government was doing to you during that time.

Virginia Prodan (30:49):
At the beginning, I didn't notice that, but I was followed from a distance from Securitate. It was the government, special forces for our government. My phone and home and office were full, I mean supervised and watched. Later on, as I was sitting at the stop light, one of those secret police, because I learned that they will not only dress nice like going to work, but they will even some of my neighbors walking as I was walking with my clients and listening. And I learned that day that member of Securitate of government can be someone who looked like homeless. Because as I was sitting at the light, waiting for the light to change, he pushed me into the intersection, and I thought that I'm going to die. By the grace of God, I did not.

Virginia Prodan (32:10):
So later on, I was arrested daily. I was interrogated, beaten, tortured. I was placed under house arrest because the more I defended those Christians, the more I exposed the government. Secretary of State and Congressman Frank Wolf and Christopher Smith will come and talk with me first and then go and talk with our dictator. And usually, our dictator before I started to defend Christian will say, we don't have any problems in this country. But after they talk with me, Congressmen and Secretary of State will say, let me tell you the kind of problems you have. So you can imagine that they were not very happy with my work. In fact, that is one reason why the book is calling, Saving My Assassin because the government was so angry with me. They did everything that was possible. Yes, they were saying many times, we can cripple you, we can kill you, we can kidnap your kids and so forth.

Virginia Prodan (33:31):
But when God gives you, again, the job, He will give you everything that you need. Lots of you are talking about Bible verses and everything. My kids and we all together learned a lot of Bible verses and everything. So let me share with you why the book is calling, Saving My Assassin. So after I started and I exposed the government to all those governments outside, and I had no idea about that time who was publishing what and so forth. Nothing. I didn't know anything and still the Lord gave me the courage to go day by day and do the job. My assassin was sent by our dictator. He came because they had microphones inside of my house to watch. He came exactly when he knew that my assistant will go for at the end of the day and pick up her kids. So as he walked into my office and heard my assistant closing the door to the office, he, first of all, I have to say he was 6'10".

Virginia Prodan (35:00):
And he was very strong. I can tell you, he looked like a football player, a Cowboy football player. Huge, huge. And he looked to me like a wounded lion. And I was thinking to myself, I hope I can help him. And as I walk him into my office, and like I said, as he heard my assistant closing the door, he started to, he raised his voice at me and said, sit down. What he was meant is sit down in front of me. He didn't want me to sit at the desk. But he said sit now. And I was thinking, he's my client, not even my client and he's ordering me. But I was too tired. I didn't fight with him. So I stood face-to-face. And the minute that I stood face-to-face, he pulled his jacket to his gun and pointed to my face. Said, I'm not your client.

Virginia Prodan (36:01):
I'm here to kill you. And he gave me details of who send him, how he's going to kill and so forth. And he was screaming, screaming and so angry. And I felt like my knees were shaking, my stomach was making noise. I heard my heart in my ears. I heard the voices of my friends, relatives and even enemies many times telling me we're going to find you dead one day. Stop fighting against a powerful dictator. And I believe for a few minutes that I'm going to die. In all this noise, I heard the whisper of God. Share the gospel. And because we didn't have Bibles in Romania or it was very risky to have it, we memorized Bible verses. It was very easy for me to share with him the gospel. So as I look at him, I recognized that he has a job.

Virginia Prodan (37:12):
And I recognized that he was so proud of his job. I felt like he will be elevated to a higher position if he does it. So I recognize that he's there for. And I said, there is no way I can stop you. But I will be happy to share something with you if you want to listen. And he nods his head, and I started to share the gospel, reciting Bible verses to him. He put the gun down, his shoulders relax. He nodded again several times when I said Bible verses to him. And as I watch for the first time in my life, the power of God's Words melding this huge man, angry man into a different person. I look at him and I thought, when I finished, he's going to kill me. And I lost my thoughts. And I started to paraphrase. And I had to say just two sentences, because the minute that I use my own words, he came back to I'm here for a mission. I'm here to kill you and so forth. I pray like never in my life. And the good Lord brought back the gospel. And I shared it with him. He accepted Christ and he left my office as a free man indeed.

Virginia Prodan (38:49):
And more than this, years later, he found me. He searched for me and he wrote a chapter in my book, Saving My Assassin. So now you have not only my story of what happened that day, but his story. What God is doing in his life, it's absolutely amazing. Because as Christians, we have only one enemy, the evil one. People are just slaves that the evil one is using, and they are in his [inaudible]. And God wants to use us to bring those people to Him and to become brothers and sisters in Christ.

Eric Estes (40:01):
That's amazing. That's one of the things that does come out a lot is how you prayed for your enemies. That just seems so counterintuitive, you know, as we think about that. But you constantly prayed for your enemies. How did that play out?

Virginia Prodan (40:15):
I don't want you to think that I became a Christian and all of a sudden, I figured out how to do this. No, not at all. In fact, I learn how to pray for my enemies in the most painful and dangerous situation of my life. When they were hitting in the interrogation room my head at the table, when they were, I had blood all over and like in a movie, it's true. Some will be violent and another one will say, oh, he didn't mean that. God told me, share this with them. For example, as I was at the end of my rope, I remember sharing one time with them and saying, I don't really like what you're doing, but I know God loves you. And I choose to love you. Those huge people, all of them over six with guns everywhere, ready, ready to kill me, they receive and I heard the voice of the dictator, giving them instructions many times.

Virginia Prodan (41:29):
They were there for their own interests and to make sure that they will be promoted. When I told them that I love them and God loves them, they have to turn their head because they were crying. They didn't know what to do with me. God's love conquers everyone. It was step-by-step. It was nothing that I can say, oh, I just came with an idea. No, no. And God is the one who gives us and equips us for absolutely everything. I want you to know that when they hit me by the wall, and it was hard and hours, 85 pounds, just skin and bones, when they hit me so hard, it was almost hard to breathe. They had no idea what they were doing.

Virginia Prodan (42:33):
I felt that they were pushing me in the arms of Jesus who surrounded me, telling me how much He loves me, that He is there with me, that I'm not alone. He is so real. He is so ready to help us and change our lives for forever and change the lives of people. I can tell you how beautiful is to hear people from Indonesia, from South Africa, from America, from Romania, from all over the world saying, I was not a believer until I read your book. And I hope people see Christ who helped me, who is more than sufficient in any situations that we might encounter in our lives and teaches us what is impossible, to pray for your enemies.

Eric Estes (43:44):
That's amazing. The other thing I find just so amazing even just hearing you talk right now is just your reliance on God's Word. What does that look like for you? How do you memorize God's Word? What does that, how does that, it sounds like you've been doing that for a long time with you and your girls.

Virginia Prodan (44:02):
I believe the world is attacking us in many ways, and we have a choice to have the world perspective or God's perspective. And many times I ask myself, I ask my kids and I ask you, when you wake up in the morning, do you go to your phone or to go to your throne, to His throne? What do you open first? When you, what are you doing for your soul? To me, it's very important, if you come to my home or to my office, I have Bible verses everywhere. I put them on a card and I put them everywhere, inside of the kitchen cabinet and outside of the kitchen cabinet. I even have something else. I put this and when my kids were small, I did also. Psalm 32:8 says the Lord says, and after that, I said, the Lord says, Virginia.

Virginia Prodan (45:25):
I put my name because God's Word is for me. It's not general. I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. And anytime I am in doubt, I go there and I repeat it and the evil one goes away. My favorite one or one of my favorites one is this one. We all have some weak points in our lives. And the evil one comes and agitates us on that. It's Matthew 9:28. And he says, Jesus asked, do you believe that I am able to do this? And I'm saying back, yes, Lord. And there are several other Bible verses. Proverbs 21:30. It says there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. And it's true. I know that no matter what my enemies, I know that no matter what somebody is planning for me, for myself, for America or anyone else, the Bible tells me that those people will not succeed unless it's God's will and He allows it for a very good reason.

Virginia Prodan (46:50):
And the second point is this, because yes, it's very easy to see that others try to do things against God. But to me personally is when God doesn't respond right away, I have to remember that I cannot manipulate God, that there is no wisdom and I don't have that wisdom to make God work faster, quicker, whatever, or change His plan. So when you read the Bible, it will tell you, you know, the Bible verses will come to you and what motivates you, what is important to you, it will come up to you. And I have to say, and this is the last I will say, I was in the interrogation room and I was beaten like never in my life. They were asking me to President Ronald Reagan wanted to take the most favored national status from Romania.

Virginia Prodan (47:54):
And the dictator wanted me to sign a paper to say that I am crazy, that everything that I have done is out of a lack of mind or something like this. And I said, no, no, no. I don't know where I was, but I do remember that I was exhausted and I heard the Lord say,, do not be terrified by them because I will terrify you in front of them. It was like cold ice over my head. And I realized I'm not alone. I'm with God. So memorize not only what you like, but memorize what God says do not do and so forth.

Eric Estes (48:43):
That's amazing. Even in reading the book and hearing the Scriptures that you've memorized, it's a different list of Scriptures than we typically memorize here because of the persecution you were facing and just the depth of reliance you had to have on God in the midst of that. Well, the last question I want to ask you is just what else would you tell us, as we as American Christians, how can we prepare for whatever persecution looks like coming our way in our lives? Or is there any last thoughts you want to kind of leave for us there?

Virginia Prodan (49:14):
You will read in the book that, and if you work with me, you'll know that usually I come to an event or a meeting between 15 and 5 minutes in advance. So that day I was at my church 15 minutes in advance to wait for the pastor and the group to train me. So as I was there waiting, a janitor came and stood by me. That was in Romania. So he talked with me and he said, I heard that you are a new believer and so forth. And he told me his story. He said that he was a pastor of this church when socialists, before socialists came. When socialists came, the Russian troops and the Romanian troops came inside of the church and said, if you betray Christ, if you are with us, a communist and don't follow Christ anymore, go on the left.

Virginia Prodan (50:13):
You will take your names and everything, and you can go home. If you still want to follow Christ, go on the right. You don't go home. You go to jail. And he said, I was the one and another person and we went to jail for years. I was released later on, but I'm not allowed by the government to be a pastor. All I can do is to be a janitor. And he said, I love my job because I can share the gospel with others. But he asked me a question. And he said, Virginia, if the government comes again, do you know if you will be on the left or on the right? As I look at him, I thought maybe what many of you are thinking, it will never happen again. No. It did.

Virginia Prodan (51:16):
So when I train my kids, and many of you are parents, I didn't let them decide what's going to happen if someone will give them a drink or drugs from a younger age. We stood and we made a hypothetical situation and how they will act and how they will do. That's what I do now. I train people and I talk with them a different situation and what will be and what you are doing in those situations. I also can tell you from now that it's very important for you right now to look around and see your strong friends running with the Lord and run with them. Also, I want you not to be surprised. You will be, but be prepared not to be shocked because some of the people that you admire, you never believe that will betray Christ will betray Christ.

Virginia Prodan (52:31):
The best thing that you can do is to pray for them and to forgive them. Do not let that resentment to be in your heart. Yes, you have to be careful because they can betray you to others. But be aware of what is around you. And most of all, trust God. Like He can talk with me, my kids, for some of you who watch the movie Fiddler on the Roof. My kids will say many times to me, Mom, I imagine you in your home or your office talking with the Lord and say, dear Lord, was that necessary? Like human, it's true. Try to develop that because God is the one who will equip you and guide you and be aware of this. But training about what's the situation, search the gospel because lots of people will diminish the gospel to accommodate the culture.

Virginia Prodan (53:46):
But it's your responsibility to search the gospel and your responsibility to say, Lord, I don't know how to do it. I don't know how to stand up for you. You give me this, the power to do it and to do it in love because people are watching you. We know where we're going. You know? And I'm ready to tell my kids. I'm not suicidal, but I'm ready to tell my kids, if I disappear, if you don't hear me, if somebody said that I'm dead, that you know where to find me. In Heaven. We will see each other in Heaven. I don't lose anything.

Eric Estes (54:35):
Well, thank you so much for being here today and sharing your story with us. I hope this has been a time where we can just be inspired by Virginia's story about what God has done in her. I pray that, I would just encourage everybody to seek that truth that she sought. And if you don't know Christ, if you haven't found that truth, that we would love to talk to you more about what that would look like. Also, to just rely on Him, like she said, in His Word and to continue to abide in Him. And because it's in abiding that we'll know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Eric Estes (55:16):
I want to ask Virginia to close us out in prayer. But before that, I want to invite you. So Virginia does have some books for sale. They're signed and prayed over, every one of them out there. I know that you'd find that surprising, but every one of them has been prayed over and signed by her out there. You can buy those as a gift or to read it yourself. It's a great read for sure. So those are for sale out there as well as Virginia will be available if you have any questions for her. Then I want to invite everybody back at two o'clock. We're going to do another session with Virginia, and we're going to dive a little bit deeper into these things. We're going to look at okay, how did Romania come to be a socialist country? And what was the impact then as it became socialist into the persecution that happened there as well as more out her story. And we didn't even get to the part about how she got out of Romania. So we'll cover that this afternoon as well. So I want to invite you to come. If you can come here live, that'd be great. If you can't, we will be live casting it. And we're going to do our best to try and take questions here live as well as on the live cast. So join us there please. And we look forward to that time. So, Virginia, would you mind closing prayer, please?

Virginia Prodan (56:18):
Our Heavenly Father, we just praise you and honor and glorify you. You are our Lord, our Redeemer, our hiding place, our Savior. We love you. We thank you for salvation. We thank you, Lord, for moving us from hell to Heaven. We just praise you for this time together with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray that you will do amazing things, that they will open up to you, Lord. As long as we have a breath, a pulse, we have a purpose. Make them aware of the purpose that you place in their heart, in their mind, in the skills that you provided that will change them and will change America and the world. We praise you and honor you and glorify you. We thank you with. We thank you for us, leading us at this time, Lord. We don't want ask why. We ask what, what you want us to do, Lord.

Virginia Prodan (57:27):
What can you do through us Lord? And we praise you and we honor you. What an honor and a privilege, Lord, to be used by you, the Lord of the universe that can use anyone. You use someone who thinks I don't have, I am too short, I'm too small, I have an accent and so forth. But you use us for your glory, Lord, that your Kingdom might be extended, that it might be extended in such a way that one day you will come back to take us with you. And we praise you in Jesus' name.

Eric Estes (58:12):
Amen. All right. Y'all have a great rest of the day and a great week. Remember, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
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