Due to my lingering interest in comparative religions, I sometimes read conversion stories, and I've occasionally reported on them here, especially the unusual ones.
I've never heard a conversion story quite like this one, unexpected and even hard to believe
, as told by Virginia Prodan
, an international human rights attorney who defended Christians in Communist Romania, as well as an Allied Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom
. The story below appears in her book, Saving My Assassin
(Tyndale), though I came across it as an excerpt:
Late at night, after a long day in court, Miruna, my legal assistant, peeked into my doorway: "A big man in the waiting room says he wants to discuss a case." She shrugged. "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, his eyes seemed to bore a hole straight through me, and a sneer formed at the corner of his mouth. Slowly, he pulled back his coat and reached into a shoulder holster, . . . drawing a gun. "You have failed to heed the warnings you've been given," he said, aiming at me. "I've come here to finish the matter once and for all." He flexed his fingers, and I heard a distinctive click. "I am here to kill you."
My hands shook. Fight-or-flight instincts pinged in my brain. My chin trembled. An image flashed through my mind: my assistant arriving in the morning and finding my lifeless body on the office floor. 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 considered the man before me. Behind those hate-filled eyes was a creation of God. He had an immortal soul, and he needed to know about the love God has shown in Jesus Christ. At once emboldened, I met my killer's eyes. "Have you ever asked yourself: 'Why do I exist?' or 'Why am I here?' or 'What is the meaning of my life?' I once asked myself those questions." My voice stayed calm and did not waver.
He slid his gun back into the holster.
I 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 - your boss, President Ceausescu, who requires you to worship him? God has given you free will to choose."
His eyes softened.
My heart thumped even faster, and my confidence rose. "The truth is that we have all been corrupted and gone away from God." He nodded. "We all are sinners, and our sin has determined our future. Hebrews 9:27 says, 'People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.'"
His mouth fell slightly open, and his hands relaxed.
"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 I continued to talk with him, he appeared smaller and more peaceful.
Finally, he brought his hand to his forehead and 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.
I encountered this as part of a larger story in an article, "I Found the Gospel in Communist Romania
" (Christianity Today
, September 23, 2016), by the same woman, Virginia Prodan. I have to admit, though, that the story sounds incredible, literally hard to believe
. Why? The conversion seems too easy for a hardened killer. Something must have been ticking along within the man's heart - there must be a story waiting to be told, the killer's story, that would clarify the man's decision that night.
Labels: Christianity Today