This past Sunday, April 9 the Freedom Singers performed at the Erskine Evangelical-Free Church to entertain Erskine and area community.
“We simply love to sing,” said lead singer Simon Ivascu. “Every time I get to share my story, it feels like it was just yesterday. I’m extremely privileged to be able to share and hopefully encourage people.”
Simon Ivascu and his friend Wesley Pop escaped Romania under very trying circumstances. It is their daring and hardship-laden journey that changed their lives forever.
They have written about their escape in a book called “The Price of Freedom: A story of courage and faith, in the face of danger.”
Determined to escape to freedom, Ivascu and Pop faced danger and hardship fleeing from Romania to Italy. But their nightmare began in earnest when they crawled into a container full of ceramic tiles that was headed across the ocean. Baking in the heat for days in a shipyard, surviving a tremendous storm at sea, suffering from lack of oxygen, and then the agony of thirst, Ivascu and Pop both came close to death.
“The Price of Freedom” is the miraculous story of how two young men cling to their faith in God, as they struggled to stay alive against all odds.
When the Freedom Singers performed at Erskine Church’s annual banquet three years back during Christmas, Pastor Ross Helgeton had always hoped to have them back at some point.
“I hadn’t really planned to have them back at this point in time, but they had a free evening without a booking, and since they are popular enough, I felt it would work out and it did,” Helgeton said. “We don’t have anything lined up at this point in time, although Steve Green is lined up for our Christmas banquet later this year.”
The group was formed 10 years back with existing band members being Simon Ivascu, Jake Losen and Stefan Ivascu.
“I always loved to sing ever since I was young,” Ivascu said. “One thing is that you don’t have to be in the middle box, in other words in a shipping container, to go through challenges in life. That’s why we travel and we try to encourage people to draw their attention to God. He loves us and he cares for us.”
It was easy to see how the crowd engaged and was impacted by the story of their lives.
“The human interest aspect of the Freedom Singers is very appealing,” Helgeton stated. “It is also very Christian and filled with remarkable accounts of God’s intervention and miraculous provision and protection. Their book is also an excellent read and intriguing from cover to cover.”
Helgeton said that he would like to thank everyone who came out and for the generous love offering that was provided at the event.
“I would like to thank the radio station for the coverage that they provided for the event, all of the businesses who allowed for posters to be placed, and I want to especially thank God for how He brings these uplifting and special blessings our way as we journey through life,” Helgeton added.