David is the oldest of three siblings. Thirteen years ago, when he was 6, his sister, Corina, 4, and their baby brother, Andrei, 1, their mother left them in the care of their father to travel abroad for work She never returned to her family. They felt lied to and betrayed. They learned several years later that their mother sought to divorce their father. Two years later, in 2012, their father would pass away from a heart attack.
David, Corina, and Andrei were placed in the care of their father’s sister, their aunt Veronica. Her husband disapproved of Veronica’s acceptance of their niece and nephews. With two children of their own, adding three more would further strain the household budget. While Veronica showered all the children with love and care, she struggled to cover David’s and his siblings’ basic needs. Even though she loved her brother’s kids immensely, Veronica wondered if taking them in was the right decision. Discouraged, Veronica leaned on her devout Christian faith for spiritual strength. In 2013, through the pastor at her church, Veronica was connected to CERI. The CERI team assessed the family’s needs, administering resources that immediately started improving the situation for the children and the foster family.
CERI provided parenting education courses, counseling, medical and financial support, and life-skills training, so that today, David, his siblings, their aunt Veronica, and her family are stable and thriving. Through teamwork and collaboration, the efforts of CERI, the family and Aunt Veronica’s church, all five children are receiving the love, shelter, resources, emotional and educational support they need to lead well-rounded, healthy lives.
At 19, David is the first sibling to begin living as an adult. He graduated high school this past spring, and enrolled in Moldova State University, in the Department of History and Philosophy. Since childhood, though, David has loved sports. When he was 14, his Aunt Veronica enrolled him in his first Taekwondo class.
“It was hard, and I thought I would never succeed,” David remembers about his first karate class.
He stuck with it, however, and today, he is a martial arts first-level black belt, winning national and international martial arts competitions championships. In 2016, David earned the gold medal in his weight class at the World Taekwondo Championships in Kanzai, Russia, and in 2017, he took the gold medal at the European Taekwondo Championship. At 18 years old, he was bestowed the title Candidate of Master of Sport, an unusual award at such a young age for the sport of Taekwondo.
“After having practiced Taekwondo for so many years,” David says, “I got used to it. I like going to competitions. My motivation is that I can share God’s Word through my sports performance.”
David’s faith has played a critical role in how he has grown into an adult. He credits the Bible’s teachings as his source of strength as he works, trains, and teaches youth.
“My faith is firmly based on the Bible,” David says. “It is what guides my life.”
Today, he coaches a group of 11 children at a sports club in his hometown in Moldova, combining Taekwondo techniques and lessons from the Bible. He attends church regularly, visits the elders in the community, and participates in the church’s Christmas and Easter programs. He remains involved with CERI, too, where he visits with the children and mentors the youth with whom he shares a similar background.
“If it weren’t for CERI,” David says, “my life would have been much harder, and I would not have met the people who influence me today.”
CERI is proud of David’s success and grateful to those who have contributed to his story of strength, courage, faith, and restoration. An entire village can help a child succeed. Between his Aunt Veronica, her pastor, a dedicated CERI staff and a steadfast CERI sponsor, and all of you who support CERI’s ministries around the world, David and his siblings and cousins’ stories have been guided by God’s hand to deliver a message of hope, love, and community.