“As a member of this church, how would you respond if you were asked to make that choice? Would you remain with Christ or become a Communist? Would you judge or forgive your brothers and sisters if they betrayed Christ, Virginia? How would you prepare yourself for a day like that?”
Such were the questions posed to Virginia Prodan after she made the critical decision to accept Christ. These were asked of her by Constantin, pastor of a Christian church, under persecution during the brutal Communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania.
Her account is the heartbreaking and courageous true story of her life and the lives of many Christians during the evil empire of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania that lasted nearly 20 years until his execution in 1989. It unfolds in one suspenseful page after another of her newly released book, Saving My Assassin.
Virginia’s life was never easy. Born out of wedlock, a source of great shame in Romania, an agreement was made between her mother and her mother’s sister. As a result of that shame, she would be given to her mother’s sister to raise as if she were her sister’s child since her sister was married. Her mother agreed to move away and not see her again despite the pain this decision caused for her.
This home she would grow up in with two other children born to her aunt and uncle would never provide her love. She would be treated often as the unwanted child. She looked nothing like her “parents” or siblings with her red hair and fair skin. Her duties and clothing would be different and her opportunities would be few.
Much of her life was restricted and when her “mother” and “father” went to Bucharest to visit her real biological mother, Virginia was never allowed to accompany them. It wasn’t until she went to take exams to enter law school in Bucharest that Virginia meets her birth mother. She is given the chance to live with her “aunt” who dotes on her, gives her lovely dresses to wear, and good food to eat, but even then does not tell her she is her mother.
The repressive government’s representatives, the Securitate are everywhere, spying, following, and recording details of the lives of the citizens of Romania.
Early in her life Virginia had known that to speak of God or the Bible or any faith or belief was extremely dangerous. There was a state approved church, but in her country Nicolae Ceausescu was god, one to be revered and worshipped. To own a Bible could result in arrest, prison, torture, or your disappearance.
Virginia proved herself academically in law school and met the man, Radu, who would be her husband. After she passed the exams to be able to practice as an attorney in her country, it took some time to find work since most attorneys worked for and as an arm of the repressive regime. That regime violated many of the laws still on the books in Romania. She believed the truth was essential to honor in all ways and she was unwilling to be used by the government as a pawn.
As a result, she began to have some of those oppressed come to her to represent them in court. In each case, she applied the law skillfully and began to become known for her honesty, hard work and ethics, but as she uncovered more and more of the insidious ways the government oppressed its people she decided she did not want to be an attorney any longer.
Virginia began to get clients who were being charged with incredible, untrue claims related to church activities. One of them, Nestor, invited her to come to his church. She was captivated by the peace she saw that was so evident in him despite all he faced.
When Virginia and her daughters visit that church the next Sunday, the pastor’s message talked about Jesus being “the truth”. She felt the pastor was speaking directly to her. When the pastor asked if anyone wanted to accept Christ as Lord and Savior, there was no doubt in Virginia’s mind this answer was the culmination of a lifelong search.
As the chapters of the book unfold in one suspenseful page after another, you have a front row seat to what it is like to live in a country where you have no freedom, one where you cannot express your faith, own a Bible, watch a film about Jesus, or even gather in a group to worship Him.
You also watch, as Virginia becomes the voice for these oppressed people as they are repeatedly dragged into court. Her reputation grows among the Christians in her country and so does the danger and risk to her own life.
Because of this and her strong belief in the truth of the Gospel, Virginia is considered a treasonous traitor. She is kidnapped, beaten, tortured, and placed under house arrest. Within seconds of her execution, God speaks to her heart and gives her His courage to speak to her executioner about Jesus.
Saving My Assassin is not only a compelling, riveting story, but also awakens anyone who reads it to the reality of what it means to lose freedom and especially to have no freedom to worship the Lord. It puts a challenge in the heart of the reader about how they might answer the questions noted at the beginning of this article to Virginia if the reader faced those same questions today.
In exchange for my review, Tyndale through the Blog Network, provided this book, published by Tyndale House. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”