Willing to Die

hope willing to die books

Born in Romania when it was still the beautiful, vibrant, productive Breadbasket of Europe, John Muntean had a taste of real freedom. Thirty-five years later, his desire to flee religious persecution and Communist control pushed him into a plan that very well could have cost him his life. All he had to do is get past the throng of specially-trained guards keeping Romanian citizens away from the American Embassy. If he didn't, his family would be living forever under one of history’s most ruthless Communist dictatorships. John’s willingness to die for his family’s freedom rocked the nation and brought hope to those trapped under the thumb of Nicolae Ceausescu. Until November 10, 1980, hope hadn't been a word heard too often on the lips of the average Romanian citizen. Then, with one broadcast from Radio Free Europe, it exploded across the nation into the hearts and minds of all those yearning for independence.

John fled the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu to freedom in America. Now he sees the familiar signs of total socialism and control wrapping itself around every family, every business, every institution, invading our state and national legislatures. The loss of freedom at every turn. He fears for his beloved America and has a warning for every liberty loving American and patriot.


John Stela

8:00 am, October 1977

Bucharest, Romania

Blizzard-like conditions, with heavy snow blowing sideways, made me almost invisible to the group of Romanian soldiers who guarded the American Embassy. I had already walked.

Around the embassy, looking for a way to slip past them. The long black wool coat and furry Russian ushanka not only kept my head warm, but helped me blend in with the others on the street who rushed to work or hurried toward the bread lines. From across the street, I studied the backside of the embassy.

There has to be a way inside without being stopped.

Some people might think me stupid to attempt this contact; however, without help, my family had no hope. The living conditions under the brutal Communist leadership of Nicolae and Elena.

Ceausescu caused thousands to attempt escape. People took the chance, knowing—if caught—they faced possible imprisonment, torture, and even death. Married couples lived with a bittersweet understanding and agreement. If a spouse was presented with the opportunity to escape, he or she would take it, leaving spouse and children behind.

To never know if or when they might be reunited. Until, and if, contact was made, fear and uncertainty ruled. What drove people to take this risk? We lived in the prison known as Romania. Thirty-two years of communist rule brought the complete destruction of a country once called the Breadbasket of Europe. Everywhere we went, we were watched. At work, in the schools, in the churches, and even on the streets informers looked and listened for something, anything to report. If they found nothing, lying was just as beneficial. For years, we lived with the extreme poverty, hard work and empty shelves, constant fear of the secret police, and the unending Communist control. How does a person live without hope or freedom? I could not, not anymore. Thousands before me had died seeking it. I had no intention of becoming one of them. There had to be a way past the guards whose job it was to find out who I was, why I was there, and what business I had with the Americans. I noticed many people dressed similar to me as they walked unhindered past the security guard at the back gate. They appeared to be employees. With my briefcase in one hand, I flipped up my collar and pulled down the ear flaps on my hat, and then quickly crossed the street. I passed through the gate pretending to be an employee. Five feet from safety, the guard yelled, “Stop!”

“Willing To Die”: The John Muntean Story As Told to Josephine Walker

From 1945 at age 7 until 1980, John Muntean, lived under the brutal reality of a socialist/communist state. Romania, a country once known as the breadbasket of Europe, was destroyed by the socialist ideology of a collective society, the government in control of everything.

John, a man of strong but simple faith, was willing to die for his children’s freedom and to save them from further religious persecution. He devised a plan to force the Ceausescu government to approve his family’s passports. Up to that point, only those who benefited Ceausescu’s agenda were allowed to leave. Succeed or die… no other option. On Nov. 10th, 1980, the country of Romania was rocked by an announcement from Radio Free Europe that caused hope to explode into the hearts of all Romanian’s who were illegally listening to the daily broadcasts. From 1981 to 1989, every Romanian who emigrated safely and legally from Romania—owe it to this man.

John’s story also shows how God will use your enemies to bless you when you least expect it.

Although communism fell in 1989 with the execution of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, on Christmas day, Romania has never recovered. Forty-five years of living under socialism, conditioned the people to look to the government for their every need, and still does.

His story helps the reader to understand socialism’s true goals. The individual has no value to the state—except for how that individual can benefit the state’s agenda.
The goal of the government was to know everything about the individual citizen and to control that person’s life, from birth to death. All too often, the government was the cause of a citizen’s death.

Willing to Die

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