Although the soldiers guarding the Moldovan city of Stefan Voda were effectively crushing 26-year-old Serghei Rusu’s business, he knew they hadn’t asked for the difficult job of limiting the coronavirus’s spread. What may have been best for public health certainly wasn’t best for his business, but Serghei found a way to live out Jesus’ commands, blessing those he might have seen as enemies.
Serghei and his best friend operated a quail farm 90 minutes outside Moldova’s capital city of Chisinau. With jobs in short supply in Moldova, the two had previously worked together in construction in Italy, but when a tragic accident claimed a colleague’s life, they knew they wanted to return home to their wives and children. Back in Moldova, they launched a walnut business, but a severe drought brought a quick end to that endeavor.
A strong start and a severe threat
After significant market research, they launched a quail farm. “I love the process of growing quails,” Serghei shares. “The main thing to remember is that the quail business is based on hard manual labor. There are no holidays, no weekends, no vacations.” Through hard work and diligent research, the business started off strong, with the two friends winning contracts from grocery stores and restaurants across the country. And then coronavirus lockdowns began. The business Serghei had worked so hard to build was threatened.
The quails, a popular source of protein in Chisinau, required specialized food that could only be found in the capital city. With movement strictly controlled, Serghei could no longer obtain this food, and the birds began to starve. They stopped laying eggs. Some died. Serghei pursued every avenue he could think of, petitioning government officials for permission to travel or have the food shipped. Officials continued to deny his requests.
Light in the darkness
“When I am facing difficulties and there are no clear ways to solve it, I pray and fast … then find light in darkness,” Serghei explains. And so Serghei, with quails he could neither sell nor feed, donated the meat to the soldiers guarding the city.
The lockdowns nearly put Serghei out of business, but they also drove him to find solutions: one of which came through Invest Credit, HOPE’s partner in Moldova.
A month later, as the situation began to improve, Serghei was at last granted permission to travel. “At this point, all the relevant regional institutions already knew him, by his insistence to look for solutions and being generous,” Invest Credit staff share.
A loan from Invest Credit helped Serghei afford food for the remaining quails, saving the business from collapse. A second loan soon thereafter enabled him to purchase an incubator, vastly increasing his potential production. Serghei saw the loans as an answer to prayer, allowing him to continue operating his business and maintaining his workforce of 10 employees. “Things not only returned back to normal but have gotten to a new high,” Invest Credit staff attest.
Serghei’s desire to find light in darkness extends beyond his business. When Serghei inherited his childhood home after his mother’s death, he used it to provide shelter to a family of nine who were formerly homeless. With his quail farm again thriving, Serghei also hired the father, giving him the gift of dignified employment and sustainable income.
To learn more about how the HOPE network impacts families like Serghei’s, watch “How HOPE Helps Families Flourish.”